Annual Passes: Will It Save You Money?
February 20, 2018
When it comes to a Disney Vacation, I think we can all agree that saving money is KEY! The general consensus is that even if you aren’t local, if you plan on making a Disney Trip at least twice in one year, it is cheaper to be an Annual Passholder.
But, does it really save you money?
Only you can determine whether an Annual Pass is good for you, so here are the numbers to help you make your decision.
Passholders don’t pay for Parking
This is a perk for everyone who stays on Disney Property, but when you’re a Passholder (except for the Disney Deluxe Passport in Disneyland 🙁 ), you get Free Parking, even if you stay elsewhere. Since parking is currently $22 per day at Walt Disney World and $20 per day at Disneyland, that’s a savings of $140 – $154 for a 7 day Vacation to either coast.
Passholders pay less for food and souvenirs
Another perk is the discount that comes with food, souvenirs, and other things like treating yourself to a massage at a Spa or taking a magical Tour. Depending on the location, you may receive up to 20% off just by showing your Passholder ID and a valid Photo ID.
In terms of food savings, say your table service meals run you around $30 a person. Most participating restaurants give Passholders a 10% discount. That’s a savings of around $168 for a family of 4, eating 2 table service meals a day, over the course of 7 days. Of course, that’s just a very rough estimate. Prices and discounts vary by location, so a little research ahead of time will give you a better idea at how much this perk could save you.
Passholders save on Holiday Parties
Passholders have the opportunity to purchase discounted “advanced sales” tickets on select nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World and Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. It may not be a huge discount, but every little bit helps. And Disney parties are the best!
Passholders get “Free” Memory Maker
If you’re someone who normally pays for Memory Maker each time you visit the Parks, purchasing Annual Passes are a good way to save money. Memory Maker is included at no additional cost, so that’s clear savings right there. But even if you calculate the cost of the Memory Maker into the price of the Annual Passes, I still consider it a savings since you’re not paying the $169 each time you visit.
Passholders save on Disney Resorts
Special “Passholder only” Discounts (usually up to 25% off) are available from time to time. Hotel and Ticket prices are typically the most expensive part of your trip, so it’s easier to go more often if you can find a great deal on a Hotel…especially since your tickets are already covered with the Annual Pass.
Since there are so many more Resorts at Walt Disney World, Passholder Discounts can save you anywhere from about $250 per week at a Value Resort to hundreds of dollars per night at Deluxe Resorts. Rooms are limited, though, so grab them while they’re still available.
Passholders save on MaxPass at Disneyland
MaxPass costs $10 per day that you want to use it, but as an Annual Passholder, you have the opportunity to pay a one-time fee of $75. Not only does it pay for itself after just 8 visits, it saves you a lot of running around to grab those fastpasses!
Does it make financial sense to buy an Annual Pass? It’s all about the numbers…
Passholder Discounts, including locations and %
Walt Disney World Passholder Discounts
Disneyland Passholder Discounts
Walt Disney World
- Platinum Plus Pass (includes the 2 Water Parks and Park Hopper) – $949
- Platinum Pass (includes Park Hopper but does not include Water Parks) – $849
- Water Parks Annual Pass – $130
Want Park Hopper? Add an additional $62 – $75, depending on number of days
- Deluxe Passport (Includes Park Hopper, but has Blockout Dates) – $729
- Disney Signature Passport (Includes Park Hopper, but has Blockout Dates) – $999
- Disney Signature Plus Passport (Includes Park Hopper and has NO Blockout Dates) – $1149
Want Park Hopper? Add an additional $50 to your total
What An Annual Pass Does Not Give You
- Even if you’re an Annual Passholder, unless you stay on Disney Property, you are not entitled to book Advanced Fastpass+ more than 30 days in advance at Walt Disney World. If you want to book a fastpass 60 days prior to arriving, you will have to book a Reservation to stay on property.
- The same goes for Extra Magic Hours. Being able to enter the park early or stay after the park closes is a perk reserved only for Guests staying on property. You can stay and look around the shops, but there are Cast Members stationed at Attractions, scanning MagicBands, to make sure that you are staying on Disney Property, so you’re not going to be able to sneak on any rides during these times.
- Admittance into the Parking Lots and Parks are first come first served. So, if it’s reeeeally busy, they’re not going to find any extra space for you because you are a Passholder. Being a Passholder is exciting! Wear your MagicBands, handmade ears, and shirts with pride! But, please don’t expect Cast Members to treat you differently or give you preferential treatment.
When Buying an Annual Pass for your once a year vacation still makes sense – I talk to people from time to time who say, “I go every Spring” or “I go every September”. As long as it’s not 365+ Days between the two Vacations, you can still use your Annual Passholder Perks for vacations you take every year anyway. And if you can swing a shorter stay somewhere in the middle, that’s even better!