It was a nerve-wracking moment when I purchased my first WDW Annual Pass. My carefully accumulated cash was going to be traded in for a tiny yellow card that would open the door to so many new experiences at Walt Disney World Resort. But was I ready? Would I use it? Oh yes… I would. I’ve learned the ins and outs of having an Annual Pass and I can’t recommend it enough; you’ll save beaucoups of bucks!
Annual Pass-a Palooza
Did you know there are 6+ different kinds of Annual Passes to Walt Disney World Resort? Out of state residents like myself can choose from the Platinum or Platinum Plus Passes, while Florida residents have a myriad of choices including Gold, Silver, Weekday and even a special Epcot After 4 pm pass, which is perfect for the festival lover! During my visit to Disneyland Resort, I even learned I could upgrade my pass to the whopping Premier Passport for unequivocal access to Parks both coasts.
Dedicated Entry Line
One of the first Annual Passholder Perks I used was the dedicated Annual Passholder Entry Line. A Mickey-head sign is stationed at a single touchpoint to each Park, granting me short-line access straight in. If they would invent an Annual Passholder security line, I’d be all set for a seriously speedy entry!
Annual Passholders (on both coasts) have access to amazing discounts. My AP has paid for itself in just merchandise discounts alone, which are 20% at Disney owned retail locations! Shopping away an afternoon at Disney Springs is easier on my wallet with an Annual Pass tucked in my pocket. If you’re not into shopping, consider 10% off on rental cars, discounts on tours, events, childcare and even select dining locations. Always ask a friendly Cast Member if there is an Annual Passholder discount. You’ll be amazed at the savings!
Picnic with Perks
And speaking of dining discounts, I tried my first Tables in Wonderland Membership this year. An upfront fee to join meant I gleaned not only my Annual Pass dining discounts at select locations, but nearly all Table Service locations were a straight 20% off, too! These savings across our vacations meant I had enough cash to treat my family to breakfast with Cinderella herself at Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you love to devour your way through the Parks, consider this option when pickup up your Annual Pass. A membership is good for 365 days!
Be a VIPassholder
Craving early access? Portions of the Parks or certain hours are reserved for Passholders only! Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land was open to Passholders only during a special Sneak Peek in 2018, as was Pandora: The World of Avatar in 2017. Celebrate your inner Disney Parks junkie and watch the Disney Parks Blog for special upcoming events. You can also collect special items like free full-size character magnets, cutting boards (Food & Wine Festival), trading pins, discount merchandise and more.
Park Hop ‘Til You Drop
Love Park Hopping? An Annual Pass is totally for you. I love skipping from Park to Park during the day, avoiding crowds and hitting my favorite attractions. On my last Walt Disney World Resort vacation, I treated myself to an hour’s stop at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival each day for a cocktail or a small plate of festival food. I even passed through the front gates of Epcot and diverged through the rear International Gateway for a perusing stroll across the Boardwalk.
Smile for the Birdie
The value of Disney’s Memory Maker is no secret. All-you-can-pose-for photos with unlimited downloads for one price? That’s a bargain in my book. In fact, I’ve created actual photo books with these memories. Couple this with special Magic Shot photo opps, character Meet and Greets and I’m gone, man. Solid gone! The benefit of an Annual Pass is that Memory Maker is included! You’ll also have back access to photos you thought you had missed out on, up to a year in the past. Log in to download your photos and make more magic!
Park for Free
Heading to the Parks? Simply pull up to the gatehouse and show your MagicBand or AP card. After a quick scan, you’ll be on your way to your parking spot and then the breezy tram since no payment is needed. Parking at the Parks in included with your membership. Ready to Park hop? Either use the already complimentary Walt Disney World Transportation (I’m dying to try the upcoming Skyliner!) or move your car to the next Park with no fees.
The Disney Parks Mom Panel is a group of Guests with passion and knowledge in a wide range of Disney Parks vacation topics such as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises and Disney Vacation Club. Panelists are ARE NOT Disney employees as such their views are their own. Inside the Magic is honored to share some insights from a member of Disney Parks Mom Panel Lindsey Paris on this topic. You can meet her and the other Disney Parks Moms Panelists here.