(Article last updated: October 4, 2015)
When you hear "Annual Pass," you might think "I'm not going more than once this year - why would I need that?"
And it's true that financially it makes sense for anybody going more than 10 days, but it also often makes sense for people going for shorter stays.
The discounts and perks that come with having an Annual Pass often make it worth the upgrade, especially when you consider that only 1 person in your family needs to have one to take advantage of the discounts.
Let's look at the numbers...
In this article
Annual Pass prices
Here are the levels, prices, and benefits for each Annual Pass level.
But the discounts are often far more than the price to upgrade.
Perks and discounts include...
Free on-site parking
Guests staying on-site also get free parking but this allows Annual Passholders to park for free even if they're staying off-site. Savings: $20/day.
Usually, about 2-4 months in advance, AP resort discounts are announced for up to 30% off on resort rooms.
You can always find the current AP resort discounts at http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-resort-hotel-discounts-codes/#ap.
Tip: if you hear of a new AP resort discount that you want to take advantage of, go ahead and book your reservation even if you don't have an Annual Pass. As long as you have one at check-in, you can use the discount.
For $150/year, Annual Passholders can join the Tables in Wonderland program which gives 20% off on food and beverages - including alcohol at many WDW dining locations, plus valet parking (which normally costs $25/day) is included.
Only 1 membership is needed for each group. There are other perks and rules around participation in the Tables in Wonderland program that you can read more about at http://www.mousesavers.com/tables-in-wonderland-formerly-disney-dining-experience/ .
Annual Passholders get 10% off Disney merchandise.
By the time you do the math, it might make sense for you to upgrade 1 ticket in your group to an Annual Pass (especially with hotels - the price to upgrade can pay for itself in just a couple of nights at a Deluxe hotel).
Lots of people focus on the Free Dining promotion but it's important to keep all options open when booking your trip. So the next time you hear about a new Annual Pass discount code that's been released, pay attention. It might work out to be your best option.