Whenever it comes to Disney ticket policy, I find it’s best to start with a deep breath. Breathe in. Exhale. Okay.
Disney is amending their ticket policy, which will go into effect beginning August 3, 2011. This change was only confirmed in writing today.
Current policy: Magic Your Way tickets may be upgraded and days may be added within 14 days of first use of the ticket.
New Policy: Magic Your Way tickets may be upgraded and days may be added only if “entitlement value remains” on the ticket.
Example 1: Previously, Magic Your Way tickets could be upgraded any time within 14 days of first use of the ticket. For example, let’s say you bought a five-day base ticket on November 10th and used it for the first time on December 10th. You would have until December 23rd to use all five days. Let’s say you spent December 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, and 18th at Disney World theme parks and thus used up all five days. Now let’s say you wanted to visit another theme park on December 22nd. Previously, you could take your completely used ticket to any ticket window on December 22nd and add a sixth day for only the cost of adding the sixth day to a five-day ticket, which is currently $8.32 with tax. Beginning tomorrow, you will not be able to add a sixth day to the ticket on December 22nd because it has been completely used and holds no further entitlement value.
In our previous example, we visited a theme park for the fifth time with a five-day ticket on December 18th. With the new policy, we would be able to add additional days at any point between December 10th (the date of first use) and December 18th (the day when no future entitlements exist). However, we would not be able to add a sixth day on December 19th – 23rd because no entitlement value exists.
Example 2: In this example, we will purchase a five-day base ticket with the Water Park Fun & More upgrade that costs an additional $58.58 with tax. Under the new policy, your ticket will have entitlement value until you use all of your major theme park entitlements and all of your Water Park Fun & More entitlements or December 23rd, whichever comes first. For example, let’s say you visited the major theme parks just as in example one – December 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, and 18th but did not use any Water Park Fun & More entitlements (that is, visited no water parks, golf courses, Disney Quest, etc). Here, your ticket still holds entitlement value after December 18th. You would be able to add additional theme park days to the ticket until you used all of your theme park entitlements and Water Park and Fun entitlements. However, the ticket would still expire in its entirety on December 23rd as it did before (14 days from first use).
In other words, you must upgrade or add days to your ticket before you leave on the day that your ticket no longer has entitlement value. That is, on the day that you could no longer use the ticket to enter a major theme park, water park, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports, or golf course. If you could still use the ticket to enter a major theme park, water park, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports, or golf course, then the ticket still holds entitlement value, at least until 14 days from the first day of use. The 14-day stipulation remains intact.
Why? This policy is aimed at foiling the ticket resellers that operate on eBay, Craigslist, other online outlets, and locally around the theme parks. It is illegal to resell partially used Disney World theme park tickets. This is a common practice along US-192, the highway that I live on. In fact, there are several ticket reselling booths and outlets within a 15 minute walk of my door and at least a dozen on the drive to the theme parks. These sellers purchase used tickets from vacationers, take them to the ticket window to upgrade them (remember, it only costs about $8 a day to add the 4th to 10th day on a Disney Magic Your Way Ticket), and then resell them as a “new” ticket with whatever amount of days they say is on it. They also sell “one-day tickets” for $50 a day and then offer a bounty if the user brings the ticket back with additional days on it that they purchased. This policy is specifically aimed at making it more difficult for these sellers to operate.
Flexibility and Leniency: There is expected to be some flexibility here. Disney has no problem adding days to your ticket, provided you are the one using the ticket. You may still have success adding days to an expired ticket (as long as it’s within 14 days of first use), provided you explain your predicament, smile, and explain that you simply would like to spend another day at Disney World that you weren’t expecting to when you first purchased the tickets. It’s important to keep in mind that whoever you speak to at customer service doesn’t have to do this for you and you will be more likely to be successful if you act in a pleasant manner with a lot of pleases and thank yous.