It’s every Disney Fan’s dream to be able to come and go at Disney World whenever he or she wants. Annual passes let you do just this depending on many other factors – including distance from the parks, of course.

I have excluded prices including percentages of discounts since these rates – and even pass offerings – change often, but I have included some links to the official Disney site so you can get the latest information.

I’ll also skip over the Water Park-only offerings.

Let’s take a look.

What kind of pass should I get?

In general, there are two types of Walt Disney World annual passes available for anyone regardless of residence:

1 – The Disney Platinum Pass give purchasers a one year admission ticket to any of the four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.  There are no blackout dates.

2 – The Disney Platinum Plus Pass is also good for one year and includes all four theme parks, but it also includes both water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), DisneyQuest (until its expected closure in 2016), and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. There are no blackout dates for this pass either.

Florida residents are eligible for four types of passes.

Disney Gold Pass – This pass will get Florida residents into all four parks, but there are limited block-out dates around Christmas and Easter time.

Disney Silver Pass – This pass will also get Florida residents into all four parks, but there are limited block-out dates. Block-out dates include Christmas time, Easter time, and most of the summer.  Bummer.

Disney Weekday Select Pass – Access Monday – Friday, with block-out dates include Christmas time, Easter time, and most of the summer.

Epcot After 4 Annual Pass- Admission to Epcot any day after 4pm, but no block-out dates.

For all Florida resident passes you must show proof of residency is required: a driver’s license is great, but a college ID won’t work.

How much does it cost?

Disney World Passes are expensive – you can check out the current annual pass pricing here. Annual Pass purchasers will pay more for a Disney annual pass than for any other theme park annual pass in the Central Florida area.

As mentioned above, Florida residents get a substantial discount. You will also get a discount if you renew your pass before they expire. If you decide to change the type of pass, you will still get the discount, but you will not get a discount if you renew outside of the timeframe mentioned above.

All Florida residents have the option of a monthly payment plan that is not available to non-residents. In this plan, the purchaser would pay for the first day, and the rest of the cost would be split over 12 months.

How do I renew my pass?

Passes can be renewed from 60 days before or 30 days after an annual pass expires. Pass holders can renew online, at a ticket window, or by calling 407-560-PASS.

What discounts do annual pass holders receive?

Pass holders get a discount on most Disney merchandise, yet stores that are on Disney property but are operated by independent companies (not Disney directly) can choose whether or not to give the discount. Most will give it to you. Discounts are not valid on gift cards or outdoor vending.

AP holders get discounts on merchandise!

AP holders get discounts on merchandise!

Sometimes hotels will give discounts for pass holders, but this varies depending on the time of year. When booking for the first time as an annual pass holder, you will be enrolled in an e-mail list that sends updates containing special offers on accommodations.

Pass holders may also receive discounts at spas, golf, miniature golf, fishing excursions, and boat rentals.

For passes issued staring in late 2015, you get free parking at the parks! Just hand the Cast Member you ticket, and they’ll wave you through. Occasionally, they’ll ask for accompanying ID.

You can see the pass holder discounts here, but if you have a pass be sure to always ask whenever you make a purchase if a discount is available.

Unfortunately, there is not a dining plan option for pass holders. Since dining plans require the purchase of a Magic Your Way Vacation package including park tickets, annual pass holders can’t get the dining plan.

You also will not get a discount at most counter-service restaurants or any snack carts and kiosks. There are, however, some discounts on dining at table-service meals, but this list changes from time to time. Be sure to ask a guest services representative for a list of participating table-service restaurants before making dining reservations.

Do I get any other park perks?

Annual Passes come with a park hopper included, which allows you to come and go at any park as you please without feeling like you’re “wasting a day.” Since this adds a significant amount of value, figure this into your cost versus savings calculation.

As a pass holder, you are also eligible for Special Previews, but this may not be as good as it sounds. Before the Enchanted Forest in the new Fantasyland opened, pass holders were sent an e-mail about a special preview. Many people took time off of work to attend the preview, but then Disney pushed back the date by one week. When guests were able to sign up, the website crashed, and there was a lot of backlash. Disney then had soft openings before any of the preview dates, so guests could easily get a sneak peek without being a pass holder.

Is an annual pass worth the investment?

This is a question only you can answer based on your circumstances. Here are some things to consider:

If you live close to Disney or can fly at discounted rates, transportation may not be a big issue for you. This may mean that you can visit more often than someone who is restricted by transportation or vacation time issues.

Assess your individual situation to decide if an annual pass makes sense for you.

Assess your individual situation to decide if an annual pass makes sense for you.

If you plan to visit regularly on weekends or annually, it might be worth the investment. For example, if your family visits the park in July of this year, and you plan to go back next year, try to plan to visit in June next year. This means that you can use your annual pass twice, and you will save money over buying separate tickets for both vacations.

If you plan to stay for a long period of time (more than ten days), you will want to consider an annual pass since you can’t purchase more than a 10-day pass. Keep in mind that multi-day tickets must be used within 14 days of first use.

Are you a Disney Annual Pass holder?  Is it still worth it?
Leave your comments below.