Should You Buy an Annual Pass?
If you go to Disney more than once a year, or if you go for very long trips, you might consider buying an annual pass (AP). There are really only two problems with buying an AP. One, they’re expensive. And two, it requires you to predict your travel plans a full year in advance, so you won’t know what you actually save until the year is up. When I buy a yearly pass to my local zoo, it’s pretty clear even for someone as math phobic as me that in just two trips, I’ll break even. It doesn’t take much effort to make it to the zoo twice in one year. But Disney? Well, that’s a bit more difficult. Factor in the savings offered to AP holders in the form of discounts and you have a fairly complicated problem.
There are two types of APs for non-Florida residents. The first sells for $499 plus tax and gives you admission to all four parks plus park hopping, free parking, and special AP discounts. The premium pass, which sells for $629 and gives you all of the above plus admission to the water parks, Disney Quest, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Passes for kids, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Florida residents are slightly lower.
Consider these discounts when determining if an AP fits your needs:
- Free parking, which saves non-resort guests $14 a day.
- Discounted tickets to Night of Joy, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on select nights.
- 10% off lunch discounts at certain resort restaurants, such as The Wave and Grand Floridian Café as well as most sit-down restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase (excluding Le Cellier). Valid Monday thru Friday only.
- 10 to 20% off lunch at most Downtown Disney sit-down restaurants.
- Merchandise discounts in Downtown Disney between 10-15 %.
- 15% off most tours, such as the Epcot Segway tour.
- Up 30% off sports and recreation, including golf.
- AP holders may buy a Tables in Wonderland card for an additional $75, allowing them to receive 20% off at participating restaurants.
- Invitations to passholder-only events and promotions. A few years ago, for example, passholders were invited to soft openings for Toy Story Midway Mania before the general public.
- The 2011 Walt Disney World Passholder – Sports and Recreation Discounts (chipandco.com)
- Annual Passholder Discounted Rates: October-December (chipandco.com)