Do you like visiting Disney World? Would you like to visit more often? Do you like to save money on your vacations? If you’re reading this blog, those are probably pretty stupid questions. What if I told you that you could visit Disney World more often and save more money than you thought possible even without planning around the busy season and Disney’s free dining or room rate discount bribes? What if you could go when you want to go and still get deep discounts? Intrigued? Keep reading.
The saying goes something like this: Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. This is true with a Disney World Vacation, too. If you’ve never considered purchasing an annual pass, you should know that it is quite possible and even pretty easy for the pass to pay for itself and then some.
Before we dive into the plethora of benefits of an Annual Pass, I should mention that Disney World only sells tickets for up to 10 days at a time, and tickets are good for 14 days after the first day of use. If you plan to visit the parks for more than 10 days during your vacation, or stay for longer than 14 days, you should definitely consider getting an Annual Pass.
Caveat: since prices change (sometimes dramatically) over time, I’m going to avoid listing specific prices, but here’s the link with current prices.
There are many benefits for which Annual Pass holders are eligible including no blackout dates, free parking, and resort, dining, merchandise, recreation, and tour discounts.
Resort discounts typically track 5% more than discounts available to the general public, and merchandise is discounted 10% for all AP holders. What’s more, AP holders can purchase a Tables in Wonderland card, which will cost $150 but comes with a discount of 20% off food and drink (including alcohol) at most table-service restaurants. Visit this link for a list of participating restaurants. Finally, AP holders are also eligible for discounts to Hard-Ticket events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
The Once-In-A-Lifetime Vacationer
Even if you’re planning for a once-in-a-lifetime Disney World Vacation, an Annual Pass could save you money. Since most people visit for about a week, we’ll use a seven-day pass as an example.
Currently, a seven day Park Hopper with the Water Park Fun & More Option is well over $400. For only a couple hundred dollars more, you can purchase an Annual Pass. This may seem like a lot of extra money to spend, but when you consider all of the discounts that you become eligible for, the pass can pay for itself. With a 35% rack rate discount on Deluxe Resorts, you can easily save that couple hundred dollars over your weeklong vacation.
Although the discounts will not be as significant on Value Resorts, you can still save over what the general public will save on the room and even more on activities and souvenirs.
The Annual Pass can be especially valuable if you’re visiting with a large group or your whole family and you’ll be renting multiple rooms and eating out a lot. Even better, only one person in the group needs to have the Annual Pass to get the discounts.
The Annual Vacationer
If you plan to visit Disney once a year or more, you can save even more money if you’re flexible about “once a year” actually means.
Say you decide to visit Disney World for Christmas this year and you purchase an Annual Pass. If you go back one week before Christmas next year, you’re visiting more than one time in a 365-day period. This means that your Annual Pass will work for both vacations, and you won’t have to purchase tickets again for your second vacation.
Divide the cost of the Annual Pass in half, and you’re almost guaranteed to spend less than what you would on the traditional Park Hopper tickets and save several hundred dollars. When you add in the discounts for souvenirs, rack rates, and dining, all of that extra savings is gravy. If you can plan your vacations around the Hard-Ticket events for Halloween and Christmas, you’ll benefit even more!
Since having an Annual Pass means you can visit Disney World anytime in a 365-day period, you might find it easier to plan impromptu trips. Do you have a long weekend and some frequent flier miles? A quick three-day trip to Disney is one of my favorite kinds. Since you’ve already got your tickets and discounts on your room, it’s easy! Visiting more than “once” or even twice a year can save you even more money and make your Annual Pass even more valuable.
Do you think an Annual Pass is a good idea for Non-Locals?