For Christmas this year we got a gift for the whole family, an Annual Passholder membership to Disney World (Florida.) Here is the low down on what pushed us over the edge.
What Is Disney World’s Annual Pass?
A Disney Annual Pass entitles visitors to unlimited entries to all four Disney World parks and depending on the pass, access to their water parks and golf courses. Each Annual Passholder receives a complimentary Magic Band for quick access to rides and the parks along with a magnet and the benefits of their level of membership.
An Annual Pass allows guests to ride Magic Kingdom rides in the morning, catch a Fast Pass to Smuggler’s Run at Hollywood Studios’ Galaxy’s Edge later in the day before dining around the world at Epcot in the evening. Holding an Annual Pass not only simplifies the cost of park visits and opens up a lot more freedom with a lot less planning.
Passholders also save on merchandise and dining in the parks.
What Are the Costs?
Disney tickets are not cheap. A park hopper can easily run to $200 for a single day during busy periods at the Happiest Place on Earth. Single Day tickets vary in price depending on the volume of visitors and the park selected but generally range from $100-140/park/day/person.
For Florida residents, the entire process is not only more affordable but much easier. The five least expensive packages are only for residents of the Sunshine state: Epcot After 4, Weekday Select, Theme Park Select, Silver and Gold. Those passes start at $329/person/pass and rise to $744. But the best benefit is that Floridians pay about $140 upfront (approximately the price of a single park ticket) then split the remained over 12 payments with no finance costs.
New to the state of Florida? Here is a list of eligible documents besides a Florida driver’s license that will qualify guests for Florida Resident Annual Passes:
Proof of Current Mortgage
You may use a monthly mortgage statement from within the past 2 months; it may not be more than 2 months old. Deeds, mortgage contracts, mortgage payment booklets and leases are not accepted.
Bills, Policies or Registration
- Current homeowner’s insurance policy or bill
- Current automobile registration, insurance policy or bill
- Current Utility bill (power / phone / cable / water)
- Bills can be no more than 2 months old (P.O. Boxes are not accepted as proof of residency)
- Mail from financial institutions, including checking, savings or investment account statements
- Mail from federal, state, county or city government agencies
- Mail can be no more than 2 months old (P.O. Boxes are not accepted as proof of residency)
Additional members of the same household must only provide proof of same residential address.
Current statements and bills printed from electronic versions are accepted, along with electronic bills provided via smart phones and tablet devices.
Will We Be Able to Justify the Expense?
This year, I am tracking our Disney experience with perhaps a closer level of detail than I employ to other aspects of our travel experiences. For example, I track my flights every year to make sure I have an accurate count of upgrades, who I flew with and how many issues I have had along the way. I did the same thing with hotels as I was sorting out my priorities between four top tier elite hotel statuses.
So far, we have been able to visit six days this year, we have another five scheduled before March and I would like to get the average cost per visit about as expensive as a dinner out. From my estimation, I will need to hit more than 25 visits. The difficult part of extracting greater per visit value is the principle of diminishing returns is that adding another five visits at a certain point will only drop the cost per visit by a few dollars.
Adding Disney World Annual Passes to our lives has been a great addition so far, but may not be perfect for us long term. Florida residents (and those in California for Disneyland) get tremendous value from their annual passes over those located out of state especially with their ability to finance at 0% and reasonable monthly payments. Whether or not we achieve the value is up in the air, but so far, it seems like a great fit.
What do you think? Have you considered an Annual Pass? Have you held it in the past but let it go?