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Having an annual pass to Disney World is a cheaper way to experience the magic and wonders of Disney whenever you want.

We have been Disney World annual pass holders for 3 years. Sometimes we go over to one of the parks just for the evening to do a couple quick rides and stick around to watch the fireworks display!

If you are a Disney lover like me or have been contemplating getting an annual pass for you and your family, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s going to take more than a little pixie dust to pay for those annual passes.

Not sure if you should get an annual pass? Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not you should get an annual pass to Disney.

Annual Pass Disney World: The Basics

Annual passes to Walt Disney World are active for 366 days.

Therefore if you purchase an annual pass on March 3, 2018, it won’t expire until March 3, 2019! That means you can go TO the parks on 3/3/18 AND on 3/3/19, this is almost like getting an extra day to use your passes!

If you decide to renew your annual pass, they will be at a discounted rate and will be good for 366 days from your original date (so you will still never lose out on that extra day).

Also, you can buy the pass ahead of time, and it will not “activate” (thereby starting your renewal date) until you scan your tickets at the park when you enter.

Is An Annual Pass Right For My Family?

How close are you to the parks, and how often do you visit Disney? These questions are going to tell you whether or not annual passes are a good option for you.

If you live in Florida, having an annual pass could save you a lot of money if you want to go to the park more than once.

However, if you are only going to reasonably visit the park once during the 12 months of your pass, stop right here because the annual pass Disney World is not going to be a good deal for you and your family.

Another option is thinking about whether you want to get regular passes for the rest of your family and only one family member get the annual pass in order to get the perks such as free parking as well as the merchandise and dining discounts. That way you don’t have to buy passes for the entire family. Remember that kids 3-9 are discounted slightly and that if at least one adult (and the person paying) has an annual pass, you will all get to utilize the benefits.

Cost Of Passes

Annual passes are costly, and the price goes up every February. Annual passes come in two groups: Florida Residents and NON-Florida Residents.

For those living outside of Florida (the Non-Florida Residents) there are two options, the Platinum or Platinum Plus options.

Florida Residents have a little more flexibility because there are three different tiers, and the option to pay any of them monthly instead of all at once.

See the current Disney Annual Pass prices here.

My family has the lowest tier available for Florida Residents, the Weekday Select Pass. Since our family homeschools, we are able to work during the day and then skip over there for the evening to ride 3 rides (using the FastPass process there is no wait) and stay to watch the fireworks display.

Sometimes the parks are open until 11pm, so it can really be a long evening filled with shows AND rides. We love the family time it gives us as a small breath of fresh air away from the everyday.

Here is a breakdown of the benefits of each specific pass:

Platinum Plus Annual Pass Disney World: (Over The Age Of 3)

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Admission to all four of the parks, both water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (there are no blackout dates for these passes)
  • You can visit all four theme parks on the same day (that’s like a built-in park hopper ticket)
  • Unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads
  • Up to 20% off select dining and merchandise
  • Free parking to any theme park

NOTE: If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, you can get this pass for even less.

See the current prices here.

Platinum Annual Pass Disney World: (Over The Age Of 3)

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Admission to all four of the parks (there are no blackout dates for these passes)
  • You can visit all four theme parks on the same day
  • Disney PhotoPass downloads
  • Up to 20% off select dining and merchandise
  • Free parking to any theme park

See the current prices here.

Water Parks Annual Pass Disney World: (Over The Age Of 3)

With this pass, you can enjoy access to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park anytime during their regular operating hours.

If you are a Florida Resident, you could get a Water Parks After 2pm Annual Pass instead (it’s $50 less) and go to both water parks after 2pm whenever you want.

Note that this pass does not get you FREE parking at the other parks. There is no parking charges at the Water Parks, so that is not necessarily a “perk”.

See the current prices here.

Florida Residents Only Annual Pass Disney World

As a Florida Resident, you have several more options:

Gold Annual Pass Disney World

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Valid for Florida Residents and Disney Vacation Club Members Only
  • Admission during most times of the year to all 4 theme parks (blackout dates can be seen on the Disney Annual Pass Page)
  • Visit all 4 theme parks on the same day
  • Includes Disney PhotoPass downloads
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and merchandise
  • FREE Theme park parking

Silver Annual Pass Disney World

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Admission during certain times of the year to all 4 theme parks (blackout dates can be seen on the Disney Annual Pass Page)
  • Visit all 4 theme parks on the same day
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and merchandise
  • FREE Theme park parking

Weekday Select Annual Pass Disney World

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Florida Residents Only
  • Admission for a year to all 4 theme parks, Mondays through Fridays only
  • Peak Times are also blacked out, such as spring break, the middle of summer, and two weeks between Christmas and New Years (blackout dates can be seen on the Disney Annual Pass Page)
  • Visit all 4 theme parks on the same day
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and merchandise
  • FREE Theme park parking

Epcot After 4 Annual Pass Disney World

Here is what this pass will get you:

  • Florida Residents Only
  • Admission for a year to Epcot (no other parks), any day after 4:00 PM
  • Invitations to Epcot events and festivals
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and merchandise
  • FREE Epcot parking

See the current prices here.

Wrapping Things Up

In conclusion, I can’t tell you whether or not your family should buy an annual pass. For my family, this has been a fantastic purchase and one we will probably continue to make for years to come.

Take the information in this post and sit down with your family to determine how often you want to go to the park. That will help you decide if it is worth it.

Remember, there are plenty of FREE things to do at Disney. You don’t need an annual pass to visit Disney, and you can always get one later if you decide to skip it for now.

I just want to mention again that if you’d like some help planning a full-fledged Disney Vacation, contact my friend Jeffrey at Mouse Vacation Planning. He’s an annual passholder and he’s helped make my vacation actually feel like a true vacation because he coordinated all the details. I’d love to see his Disney Vacation business grow by telling you about him. You can get a free, no obligation quote here.

 

YOUR TURN: How often would you realistically visit Disney World if you had annual passes? Let me know in the comments below!

Is a Disney Annual Pass a right fit for your family? Here's a great comparison of the passes and help choosing what's best for your family. #truecouponing #savings #disney #disneyworld #annualpassholder
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