UPDATE FOR 2020
With the Park closures in the spring of 2020 there have been some changes to the annual passes. Current passholders were given extensions for the number of days that the parks were closed as well as given options about pausing payments and options to cancel their passes and get refunds. Once the parks were opened the sales of new annual passes were paused. Currently only current annual pass holders can renew. Once new annual passes are available for sale we will update you on any information that may change!
Disney is always increasing the price for a Disney World annual pass and I know a lot of you get bummed about it. You’ve probably been crunching the numbers to figure out if it’s worth getting it or not. Well to alleviate some of the work for you, I’ve covered everything you need to know when getting an annual pass. From all of the different options, you have to discover if the additional discounts that come with the pass will truly save you money.
Disney World Annual Pass Levels
Now before we get into the actual tips included in this post, I thought it best to give you a quick rundown of all the different passes available. If you live in Florida or you’re a DVC member there’s a lot to choose from but let’s start with the two annual passes for those who live outside of the Sunshine State and are not a DVC member. So if you are wondering how much is a Disney World annual pass, keep reading!
Disney Platinum and Platinum Plus Pass
For Florida residents or DVC members, you can choose between the Platinum and Platinum Plus Disney World annual pass. Both offer an unlimited number of visits to all for theme parks throughout the entire year and you can hop between parks on any given day like hopper passes.
Also, there are no blackout dates. The only difference here is that the Platinum Plus pass also provides you with entrances to the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports and the Oak Trail golf course. So if going to the water parks is not really something you would do there’s no need to look into that Platinum Plus.
Disney Annual Gold Pass
Now for Floridians or DVC members, you also have the option to get the Gold pass. Like the previous two, this gives you an unlimited number of visits to the theme parks and the ability to park hop. However, there are some blackout dates but they are only two weeks at Christmas and the week of Easter. The remaining options are available for Florida residents only.
Disney Annual Silver Pass
The next choice you have is the Silver pass which is just a step down from the Gold pass in price and also blocks out June and July on top of Christmas and Easter. This is why I think the Gold Disney World annual pass is slightly better for families because it’s likely that you’ll want to visit during the summer break. silver is better for couples without kids who want to avoid the times that the kids are out of school and have more flexibility in their schedule.
Other Disney World Annual Pass Options
Then we’ve got some really complicated passes. The theme-park select Disney World annual pass is like the rest and that you can visit all four parks and hop around however the block out dates vary depending on the park. By and large, this one takes into account when specific events or openings are taking place at one park. For example, if you want to visit the Magic Kingdom with this pass the block updates are similar to the Silver, it blocks out June and July Christmas, and Easter, but it also blocks out most weekends in the year.
Epcot however on this pass doesn’t block out those weekends but you won’t be able to go during the opening weekend of a festival. So this one really does require some extra research and it’s best for someone who is strictly avoiding crowds and can really play around with their schedule.
The Theme Park Select Weekday Pass is very similar to the previous one but as the name suggests this one is only valid on weekdays again specific blackout dates will vary from park to park.
Then finally you have the Epcot After Four Pass, just as the name suggests this is an annual pass for Epcot only and you’ll only be able to enter the park for the last couple of hours of the day however there are no blackout dates on this one. You can even go on Christmas Day if you want after opening presents if you live locally.
What Are The Blockout Dates For Passholders?
First of all, as you can tell you must study those block-out dates factors in your personal work schedule and school calendar for your kids. If you have a general idea of when you’d like to visit you may find yourself opting for a cheaper pass that fits in your schedule. You don’t have to go for those high-end plans if you live in Florida or a DVC member.
As I said before the silver pass may not look too appealing for families because of those summer block-out dates I personally really like the Gold Pass because I don’t see the point in paying nearly double for platinum to simply go the week of Christmas or Easter. It’s way too crowded so this is a key first step when deciding between passes.
Annual Passholder Ticket Prices
Because these prices go up annually, you can find the current annual passholder ticket prices here. Whatever pass you’re considering, make sure you compare it to a regular multi-day ticket to figure out the value of the pass. Knowing your schedule first won’t quickly tell you how many days realistically you’ll get to visit the resort. In some cases paying the price of an annual pass may feel like a good investment to have some freedom but if you don’t really get to use it to its max you’ll be disappointed in spending the extra money.
Let’s use the Platinum Pass as an example, this one is now currently priced at $1,295 per adult who are not Florida residents or DVC members. A five-day ticket with park hopper is currently priced at around $520 per adult depending on the time of year.
A ten-day park hopper is at $580, therefore, you have to be visiting at least 20 days out of the year to really make that pass economical. If you live in other parts of the US and you have to fly you’re going to have to be throwing down some serious cash to be going to Disney so often.
Now for you Disney Vacation Club members or Florida residents, Platinum is priced at $899 now but you may want to consider that Gold Pass again because it’s priced at $699 if you’re willing to skip Christmas you can save a good amount of money right there.
Compare To Ticket Promos
This really only applies to Florida residents. Make sure you compare the price of an annual pass to the various ticket promos. Disney world almost always has a three or four-day ticket offer for locals. Again if you’re eyeing that Gold Pass remember that you’ve got to visit between ten or fifteen days out of the year to really make it worth it.
Now Florida residents don’t get discounts on multi-day tickets that are over four days so if you were considering to get that 10-day park hopper ticket you’ll have to pay the same price as everyone else.
Disney currently has the ‘Get Your Ears On’ four-day park hopper ticket for Florida residents at $259 per adult. If going to Disney World for more than ten days out of the year sounds like just a little too much for you even doing a promo like this two times is cheaper than an annual pass.
You’ll just have to always double-check the expiry date on these passes. From the moment they are announced, you usually have between four and six months to use up all your days.
What Are The Annual Passholder Discounts?
All Annual Pass holders get discounts on dining and shopping. It’s a decent selling point from Disney but if you’re only upping a ten-day ticket to an annual pass to save on food and souvenirs do your homework. Disney states that you can get up to 20% off at select restaurants but this really only applies to the House of Blues at Disney Springs and all of the different Joffrey’s coffee locations.
In reality, you really only get a 10% discount at select table service restaurants. If you’re not one to splurge on the dining plan or table service restaurants and you like to stick to those quick service locations you won’t get much use out of this benefit.
But on the flip side, it’s worth knowing about things like Tables in Wonderland this is a special dining membership with an annual fee of $150. This is available for any pass holder or DVC member. With this membership, you’ll get 20% off dining at over a hundred locations and you’ll get free valet at resorts when you have a dining reservation there.
Now, this discount applies to up to ten people dining with a member meaning only one person in the group needs to have the membership to get the 20% discount. I’m only mentioning this because if you’re a couple looking at passes you can move down from a gold pass to a silver pass and add this to your overall budget and you can probably still come out ahead. I personally think it’s a decent trade-off of giving up on June and July to get more dining discounts.
Can I Pay For My Annual Pass Monthly?
This is a no-brainer if you are a Florida resident. Currently, only Florida residents can do this, but you should go for the monthly payments option. Almost all of the annual passes give you the option to either pay the full amount upfront or pay in monthly installments after a deposit. There’s no interest on the payments, so you’re still paying the same price just in smaller dosages. I personally find the price a little easier to fit into a budget.
So there is everything you need to know when purchasing a Disney World annual pass. I know that a lot of you feel that the price increases have become a little too much to handle and I completely respect that.
For those of you still crunching the numbers and trying to make it work, I hope that this helps you navigate through all of the options and gives you a good head start on that number-crunching. Stick to these tips in this order and I promise you’ll be able to work out what passes best for you and your family.