Sunday, January 27, 2013

'No-expire' option lives on for Disney tickets — just not for online purchases

Disney World has altered the way it sells the "no-expire" option on theme-park tickets. That selection, which allows multiday tickets to be used any time in the future, no longer will be available online. The no-expire add-on continues to be available via phone or at theme park front gates, a Disney spokeswoman said recently.

Adding "park hopper" status, which allows a ticketholder to move between all four parks in a single day, and the water-park option can still be purchased online at

Giving the tickets new life comes at a price. Disney charges between $30 and $295 on top of the regular admission, depending on how many days were purchased originally.

No-expire buyers tend to be "guests who like to visit Disney on a whim but not regularly enough for having an annual pass makes sense," says John Frost, owner of The Disney Blog, which is not officially affiliated with Walt Disney World. "If you're planning to visit less than eight days a year but more than five then it makes sense to get this pass," Frost says.

Disney's multiday tickets become invalid 14 days after the first use of the pass, unless a no-expire option is activated. That is also true of most ticket plans for theme parks at SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando.

Sue Pisaturo, owner of New Jersey-based Small World Vacations travel agency, says the great majority of her customers do not use the no-expire option. "I polled my agents … across the United States, and we book people from all over the world, and they said rarely do they have any inquiry about it. "She says many of her clients are first-timers to Disney World and not inclined to buy into additional trips yet. "Most people, when my agents tell them the price, say they don't want to add the non-expiration," Pisaturo says.

Frost says he thinks that Disney is deemphasizing the no-expire option — it no longer appears on the signage at the parks' gates — as part of the shift to Disney's upcoming NextGen features.

"Disney wants more guests to stay on property. And when guests stay on property, they want them to use the all-in-one package as they're moving to the My Disney Experience and MyMagic+ system," Frost says. "So it's all wrapped up into one wristband. They can't sell no-expire tickets that way."

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