What is the No Expiration Upgrade?
Adding the No Expiration upgrade to your Magic Your Way Base Ticket will allow you to return to Disney World and take advantage of any unused days on your ticket. For example, let’s say you purchase a ten-day Magic Your Way Base Ticket with No Expiration and visit parks on six days. On your next trip a year later, you may use the remaining four days on your ticket. Without the No Expiration upgrade, you would need to purchase a new ticket because your old ticket would have expired 14 days from its first use.
The Way Disney Sells It
Disney describes the No Expiration upgrade on their website with the following:
Select the No Expiration Option to let the magic live forever! Our Magic Your Way Base Tickets expire 14 days from their first use. However, when you add the No Expiration Option to your ticket, you’re able to come back and take advantage of unused days at any time in the future.
Relax in the knowledge that any unused days will be available for your next visit.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost is based on how many days your ticket is valid and is added to the cost of the Base Ticket. For reference, here is the chart of Base Ticket cost with tax. There is also a column for the “additional price to add day” which is the cost to add that additional day on the ticket. Note that the cost to add additional days is only $10 – $15 after day three.
One of the most common misconceptions with the No Expiration upgrade is that you pay the additional cost only on the number of days you did not use. For example, many people believe that if you purchase a seven-day ticket and use five days, you pay only the cost of the two day No Expiration upgrade. This is not how it works. You pay the cost of the seven day upgrade regardless of how many days you use because that is the length the ticket is valid. This means that you will pay the full seven-day upgrade cost whether you use two days, four days, or all seven days on the ticket. Let’s have a look at how much it costs to purchase the No Expiration upgrade (all prices include tax).
As you can see, the cost is substantial. Just to reiterate, you pay the upgrade cost on the number of days the ticket is valid, regardless of how many days you use. If you purchase a ten-day ticket and use nine days then you still pay $292.88, the same price you would pay if you used just one day of the ten-day ticket.
When Can I Add the Upgrade?
You may add the No Expiration upgrade to your Magic Your Way Base Ticket when you purchase your ticket or within 14 days of the ticket’s first use (on the first day you use the ticket and for 13 days thereafter), provided the ticket still has valid theme park entitlements. You can only add other upgrades to the ticket within this time frame also. For example, if you do not add the Park Hopper upgrade within 14 days of first use, you cannot return two years later and add Park Hopper for the remaining days on the ticket, even if you add No Expiration. All upgrades must be added when there are still valid entitlements on the ticket and within 14 days of first use. For information on the new upgrade entitlement policy, see this post: http://www.easywdw.com/news/new-disney-world-ticket-policy-going-into-effect-august-3-2011/.
Is It Worth the Cost to Upgrade to No Expiration?
It is somewhat rare that the No Expiration upgrade is worth the cost and also somewhat complicated to figure out exactly when it is cost effective. The easiest way to think about it is to figure out how many vacations you will get out of one No Expiration ticket and how much those tickets would cost if purchased separately. Remember, you can’t add any additional days to the No Expiration ticket after the 14 day window has closed. If you buy an eight-day ticket and use four days on the first vacation, you can’t return two years later and decide you want to add an extra two days to the eight day ticket to make it a ten day ticket. You will have to be sure that you will use the exact amount of days left on the ticket, otherwise you will have to buy an additional ticket which almost always makes the No Expiration upgrade less cost efficient. That’s because the cost to buy a one or two day Magic Your Way Base Ticket has a higher cost per day.
If that doesn’t make sense, let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you purchase an eight-day ticket with No Expiration for $546.35 (317.37 for the base ticket and $228.98 for No Expiration). You use the first five days on your first vacation and want to return and use the ticket again for a second vacation. For the ticket to be cost effective, you will have to spend only three days at Disney World. If you want to take a second five day vacation, you will have to purchase an additional two-day ticket at a cost of $187.44 because you cannot add any additional days to the original eight-day No Expiration ticket. Let’s look at the math in this situation (a five day vacation and then a future three day vacation):
Cost of eight-day Base Ticket with No Expiration Upgrade: $546.35
Cost of purchasing a five-day ticket and a three-day ticket: $543.18 ($285.42 + $257.73)
You come out ahead by $3.17 if you use the exact amount of days in this situation
On the other hand, if you end up taking a second five-day vacation you would need to purchase an additional two-day ticket. The math for that vacation would look like this:
Cost of eight-day Base Ticket with No Expiration Upgrade: $546.35 + Cost of two-day ticket: $187.44 = $733.19.
Now we will compare that price to the cost of two five-day tickets, which is what you would have purchased had you gone on two separate five day vacations with expiring tickets. The cost of each five-day ticket is $285.42, or $570.84 for the two vacations. Purchasing two 5-day tickets is $162.35 cheaper than purchasing one eight-day No Expiration ticket and one two-day ticket. Both ticket configurations get you the exact same thing – two 5-day vacations. They just cost different prices.
Now you could purchase an additional No Expiration ticket with more days rather than just a two-day ticket, but then you just keep running around in circles trying to make the most out of your ticket.
To figure out whether or not the No Expiration upgrade makes sense in your situation, first figure out how many days you will be spending at Disney World now and on future vacations. Price out the ticket with the No Expiration upgrade and then add up what it would cost to purchase separate expiring tickets for each trip. If the price of the No Expiration ticket comes out to be less and you are certain you won’t want to spend more time in Disney World and won’t want to add any more upgrades then the No Expiration upgrade is a wise investment. Also, be aware that that several of the most popular promotions, including Free Dining, require the purchase of at least a one-day Base Ticket for each person on the reservation. If that is the case, you will either need to keep the No Expiration tickets for another visit or figure out some other way to use the tickets you are forced to purchase to be eligible for the package promotion.
What is the Optimal Situation for the No Expiration upgrade?
The No Expiration upgrade makes the most sense when you purchase a ticket with eight or more days and take several short vacations over more than one year. Magic Your Way tickets with a short duration (one to three days) are the most expensive, per day. For example, the ten-day Base Ticket with No Expiration option costs $631.55. The cost of 5 separate two-day tickets is $937.20. You would come out well ahead with the No Expiration ticket in this situation if you planned to take 5 separate two-day vacations over several years. On the other hand, 2 separate five-day tickets cost just $570.84 and the ten-day ticket with No Expiration costs $631.55. if you split the ten-day Base Ticket with No Expiration up over two vacations you actually end up spending more than you would had you bought two expiring tickets. The most cost effective, and really the only, way to use the No Expiration upgrade is if you plan multiple visits that each last one to three days.
Another common use for No Expiration tickets is for Florida residents that have out-of-town visitors. For example, a grandparent might purchase a No Expiration ticket for their grandchild who visits one weekend every few months. The ticket can then be used as necessary and the cost will be much lower than buying a one or two-day ticket multiple times.
Using A Child’s Ticket with No Expiration After The Child Turns 10 Years Old
One of the additional benefits of adding No Expiration to a child’s ticket is that it can be upgraded to an adult ticket for free when the child turns ten years old. You would just need to present the child’s ticket in person anywhere tickets can be upgraded. Since child’s tickets are anywhere between $6 and $20 less expensive than adult tickets, you may see additional savings if you purchase a No Expiration ticket for a child that is about to become a “Disney Adult.”
Water Parks & More Upgrade in Conjunction with No Expiration:
I know things are getting a little more complicated than you would like them to be, but honestly it’s not my fault. I don’t come up with this stuff. If you have also upgraded your ticket with the Water Parks & More option, those entitlements will not expire either if you add No Expiration. Even if you have used all of your theme park admissions (to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom), you will still be granted entrance to Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, DisneyQuest, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, etc (considered minor parks) at any time, provided you have not used all of your minor park entrances.
For example, if you purchase the ten-day Magic Your Way Base Ticket and add No Expiration and Water Parks & More, you would be given ten days of park admissions and ten entrances to the previously mentioned minor parks to be used at any time. This ticket basically becomes “two tickets.” One of which is good at the major theme parks and one which is good at the minor parks. If you use all ten days of your theme park admissions and don’t use any of your minor park admissions, you will still be able to use that ticket for the minor parks until you have used all ten entrances. If you are considering adding the No Expiration upgrade, you may want to strongly consider adding the Water Parks & More Upgrade for $60.71 per ticket.
Considering a one-day admission to Typhoon Lagoon is $55 with tax, the Water Parks upgrade becomes cost effective after just two entrances. It’s usually difficult to fit in ten days worth of minor parks during a vacation, but with No Expiration you could use your old ticket that doesn’t expire in conjunction with a newly purchased ticket for several years. If you do enjoy the water parks, golf, or DisneyQuest and deem No Expiration to be worth the upgrade cost then I would also strongly recommend adding Water Parks & More. Remember, you need to do it within 14 days of using your ticket for the first time and while entitlements remain on the ticket or you won’t be able to upgrade the ticket.
Also Consider the Annual Pass
The cost of the Annual Pass is $611.31 for adults and children ages three and up. The Annual Pass includes unlimited free parking at the theme parks and unlimited admissions to the parks, which means it has the Park Hopper upgrade built in since you can go to as many parks in one day as you like. You can almost get two years of use out of an Annual Pass if you purchase one for your original vacation and then return, say, 50 weeks later for a second vacation. You can then wait one more year to purchase a new Annual Pass and repeat.
If that doesn’t make sense, let me go over just one last example. You could purchase an Annual Pass for your trip on December 10th-December 18th 2012. You could then return about 50 weeks (almost one year) later in November 2013 and your Annual Pass would still be valid for a second vacation. You would then not renew your Annual Pass for the time period between November 2013 and November 2014 and could then return in December 2014 to purchase another Annual Pass. This way you skip paying for the Annual Pass between November 2012 and November 2013 when you do not have a vacation planned.
The Bottom Line
Make sure you price out the cost to upgrade to No Expiration and consider upgrading only if the potential savings is definite and more than just a few dollars. Also consider the fact that you may need to purchase an additional Magic Your Way Base Ticket for certain promotions and packages which may throw your plans for a loop.
Overall, it’s easier and almost always just as cost effective to purchase the correct number of days on your ticket without the No Expiration option. The only time it will be a substantial savings is if you plan multiple trips of 1-3 days in length over more than 12 months.