Annual Pass - WDW

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Nancy K, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Nancy K

    Nancy K Member

    I was thinking about purchasing an Annual Pass for WDW. How many park days to call it worthwhile? Are the discounts worth it? Especially for non-Florida residents

    What about dining plans? We’ve been getting the Quick Service plan but our last trip made 3 dining reservations out of the plan and ended up with 12 snacks left. So I’m not sure it was worth it. We like having everything paid for up front
  2. RedOctober25

    RedOctober25 Member

    I typically figure 10-12 days in the parks for my AP... though that number decreases if there’s a special. I should also mention that I get a DVC discount. How I figure out mine is to go with the per day price of a 10 day park hopper. Then divide that into the cost of the AP to figure number of days I’d need to go.

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    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  3. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    I figure mine similar to Red, however I tend to base it on planned trips within a 12 month period instead of just an equal cost per day based on the 10 day park hopper. I calculate it based on actual trip durations because a couple of shorter trips will hit the AP cost quicker than a long trip because the cost per day is higher. Also 10 days is the limit for passes, so I figure an 11 day trip as a 10 day park hopper plus a single day ticket because that's how you'd have to buy it.

    I treat any discounts as bonus savings and don't factor them in when determining whether to get an AP. For me the decision is simply based on whether the park tickets for all planned trips in a 12 month period are equal or greater than the cost of the AP.

    Regarding the dining plan, I'm not a fan of it. When if first came out, you could actually save money with it if you are the most expensive thing on the menu all the time. I find that now the plan isn't worth it for me. Also if you are a single traveler or even a couple traveling, a room discount is a bigger savings than "free dining". I know several people who like the pre-paid idea and have gone the route of getting gift cards instead.
    Nancy K likes this.
  4. Nancy K

    Nancy K Member

    mSummers, thank you. Not sure if an AP would be worth it for us.

    Are room discounts offered if you don’t purchase a Dining Plan? I didn’t think they were giving free dining anymore? We’re not going a QSDP next trip. We’re going to just purchase Disney gift cards.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  5. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    They do occasionally offer room discounts. Generally AP discounts and Disney Visa holders get an announcement for discounts before discounts are offered to the general public. Unfortunately the discounted rooms are limited so they're difficult to get at certain hotels or during the more popular off peak times of the year. The Mousesavers website used to keep track of current and past discounts on their site. Haven't looked in a while so I don't know if they still do.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  6. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Also, I recommend doing the math on an AP. If you travel more than once in a 12 month period (note this is any 12 month period, not a calendar year) an AP might work depending on the number of days in the parks. When Mousefest was still happening they used to alternate between the first and second week of December so you could buy an AP the 2nd week of December and use it the following year on the first week. That's one of several reasons why we alternate December and October for Pixelmania. Some of us take advantage of that by buying an AP in December and using it the following October and then letting it lapse until the next December when we get a new AP and repeat the pattern again.
  7. Nancy K

    Nancy K Member

    So you’re buying an AP every other year? We usually go in January or February and I plan to go Pixelmania in October and December 2019. We usually do 5 park days a trip.
  8. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Yes, with a couple of exceptions I get an AP every other year. Without the DVC or Florida discounts renewing every year doesn't make sense for me based on my travel patterns.

    An AP would be worth looking at in your case. A 5 day park hopper is currently $500 including tax. Two 5 day trips is $1000. A Platinum AP currently costs $904 including tax. So you'd save some money if you always take two 5 day trips in a 12 month period.

    Just be careful because if you get one in Oct this year, you'll be able to use it in Feb but not December 2019. I don't know what the exact renewal rules are but if you then tried to get another AP in Dec you might still be in the post expiration grace period and you might get stuck renewing which would be less expensive than a new pass but you would maintain your original expiration date in Oct which may not maximize the savings depending on your future plans.

    All of that is subject to change on an annual basis as Disney keeps raising the prices.
  9. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I agree with the advice so far. It's a little harder for me to calculate as I have a Florida resident rate, which is cheaper...I always purchase the AP, though I've found that I don't need the 'platinum' version - check out the different levels and you can lower the cost if the blackout dates don't affect when you were considering traveling anyway. With the new levels they introduced a few years ago for Florida residents and DVC members, the Platinum Plus with waterparks I don't need, the regular platinum with no blackout dates is closest to the old 'regular' annual pass, but I find the Gold pass saves me a good amount of money and only blacks out a spring break period (in 40+ years I've only been to the parks once in that period), and the last two weeks of December through New Years (I've never been to the parks during that time) gold works out ideally. I figure in the range of $110 per day cost against the pass to see how many days you need to go to 'pay' for the pass. Since you only have the standard full annual pass available, you're probably in the range of 9-10 days per year to make it break-even...but I never tried to compare it to discounted hopper passes.

    I also dislike the dining plan - I've never used it, and it seems it's not much more than a pre-pay convenience for those who want to see their costs laid out in advance. So many people I know who use them end up trying to pass off snack credits or go to higher-end restaurants just to use up leftover credits. I hate the dining plan for other reasons - as it's made the idea of making same-day reservations at restaurants almost impossible - now with people booking meals 6 months before they even arrive...I miss the days when I'd hit the park in the morning, decide what sounded good for dinner, and hitting the old reservation kiosks in Epcot to book for that evening.
  10. Nancy K

    Nancy K Member

    Thank you zackiedawg and mSummers for the clarification. Next I’ll be looking at DVC.
    mSummers likes this.
  11. mSummers

    mSummers Member

    Justin, one clarification. Unless they've changed something recently, you have to be a DVC member or Florida Resident to qualify for the Gold AP and below. Us non-DVC & non-residents are forced into the Platinum pass whether we need it or not.

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