Families all over the world are busy planning vacations to the most magical place on Earth—the Walt Disney World Resort in sunny central Florida. Disney vacation planners are busy helping Guests book their Disney resort hotels for their upcoming getaways. Simultaneously, unsavory characters are also hard at work, just waiting to “help” unsuspecting consumers with their Disney travel plans.
Sadly, many Guests are taken advantage of and stolen from while making preparations for their Disney World trips. So how do you protect yourself and your family from becoming another statistic among others who’ve nearly had the magic taken away from them before they ever stepped foot on Disney property? As with any potentially negative experience—you must know your enemy and the tricks they have up their sleeves. Here are 10 of the tricks criminals use to scam families when it comes to a vacation at Walt Disney World.
10) Disney trip giveaways
There have been scams involving supposed Disney trip giveaways. The first clue that these are scams is that they aren’t promoted by the Walt Disney Company, and the organization pretending to give away the trips is in no way affiliated with Disney. There are legitimate contests that Disney participates in and promotes, but it is very obvious that Disney has partnered with another company in these giveaways, such as a recent entry-based contest promoted by the Coca-Cola Company in partnership with Disney. Specially marked cans of Coca-Cola brand soft drinks promoted the contest, and official rules could be found at an authorized, official website. Remember—if a contest seems illegitimate or shady, it very possibly is just that.
9) Third-party, unauthorized ticket sellers
A trip to the Disney World Resort is no small undertaking. It’s certainly not the least expensive trip you can take—not by a long shot. Because of this, it makes sense that Guests are looking for possible ways to save a little green when heading to meet the Mouse. If you are browsing online for authorized Disney ticket sellers and you see promotions and pricing that are vastly different from Disney World’s pricing, be skeptical—so skeptical that you don’t buy tickets from those sellers. To compare Disney’s ticket pricing with a potential discount seller, you can visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/. You will see the current pricing for theme park tickets. Know that legitimate authorized Disney ticket sellers’ prices only vary slightly from Disney’s pricing, and usually only on multi-day tickets. Decide for yourself if a savings of only a few dollars is worth your peace of mind.
8) Unbelievably low prices on Disney World vacation packages
You may have received a phone call from a telemarketer, offering you a trip to Disney at an unbelievable rate. The phone calls usually offer something like a 4 night/5 day vacation for four to Walt Disney World for $1200. Remember that word “unbelievable?” In this case it means “you are being scammed.” For starters, you’ve been given no details about the accommodations included in this vacation package. And then if you have looked online at Disney’s website to get an idea about ticket prices, you know that the cost of 2 adult 4-day tickets and 2 child 4-day tickets is almost $1,400. Add in the cost of even the most inexpensively-priced value resort for 4 nights, and you’re looking at another $1200, and that’s before taxes. How can a Disney vacation valued at over $2,600 be yours for $1200? The short answer is it can’t. If you find yourself in this conversation over the phone, politely stop the telemarketer and say that you aren’t interested. Because you aren’t interested in handing your money over to a scam artist.
7) “Free Disney tickets” banners
See #3 above. Disney tickets cost money. That’s how Disney stays open and continually expands and betters its parks. Disney tickets are not free. Run. Do not stop at that booth, kiosk or hole-in-the-wall shop if they have a banner or sign offering free Disney tickets. You will absolutely not get in to the parks with those “tickets.”
6) “Unused” Disney tickets
There are so many con-artists out there who want to take from others, that they have resorted to selling “unused” Disney tickets. At first thought, it sounds quasi-reputable. People buy 10-day tickets and only use 5 days. So now you can purchase those 5-day tickets at a great discount, right? Wrong—for two reasons: first, Disney uses a biometrics system at the park gates—your ticket must match your fingerprint—the same fingerprint you have used every time you’ve been to the parks on that ticket. If you bought used tickets, your fingerprint wouldn’t match the previous person’s, and you will be denied entry. Second, in 2011, the Sunshine State made it illegal to resale a partially-used multi-day Disney World ticket. Don’t fall victim to this very old scam.