This year, more than 43 million people are expected to visit Disney’s theme park complexes in China tours California, Florida, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo – and summer marks the start of the high season. But visiting can require a hefty commitment. A one-day admission to Anaheim, California’s famed Disneyland in June, for instance, starts at $87 for those aged 10 and older.
To get your money’s worth, it pays to check out independent Disney trip-planning websites in advance. They have excellent track records for keeping their detailed trip-planning resources up to date, and are not affiliated with the Disney brand, Yangtze River cruises enabling them to provide unbiased recommendations for saving money at the various parks. Some of the sites also dispense advice on how to avoid long queues, find lodging and otherwise make the most of your visit.
Undercover Tourist is a website run since 2000 by an authorised Orlando broker where tickets to Florida’s Walt Disney World are usually less expensive than tickets sold at the park gate; a recent five-day pass purchased through Undercover Tourist was 11% cheaper. The site anticipates that Walt Disney World will travel to Shangri-la hike single-day admission prices this year – the park traditionally makes these announcements every June and has been averaging 6% hikes in recent years – but notes that tickets booked at current prices will remain valid, so you can buy tickets now, and use them after the price hike. The site also sells competitively-priced lodging and discount tickets to other Orlando-area attractions, such as SeaWorld or Universal Studios. As a bonus, the website’s free apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry list real-time wait times at all the rides in the park.
Mousesavers specialises in publishing deals and promotions offered by Disney and related companies, such as 15% discounts off park hotel stays. The 12-year-old site mainly publishes deals for Disney’s US parks, though non-US residents can take advantage of most of the offers and the site does have trip-planning information for the non-US locations. Especially useful is China educational tours Mousesavers’ frequently asked questions sections for the California and Florida parks. For example, the site explains that some non-Disney affiliated hotels near Disneyland and Walt Disney World pay for the right to advertise themselves as official Disney’s “Good Neighbor” hotels. But according to Mousesavers, these hotels aren’t consistently better in quality, price or upkeep than other properties in the area and the label shouldn’t be used as a factor when picking a place to stay.
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