Is the Disney World annual pass actually worth it?


What if a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Walt Disney World Resort didn’t have to be just once in a lifetime? What if the magic wasn’t limited to a single Disney trip each year? The biggest obstacle between you and the ability to visit Disney World anytime you want likely comes down to your budget. While there are plenty of ways to save money on a Disney World vacation, saving on park tickets is particularly challenging — unless you purchase an annual pass.

Disney World annual passes have been available to purchase since 2023 (selling was paused during the COVID-19 lockdowns). Before the pandemic, a Disney World annual pass was a reliable way to save money on multiple Disney World vacations. But is the pass still a deal now?


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It may not always make sense for each family member to have their own Disney World annual pass, but that doesn’t mean you should skip purchasing it entirely. Having an annual pass will give you access to many Disney discounts, which are valid for your entire family (as well as your friends), so even if one person in your sphere has one, it can benefit everyone.

So, should you get a Disney World annual pass? Here’s everything you need to know about getting one.

How much is an annual pass to Disney World?

Magic Kingdom. WALT DISNEY WORLD

First, we need to discuss the different annual pass options to determine the cost of a Disney World pass.

If you live in Florida or are a Disney Vacation Club owner, you can get a pretty solid deal on some annual pass options that aren’t available to everyone. For other folks, the price for an annual pass isn’t for the faint of heart (but don’t pass out on us yet).

It’s important to know that although park tickets are slightly cheaper for kids aged 9 and younger, Disney World annual pass prices are the same for most children and adults. Only little ones (ages 2 and younger) do not need a pass — they can enter the parks for free.

All annual pass types come with the following benefits:

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  • Free standard theme park parking.
  • Park hopping (i.e., the ability to visit multiple parks in one day).
  • Access to “good-to-go days,” which don’t count against your limit on the number of park reservations.
  • Up to 20% off on select dining and merchandise at retail locations.
  • Special offers on tours, hotel room rates, after-hours events and more.
  • Access to other exclusive events and merchandise.

However, some additional perks are available, depending on which pass you choose.

Disney Incredi-Pass: $1,449

The Disney Incredi-Pass is the most expensive option for all guests at $1,449 per person. It’s also the only option available to everyone (other annual pass types have specific restrictions on who can purchase). In addition to the above benefits, it comes with the following perks:

  • The ability to hold up to five park pass reservations at a time (along with any eligible days when staying at an on-site Disney World property and good-to-go dates).
  • No blackout dates.

Disney Sorcerer Pass: $999

Only available to Disney Vacation Club members and Florida residents, the Disney Sorcerer Pass costs $999 per person. It includes the standard annual pass perks and has a couple of additional pass-specific benefits and terms:

  • The ability to hold up to five park pass reservations at a time (along with any eligible days when staying at an on-site Disney World property and good-to-go dates).
  • Limited blackout dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Disney Pirate Pass: $799

Only available to Florida residents, the Disney Pirate Pass will set you back $799 per person. Its extra benefits and terms include:

  • The ability to hold up to four park pass reservations at a time (along with any eligible days when staying at an on-site Disney World property and good-to-go dates).
  • Blackout dates during the spring break season and on many key holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Disney Pixie Dust Pass: $439

The Disney Pixie Dust Pass is the cheapest annual pass option available to Florida residents at $439 per person. Its lower price tag means you’ll have slimmed-down benefits and more restrictions, such as:

  • The ability to hold up to three park pass reservations at a time (along with any eligible days when staying at an on-site Disney World property and good-to-go dates).
  • Substantial blackout dates during weekends and around key holidays.

In the past, two additional benefits — PhotoPass downloads and access to Disney World water parks — were included in some annual passes. This is no longer the case, as these perks are only available as add-on purchases. To enjoy unlimited PhotoPass downloads and/or unlimited access to Disney’s water parks and golf courses, you’ll need to pay an extra $99 per person per add-on benefit.

Lastly, if you live in Florida and don’t want to pay all at once, you can get an interest-free monthly payment plan from Disney World on your annual pass purchase.

Related: How to rent Disney Vacation Club points and save hundreds of dollars on your vacation

Doing the math on a Disney World annual pass

Before buying a Disney World annual pass, consider the regular ticket type you’d need to buy for the trip (or trips) you plan to take in the coming year. Disney World has various ticket options, including the Park Hopper, which is popular because it allows you to visit multiple parks in one day.

While calculating the average cost can be challenging due to Disney World’s date-based pricing system, let’s consider a five-day vacation during late summer for comparison purposes.

Tron Lightcycle Run. WALT DISNEY WORLD

A five-day Park Hopper ticket for an adult visiting during August costs around $582 (plus tax). A Disney Incredi-Pass costs $1,449 (plus tax), so even if you took two five-day trips in a 12-month period for a total ticket cost of $1,164, you would still save money purchasing your tickets outright rather than splurging for an annual pass.

If you were to travel during a busier time, like around the winter holidays, a five-day Park Hopper ticket would cost closer to $715 per person. At that cost, two five-day trips in a 12-month period would cost $1,430. That’s almost equal to the cost of Disney’s highest annual pass tier, which is the only pass available to guests who live outside of Florida and aren’t DVC members.

10-day Disney World ticket cost. WALT DISNEY WORLD

The per-day cost of a Disney World ticket decreases the longer you stay. If you only plan to take one 10-day trip annually, one 10-day ticket would be cheaper than an annual pass. But, if you take several shorter trips (like outlined above), saving money with an annual pass is possible.

On average, a Disney World annual pass only becomes “worth it” if you plan to visit for more than seven days in a 12-month period, spread across a few shorter visits. If you do the math and your ticket cost is only slightly less than the cost of a Disney World annual pass, you need to do a little bit more math to see if the additional discounts you can get with your annual pass can close that gap.

Disney World annual pass perks and discounts

Annual passholders are eligible for merchandise discounts. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Fortunately, several annual pass discounts are available to help you reach the savings you’d need to target to justify purchasing the pass.

Free parking at Disney World theme parks

Disney World annual passholders can park for free at Disney World theme parks. This perk comes in handy if you’re staying off-site and renting a car (it’s not a bad idea if you’re staying at one of the Disney Springs hotels), as standard parking will normally set you back $30 a day, meaning you’d save $150 if you got five days of free parking. Remember, though, that this benefit won’t help your trip be more cost-effective if you’re staying at an on-site Disney hotel or resort since guests receive complimentary theme park parking during their stay.

Dining discounts

Disney World has an exhaustive list of restaurants where you can earn up to 20% off of dining as an annual passholder, but in reality, many restaurants only offer a 10% discount. Still, the discount can be a valuable perk — it covers the passholder and up to three guests. Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table and Chef Mickey’s are a few of our favorite Disney restaurants that accept the dining discount. A meal for a family of four at these spots can easily exceed $200, so even a 10% discount is $20 saved.

Shopping discounts

The roster of stores at Disney World that offer up to a 20% discount is much longer than the list of restaurants. Carts and kiosks throughout the parks will be less reliable with the discount, but the main shops that line places like Main Street, U.S.A., are a virtual lock for discounts on most merchandise.

PhotoPass photographers can add magic to your vacation pictures. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Picture-perfect moment

The photographers at Disney World are great at grabbing that perfect family memory. You’ll find a few special tricks up their sleeves, like making Tinkerbell appear next to your daughter’s outstretched hands. The new PhotoPass option for annual passes means saving at least $70 by paying for this add-on instead of buying the $185 Memory Maker package that gives guests access to vacation photo and video downloads for 30 days.

Hotel discounts

Disney World frequently offers hotel discounts to annual passholders. We’ve saved over $100 per night on recent Walt Disney World Resort stays. You can look at the Disney World website to see discounted annual pass room options. They’ll appear in a separate column alongside other rate choices.

WALT DISNEY WORLD

Special event tickets

Disney World has several special events, including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Annual passholders generally receive discounts on special events.

Magic Kingdom during Halloween. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

V.I.Passholder events

In addition to the discounts for special ticketed events, passholders have access to occasional V.I.Passholder events. These limited-time events can include additional perks and discounts like free gifts, photo ops, in-park lounge access and more.

Everything else

Disney World offers a slew of other passholder discounts for everything from movie tickets to VIP tours to spa treatments to golf tee times. Annual passholders usually also receive sneak previews of new and upcoming attractions, such as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

You can even book reduced rates at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii during certain times of the year. You can find a list of all the saving opportunities that are available on the annual pass discount page.

How to maximize your annual pass savings

Of course, the easiest way to save money with a Disney World annual pass is to plan more than one trip to Disney World per year. Frequent visits might be out of the question for some families due to budget or geographic reasons, but you can get creative with the calendar.

One of the best methods for families to double up their savings is by planning a summer trip two years in a row so you hit the parks in August of year one and in July about 11 months later. Doing so will make it so you can get your annual pass, which is valid for 365 days from when you first use it, to cover your annual Disney family vacation at least twice.

Related: The 17 best Disney World hotels for your 2024 stay

By planning a five-day family trip to Disney World (like the one described above) as a group with one person purchasing an Incredi-Pass, you can expect to save at least the difference in price between a ticket and an annual pass between hotel, dining and merchandise discounts.Tack on a second (and potentially third) trip to Disney World in the same 12 months, and you’ll easily exceed the $1,449 fee for Disney’s most expensive annual pass when you factor in the savings on your hotel stay, dining and merchandise.

Is a Disney World annual pass worth it?

Planning a Disney World vacation can be daunting, especially when you add up all the expenses. You’ll pull out your wallet (or flash your MagicBand+) plenty of times while at the parks.

If you plan on visiting at least twice in a 12-month period for a minimum of a four or five days at a time and know you will take advantage of the pass’ discounts, you will likely save money by having a Disney World annual pass.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

To ensure you’re getting as much value out of your purchase as possible, be sure to be strategic about how you buy your annual pass. It will most likely code on your credit card as entertainment or amusement park tickets, not travel, so you’ll want to use a card that awards a bonus on entertainment, such as the 4% back on the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card. Better yet, purchase it with discounted Disney gift cards to ramp up the savings.

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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