Advantages of Disney Annual Passes

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Mickey Mouse Annual Passholder logo with Cinderella Castle and Fantasyland attractions in the background

Credit: Inside the Magic

Walt Disney World offers Guests the option of 12 months of admission to their theme parks with an Annual Pass!

We put together a complete guide to Disney Annual Passes — Including tips on Annual Passes, how they work, and what you can expect when you purchase a Disney World Annual Pass. Here is everything you need to know.

disney world annual pass
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How does a Disney World Annual Pass work?

A Walt Disney World Annual Pass gives Guests the opportunity to visit theme parks 12 months out of the year. Walt Disney World offers four different Annual Pass types to choose from so you can find one that fits your needs. With so many options to choose from it, is easy to make the price of the Annual Pass work for you and ensure you get the most value out of your purchase.

Walt Disney World did temporarily suspend the sale of Annual Passes amid the pandemic. During that time they reimagined the Annual Pass program for Walt Disney World and Annual Passes will go back on sale beginning September 8.

father and daughter wearing masks in front of cinderella castle at disney world
Credit: Disney

The reimagined Annual Pass program shares similarities with the new Disneyland Magic Key program that was recently unveiled. You can read our guide to Disneyland Resort Magic Key’s here.

What are the different types of Disney Annual Passes and how much do they cost?

There are four types of Walt Disney World Annual Passes they are:

  • Disney Pixie Dust Pass – $399
  • Disney Pirate Pass – $699
  • Disney Sorcerer Pass – $899
  • Disney Incredi-Pass – $1,299
walt disney world annual pass options
Credit: Disney Parks Blog
Depending on which pass you purchase you will have more or less Park Pass Reservation slots. You have to make a Park Pass Reservation in order to visit a Walt Disney World theme park, this is of course in addition to your valid theme park admission.
Park Pass Reservations were created amidst the pandemic, however, they are here to stay. Having more Park Pass Reservations slots available means you can better plan your stay, and the more expensive your Annual Pass is, the more Park Passes you have.
Most Disney World Annual Passes have some days in which the Passholder is blocked from entering the theme parks. Typically these are on the busiest anticipated days of the year for the parks — such as holidays. Some passes only have a few weeks of blocked days while others have many more scattered throughout the year. These greatly contribute to the different pricing of Annual Passes. You can see the blockout calendar for each different Annual Pass type here.
WDW AP 2021
Credit: Disney Parks Blog
Additionally, Disney World Annual Passes tend to raise in price each year! However, an Annual Passholder will get a discount when they renew their Annual Pass for a second year helping to reduce the cost if a price increase is taking effect.

What is Park Hopping?

Park Hopping is when you are able to enter multiple Walt Disney World theme parks in one day. You may want to spend the morning at Magic Kingdom, but then take the monorail to EPCOT for dinner. With a Disney World Annual Pass, you will have the ability to do just that!

What is the typical cost of a Disney Annual Pass?

Walt Disney World Annual Passes range from $399 – $1,299. Florida residents have the option of purchasing exclusive Annual Passes, and each Pass can be purchased on a payment plan. If you are not a Florida resident there is only one Annual Pass that you can purchase and you do not have the option of a monthly payment plan.

If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member you can purchase the Disney Sorcerer Pass which is exclusive for Florida residents and DVC members!

Cost of Disney World Annual Passes

It is worth noting however that even an Annual Pass that costs $1,200+ can still offer savings when compared to purchasing individual theme park tickets. For example, a single-day ticket to a Walt Disney World in 2021 will start at $109 and only go up from there. For a family of four wanting to visit Disney World for five days, well, you can do the math.

However, if a family of four knows that they want to visit Disney World at least once a year you can strategically purchase your Annual Passes and plan an April spring break weeklong vacation for 2021, and then a January winter break 2022 trip and get two vacations or more out of a single pass.

epcot spaceship earth lighting
Credit: ITM

If you want to make the most out of your Walt Disney World Annual Passes and plan a vacation, be sure to message our friends at Academy Travel!

What is a MagicBand and how does it work?

A MagicBand is a special wristband that you can wear during your Walt Disney World vacation that offers many conveniences during your stay. Your MagicBand works using RFID technology and allows you to make purchases, unlock your hotel room, enter theme parks, and scan FastPasses with the tap of your wrist.

All you need to do is purchase a MagicBand and download the My Disney Experience app. From the My Disney Experience app, you will be able to easily link your Annual Pass to your Magic Band and never have to reach into your backpack while you are at the parks to get out your physical Annual Pass card — convenient right?

Credit: Disney

One MagicBand used to be included in the purchase of an Annual Pass, however, Disney has recently announced that that will no longer be the case. While MagicBands are here to stay you will need to purchase one if you plan on using a MagicBand with your Annual Pass.

What is MagicMobile, and how can you use it with your Annual Pass?

MagicMobile gives you the ability to use utilize your Annual Pass by linking it to the My Disney Experience app on your phone without having to take your physical Annual Pass card out of your bag!

Related:MagicBands vs MagicMobile – What You Need to Know

Credit: Disney

MagicMobile is a great offering, and you can use it to enter the park and for FastPass+. It is truly an alternative to using a MagicBand and works for many people who are used to having their cell phones on hand during a Disney vacation — Which is most people giving the integration of the My Disney Experience app to the in-park experience.

How many people can use a Disney Annual Pass?

Disney World Annual Passes are non-transferable and non-refundable after first use at a Disney World theme park — Therefore only the person the Annual Pass belongs to once activated can utilize it.

How to share Disney Annual Passes

If you have purchased an Annual Pass for Walt Disney World you can reassign the pass to anyone who is linked as a family or friend on your My Disney Experience account, but only if the Annual Pass has not been activated.

annual pass
Credit: ITM

What are the limitations of sharing a Disney Annual Pass?

In essence, you can assign your Annual Pass to anyone linked to your party on your My Disney Experience app as long as you have not used it to enter a theme park.

What special benefits do you get with a Disney Annual Pass?

Being an Annual Passholder offers you access to special Passholder merchandise. Disney even opened a store dedicated to their Annual Passholders over at EPCOT in the Germany Pavilion. The store is only open on the weekdays and offers incredible savings on lots of merchandise.

Discounts are great, but they are not the only perk of being an Annual Passholder! Disney gives Annual Passholders free gifts throughout the year such as special limited-edition magnets, coasters, cutting boards, and more.

passholder-exclusives flower & garden
Credit: Disney

What discounts are available to Disney Annual Pass Holders?

Disney offers many special benefits to members of their Annual Passholder program that can lead to extra savings around the Walt Disney World Resort. You will get discounts on hotels, merchandise, dining, and free parking at the theme parks!

Benefits of Disney Annual Passes

  • Dining Discounts – Disney typically offers a 10% discount on most dining outside of the theme parks, at the hotel resorts, and Disney Springs.
  • Merchandise Discounts – At Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will enjoy 20% discounts at most places.
  • Events & Entertainment Discounts – With your Annual Pass you can enjoy discounts on events such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and more!
  • Sports, Recreation, & Spa Offers – Disney offers various discounts around recreations and relaxation around the Walt Disney World resort with your Annual Pass.
  • Resort Discounts – Disney continuously offers various discounts on Disney World Resort hotels.

At which Disney Resort hotels can you use the Annual Pass?

Your Walt Disney World Annual Pass is only valid for theme park admission, it doe not grant you a stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. You can use your Annual Pass at any Resort hotel on Disney property for dining, merchandise, and sometimes room stay discounts depending on what Disney is offering at the time of your stay.

Disney's Grand Floridian
Credit: Disney

What makes a Disney Annual Pass worthwhile?

The savings on Walt Disney World admission alone is worth exploring the Annual Passes as an option. With the savings, you can enjoy the many discounts that come with the Annual Pass, meaning you can get a lot of value out of your purchase. If you work smartly with your Annual Pass you can get more in savings than what you paid for the Annual Pass.

What are the limitations of the Disney Annual Pass?

With your Disney World Annual Pass the sky is the limit! Your Disney World Annual Pass does not make you a VIP however, this is simply an admission ticket for 12 months that comes with a ton of perks.

If you are looking for a special VIP experience Disney does offer VIP tours at Walt Disney World, you can visit the official Disney World website for more information on one of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

disney world
Credit: Disney

What is the Bring-a-Friend ticket and how does it work?

From time to time Disney has a special Bring-a-Friend ticket for Annual Passholders. These are discounted tickets that you can help a friend purchase by being present with them at a ticket window and showing your valid Annual Pass. This is a great way to share the perks of your Annual Pass!

Main Street U.S.A.
Credit: Disney

What is not included with a Disney World Annual Pass?

A Disney World Annual Pass is an amazing opportunity to enjoy the theme parks 12 months out of the year! Some things that are not included are access to the water parks at Walt Disney World.

If you are interested in admission to the water parks at Walt Disney World you will have the option to add water parks onto your Annual Pass. Also, Disney World PhotoPass services including downloads of your PhotoPass photos were previously included in Disney World Annual Passes. However, Disney is no longer including PhotoPass so you have the option to add PhotoPass services to your Annual Pass for an additional charge.

Additionally, you do not need an Annual Pass to access Disney Springs, the dining and shopping district at Disney World. There is no admission fee to enter Disney Springs.

Disneyland Annual Pass

The Disneyland Resort just announced a brand new Annual Pass program called, Magic Key!

The previous Disneyland Annual Pass program came to an end due to the pandemic. If you were a Disneyland Annual Passholder you became a Legacy Passholder once your pass was canceled. Legacy Passholders still received discounts and perks associated with being having a Disneyland Annual Pass.

Magic Key
Credit: Disney

A Magic Key is the best way to unlock the magic of the Disneyland Resort. There are four different Magic Keys for you to choose from. One of the biggest changes with the Magic Key program from previous passes is that this includes a set number of advanced online park reservations for each different pass.

The more expensive Magic Key you purchase the more park reservations you can make! Magic Keys go on sale on August 25.

Magic key
Credit: Disney

Other Disney Park Annual Pass Programs

What about other Disney theme parks? Do they have Annual Passes? YES! Other Disney Parks around the world do have Annual Pass programs. Unfortunately, just as Disneyland ended its Annual Pass program amid the pandemic Tokyo Disneyland did as well. Tokyo Disneyland has not announced a replacement at this time.

Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris all still offer Annual Passes.

Will you be purchasing a Disney World Annual Pass? Let us know in the comments!

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