Is a Disney World Annual Pass Worth it?

With the ever rising cost of Disney World tickets, you might be wondering if an annual pass is right for you and your family.

And for some people an annual pass definitely makes financial sense. But which annual pass should you pick? What are the benefits of getting an annual pass? And at what point is it worth it to upgrade my tickets to a pass? Here I will discuss all of these things so you can decide if a pass is the right thing for you.

Available Pass Options

First let's go over the many pass options that are available:

Annual pass perks

There are many different pass types available for purchase, and your options will depend on whether or not you are a Florida resident, or a non-Florida resident.

Non-Florida Residents

If you live outside of the state of Florida you have two annual pass options:

  • Disney Platinum Plus Pass
  • Disney Plus Pass

Both of these passes include the following perks:

  • You can visit all 4 parks in a single day
  • No blackout dates
  • Parking
  • Magic band
  • Photopass photo downloads
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and shops

The big difference in the two passes is that the Platinum Plus pass also includes access to the two water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course. 

Florida Residents

Florida Residents have several options for Disney World annual passes. Both unlimited passes (that include all parks and perks), and also less expensive passes that have black out dates and limited perks.

  • Disney Platinum Plus Pass
    • Admission to all 4 parks, ESPN, Wide World of Sports Complex, Water Parks, and Oak Trail Golf Course
    • No blackout dates and admission to all 4 parks in one day
    • Free photopass downloads and parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Disney Plus Pass
    • Admission to all 4 parks
    • No blackout dates and admission to all 4 parks in one day
    • Free photopass downloads and parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Disney Gold Pass
    • Admission to all 4 parks with some blackout dates
    • Free photopass downloads and parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Disney Silver Pass
    • Admission to all 4 parks certain times of year with blackout dates
    • Free parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Disney Theme Park Select Pass
    • Admission to all 1 park per day on select days of the year
    • Free parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Disney Weekday Select Pass
    • Admission to all 1 park per day (Monday - Friday) on select days of the year
    • Free parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops
  • Epcot After 4 Pass
    • Admission any day of the year to Epcot after 4pm
    • Free parking
    • 20% off select restaurants and shops

Where Can you Buy an Annual Pass?

You can buy an annual pass a few different ways:

  • Calling Disney at (407) 939-7679
  • Purchasing online at Disney's website
  • In person at Guest Relations or a Ticket Window

It is important to note that if you buy your pass online or over the phone you will receive a voucher that you will have to exchange for your pass. You can make this exchange at Guest Relations.

If you have an annual pass resort discount, you'll need to do this BEFORE you check in to your resort.

What are the Benefits of an Annual Pass?

There are several perks that are given to annual pass holders. Check the fine print on the pass that you chose, but generally speaking these are the benefits you can expect:

  • Free parking at the parks: You will be able to park in regular parking at the parks whether you are staying onsite or offsite.
  • Photopass downloads (some Florida resident passes exclude this perk): If you have an annual pass you will not need to purchase memory maker. You will receive all of your ride and Photopass photos. This includes people linked to your account on My Disney Experience as friends and family.
  • Food and Merchandise Discounts: Annual Pass Holders can receive up to 20% off at select shops and restaurants for their entire party. The entire list of discounts can be found here.
  • Discounts on Extras: You can get discounts on extra events at the parks like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Park Tours, Spa services, and more.

Is it Worth it to Upgrade to an Annual Pass?

It can be hard to decide if upgrading to an annual pass is worth it for you and your family. There are so many factors to think about before deciding.

Let's first assume you were planning on staying on-site (which means you would not be paying for certain extras like Magic Bands or parking at the parks).

For my examples here I am also assuming that you are traveling during peak time (I used the first week in July for these calculations. So be sure to double check your exact ticket prices for total accuracy).

My example also assumed you are a non-Florida resident taking advantage of the Platinum Annual Pass.

For onsite guests, we would add the the total ticket price (purchased from Disney) and the cost of Memory Maker to determine how many days you would need to spend at the parks before the annual pass is "worth it" for you:

Is Disney Annual Pass worth it?

So as you can see in my example above, a single trip to Disney World would probably not justify purchasing an annual pass. Even if that trip was over a week long.

But there are some things to note about that. First, there was an increase in annual passes June 2019, but not tickets. I can guarantee that a ticket increase will be happening as well. So these numbers will be changing again.

Also, if you are going on more than one trip, you will have to purchase tickets twice. For example, if you are going on a 5 day trip at the beginning of the year, and then another 5 day trip towards the end of the year, you wont be buying a 10 day ticket. You'll be buying two 5 day tickets. In which case, the annual pass would definitely be worth the price.

The example above also assumes that you are staying on property. If you decide to stay off property you would also save on parking fees and Magic Band fees (should you decide you want to purchase them).

What's the Bottom Line?

The bottom line is that even though annual pass prices jumped dramatically, you can still definitely get your money's worth in the right situation.

I would suggest checking for annual pass holder resort discounts (you can book them before you actually have your annual pass. Just make sure to get the pass BEFORE you check in to your resort). 

I would also look at restaurant discounts and see if any of the restaurants you were planning on visiting offer a discount.

I would consider any extras you had planned (parties, tours, etc) when considering if it's worth it.

I would consider how many trips (not necessarily how many total days) you are spending at the parks.

If a pass is a priority you wont regret the purchase. If you aren't sure you are going to be making more than one trip to the parks, it might be worth it to skip it.

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Still confused or need help?

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See you at the parks,

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