All You Need to Know About Disney World Annual Passes

It’s Trip Planning Tuesday and today we are looking at the benefits of Disney World Annual Passes. One of the most exciting things a Disney fan can possibly do is become an annual pass holder. Having this distinction certainly brings many benefits with it that can help you all throughout Walt Disney World. Below we have a few tips that will help tell you all you need to know about having a Disney World Annual Pass. Keep in mind we are writing this post from the perspective of someone who is not a Florida resident. There are annual passes that are cheaper and available only to Florida residents, but those have some restrictions and blackout dates. Most of the tips below are still valid though on all types of passes.

    1. How Many Days Is it Worth It? – This is the biggest question many people ask. How many days do I need to use my annual pass to make it worthwhile over just purchasing regular park tickets? The annual pass sells for $798 right now including taxes. So let’s just put that into park tickets for two separate trips. First, a 10 day park hopper ticket will cost $499, then let’s say you need tickets for a second trip that is just three days in length, which will cost $368. The total of those two, $867 is well over the amount the annual pass would cost you. Also, keep in mind that Disney Magic Your Way tickets expire 14 days from first use. So, the break even point is generally around 13 days if you include the park hopper option as that will be included with your annual pass.
    2. What Types of Annual Passes are There? – There are two main types of annual passes at Disney World, the platinum annual pass and the premium plus annual pass. Both of these passes work as a park ticket that gets you access for a full year to the 4 major theme parks. The passes also both work as a park hopper pass, meaning you can go into multiple parks on each day. Both passes also offer complimentary parking as well as all of the discounts and perks included with an annual pass purchase. The difference in the two is that the premium plus annual pass also includes admission into the both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Water parks as well as Disney Quest, the Oak Trail Golf Course, and the Wide World of Sports. The premium annual pass is $80 more than the regular annual pass.
    3. I Heard the Annual Pass Now Includes Photo Downloads. – Yes! Disney increased annual pass price in 2016, but they also added a great new inclusion that pass holders get free, unlimited downloads of any of their Photopass photos for the entire life of their pass. It is as if you have a year long memory maker photo product which includes any photos you and your family have taken in the parks, plus any ride photos.
    4. Does the Annual Pass Get Me Dining Discounts? – The answer is yes! There are quite a few restaurants within Disney World that offer a 10% discount to annual pass holders, and there are a few that offer a higher percentage. It is by no means all restaurants, but there are restaurants at many resorts as well as three of the theme parks, excluding the Magic Kingdom. Keep in mind each year Disney will change and modify the list of restaurants that participates so it is always good to check year in and year out on locations offering a discount.
    5. What is Tables in Wonderland? – By being an annual pass holder (or a Florida Resident) you are eligible to purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. This is a great program if you are a frequent traveler to Disney World as it can save you 20% on most meals in table service locations and even at some quick service locations. The card costs $150 initially for annual pass holders and DVC members and can be purchased at guest relations at any of the parks or Disney Springs. There are two “catches” to a membership, the first one being that gratuity of 18% will automatically be added to any check at a table service restaurant, but that is a pretty standard gratuity now anyways. So, if you plan on spending $750 or more in dining at one of these restaurants in a calendar year you can certainly get your money back pretty quickly. The other “catch” is that the card is blacked out and not available for use on 8 major holiday’s throughout the year. All participating restaurants can be viewed on the Tables in Wonderland website. We will also mention one final perk of Tables in Wonderland is that with the membership in this program you get free valet parking at deluxe resorts when dining at one of the restaurants there.
    6. Are there Any Shopping Discounts? – Many merchandise locations around Disney World offer a 10% discount to annual pass holders. There are some exclusions so you will want to be sure to check the member website, but most of the major shops in each park are included. In addition to merchandise the annual pass also will get you discounts on things such as recreation and spa services as well as miniature golf, and many other special events on Disney property. Be sure and check out the member website once you have your membership to see all of the places you can save money.

 

 
As always, if you have any questions leave us a comment below and we’d love to help you out or hear your thoughts.

New “4 Park Magic Ticket” Announced at Disney World For Limited Time

Annual PassesDisney World has been making changes to its theme park ticket structure over the last year since they announced tiered pricing on one day tickets. Now, Disney appears to be testing a new ticket type for a limited time called the “4 Park Magic Ticket”.

This new ticket gives guests a chance to go to each of the four Disney theme parks one time as it can be used for one day at Magic Kingdom, one day at Epcot, one day at Hollywood Studios, and one day at Animal Kingdom. It appears as though the ticket will work like a normal ticket in that you can enter and exit the same park, but it does not provide park hopping privileges. Also, like other Disney World tickets this ticket must be used within 14 days of first use.

One very unique part of this ticket is that Disney is marketing it as allowing guests to visit the parks for four days for just $70 per day, or a total ticket cost of $279 for adults and even less, $259, for children ages 3-9. Also unique is that the ticket is only going to be valid from now until May 26, 2017, even if you have days left on the ticket they will expire on that date. Another restriction is that these special tickets are only going to be sold through March 2, 2017, so if you want them make sure you get them by that date. A final restriction on this ticket is that they do include blackout dates from December 17 through January 2 and from April 10 to April 21. You can currently book the tickets at DisneyWorld.com/tickets. Let us know your thoughts on this new ticket type below.

Disney Parks will See Ticket Price Increase on February 28

Disney has announced that beginning on Sunday, February 28, 2016 they will increase tickets prices around 5%-8% for most tickets and will also be using variable rate pricing for 1-day tickets. One of the ticket vendors we support, Undercover Tourist, will still have discounted tickets (at 2015 prices) for a limited time, so buy them while they are still available.

For 1-day tickets Disney has instituted a tier pricing structure for three distinct time periods of the year, value, regular, and peak. Peak dates will happen about 30% of the year and this includes the holiday season, all of the spring break time period, and most of the summer. During this period the Magic Kingdom will cost $124 per day while the other parks will be $114 per day.

The value season will include only about 20% of the year and this will include most of late August and September. During this time a 1-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom will be $105 and all other parks will be $97.

Finally, all other dates will be termed regular season. During these dates the Magic Kingdom will cost $110 per day and all other parks will be $102 per day.

*These prices do not include taxes.

Where to Buy Theme Park Tickets (And Where Not to Buy Them)

Annual PassesOne important part of a Disney vacation is purchasing your theme park tickets. I should also mention that if you need help with the basic rules and types of tickets visit our article on Disney World Magic Your Way tickets. Below we will lay out the positives and negatives of each place you can buy Disney World park tickets. You basically have two major options to purchasing tickets. You can purchase them through Disney or through an Authorized Disney Ticket Broker, but there are plenty of places that sell Disney tickets that are not authorized to do so and it could cost you, so make sure you have educated yourself on these as well.

Purchasing Through Disney World Directly
The main options for purchasing tickets will be through Disney World directly. With the advent of FP+, where you can pre-book attraction ride times options, we do recommend having your park tickets purchased at least 60 days in advance if staying on site or 30 days in advance if staying off-site, as you must have park tickets linked to your account to make FP+ reservations on those dates. If purchasing directly from Disney you will not get any discount at all on your park tickets, unless they are running a special such as the “Play, Stay, and Dine” promotion they have run the past few winters. You can purchase these tickets this way on your own on the Disney World website or you can do it through your travel agent. This is the safest way to do Disney park tickets and you will get them the quickest as you can use the e-mail confirmation to link to your Disney World account. The only main negative with this option is that you can sometimes get a slightly lower price from an authorized ticket broker.

Purchasing Through an Authorized Ticket Broker
The other major way your can purchase your Disney World tickets is from an authorized Disney ticket broker, such as Undercover Tourist. Make sure you find out on the website if they are actually an authorized ticket broker as there are many, many scams out there. With a site like Undercover Tourist you can usually save from $5 to $40 per ticket depending on the type of ticket, length of ticket, and what options you have added. So, the discount is not extremely large, but if buying several tickets it could add up. Another thing we like about Undercover Tourist is that the prices they use are tax free and include free shipping of your tickets to your home. Finally, when you purchase a ticket from an authorized broker the tickets work the same on your Disney account as tickets purchased directly from Disney. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons as well as check the prices because the hassle of purchasing from a 3rd party and the other issues involved may make purchasing direct a better value or decision for you.

Where NOT to Buy Tickets
We finally want to convey to you that there are many scams out there when it comes to purchasing Disney tickets, especially as big as internet commerce is today. Some scams are somewhat valid and you will actually receive tickets for it. Meaning it could be something like a timeshare company that wants to give you deeply discounted tickets in exchange for sitting through a presentation with them. This is not something many people like to do, but most of these will actually give you tickets or discounted tickets. Do make sure you ask questions though as a lot of times these tickets have more restrictions than normal. For instance, they usually cannot be upgraded, so if you are getting a 3 day ticket, but need a ticket for 5 park days on your vacation you would have to buy a 2nd ticket as you cannot upgrade the discounted ticket from the company.

A couple of other ways to know if the website you are looking at is a scam: First, 1 day and 2 day tickets will never be discounted, Disney doesn’t allow it. If you see those tickets discounted this company is probably a scam. Second, make sure the website you are using allows you to pay with a credit card, not with something like a cash service (i.e. Western Union, etc.). Third, never purchase tickets on a website like ebay or Craigslist. Nothing good can come from buying tickets from a person you don’t know and there is no way for your to guarantee the ticket actually has days left on it until you get to the turnstiles. I don’t think you want to start the first park day of your vacation by being turned away at the turnstiles because there are no ticket days left on the ebay tickets you purchased. Along similar lines there are many locations in Orlando, specifically along International Drive, that claim to have discounted tickets. Unless they can document that they are an “official Disney ticket re-seller” you should not buy tickets there.
Bottom line in purchasing discounted tickets, and this happens to go for a lot of things in life, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. We hate to be the bearer of bad news on this topic, but better to know now than on the first day of your vacation.

If you have any other questions on where to buy tickets let us know in the comments section below.

Discount Disney Tickets