Why You Should Renew Your Disney World Annual Pass!

Disney Annual Passholder coffee mugs on sale inside the Creations Shop at EPCOT.
Disney Annual Passholder coffee mugs on sale inside the Creations Shop at EPCOT. (Photo by Bayley Clark/MagicalGuides)

It’s been a few difficult years for Disney World Passholders (and the world in general), with the introduction of the park reservation system, and delayed park hopping. The cost of a Disney World Annual Pass has gone up considerable. It’s hard to believe that just 5 years ago I was paying less than $900 a year for the out of state pass, now it is around ~$1200 for a renewal. That said I still find it to a good value in spite of the higher prices, as I go so often.

Currently Disney is not selling Annual Passes in Florida to Disney World for folks that reside outside of Florida. There are rumors of when they might start selling the Incredi-pass again, but we aren’t sure after the Disney Company’s CEO Bob Chapek made comments that Annual Passholder ruin the experiences for other guests, and he refuses to compromise on a positive experience for any guest.

How a Disney Annual Pass Saves Money

There are a number of ways that an annual pass from Disney World can save you money, assuming you plan to go more than 2 trips with 8 park visits, also the ability to park hop after 2pm. I get some folks might not want to park hop, but we like having options after a little nap/down time in the afternoons.

We also usually go for at least 3 days, 10 out of the 12 months. I doubt we would go if we didn’t have the annual pass, as I would want to pay almost $900+ each trip. So right off the bat, 3 trips we have paid for our renewal fees.

Resort Room Discounts as a Disney World Annual Passholder

It’s not a crazy idea that Passholders go to Disney World more often than others, so some resorts besides the Disney resorts offer passholders discounts. Disney’s Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve resort offer passholder room discounts that can be as much as 30% off their rates. Our most recent stay at the Swan, we scored the a room for as low as $160 per night for that deluxe resort that you can walk to two of the Disney parks like Hollywood Studios and EPCOT (which we did) and all the things to do on Disney’s Boardwalk. Best of all you can book this directly on Marriott’s website, and earn status and points for free breakfast, upgraded rooms, etc.

Read More: Is the Swan Reserve Considered to be a Disney Resort?

Disney Annual Passholder Discounts on After Hour Events, Parties. and Tours

Do you enjoy special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, H20 Glow Party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, or Keys to the Kingdom Tour. Well when you book these extra events, passholders are given a discount around 15% per person. Each person you book the event does not require an annual pass, just the person that is booking the extra to be a passholder. We highly recommend the Keys to the Kingdom tour, as it gives you a behind the inner workings of Magic Kingdom.

One of the most intriguing tours is the Wild Africa Trek, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You get to walk across a bridge over the crocodiles, one heck of a photopass moment (included in your Memory Maker Downloads addon for $99).

When can you renew your Disney World annual pass?

Current annual Pass holders can renew their passes up to 60 days before and 30 days after expiration. To renew your pass you can go online via a computer accessing your Disney account instead of using the My Disney Experience app. If you’re a Florida resident or happen be around the parks head to any Guest Relations or ticket window located at the front of the parks. As a last resort you could call (407) 560-PASS or (407) 560-7277, just be aware the wait on the phone can be long and daunting.

If you are a Florida resident wanting to renew your annual pass that is on monthly payments, renewing via phone is not available. Just know that if you do renew in person, you will be able to renew multiple passes, but the passholder will need to be present to pick up the individual pass.

What are the perks of being a Disney World Annual Passholder?

International Gateway back entrance to EPCOT (Photo by Bayley Clark/Magical Guides)

All annual passes include the following

  • Bonus theme park reservations will be added to the calendar from time to time, allowing you to make extra park reservations on select days at select theme parks.
  • Free standard theme park parking
  • 10-20% off on certain dining experiences
  • 20% off merchandise (sometimes going to 30% temporarily)
  • Special events like early entry to parks
  • Visit one or more Walt Disney World theme parks on the same day with an advance park reservation (Formerly known as park hopping)

One of the coolest things we’ve seen recently is that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is offering early entrance just for current annual passholders 45 minutes over other park goers. If you’ve ever gone to Typhoon Lagoon any other time, it can be hard to find a chair in a prime location. So this opportunity to snag a

How much does it cost to be an annual passholder at Walt Disney World?

There are/were several options when it came to annual passes being sold. Note that new annual passes are not being sold. There are four levels of annual passes, each with specific limitations, and blackout dates from being able to book park reservations. Just remember the more access to book theme park reservations, the higher the cost of the annual pass.

Pricing and Highlights for Disney Pixie Dust Pass

For Florida Residents Only. $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.

  • Pass is valid for use most weekdays, subject to blockout dates including peak and holiday periods.
  • 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)
  • Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels are eligible to make park reservations for each day of their Resort stay(s), in addition to holding 3 park reservations at a time

Pricing and Highlights for Disney Pirate Pass

For Florida Residents Only. $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.

  • Pass is 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)
  • Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels are eligible to make park reservations for each day of their Resort stay(s), in addition to holding 4 park reservations at a time

Pricing and Highlights for Disney Sorcerer Pass

For Florida Residents and Disney Vacation Club Members only. $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.

  • Pass is 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)
  • Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels are eligible to make park reservations for each day of their Resort stay(s), in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time

Pricing and Highlights for Disney Incredi-Pass

Available to anyone. $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.

  • 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)
  • Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels are eligible to make park reservations for each day of their Resort stay(s), in addition to holding 5 park reservations at a time

How much does it cost to renew an annual pass at Disney World?

Currently renewal of the Incredi-Pass is $1,175.76, but that does not include Add On Options such as the Photopass Downloads and Water Park and Sports Option. Each one of those add ons will increase the price $99 each plus tax. Previously I had those on my pass, so the total came $1,354.68.

What does the Water Park and Sports Option include in the Annual Pass?

With the Water Park and Sports Option you have access to Disney’s Water Parks like Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach. No advanced park reservation is required to visit on the of the water parks when you are an annual passholder at Disney World.

You may also play one round of complimentary miniature golf at Winter Summerland (by Blizzard Beach) or Fantasia Gardens and Fairway Miniature Golf Course (across from the Swan and Dolphin Resorts).

What does the Disney Photopass Downloads addon include in the Annual Pass?

Anywhere you take a photo using the Photopass Photographers in Disney World, or where a ride takes your photo qualify for these downloads. Of course, if you’re using the new MagicBand+ or a fresh Magic Band (less than 2 years old) the long range RFID will pick it up and automatically sync the pictures to your account. This means you won’t have to use the touch points and wait to see when your photo comes up. This is useful when riding some rides like Frozen in EPCOT, as it does not have a screened touchpoint.

If you ever miss out on a picture, you can email the Photopass support with the time and date, and they can look for any missed out photo. What is great this addon gives you unlimited Disney photopass downloads. I personally like the memory maker addon option, as only one person needs to get this addon in a family.

Does DVC qualify for annual pass?

If you are a DVC member you do qualify for one of the Walt Disney World Annual passes when Disney decides to sell annual passes again. If you are a DVC member, you qualify and can purchase the  Sorcerer Pass. This could save you $400 right off the bat instead of purchasing the Incredi-Pass. We do hope new sales of select annual passes begin again soon, so that those DVC owners can purchase these passes.

What’s the best annual pass to purchase?

Annual Passholder Magnets
Disney Annual Passholder Magnets on our fridge. (photo by Bayley Clark/magicalguides.com)

Well, this really depends. Are you a Florida resident or Disney Vacation Club owner? If not, then you only have one option when sales of new annual passes start up again, that is the Incredi-Pass. However if you are a Florida resident, you can do the monthly payment plans, and I’d go for the Sorcerer’s Pass as you save over $400, and you’re only blacked out on the major holidays, which if you know anything about Disney is a good thing. When you’re an annual passholder you aren’t tied to dates, and have flexibility to split up your park visits and use that park pass reservation system to your advantage instead of being locked in to select dates.

We didn’t even mention that all passholders get access to the magnets and special extras they offer during different times of the year. Getting the yearly Mickey magnets are hit or miss a lot of times as they come in the mail. Lately they’ve been magnet distributions for limited time giveaways at EPCOT Connections, and in Disney Springs.

Another missed perk of Annual Passholders was getting the yearly free Magic Band or discount to a designed band. That’s gone away, and you have to buy them outright. However if you buy them in the park you still get the 20% off discount, so be sure to do that. I’m not completely sold on the new MagicBand+, as a passholder I’m annoyed by all the vibrating notifications I get when I’m making the rounds in the parks, with the exception of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the MagicBand+ doesn’t seem to go off in that park.

How can you save money paying for an Annual Pass

So one way of the ways I like to save money is by buying gift cards at a few different retailers. I think when I do the math most of the time, I end up saving $30-50 per annual pass. We buy two passes, so you’re looking at $60-100 of savings. Don’t forget when making these purchase to consider a travel credit card, like the Southwest credit card, or Marriott Bonvoy cards to help with transportation or elite hotel status.

  • Sam’s Club / BJ’s or your favorite wholesale club
  • Target

Wholesale clubs regularly sell gift cards to Disney for $15 off $500. Which I usually would buy 3 of them, saving $45 right from the start. Then I’m also a Sam’s Club Plus member which gives me % back off what I buy, and I use a travel credit card if any have bonus for Sam’s that month giving me additional savings. Sometimes BJ’s wholesale has them for slightly better deals, and the smaller denominations so be on the lookout, especially around Thanksgiving, when they have their Black Friday sales.

Target offers 5% off for their red card holders. This right here will allow you to purchase smaller denominations if you don’t qualify for the Florida resident monthly payment plan. Sure you’ll have a lot of cards, but see my last point about combining all of the cards to gether.

No matter where you buy the gift cards, combine them into as few cards as you can, as I ran into an issue a few years back where I could only use 2 gift cards per transaction. This also might require you do multiple transactions for multiple annual passes. Seems like a lot of work just to save $50 a pass, but it’s completely worth it to me as I’m going to buy these tickets to Disney World anyways.

Why aren’t you mad at Disney? Why are you giving Disney your money?

Well hello, welcome to the Magical Guides blog, we discuss traveling to Orlando, and theme parks. We don’t always worry about why people are mad at Disney. That said, here’s my take on a serious subject and what you need to know:

Right now the Walt Disney Company is in the news a lot, from their prices going up, to whatever the status is of dissolving Reedy Creek Improvement District that encompasses the Walt Disney World Resort. By nature I’m not a political person, especially in public, as no matter what one says or thinks, opinions are going to upset someone. So it’s my take on the whole churro (see what I did there?) is to focus on putting the best unbiased information(entertainment) out there so you, the reader, can decide how you should spend your time and money. Simply put, going to Walt Disney World, and sharing things I learn with each of you makes me happy. So if I can serve others, while riding great theme park rides, I’ll choose that any day over getting into a political argument.

If you’d like to read more feel free to read my article on Why is the Reedy Creek Improvement District important to Disney?

With that said here’s to another year as a Disney World Passholder! We love the dining discounts, discounts while shopping at Disney Springs, free parking at the parks, just to name a few of the perks that you get while being in the annual pass program. We hope this helps you make an informed decision when it comes time to renew your annual pass.

Are any of you a part of the current passholders family? Let us know in the comments below.

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