We bought annual passes to Walt Disney World this year. And we live in Indiana. Are we crazy? Maybe a little bit, but at the beginning of the year, we sat down and thought about how we wanted to vacation this year and realized we already had two trips to Disney planned. Plus, this is the year that Galaxy’s Edge opens and my daughter is a huge Star Wars fan.
Years ago, we used to spend three or four weeks in Florida every June. With a husband who’s a teacher, and my ability to work from anywhere, it was a great way to kick off summer. Sadly, those days are long gone, but as a family, Orlando and Disney hold so many wonderful memories that we make a point to visit at least once a year. Back in the day, we could purchase ten-day tickets with no expiration and just use a few days each year. It was lovely.
Knowing that we had a few trips planned, I started investigating annual passes. We’ve always kicked around the idea but just couldn’t justify it.
Until this year
Thanks to our DVC membership (which we love!!!), we were able to buy some nicely discounted annual passes that did have a few blackout periods. Luckily for us, those dates did not interfere with trips already planned. We also added a third Disney trip to the summer to get full advantage – and I just booked a long weekend next month with just my daughter.
It was a big cost upfront, but it’s been worth every penny. The big advantages are:
- Not feeling obligated to stay the whole day – it’s so relaxing to just walk over to Epcot for a meal, or ride just your fast passes at Hollywood Studios and then leave. So much less stress.
- It’s easy to add on extra days or short trips. With tickets already paid for and DVC points to use for the room, our only cost is transportation and food. For example, at Spring Break we were having such a great time that we decided to stay a few extra days. We had driven, so it was a no-brainer to add on two nights.
- Spread out your costs. We bought the passes in February so by the time we went to Disney in April they were long paid for.
- Fastpasses – I can book Fastpasses 30 days out whenever and 60 days out when we have a DVC trip planned – no need to figure out which days I am going to use tickets ahead of time.
- Photopass – I had no idea how much I would love this, but Photopass comes with the annual passes. We take advantage of this and finally have ride pictures (hilarious) and fun family photos.
- We save money – not only on our park tickets but also 10 – 15% at many restaurants and shops. Score!
So how do you decide if this is right for you? I think the reasons above add to the overall value, but you can still do a simple cost analysis. Figure out how many days you are going to be at the parks, look up the daily rates on the Disney website for those days and add it up. If the annual pass is cheaper, buy it. For the price we could get, the breakeven point was six days. So far we’ve spent ten days at the parks with at least one more week-long trip to go. Make sure to check for special pricing too – DVC, Florida Resident and Military all often have ticket deals.
Vacation Tip: If you want assistance in planning your Disney vacation, I can help you – as a Magical Vacation Planner, I can help you book your trip at no additional cost. Contact me to learn more.
I think it’s going to be a difficult choice come January to decide if we will renew them or not. I guess I better start planning 2020 trips to help me decide!
Have you ever purchased annual passes to a place that isn’t in your own backyard? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?
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