Florida county deputy sheriffs arrested 10 people last week. Their crime? Selling used theme park tickets. Sheriffs seized almost 1,900 tickets worth more than $300,000.
The lesson here: Buying used tickets is illegal. It’s not just immoral. It’s not just pulling one over on the theme parks. It’s also a misdemeanor crime. Reselling theme park tickets has been illegal since 1998.
With that said, however, buying/selling used theme park tickets is done all the time. Signs abound in the tourist areas saying: “Sell your used theme park tickets here.” Those used tickets are then resold at a higher price (yet far less than the theme parks charged the first time around) to incoming vacationers.
The parks themselves have various ways to thwart the problem, including a finger imprint that Disney requires – along with a valid ticket – to get into each park. Still, guests have many times gained admission with used tickets. The parks, faced with distraught vacationers, sometimes let them slide. Park attendants realize that many guests bought a used ticket thinking it was perfectly legal.
The problem will probably not go away with the recent arrests. Many Orlando visitors speak little English and think they stumbled onto a great deal, especially if the operator also speaks their language. And too many vacationers have a limited budget. If they can save hundreds of dollars on tickets, they figure, they can spend more money on souvenirs.
Still, this is one way to save vacation money that’s not worth the potential long-term consequences, including denial of entry at the gates to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.