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Disney World Annual Pass (Is it still worth it?)

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Disney World Annual Pass (Is it still worth it?)

In September 2021, Disney brought back Annual Passes with a new program featuring new pass names, increased prices, and the elimination of some perks.

This means, there is even more to think about when it comes to deciding whether or not you should buy an annual pass (if they’re on sale, since Disney pauses new purchases from time to time) or if existing Passholders should renew.

So… you probably want us just to get to the point: “Is it still worth it to purchase a Disney World Annual Pass?

And, the truth is, aside from guests that are visiting at least 12-15 days per year, unless you are saving a ton utilizing Annual Pass discounts on room reservations, it probably doesn’t make sense to purchase an Annual Pass.

We go into a lot more detail with charts down below. But, make sure you check out the rest of the information on this post first to understand how we come to our conclusions.

An Important Update

New sales of select Walt Disney World Annual Passes are currently paused.

The only Annual Pass that is available for purchase is the Disney Pixie Dust Pass, which is the lowest tier and is only available to Florida Residents.

If you are a current Disney World Annual Passholder (of the old or new program), you are still able to renew into any of the four pass types at their renewal rate. You are also able to continue to visit the parks using your Annual Pass.

Annual Pass sales are expected to resume sometime in 2022.

What is a Walt Disney World Annual Pass?

“Annual Pass” is the general term for Disney World tickets that last for 366 days versus those that last for a certain number of gate entrances or entitlements.

There are actually 4 different types of Annual Passes available (down from the previous 7 options), and they all have slightly different eligibility requirements, blockout dates, and of course, prices.

How much does a Disney World Annual Pass cost?

There’s no getting around it: a Disney World Annual Pass isn’t cheap.

If you live in Florida or if you are a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member with a “blue card”, you’ll have the most flexibility when purchasing, including less-expensive Annual Pass options.

Note: “blue card” Disney Vacation Club owners refers to owners with a blue membership card that symbolizes that they have purchased their DVC points directly from Disney OR purchased their contracts before April 2016 when the benefits for owners that purchased resale changed.

But, aside from upgrading a discounted ticket you purchased from an Authorized Ticket Reseller (trust us – stick with a reputable source), you really can’t save a lot of money purchasing an Annual Pass.

Here are the levels, prices, and benefits for each type of Annual Pass.

Note: prices below do *not* include tax.

Disney Pixie Dust Pass (the only annual pass available for new sales)

This is for Florida residents only.

  • Price: $399 plus tax (or $19 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Renewal Price: $339 plus tax

Pass Highlights:

  • Visit 1 or more theme parks on the same day with an advance park reservation (aka you can park hop)
  • Valid for use most weekdays, subject to blockout dates including peak and holiday periods (view blockout dates)
  • Make and hold up to 3 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 3 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, meaning you can make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)
  • Standard theme park parking
  • Up to 20% off select dining, merchandise, and more

Disney Pirate Pass (currently unavailable for new purchases)

This is for Florida residents only.

  • Price: $699 plus tax (or $45 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Renewal Price: $594 plus tax

Pass Highlights:

  • Visit 1 or more theme park on the same day with an advance park reservation (aka you can park hop)
  • Valid for use most days, subject to blockout dates including peak and holiday periods (view blockout dates)
  • Make and hold up to 4 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 4 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, meaning you can make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)
  • Standard theme park parking
  • Up to 20% off select dining, merchandise, and more

Disney Sorcerer Pass (currently unavailable for new purchases)

This is only for Florida residents and/or Disney Vacation Club Members.

  • Price: $899 plus tax (or $63 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Renewal Price: $764 plus tax

Pass Highlights:

  • Visit 1 or more theme park on the same day with an advance park reservation (aka you can park hop)
  • Valid for use most days, subject to blockout dates on select days during select holiday periods (view blockout dates)
  • Make and hold up to 5 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, allowing you to make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)
  • Standard theme park parking
  • Up to 20% off select dining, merchandise, and more

Disney Incredi-Pass (currently unavailable for new purchases)

This is for all guests, including out-of-state residents.

  • Price: $1,299 plus tax (or $99 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Renewal Price: $1,104 plus tax

Pass Highlights:

  • Visit 1 or more theme park on the same day with an advance park reservation (aka you can park hop)
  • No blockout dates apply
  • Make and hold up to 5 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of their Resort stay, in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, allowing you to make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)
  • Standard theme park parking
  • Up to 20% off select dining, merchandise, and more
walt disney world annual passes breakdown

Add-ons

If you have had an Annual Pass before, you probably remember that some things (like unlimited PhotoPass downloads) were included with your Annual Pass for free, and other things (like admission to the Water Parks) could only be found on select ticket-types.

However, things look & work differently now because PhotoPass and WaterParks are add-ons that you can purchase for any level of Annual Pass.

Here’s what you need to know:

Water Park & Sports Option

You can add on the Water Park and Sports Option for an additional $99 plus tax for the year.

For the duration of your Annual Pass, this add-on gives the Passholder admission to select Disney World experiences (with no blockout dates) including:

  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf course
  • FootGolf at Disney’s Oak Trail
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (one round per day prior to 4 p.m.)
  • Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (one round per day prior to 4 p.m.)
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park (currently unavailable)
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (currently unavailable)

Disney PhotoPass Downloads

If you want unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads (from the first valid date of your pass until expiration), you will now have to pay an additional $99 plus tax for the year.

You will receive discounts on prints and physical product purchases.

Important: If you will always be with the same group when visiting the parks, only one person in your party needs to purchase the PhotoPass add-on.

Can I make monthly payments?

Only Florida Residents can make monthly payments. All out-of-state Annual Passholders are required to pay for the entire pass at the time of purchase.

Florida Resident Repayment Program

This repayment program is only available to Florida residents who are least 18 years old and those who have a valid ID.

The monthly payment amount is based on the remaining balance after a one-time down payment of $205 at the time of purchase.

The first monthly payment will be charged on day of purchase or shortly thereafter.

  • Disney Pixie Dust Pass: $399 plus tax (or $19 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Disney Pirate Pass: $699 plus tax (or $45 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Disney Sorcerer Pass: $899 plus tax (or $63 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)
  • Disney Incredi-Pass: $1,299 plus tax (or $99 per month with 12 monthly payments and 0% APR after $205 down payment on the Florida Resident Monthly Payment Program)

What are blockout dates?

Blockout dates are dates when you are unable to enter the parks with your Annual Pass. You are “blocked out” from visiting.

The most expensive Incredi-Pass has no blockout dates, while the least-expensive Pixie Dust Pass has quite a few:

Disney Pixie Dust Pass Blockout Dates

The Disney Pixie Dust Pass (Florida Residents only) has the most blockout dates, including all weekends & holidays (and dates around holidays).

Disney Pirate Pass Blockout Dates

With the Pirate Pass (Florida Residents only), you’ll be able to visit on the weekends, but the holidays are still blocked out:

pirate blockout calendar through june 2023 - walt disney world annual pass

Disney Sorcerer Pass Blockout Dates

With the Sorcerer Pass, which is only available for Florida residents and Disney Vacation Club Members, you’ll have nearly all dates open except for the days around (and including) Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

sorcerer blockout calendar through june 2023 - walt disney world annual pass

Disney Incredi-Pass Blockout Dates

The Incredi-Pass is the only Annual Pass available to non-residents that don’t own Disney Vacation Club. It is also the most expensive, but it comes with zero blockout dates. With the pass, you can visit any day you want as long as you have a Park Pass reservation.

incredi-pass blockout calendar through june 2023 - walt disney world annual pass

How many days can I make Park Pass reservations for?

There have been some changes to how many Park Pass Reservations you can have.

If you are purchasing a new Annual Pass, here’s how it works:

Pixie Dust Pass

  • Make and hold up to 3 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 3 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, meaning you can make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)

Disney Pirate Pass

  • Make and hold up to 4 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 4 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, meaning you can make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)

Disney Sorcerer Pass

  • Make and hold up to 5 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, allowing you to make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)

Disney Incredi-Pass

  • Make and hold up to 5 park reservations at a time on a rolling basis (reservations are limited and are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates)
  • If you’re staying at select Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, you are eligible to make park reservations for each day of your Resort stay, in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time
  • Bonus reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, allowing you to make extra reservations on select days at select theme parks (bonus reservations do not count as a reservation hold)

Current Annual Passholders

If you’re a current Annual Passholder with a pass from the old program, nothing changes for you except starting Sept. 8 you can book more park reservations, depending on your pass.

Annual Passholders with a Disney Resort hotel reservation can make theme park reservations for the entire length of their stay.

In addition, you’ll be able to book:

  • Platinum Plus: 5 park reservations
  • Platinum: 5 park reservations
  • Gold: 5 park reservations
  • Silver: 4 park reservations
  • Theme Park Select: 3 park reservations
  • Weekday Select: 3 park reservations
  • Epcot After 4 p.m.: 3 park reservations

What are bonus Park Pass reservations for Annual Passholders?

From time to time, if there is availability, Disney will allow Annual Passholders to snag additional Park Pass reservations that won’t count against their maximum allowed.

bonus park reservations - walt disney world annual passes

Expect to see these Bonus Park Pass opportunities on less-busy days of the year.

bonus park reservations - walt disney world annual passes

How does Genie+ and Lightning Lanes work with an Annual Pass?

All we know at this time is that at launch, Passholders at Disney World will be able to purchase Genie+ on the day of their visit.

Annual Passholders at Disney World can also purchase individual Lightning Lane selections on the day of their visit.

Find answers to the most common Genie+ questions.

Will Annual Passholders get a discount for Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane selections?

At this time, there are no Passholder discounts available for Disney Genie+ or individual attraction Lightning Lane purchases.

Per Disney, “As always, we will continue to explore new offerings for Annual Passholders and Magic Key holders in the future and value their feedback.”

How do you purchase an Annual Pass?

There are several ways you can purchase it:

  • in person at any Guest Relations or ticket location at Walt Disney World (note: you receive an activated Annual Pass instead of a voucher if purchased this way)
  • online through the Disney website (voucher)
  • by calling Disney at (407) 939-7679 (voucher)

What is an Annual Pass voucher & where do I exchange it?

If you purchase your Annual Pass via any method other than in-person on Disney property, you will receive a voucher that you must redeem once you arrive.

You can link your voucher to your My Disney Experience account (the same way you can a ticket) so you can make your Park Pass Reservations.

While it can be a hassle to redeem the voucher when you arrive, your ticket start date doesn’t begin until you physically hand over the voucher and pick up your pass.

You can exchange your voucher at any Guest Relations or ticket location at the Walt Disney World Resort.

This includes the Guest Relations windows at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs Guest Relations

Note: don’t forget to take your photo ID with you when you redeem your voucher or purchase your Annual Pass.

You can not, however, exchange your voucher at your resort.

This is important to note because if you book using an Annual Pass resort discount you may be asked to present your Annual Pass at check in, which means you’ll need to exchange your voucher before you can do that.

Note: there are reports of Cast Members not asking to see the Annual Pass at check-in but Disney does state that you must present it so it is better to be prepared.

Can I upgrade my regular ticket to an Annual Pass?

When Annual Pass sales kick off again on September 8, you’ll be able to upgrade an eligible park ticket into an Annual Pass – but for the time being, you’ll only be able to do so in person.

At a later date, Disney will roll out upgrades via their website and in the My Disney Experience App.

When you upgrade a ticket, you receive credit for the full original purchase price, even if you’ve used part of the ticket.

This means, even if you don’t decide until halfway through your trip that you want to upgrade, you can still do that and not lose any of the value of what you already spent on your original ticket.

There are some quirks to be aware of, though:

  • Keep in mind that if you upgrade an existing ticket to an Annual Pass, your park reservations will automatically cancel, and you’ll have to rebook with the Annual Pass. Disney World recommends upgrading on the last day at the park.
  • When you upgrade, the start date for your Annual Pass will be the first day you used your original ticket and NOT the day you upgraded.

What are the perks and benefits to new Disney World Annual Passes?

In the past, there have been other perks (like free MagicBands) offered with Annual Passes. However, at this time, these are the perks available with Annual Passes.

Free on-site parking at the parks

Guests staying on-site also get free parking at the parks, but this allows Annual Passholders to park for free even if they’re staying off-site.

Savings: $25/day

V.I.PASSHOLDER Support

Disney World Annual Passholders have access to dedicated support services. Annual Passholders can get help by calling (407) WDW-PASS, sending an email through the Annual Passholder Help Form, or by visiting the passholder benefit site.

Disney Resort 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 as well as information on what discounts were offered in the past on our guide to Disney World discounts.

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

Annual Passholders have access to dining discounts at restaurants throughout the entire Walt Disney World resort.

Typically, that discount is 10%, although at times there are promotions at select restaurants that may offer larger discounts.

Tables in Wonderland (Currently Unavailable)

Before the parks closed, there was another option for dining discounts called Tables in Wonderland.

Florida residents, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Annual Passholders could purchase one of these discount dining cards for $150, which may seem like a lot, but that card would get you 20% of on food and beverages (including alcohol) at many WDW dining locations, plus valet parking (which normally costs $33/day) is included.

Tables in Wonderland card

The best part? Only 1 membership is needed for each group.

The restaurant list (as well as the meals offering discounts) can change, so be sure to double-check when dining whether a discount is offered. It never hurts to ask!

Merchandise discounts

The standard discount for Annual Passholders is up to 20% off select Disney merchandise.

Other discounts

Annual Passholders also have access to discounts on everything from movies at the AMC in Disney Springs ($2 off per ticket) to a round of golf to spa treatments, to special events like parties at Magic Kingdom.

These are just a few examples of the discounts that have been offered in the past so be sure to review your Annual Passholders benefit information to see what is currently being offered during your trip:

  • Sports & Recreation – discounts on things like golf, motorized boat rentals, bowling at Splitsville, bike rentals and miniature golf
  • Tours – when tours are offered, Disney World Annual Passholders get 15% off tours is the normal discount. Some of the tours discounted are: Disney’s Family Magic Tour (Magic Kingdom), Keys to the Kingdom (Magic Kingdom), Backstage Magic (Epcot), Wild Africa Trek (Animal Kingdom) plus many others.
  • Discounted special event tickets – Passholders are often eligible for discounts on tickets for select nights of Disney After Hours Boo Bash and the Christmas version called Disney Very Merriest After Hours
  • Spa treatments – when available, several of the spas at the resorts offer 15% off their services to Annual Passholders

Do I still get free PhotoPass photos?

One popular Annual Pass perk that no longer exists are free PhotoPass photos.

But – if you are a current Annual Passholder, that change does NOT go into effect until you renew your current Annual Pass as part of the new program.

So, when does it make sense to buy an Annual Pass?

In the past, it was relatively easy to make a case for 1 person in a group to get an Annual Pass in order to take advantage of things like free PhotoPass and resort discounts.

But, that is no longer the case.

And, because ticket prices are now date-based (with busier times of the year being more expensive), it is more difficult than ever to give a blanket recommendation on who should and shouldn’t purchase an Annual Pass.

Take a look at our charts below.

does it make sense to get an Annual Pass for Disney World chart

We pulled numbers for 2 different times of the year: early May (a typically less-expensive ticket price season with more opportunities for Annual Pass resort discounts) and the week of Thanksgiving (typically more expensive ticket price season with fewer chances for Annual Price discounts).

You can see that even on trips that span 10 days, you are hundreds of dollars from breaking even on ticket prices.

This is true even for offsite guests that get a bit more value out of their Annual Pass considering they can save on theme park parking:

Should you get an annual pass walt disney world

That means, unless you are planning multiple trips (that total 15-18 days per year) or unless you are positive you’ll be able to save big on a resort stay, it probably doesn’t make sense to purchase an Annual Pass.

When we recommend getting an Annual Pass

Here’s when we recommend purchasing an Annual Pass.

  • Onsite guests that visit the parks 15-18 days per year
  • Offsite guests that visit the parks at least 12-14 days per year.
  • Guests that have secured an Annual Pass discount for a resort stay that saves money even after you factor in the price of the Annual pass. Remember: you can look at and book available Annual Pass resort discounts before you actually purchase an Annual Pass; you just have to show the Annual Pass when you check-in.

Note: taking into account only ticket prices, you’ll need to travel more days to “break even” when compared to standard Park Hopper tickets if traveling during slow times of the year vs. needing to travel fewer days if traveling during busy times like the holidays and Spring Break.

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Thinking about checking out Disney World annual passes to save money? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Allyson Koerner

Nello

Friday 3rd of September 2021

Wife and I will soon be Florida residents (retired) and maybe less than an hour drive each way so staying at a resort hotel is not necessary. We can work around the blockout dates. Will the Annual Pixie Pass be sufficient? We may go once an month or twice a month. But what I don’t understand is the Pass Reservations? If we go to one resort, we will stay in it for the whole day, then visit another location a different day. What am I not understanding?

Kathleen McGrath

Friday 3rd of September 2021

One thing to consider is if you can do 11 month/13 month gaps in your trips. We used to go every year, but would do this something like Nov/Oct or Feb/Jan trips ) so they were within 12 months. Then we would get passes every other year and use them twice. Still need to think if that adds up to enough days. I do think one pass for a group does add value if you consider Tables and Wonderland if you are foodies! Thanks for doing so much of the math for us.

Carolyn

Monday 28th of December 2020

When can I purchase. January 2021

Matt

Saturday 1st of August 2020

Do you have to activate an annual pass in a certain time period from when you buy it?

Aaron

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

How does a "complete guide" not include blackout dates? I could find this info easier on the normal Disney website it seems.

Shannon Albert

Friday 28th of February 2020

There's a graphic in this post that includes that info.

Comments are closed.