Break out the calculators again; it’s time to go through some Walt Disney World annual pass purchasing scenarios. Previously, I’ve investigated the value in a Premier Passport (for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland) and the difference in ticketing between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Now I’m investigating when purchasing a Walt Disney World Annual Pass is worth the money.
An undiscounted standard Annual Pass costs $489. Therefore, $489 is the break-even point and other ticket options should cost less to make them worthwhile. I will remove Water Parks and More from the equation for now, but I’ll include the Park Hopping option because Park Hopping is included with the Annual Pass.
A 10 day Magic Your Way ticket with the Park Hopper option costs $295. The ticket itself is $194 below our break-even point. However, if you are parking each day at the theme parks and not staying at a Disney-owned on-site hotel, add $14 per day to this for a total of $140. The cost of one person’s ticket and parking is $435, only $54 less than the Annual Pass. At this point it’s worth the money to purchase one standard Annual Pass for your party and 10-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper for everyone else. You will receive all the benefits and discounts of an Annual Passholder including “free parking” but you will also pay only what you need for tickets and parking. If you travel solo, you probably want to purchase an Annual Pass. Remember, these calculations include paying for parking. If you’re staying at a Disney-owned resort, parking at the theme parks is included with your hotel room. Guests staying at a Disney-owned hotel for 10 days will probably not find an Annual Pass worthwhile.
What if you’re planning to stay more than 10 days at Walt Disney World? The Florida resort sells no more than 10 days on one ticket. An additional ticket can be purchased for the extra days. This adds up quickly; two extra days with Park Hopping costs $208. Add the 10 day ticket with Park Hopping ($295) and the total is up to $503, more than the cost of an Annual Pass. If you are planning to spend 12 days in the parks with Park Hopping, you should definitely invest in Annual Passes instead.
What about the water parks? Disney World also offers the Premium Annual Pass, which includes unlimited admission to Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and the Oak Trail Golf Course. These are included in the Magic Your Way ticket’s Water Parks Fun and More option. The Premium Annual Pass costs $619, and you get 1 Water Parks Fun and More visit per day of admission purchased on the Magic Your Way tickets. A 10 day ticket with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options costs $347. Even when we add in 10 days of parking ($140), the total cost of $487 is less than the Premium Annual Pass.
What would it take for the Premium Annual Pass to be worth the cost? If you take parking into account, only one more day with Park Hopping and Water Parks Fun and More is needed to make up the difference ($347 + $183 for the extra day + $154 for parking = $684). If you are staying at a Disney-owned resort, two extra days including the options ($260) brings the total ($607) very close to the Premium Annual Pass.
What about Disney Vacation Club members? DVC members’ standard Annual Passes are discounted to $369. The 10 day Magic Your Way ticket with Park Hopping is $295, so it would only take one more day to pass our break-even point. If you’re a DVC member who plans to spend more than 10 days at Walt Disney World in a year, it’s worth it to purchase a standard Annual Pass. With only a $74 difference between the 10 day ticket and the Annual Pass, it may even be possible to make up that difference through Annual Passholder discounts.
DVC members can purchase a Premium Annual Pass for $489. To fully take advantage of this, 11 days of Park Hopping and Water Parks and More options would cost $530 ($347 + 183). The difference between 10 and 11 days is so large, however, that it may not be worth buying the Premium Annual Pass at 10 days.
Hopefully the math laid out here can help you make an informed decision regarding your Walt Disney World ticket purchases. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter what you think or if you’d like to see any other scenarios.
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