How Annual Passes can save you money (even if you only go once)

(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.

Here's why...

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...

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.

Hotel discounts

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.

Food discounts

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/ .

Merchandise discounts

Annual Passholders get 10% off Disney merchandise.

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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.

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erica

Hi!
Can you help me understand how this works:
“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.”

On disney’s website, you are prompted to buy an AP *before* you are allowed to book a room with an AP discount… please let me know if there is a way around this. I’d love to book a room and upgrade the tix before we check in.

do you have to do this over the phone?

Susan Deming

Just wonderring if yr advice from this 2015 piece still holds? Does Disney really not sell a pass for more than 10 days? We’re planning 2 week stay with family coming and going within it. But hubby and I want 14 or 15 days’ worth. Thanks

Dan Parrish

I purchased Disney Platinum Passes in November, but will not be going to Disney World until next February. I have never purchased annual tickets before so I don’t know how everything works. Since this purchase I have not received anything from Disney except an email confirmation of my purchase. Will I receive anything else in the mail? When I acquire my annual passes in February will I receive the Passholder Magic Bands at that time? If not, what will I receive and when will I receive my magic bands? And if I do not receive my Passholder Magic Bands during my visit in February then what do I show to the photographers for my Disney PhotoPass photos?

Steven Kelly

Let’s say we want to spend nine days in the parks. My wife gets a 9-day Magic Your Way ticket, and I go for the Annual Pass. Since we’re not staying on site, I lose the ability to reserve more than seven days of FP+ in advance on my Annual Pass. Can my wife’s two remaining days of FP+ reservations be linked to my Pass (after I’ve used up my first two days of fastpasses in the parks) so that I am added onto her fastpasses? Also, I’ve gotten conflicting answers about whether Magic Your Way tickets expire 14 days from the first day of use, or if the first day of use counts as one of those 14 days. Does anyone know for sure?

Stephanie

I have the AP VOUCHER but not the actaul pass yet since we won’t be going until Feb 2016. I know I get free standard parking, but will I have to pay for parking on our first day since I will still only have the voucher when we park? I assume you pay for parking prior to going to Guest Relations to get the actual AP. Or, will they apply the free parking if I show my AP voucher when we actaully park?

Claudia

I just called about this because I too just have the email confirmation. I was told that the parking attendant should honor the voucher, if they don’t costumer service will refund you parking g for the day.

Jose

Can others use your annual pass? If I purchase 2 annual plans for me and my wife, would it be ok if we let our 2 kids use it?

Ron

If you have the annual pass and the free dining plan offer is available. Do you have to only purchase your room to qualify for the free dining offer?

Ruben Figueroa

I just purchased my annual passes. Will we have to pay for parking on the first visit which will will pick up the passes at will call. I just have my order confirmation not my tickets yet until I pick them up.

otto

What if only one person in our room has an annual pass and the rest have park hoppers. Would we still get the annual pass room rates or does everyone need an annual pass?

Jennifer Christensen

I have an annual pass while the rest of my group does not and we are staying offsite. I can book fastpasses 30 days before with that extra 7 day window. Does that 7 day window benefit extend to the rest of my party? can I book theirs a long with mine for the entire trip on that first day 30 days in advance?

Jennifer D

We have an upcoming trip with our extended family. Two of the members have the platinum annual passes. We have always purchased memory maker in the past and planned to do so this year. However, with the new photo pass benefits with the AP, do we need to buy memory maker? Will the AP members photopass account pull photos for our entire party or only the AP holders?

P.S. Your site is amazing! This is, by far, the most useful WDW planning site we have used.

Justin

Hello – my wife and I just got back from our 6 day honeymoon. We didn’t realize upgrading to and AP was an option for us 🙁 have you ever heard of upgrading to an annual pass after people leave their vacation. We had such an amazing experience (of course) and would really love to get back if we can. An annual pass would save $$

Emily Boyadjian

Do you know if it’s possible to upgrade a partially used no expiration ticket to an AP?

I tried this once a few years ago and was told than even with No Expiration tickets any changes or upgrades have to be made within 14 days of first use. Not sure if this is still the policy so it might be worth a call to Disney!

Ashley

Hi,
Can I enter the park on the day of my expiration date on my AP? It expires 10/9 and I was wondering if 10/8 would be my last day to enter? I’m seeing conflicting info online since this year was a leap year. Thanks for all your help 🙂

Deanna Gorman

I currently have two separate trips booked through My Disney Experience. One with my family of 4 in June and a sisters trip in September. I did the math and it makes sense for me to get an AP. I have already paid a significant amount down on my June trip (over half). How will this effect those reservations? I know I can upgrade my ticket when I am there, but I would like to take advantage of the photo pass.

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