One of the most asked questions we get is whether or not a Walt Disney World Annual Pass is worth it. The real question isn’t whether or not the annual pass is worth it but more about whether or not a Walt Disney World annual pass is right for your family. How often will you visit Walt Disney World in one year? Will you actually take advantage of those impressive Annual Passholder discounts? ( 20% off a Disney Dooney
) How about the restaurant discounts? So many things to consider! Lets dive in.
To level set, we are Walt Disney World annual passholders, but we haven’t always been and may not always be. The annual pass is just that- annual. So consider there may be some years that make sense for you, and other years that it’s best to forego the pass. We’ve only actually been passholders for the last two years. And while an annual pass has definitely changed the way we vacation
, its also something that we always question when the time comes to renew.
When Considering a Walt Disney World Annual Pass
As Walt Disney World Annual Passholders that live in Ohio, there is a certain level of commitment involved to make the WDW pass worth it for us. We do try to visit the quarterly festivals at Epcot, and any new land opening, like Pandora
, Toy Story Land
and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
. And we always make sure to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But, surely, there will be some years where 5-7 trips to Disney are out of the question. And as with any vacation we have to consider flight availability, flight cost, and if we can get time off of work. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! Think of everything else that may or may not work for your family.
Walt Disney World Annual Pass Cost Breakdown
So lets start with the cost breakdown here, since that’s usually one of the biggest factors in whether or not you will want to purchase a Walt Disney World annual pass. We’ve seen different figures from different sites, and especially now with tiered pricing in place, it can be slightly more difficult to calculate exactly how many days you’d need to spend in the Parks to break even, but roughly, if you plan to spend 14-16 days in the Disney Parks per year, the cost is comparable to a Park Hopper ticket of the same number of days. (Remember- Disney tickets get cheaper per day when you buy a longer ticket!) That said if you’re someone who only gets 2 weeks of vacation a year off from your job, will you be spending all your vacation time at Disney? What about getting the kids out of school? Or perhaps you just visit for an extra long trip around the holidays. Before you start thinking about money and how much it’s going to cost your family to get passes, think first about the year ahead. How many times do you plan to visit when you an annual pass? Are you traveling during busy/expensive times or were you visiting in the lower priced off season. Were you hoping to take advantage of the free dining offers that are only available in the Magic Your Way packages, that you’ll no longer if you have a pass?
Now, if you’re a Florida resident, keep in mind that there are special passes and prices just for you. So this number goes down considerably and if you’re planning on even taking a few trips throughout the year, you’re likely to break even cost-wise.
Walt Disney World Annual Pass Resort Specials
One of the best parts of being an annual passholder at Disney is that you do get access to discounts off Disney Resort rooms sometimes throughout the year. So if you were a family that was used to staying off-site because it was cheaper, you may actually find comparable rates on-site with the passholder discount. Mind you, these aren’t dirt cheap rates and since these are sales, they run for a limited time and with some rules attached. But 25% off a room every now and then really helps. These discounts, however, are sporadic and shouldn’t really be configured in your cost analysis. Mainly because the discounts aren’t guaranteed, and could easily happen outside of your vacation dates.
Walt Disney World Annual Pass Discounts and Perks
In addition to your “free” park admission
, you also get 20% off select dining, 20% off most merchandise, and free parking. The annual pass also includes unlimited park hopping, so depending on how you vacation, this could be a great perk. To clarify, the built in park hopping option just means you can visit more than one Disney park in one day. So if you’re a family with little ones, or elderly you may be more inclined to pick and stick with one park a day, especially if you’re using the Disney buses or transportation option, which could eat up more time since you’d be waiting in line for these services.
Walt Disney World Annual Pass Exclusions
One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re using your annual pass in lieu of purchasing separate tickets, you will lose out on other specials that Walt Disney World offers like free dining and Magic Your Way Packages. Sometimes the Magic Your Way Package could reap a deeper discounted vacation than having the pass, so these cons are worth looking at ahead of time. Same goes for Free Dining Offers. If you live for the free dining deals and depend on it to feed your family on vacation, a minimum 4 day ticket and 3 nights is required at a Disney resort to earn the dining promotion. That said, you would actually have to buy that 4 day/3 night package at the regular Magic Your Package prices in order to get the free dining. Having the pass in this case may be redundant.
So, how do you know if a Walt Disney World annual pass is right for your family?
Well, be honest with yourself here. Do you plan on taking several trips throughout the year to the happiest place on Earth, or would you rather take one nice long vacation? Are you hoping to make it to all of the special festivals and events or is one enough for you? Does your work and life situation even allow for this kind of frequent travel?
These are all things to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a Walt Disney World annual pass. It can be an investment. Only taking one week long trip won’t justify purchasing an annual pass. Especially if you’re buying for more than one person.
One thing we have seen some families do is just purchase an annual pass for one person in their family, so they can take advantage of the discount perks without the extra cost of buying a pass for every person in their family. This may or may not be an option for you, but is definitely worth considering!
We have found that having annual passes has allowed us to take more frequent and less rushed trips. We love that we can go to Walt Disney World whenever we can find a cheap flight. And that our current situation allows for travel
that is only an hour and half by plane.
What are your thoughts? Do you have or ever have had an annual pass? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you think!