Cheat Sheet: Worth it to Upgrade to AP?


#1

:rotating_light:UPDATE: November, 2018:rotating_light:
I’m leaving the thread as is, but for first-time readers of the thread I wanted to point out up here at the top that I’ve just updated the interface.

In the age of tiered pricing, looking up reseller prices is more complex and I haven’t had time to work on it much. Also, the process for bridging those tiered tickets is not clear yet.

So, I’ve removed the bridging savings estimates from the sheet and just use plain-vanilla Disney online ticket prices. If it makes sense in the future I may add back the bridging savings, but for now, C’est La Guerre.

You can see the latest post with a screenshot of the new interface here in this thread.

Now, back to the original programming…

Howdy All,

You may have seen my other posts on my "Maximum Savings" spreadsheet for buying tickets and how much it will be to upgrade to an AP. People have offered many useful comments, suggestions, and requests and I’ve expanded the sheet many times.

Because CMs often seem to perform arithmetic on an abacus with missing beads when calculating upgrade costs, I’ve added printable cheat sheets for people to have with them when attempting to bridge tickets.

One of the last things I added was a sheet where you can enter information about your upcoming trips and see if upgrading to AP will save you money.

However, with all of these things in a single spreadsheet, I think it got a bit confusing, so I’ve taken that last “Worth It?” sheet out and made it a free-standing tool.

You can go give it a shot in your browser over on The Google Sheets by visiting this link.

If you like it, want to play around with it and not worry about others changing your numbers, you can click File… Make a Copy and save a version for your very own, as shown below:

I have included a lot of notes in the sheet itself, and hope it is fairly self-explanatory and many people should be able to dive right in and start using it. But as an IT Pro, I know that my self-explanatory is someone else’s Ancient Aramaic. (I think Gabby Johnson said it best.)

So, if your Mesopotamian languages are a little rusty, below is a series of screen captures with some general notes on each portion of the sheet. Hope they help!

In the sheet, you can enter or change info in any of the RED cells. Starting at the very top of the sheet:

Then, you can choose from each of these options.

Some notes on the above section:

  • I would strongly suggest if you don’t normally buy Memory Maker on your trips don’t select it here or it will abnormally inflate your overall savings.
  • There are currently some really good food discounts for AP holder, which may make Tables in Wonderland less helpful in gathering discounts. (Do remember that TiW also discounts adult beverages, though.)

Next up is to enter the percentage discounts an AP will give you.

These will influence your savings calculated lower in the spreadsheet, so you’ll want to try to get these in the right ballpark so you’ll have a decent estimate at the end…

Note: You’ll have to make an educated guess on how many of your planned restaurants will be covered by an AP discount since not all are.

Now we’re on to the meat and potatoes of the sheet: Enter the basic info of your planned trips. (or imaginary trips if you are just playing around.) If you toggle between ticket types and flip Memory Maker on and off, you’ll see that people who normally buy Park Hoppers and Memory Maker will need much fewer park days and food expenses to make an AP upgrade worth it.

Note: Unless any hotel discount you would get on your trip(s) is exclusive to AP holders, I would not enter hotel costs. If you can get the same discount without an AP, the AP is not really saving you money for that part, right?

You’ll see that the sheet doesn’t let you enter ticket prices. That is because it is using my super-secret data table* to lookup up the current BEST discount for the ticket type and park days you select. (If people already have tickets in hand, maybe I can add a spot to override those numbers later…)

*It’s not so super-secret. It is the other table in this spreadsheet.

Finally, the pièce de résistance: another automagic table showing how much you will save both with and without AP discounts - as well as on and off site! If you get a positive number in the Savings (Loss) line, there’s a decent chance upgrading to an AP on your first trip will save you money.

UPDATE, March 27, 2018: Adding this other reference screen capture in case it helps explain what is going on with the totals at the bottom…


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#2

I have a question about discounted tickets. We have a discount website through my employer called ticketsatwork.com. Is there a way that I could plug in their ticket prices to see if buying through them would save me the most on bridging to an AP? Comparing the 5 day base and park hopper ticket prices, ticketsatwork is cheaper. I am not sure which tickets, I would need to buy to get the most savings on an AP though. Right now, using the ones you have listed, it tells me that I should buy a 10 day park hopper plus from undercover tourist to get the most savings


#3

Howdy!

I don’t have any way in the sheet to plug in other vendors, but I have checked Tickets At Work out a few times.

Since not everyone has access to them, and their site doesn’t make it easy to update the ticket prices quickly I’ve not included them, But, more importantly: I have almost never seen their prices beat the standard discount resellers.

I suppose there may be different deals some companies have with TAW and some people may see better discounts than I do - but so far whenever I’ve checked back with people who thought TAW was cheaper, they didn’t realize that TAW does NOT include tax in their listed price and the tax gets added in the cart.

The discount resellers in my sheet all include tax in their posted price.

I just ran some numbers on the prices I see with TAW right now for 5 days tickets for a single adult:

Base ticket price: $375, With Tax: $409.63
PH price: $434, with Tax: $470.21
PH+ Price: $457, with Tax: $496.21

Looking in the Ticket Price Data tab of my spreadsheet, looks like all of discount reseller prices beat TAW for 5 day tickets (except for the Boardwalk Tix PH):

5 day tix

If my TAW prices match yours, then using the regular resellers is the way to go. As you said, my sheet finds that those 10 PH+ tickets are the biggest discount right now if you select minimum park days higher than 3.

If you look at the tables at the bottom of the sheet under the heading “Cheapest Tickets for Your Group by Reseller, Days & Type” you can see the savings for all of the ticket types and days at once - and you’ll see that while the 10 day PH+ from UT are the biggest discount, there are several other ticket options that will save just about the same amount. Below is a screen shot for the prices when looking for 1 adult ticket.

I’ve drawn a red box around all of the possible tickets you could buy that are 5 days or longer and would save within $5 of the 10 day PH+ my sheet suggests. They all seem like good choices to me! I hope my answer helps, but if you have more questions, just let me know…


#4

…Well, now I see Boardwalk’s prices dropped back down after a jump earlier this week too. Hmm, fixing my spreadsheet.


#5

Do you know if tickets tend to be cheaper at different times of the year? We are not going until the end of October. So, we have time to wait if tickets have better sell dates at different times.


#6

I’ve thought about going back through all of my sheet’s revisions and seeing if there were any pattern to the prices, but that will take some work and I just haven’t had the time.

From my general feeling after updating this sheet for 18 months or more: Most of the time the prices for each vendor tend to swing up and down only a few dollars over the course of a month or two.

Not sure if it is their supply/demand or just trying to out-maneuver each other. (Probably both.)

Once in a while there is a special sale that can pop up, but they are few and far between. Last year or so was one from UT where they got hold of a bunch of older non-expire tickets and sold them at a super discount. But, that only lasted a day or so before they sold out.

If you keep an eye on the TP chat, usually one of us will post a message if something good appears. Alsom sign up for the resellers’ mailing lists if they have one.

When I bought ours for our August trip last year I held out until my FPP day arrived and then bought the tix. IMHO doesn’t hurt to wait at this point unless Disney is planning a mid-year increase (which may happen if they start tiering all of the tickets), but that’s speculation.

And usually the resellers have a lag time where their prices don’t jump up until a week or more after Disney jumps.

This is a whole different animal than just finding good ticket prices, but if you haven’t looked into it already, you can try to save more money by using credit card travel reimbursements -

I wrote a whole post on using BarclayCard sign on bonus rewards to get $1200 in savings for our tickets last year. The good news is that Undercover Tourist tickets code as travel and you can use the reimbursements on them. The name of that post is Pre Trip Report or How I Embraced Credit Card Rewards and Learned to Love Them


#7

Thanks so much for all the great information. You have been extremely helpful


#8

Quick note to the Worth It to Upgrade to AP? spreadsheet: I’ve finally gotten around to adding the vendor Get Away Today to the ticket prices in it.

Get Away Today was already in my Maximum Savings sheet, but because changing conditional formatting ranges in Google Sheets is fairly tedious (and named ranges do weird things), I put off doing it over here.

Doesn’t really mean too much of a difference here except some slight variation in what the sheet thinks the best ticket prices may be if GAT has the lowest, but… onward and upward!


#9

Thank you so much for sharing this. So unbelievably helpful. Question though…I am planning 1 short, short trip with just a 2 day park ticket. Is there a reason you don’t include a 2 day option? Is it just because you have to buy those tickets directly from Disney? Or have I missed something on how to figure in that type of trip?


#10

You are welcome!

I don’t include them because 1 and 2 day tix are normally not discounted at all, plus you have to worry about the tiered pricing based on the date. (Originally because I created all of this logic in my Maximum AP sheet and just haven’t changed it here.)

It hasn’t come up too often since most people seem to do get at least 3 day tix and to be honest I didn’t want to have to bother with the whole tiering logic thing. :wink:

But, with the rumor that The Disney is going to tier all tickets soon, I’ll probably just have to take it all into account soon anyway.

In any case, I just added something to the sheet that should help you: Next to the ticket price column in the sheet now is a “Tix Price Override” column. If you enter an amount on any of those lines, the sheet will use that override amount, no matter what number of park days or ticket type you enter on the left.

Let me know if that works for you! Below is a screen shot:


#11

Wow! Double thank you. This is a perfect solution.


#12

Hey @JJT, just ran some numbers on this. It is showing advance purchase of Memory maker as $339. Am I doing something wrong?


#13

Nope, not doing anything wrong!

Check out my Notes box on the right side: “If you choose a Memory Maker purchase option that cost will be counted once for EACH trip you enter below.”

The idea is if you are people who normally buy MM, then it assumes you’d buy it each trip.

If you trying out the sheet with multiple trips, but only expect to buy MM one time, you could just select “No” for MM and add $169 to your overall savings.

(Awhile back I toyed with putting a MM selector on each trip line, but the more bells and whistles you add, the more confusing it makes things.)


#14

Ah, well that makes sense! Thanks for clarifying!


#15

Someone on another thread was looking to figure out their possible AP savings if just buying the AP directly from Disney, and I realized my sheet had some issues that didn’t make that scenario easy to do.

So… UPDATE time. I made some changes as outlined below (duplicate info from the other thread if you were reading that one as well.)

Think I really need to make a YouTube going over this sheet so people understand all of the bells and whistles.

All righty, so long story not so short, I realized that after I told someone they could enter the Disney AP price in the override column of my sheet, a couple of formulas would not take into account the amount paid vs savings correctly.

After trying to fix them, my formula logic got complicated and I ran out of coffee. So I decided to just simplify:

There is now a box at the top marked “Buying Full Price AP Straight From Disney?” that you can set to “YES” and it will ignore any ticket bridging savings.

I should have thought of that earlier methinks, but didn’t have anyone mention that scenario and my brain didn’t thunk it. (Probably similar to my weird awareness thing that if something isn’t sitting in the usual place in our refrigerator or cupboard, my brain doesn’t see it. :smiley:)

Also, when fixing all of that, I also noticed an issue in how the sheet used the amounts in the ticket override boxes. I added those override boxes a little while back so people could enter actual prices they paid rather than have the sheet find the current highest discounted tickets.

Until today, if one used those override boxes the sheet didn’t look up the bridging savings properly and just used the maximum savings listed at the top of the sheet.

However, the sheet WAS using the total price paid correctly, so the difference in accuracy was likely only a small amount : the difference between the maximum savings at top and the actual savings if you entered an override ticket price. (Probably in the neighborhood of $20-$40 at most I’d guess.)

Below is a summary screen shot of this info which may make it more clearer.


#16

I’ve made some updates to my Worth It to Upgrade to AP? spreadsheet: It now uses Disney online ticket prices instead of trying to find the cheapest reseller tickets to bridge.

(Maybe I’ll add that back when the process with new tickets is clearer.)

Google sheets now allows check boxes, so I took advantage & hopefully made the interface a bit cleaner to use. You can now select MM per trip, rather than have the sheet assume you are buying it all the time if you select it.

See the “How to Use This Sheet” tab at bottom for some step-by-steps on using it… here’s a screenshot for a quick peek.