At $609 each for anyone over the age of 3, Disney annual passes are certainly not cheap. Most families will struggle to recoup the value of “paying in advance” for park admission, but this article applies to the percentage of folks who plan to visit WDW 2 to 4 times over the next 12 months.
Here are some basic things to know about the annual passholder program…
- Similar to traditional park hopper tickets, annual passes provide access to all 4 theme parks on any given day.
- The standard pass does not includes water park admission but the premier level does.
- Pass holders are still required to purchase tickets for special events like the Christmas and Halloween parties.
- You can purchase your pass at several different retail outlets (including Disney Stores) where you will receive a voucher for the actual pass, which is provided onsite at the WDW admission gate.
- Passes are valid for 366 days from their date of activation, which must occur within 12 months of your voucher purchase.
- Annual pass discounts are available for both Florida residents and members of the military.
When it comes to comparing costs, the simple math is that you’ll need 2 Disney World visits of 3 or more days each to come out ahead on your investment.
A 3-day ticket ($262) with the park hopper option ($59) is $321. Multiply this by 2 visits for a total of $642. The cost of an annual pass is $609, so here you would save $33 per person over the age of 10. Obviously the amount of savings increases each time you visit after that, with a total savings of $354 per person for the family that attends 3 times.
It used to be that you could buy Disney World annual passes years in advance to save on price increases. For example, a family might buy passes in 2013 but not activate them until 2016. This is no longer a viable strategy because Disney changes the rules. Now you must activate your pass within 12 months or pay the difference towards the current rates.