Timing the purchase of nonrefundable park admission during a pandemic

I … have BLT booked for September 15-22, 2021.

It’s been 14 years since we went to WDW.

The book says to purchase theme park admission four months before the trip.

(The countdown here says that, too.)

The last time I went, you could cancel a month in advance and get back all of your money.

Now I can cancel the room without penalty [a month before], but every time I look at theme park admission, it repeatedly says, “Nonrefundable and nontransferable.”

I am a bit stressed out about the unknown: all the weird pandemic cancellations all over the parks, the interminable construction at Epcot, and somehow Hollywood Studios became stuffed with Star Wars geeks???

And in order to make reservations at restaurants in the parks, you have to have (1) valid theme park admission for those dates, and (2) rock solid theme park reservations For Those Dates?!

I don’t even know if there are going to be fireworks and streetmosphere characters!

I had finally decided to just delay buying theme park admission until 70 days out. Seventy days. That would be July 7th. Surely by then, I’ll know whether all the theme park reservations are all booked up for mid-September. If they’re all gone, then I don’t want to go to Disney World, and I can safely just cancel my September 15 reservataion. Even though it is an unheard-of, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime, could-only-happen-in-a-pandemic bargain on a 1-bedroom villa. Surely, surely by July 7th, we’ll know about fireworks and parades.

If I buy my theme park tickets by July 7th, I can make theme park reservations and then dining reservations on the 17th of July. Right?

But if I follow the book’s advice, I have to put my money down on May 18th. Just two months away. I haven’t gotten my vaccine yet. I’m in the group that currently was s’posed to be getting vaccines, but I can’t find any place to give m a vaccine. (I’m in Tennessee. Somehow rich people are getting vaccines wherever they want, but needy people like me are scraping the bottom of the barrel and coming up empty.)

This is agony.

Why – why am I supposed to buy tickets four months in advance? Will I be ruining my vacation if I wait until just two months and ten days in advance?

Please help. I’m just an orphaned Donald Duck fan, trying to recapture the magic without Scrooge McDuck’s infallible sense for the vagaries of the stock market. Please help me find my way home.

All of the unknowns are definitely frustrating, but keep in mind that while the tickets aren’t refundable they never lose their value. If you buy them now and do cancel you can apply the price paid for those tickets to tickets for your next trip whenever you schedule it. I know that’s not the same as a refund, but at least aren’t just SOL with the money.


I don’t know where you are in TN but expand your search on the state Heath department. I was able to get a same day appointment in my county. Good luck!
Edit: and we are taking out of state people even because we have so many open slots.

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You can make restaurant reservations without tickets or park reservations. You just need them to get to your restaurant.

ADRs are now made 60 days out.

And you never lose the value of the tickets, although you may have to push and escalate it if you want an actual refund. But you can use the price you paid against future tickets.

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When you buy dated tickets, is there any final expiration date beyond which you cannot modify your ticket dates? (In other words, if we buy dated tickets for a trip in May 2021 and change our plans, would I be able to change the dates to Summer 2022?)

Undercover Tourist sells “mostly” refundable hard tickets that you get in the mail. You can hold onto them for 90 days and if you decide not to go then you can get 95% of your money back. Maybe that could be an option for you? I confirmed with them that you could link them to MDE in order to make your park reservations and still get your money back if you are within the 90 day window.

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Another option might be to turn your resort reservation into a package with tickets. Then you can make park reservations and still cancel everything at 30 days out and get a refund.

If the ticket is expired, you can apply the cost to your new ones.

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In the before times, this timeline of purchasing your park tickets 4 months in advance was accurate. You needed park tickets in order to make fast pass reservations, which happened at 3 months in advance. Currently, fast passes are not being utilized, so that timing is not currently applicable. The main reason you need to purchase your park tickets now is so that you can get a park reservation. I’m going the same time as you, and currently all parks are available for park reservations. It’s just before the 50th anniversary, so I’m speculating that the parks will be rather quiet, but I could be wrong. I would purchase park tickets when you are able to comfortably do so financially.

Not exactly. You can make the reservations without either of those things. However to sit down and eat, you need a valid park ticket and a park reservation to get into the park. If your dining reservation is at a hotel or Disney Springs, park tickets and reservations do not apply.

completely. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The day you purchase your theme park tickets and attach them into your My Disney Experience, you can make park reservations. Yesterday I purchased a ticket for my son for our upcoming April trip and made the park reservations immediately. Dining reservations follow the 60 day rule - so yes, those you can make on July 17th. Remember, you don’t need a park ticket or park reservation to make a dining reservation though.

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I was thinking the same thing.

Thank you!

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Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. :shamrock:

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