There are tons of attractions to visit in Orlando. Whether you spend your entire vacation at Disney World, or spread your time around Universal, Gatorland, Legoland, and other parks, there are lots of fun yet tough decisions to be made. One of the first things you’ll have to make sense of will be which tickets to buy. You should be aware that you can buy discounted tickets in advance, so it’s rarely a good idea to wait until you’re at the parks to buy your tickets. Let’s take a look at which tickets are likely to work best for your group.

The pros and cons of visiting several amusement parks

There are two main theme parks in Orlando: Disney and Universal. At Disney you’ll find the iconic Cinderella Castle and at Universal you’ll find the very popular Harry Potter attractions and theming. Many people want to visit both Disney and Universal, and there are both pros and cons to both options.

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The main advantage is maximizing your time in Orlando and seeing and experiencing as much as possible. The main disadvantage comes down to money. At each park your cost per day will go down significantly the more days you’re staying. For example, it’s about $50 more for a 2-day ticket to Disney compared to a 1-day ticket. On the other hand, the difference between a 3-day and a 4-day ticket is just $10.

You should also note that both amusement parks have so much to do that you could easily spend 4 or 5 days there and still not see it all. Choosing either Disney or Universal, instead of trying to do them both, gives you the opportunity to slow down and take it all in, rather than rushing from attraction to attraction so you can make it to the next park.

To park hop or not to park hop

Disney World offers a ticket that’s known as a “park hopper.” Essentially this means that you can visit more than one of their four theme parks within the same day. Without it, if you bought a 4-day ticket you could visit all four parks, but you could only visit one per day. Universal has a similar ticket that allows access to both of their parks in the same day.

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Once again, there are both pros and cons to both options. The main disadvantage is that these options are expensive. For Disney you’ll spend a little over $60 per ticket for the park hopper option, but it covers every day of your ticket. For this reason, the longer you’re visiting the more affordable it is on a per-day basis.

Of course the advantage is that it offers tons of flexibility. For newcomers, we recommend that you leave the park hopper option off of your Disney tickets for one simple reason: you can add it at the parks for the same price you’d pay to have it in advance. Get to the parks, see how you want to tour, and add it if you find it will benefit you.