New Ticket Pricing Tier Analysis

I have spent some spare time over the last couple of days to figure out the how the new ticket pricing works and see how they are calculating things. Not sure if too many peoples are interested in the details, but for fun I thought I’d just put a post here.

After some playing around and some over-complicated theories, it turns out it is fairly simple once you see it.
I hadn’t read any posts online about the ticket price calculations, so not sure if anyone else has already posted this info - but no matter if they did, I just like a good puzzle. :wink:

Since this post ended up going into more detail than I intended, a quick TL;DR: I’m planning to use my calculated ticket price sheet to update my Maximum Savings sheet, plus maybe make another tool or two. If you don’t find the details below interesting, you can skip to the end for a first run at some pretty price charts to see how the next year of tickets change over time for a few different number of park day tickets.

Quick Summary (Yeah, right.)
Here’s a quick summary of what’s what (well, I’ll try to make it quick, anyway):

First thing, I took a look at the 1 day tickets and created a spreadsheet that would make it quick work for me to record all of the prices for the next year.

Looking through Disney’s new calendar interface, I noticed they have removed the color coding they previously used for their 3 types of 1 day tickets: Value, Regular, and Peak. However, they are still using that system - along with a 4th pricing tier. Because it is a lower priced tier for a smaller number of days, for now I’ve just been calling it “Sub Value.”

(These are screen captures from parts of my new ticket calculation spreadsheet, BTW.)

I don’t want to make this a super-detailed long post (but I think I have already, as usual), so I’ll try to go quickly through the rest of the calculations: If you take all of the 1 day prices posted you can calculate the 2 through 10 day Base, PH and PH+ tickets pretty quickly - once you find out a few things and keep some details in mind.

First: Use Window
I don’t know if Disney (or any other humans) are using this phrase in the context of tickets, but it seems apt so I’m going with it. In short, as you undoubtedly know: during the previous ticket policy they were not tied to any particular days and once you used the ticket they were good for the number of days purchased any time within a 14 day window.

As you have probably already read elsewhere, the new tickets require that you choose a specific starting day. Depending on the number of park days your tickets are for, you have some number of days to use them that is often significantly less than the old 14 days. These use windows are as follows:

For example, if you buy 4 day tickets, your use window is 7 days. So, if you chose a start day for those tickets of October 1st you will be able to use those 4 park days on any day between October 1st and October 7th. As you can see, more park days, bigger use window, maxing out at a 14 day window for 10 park day tickets.

Crunchifying the Prices
Turns out, to get the prices for park days greater than 1 you just figure out a couple of things:

  • The average daily 1 day ticket price for ALL days in your ticket’s use window (even though you will not be using tickets on all of those days)

Once you record all of the 1 day prices, it becomes pretty easy with a nice Excel formula to figure out the average ticket price for any given use window. For example, for a 2 day ticket with a 4 day use window you just average the 4 single day prices beginning with your start day.
(Nerd alert: To do that in Excel for all dates over the course of a year, I used an AVERAGEIFS formula.)

  • The percentage discount Disney gives you for each number of park day ticket.

There are a couple of steps to find the discount, for each number of park days - once you find the discount for each number of park days, you can just apply that discount to all start dates.

I started by looking for the 2 day Base tickets discount: I chose a start date and calculated the average of the prices for the 4 day use window. Then I multiplied that average daily ticket price by 2 to get a “gross” cost for a 2 day ticket. Then I went on Disney’s site and looks at what their actual price for that 2 day Base ticket was.

Then I wrote a simple formula to figure out what percentage lower the actual price was vs my gross price. It turned out that they discount the 2 day tix by 8.0%. I know that may be confusing in a paragraph, so here’s a capture from my spreadsheet:

I did the same for all ticket days - the discounts range from the 8% for 2 day tix up to 60.6% for 10 day tix.

Then I found that for Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus tickets, Disney continues to simply add static $ amounts to each park day tix to get from Base tickets to PH to PH+.

What is all of this good for - besides to placate my puzzle searching brain?

Knowing these daily prices for all ticket types will be needed if I’m going to update my Maximum Savings spreadsheet to work with the new pricing system. (I have to wait and see how the resellers are going to price things now, but they are still selling out their inventory of previous priced tickets.)

Also, I thought it might be fun and useful to chart out the changing prices over time - turns out it is kind of interesting to see how the prices changed as ticket days go up (because of the larger use windows.) Not sure how that might help people yet, but I guess I need to digest the info for awhile.

Also, I thought I might try to build another tool that lets people select the number of park days they want and some window of time for their trip - then have the sheet return the lowest and highest cost starting days. (If you haven’t thought about it yet, you will likely find that you don’t necessarily want to pick a start date that coincides with your actual start date - depending on the average prices in your time frame, it might save you a few bucks to choose a date earlier if there are higher tier prices off of the end of your trip.

OK, as usual this post got out of hand. Here’s a a few pretty charts to gaze at if you like that sort of thing - they are the prices over time for various park day tickets. (I still need to go through my sheet with some sanity checks to make sure I didn’t bork anything - but I think should be correct.)

:rotating_light: Charts Updated 10/18/185PM :rotating_light:


Very interesting! From a bird’s eye view, I’m not sure the larger use windows do anything except smooth out the ticket price fluctuation. I’m really glad you did this because I think it’s another class of data to use for CL estimates. I’m sure that it will be officially incorporated in time.

I recalculated my tickets and it actually doesn’t make any difference, which was surprising to me because part of my stay is over Memorial Day weekend. So when I was fooling around with my resort reservations today, it didn’t matter if I lost the pre-10/16 tickets. Which I did.


So I just checked Undercover Tourist’s ticket pricing and they don’t ask you for your start date. I just compared a Park Hopper 6-day ticket for a week in February and Undercover Tourist definitely seems to save you some $$ over the Disneyworld website’s pricing for that Feb. week. Or am I dreaming??? Does anyone know if these discount ticket suppliers have up-to-date pricing???

UT for one is still selling their pre-price change ticket inventory, not the the tiered tix. It usually takes resellers some time to sell out old tickets.

Which means you still can get a very good deal if you buy very soon!

I noticed Boardwalk tix has had “we’ll be back soon” kind of message since yesterday, so not sure what’s up with them.

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Yeah, makes total sense that they won’t even mention what’s coming until they sell out of the old tickets. Can’t wait to see how their discounts will compare when they have to switch to the new system.

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I haven’t looked in detail at all yet, but wondering even with the smoother price curves on the higher days tix if there might be more opportunities to save money by shifting start days. Thinking with 2 day tix there’s very little wiggle room.

Also, feels like PH plus becomes less of a deal since before you could have bought 7 day PH+ tix and gotten 14 days of parks out of them. Still, I guess paying $25 for 3 or 4 full days of water parks is still a pretty good deal in the scheme of things.

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I think you’re right about that. That’s probably why my 5 day ticket in May was not more expensive than it was last week- it started on a cheap day.

Also, I thought it was interesting that 4 days chart is markedly smoother than 2 and 3 days, but 5 days gets chunkier again in places.

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I especially like the graphs. It really helps show what times of year have the lower prices. Thanks for all the number crunching!

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When I get a chance I’ll post a full set of graphs!

I wonder if it’s Disney’s desire to offset that very thing you mentioned- shifting a longer ticket a bit to take advantage of cheaper days. Perhaps Disney tosses a few costlier days in even where crowd levels would not demand it just to reduce the effect of such anticipated behavior. It will be interesting to see if that “chunkiness” holds up as the ticket days get longer.

Haha, if you plan to do an analysis for longer tickets, that is!:grin:

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Your y-axis has a different scale on day 5 than the others, so that will change the appearance a little. I would be curious to see if day 4 is overall one of the smoothest days since it gets the bump up in use day and therefore more days to even out averages. Day 8 gets another bump up in use days, so if the ratio of park to use window days controls part of the smoothness, then day 8 graph would be a bit smoother than day 7 and 9.

Makes sense! I’ll see if I can get a chance to post all the day charts today.

Note all the graphs do have the same x-axis, I just didn’t screen capture the axis on the 5 day.

I just have to say, once again, I am in awe…


Probably because 5 day tickets are more likely to potentially include two weekends than 4 days.

I’d like to see a graph of the 6 day tickets! And while you’re at it, please bring me a slice of cheesecake and a Diet Coke! :wink:

In planning our May 2020 trip, I’m trying to figure out the best/most affordable time that makes sense. Looking at 6 days tickets that only have a single weekend involved, starting in the second week of May. Based on THIS YEAR, that seems reasonable. I’m worried how things will change (as alwasy) when SWGE opens, though.


Man you really love data analysis! Very impressed!


Really interesting to see how bumpy August, September and October are. Wonder if there tend to be more, shorter duration stays during those months?


impressive - but love the word “crunchify”


Based on this statement, it seems that you agree that the start date does not have to be the actual start date. Based on the returned “valid use dates” of the tickets, it appears that this is the case. For example, if I choose the day before our arrival day as the start date, the price of 8-d tix drops about $9/person but we wouldn’t use the first day until two days after the purchased start date. All of our days would be included tho in the valid use dates as we will use 8 consecutive days. Seems like this is legit based on the use days but then Dis website states that a change in start date will require you to pay the difference if it is a higher priced date. Thoughts?

Whoops, while driving it occurred to me you said y-axis and not x-axis - and I see now that’s the case!
I shouldn’t read and answer at 6AM. :sleeping:

You are correct, the axis were set to auto and are slightly different - but when I do sync the Y up there is still that wiggle in the 5 day tix vs the 4 - guessing due to what Ryan mentioned: the longer user window picking up weekends on certain days.

As I guess we should expect, the wiggle happens in relatively lower CL times when there is more fluctuation between weekdays and weekends. In higher times like April spring break and mid summer, the pricing often gets pegged at one tier for longer periods, so less wiggle.

–> adds “Tier Wiggle” to the lexicon