It is 2023, and the Walt Disney World Resort still has not fully reopened sales of its Annual Passes. While the intermittent selling of Disneyland Magic Key Passes might give many stuck buying Theme Park Tickets hope for a change this year, all except the lowest their of Florida passes remain exclusively available to current Annual Passholders. But for those who already have Disney World Annual Passes, the time to renew is always around the corner, and for you fortunate Disney fans, it is time to ask yourself the same question: is it worth it to renew?
The other side of the pandemic has revealed a different situation for Annual Passholders. Unlimited Park Access outside of the minimal blackout dates has been replaced by Theme Park Reservations and restricted Park Hopping access. PhotoPass is no longer included in the initial price for any of the available levels, and the complimentary FastPass+ system has been replaced by the extra-cost Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane systems. Add this with an actual increase in blackout dates, and higher prices, and it is easy for one to start questioning if it is still worth it to renew their Disney World Annual Pass.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your current situation and how you feel the next 365 days are going to play out. But in order for you to make a properly informed decision, here are a few things you should consider.
When Can You Renew Your Disney World Annual Pass?
Walt Disney World Annual Passes can be renewed beginning 60 days before your current pass’ expiration date and up to 30 days after it expires. That is a 90-day window for Passholders to decide if they want another year in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom and still be able to receive what Disney calls “renewal benefits.” According to the folks at The Walt Disney Travel Company, the special renewal benefit is the ability to retain an Annual Pass–as well as upgrade or downgrade level–while new sales are currently paused and at a discounted rate compared to what one would spend purchasing a new pass. This Annual Pass renewal benefit discount is reportedly around 10%.
It is only during the renewal process that current Annual Passholders can upgrade or downgrade their current status. However, Disney PhotoPass Downloads and the Water Park and Sports Option–which provides access to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Parks–can be added to any Disney World Annual Pass for $99 plus tax (each) and remain valid for the rest of the year. If you choose to renew your Annual Pass but downgrade to a lower Pass tier, such as trading your Incredi-Pass for a Sorcerer Pass, the changes, such as lower costs and increased blockout dates, will not go into effect until after your original pass’ expiration date.
Disney World Annual Passes can be renewed online through your MyDisneyExperience Account. You can also visit the Annual Passes page on the Walt Disney World Resort website, click “renew now,” and you will be guided to select one of the renewal options for the discounted price.
What Renewal Options do Current Annual Passholders Have?
At this time, all four Disney World Annual Passholder Tiers are available for renewal. That is if you are a Florida Resident. The Disney Pixie Dust Pass, and Disney Pirate Pass are only available for Florida Residents. The Disney Sorcerer Pass is also exclusive to Florida Residents and Disney Vacation Club Members who are eligible for Membership Extras. Only the Disney Incredi-Pass, the highest Annual Pass option, is available for renewal for all Disney World Passholders. All four Disney World Annual Passes are also available with a Florida Resident monthly payment plan.
For those Disney World Annual Passholders interested and eligible:
- Disney Incredi-Pass costs $1,399 plus tax.
- Disney Sorcerer Pass costs $969 plus tax.
- Disney Pirate Pass costs $749 plus tax.
- Disney Pixie Dust Pass costs $399 plus tax.
All four tiers offer the same level of complimentary parking and discounts. The most significant difference in these renewal options, besides price, comes down to blockout dates, with the Disney Incredi-Pass including no blockout dates, and the Disney Pixie Dust Pass being blocked out every weekend day as well as peak crowd and holiday periods like Christmas and Easter. There is also a difference in the amount of Theme Park Reservations you can save at one time.
Regardless of which option you choose, please remember that nobody can use your Disney World Annual Pass except you, and you cannot put more than one person under a single Disney World Annual Pass.
How Many Days Do You Need in Disney World to “Pay For” Your Annual Pass?
This is one of the most important questions, right? The idea of a Disney World Annual Pass is to be able to get access to the Theme Parks for most of the year, basically for free. And the amount of days you need to visit before you have paid for your Annual Pass depends on which Pass Tier you choose.
For those who do not live close, two days is not enough time to really see everything at Disney World, especially due to the Park Hopping Restrictions that limit most Guests to two or three Parks per day. In fact, Disney’s Hollywood Studios alone might need two days with one just focused on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Four to Five days would be the realistic minimum to see everything at a vacation’s pace, but it is truly up to each Disney fan.
As of this article’s publication, a one-day Standard Theme Park Ticket ranges between $109 – $189. This price is before adding extras like the Park Hopper Option. Florida Residents are able to save up to 40% on 3- or 4-day tickets as compared to non-Florida Residents, which brings the average cost slightly lower. Non-Florida Residents are able to purchase tickets valid for as many as 10 days, and the cost per day drops the longer the time you want.
According to Disney World’s website, a 10-day Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket with the Park Hopper Option in 2023 will cost would-be Guests between $783 and change (if visiting between August 18 – August 31, 2023) and $968 and change (if visiting between December 19, 2023 – January 1, 2024). Remember that, unlike many of the Annual Passes, Tickets are not subject to blockout dates, only Theme Park Reservation Availability.
These tickets can be used on non-consecutive days but must be used within a limited time window like the ones shown above in parentheses. If you foresee yourself spreading the 10 days out over a longer stretch of the year–say, three days for a birthday weekend, four days during the summer, and three days for EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival–you will need to purchase more multi-day tickets which will cost you more.
The least expensive 2023 3-day Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket for a non-Florida Resident with the Park Hopper Option at the time of this article’s publication is $442 and change. The least expensive 2023 4-day Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket for a non-Florida Resident with the Park Hopper Option at the time of this article’s publication is $575 and change. That means that you only need to spend a maximum of seven days at Walt Disney World Resort to pay the same price or more for an Annual Pass. And this does not include Theme Park Parking.
So if you are planning to take multiple shorter Disney World Vacations this year, it might be financially beneficial to consider renewing your Annual Pass. If you plan to visit the Walt Disney World Resort just once this year with one long vacation, then you might want to consider just opting for a multi-day Theme Park Ticket. That being said, there are still a lot of perks and discounts that you could get as a Disney World Annual Passholder, and we will discuss those in the next section.
What Discounts and Other Perks Do Disney World Annual Passholders Still Get?
While some perks seemed to go out the window with these new “Bob Chapek Era” Annual Passes, such as no more complimentary PhotoPass downloads, no more FastPass+, and no more Park-exclusive options, some quality discounts and perks are still around and are continuing to come back.
For starters, Disney Fanatic recently reported that soon, Annual Passholder would not need a Theme Park Reservation if they want to visit certain Theme Parks after 2 pm on certain days. Disney Parks said, “at Walt Disney World, Annual Passholders will be able to visit theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a park reservation. The only exception is Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom.” While this perk will most definitely benefit the local Passholders, it will still give all Passholders the flexibility that has been missing since the Parks reported. Click the link below to read more of this story.
Annual Passholders are also often treated to special preview events for the latest rides and attractions. Disney World has previously held a Passholder Preview for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT, and many speculate that there will be an announcement regarding the Passholder Preview for TRON: Lightcycle/Run at Magic Kingdom in the coming days.
As for other Perks, all four Disney World Annual Pass tiers earn up to 20% off select merchandise, 10% off select dining options (with some locations offering 15% or 20% off), 15% off select events and entertainment like Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, the Wild Africa Trek, and EPCOT Seas Adventures — DiveQuest, and 15% off select recreation activities such as Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf, Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness, and the Olympiad Fitness Center. All four Annual Passes also come with Standard Theme Park parking as well as automatic Park Hopper access.
Disney World Annual Passholders are also currently able to take advantage of Bonus Reservations. These will populate occasionally and allow Passholders to make extra reservations beyond their normal limit. When they are not staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, Disney Incredi-Pass holders and Disney Sorceror Pass holders can make five Theme Park Reservations at a time. Disney Pirate Pass holders can make four Theme Park Reservations at a time, and Disney Pixie Dust Pass holders can make three Theme Park Reservations at a time.
Then, there are the Disney Resort Hotel Discounts. Disney World Annual Passholders still get treated with exclusive discounts on select stays at their favorite Resort Hotels. At the time of this article’s initial publication, for example, Annual Passholders can save up to 25% off on select nights in early 2023 and up to 30% on select rooms for stays five nights or longer at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawai’i. Please note that these discounts tend to change throughout the year.
Disney Pixie Dust Pass Pricing and Highlights
At the time of this article’s publication, the Disney Pixie Dust Pass is the only one that is currently available for purchase in case you finally want to become an Annual Passholder, or you have waited until after the 30-day window to renew.
Available only to Florida Residents, the Disney Pixie Dust Pass is the most affordable Disney World Annual Pass, costing $399 or $18.33/month with 0% APR after a $205 down payment. That being said, the Disney Pixie Dust Pass has the most blockout dates of any other Disney World Annual Pass tier.
The Disney Pixie Dust Pass only offers admission to Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on most weeks, Monday – Friday. All Saturdays and Sundays are blocked out using this Pass, as well as holidays, such as Memorial Day, and other peak seasonal periods, such as Easter/Spring Break season.
But as we previously said, Disney Pixie Dust Pass holders still get the same exclusive discounts as the higher-tiered Passholders, and anybody with the Disney Pixie Dust Pass will be able to upgrade to Disney Pirate Pass, Disney Sorcerer Pass, or Disney Incredi-Pass once they hit their renewal window. The extra cost of the upgrade won’t be added until after the Pixie Dust Pass expires, so the cost of the Annual Pass upgrade will essentially be the normal cost of the new Pass.
This also means that all non-Annual Passholder Florida Residents who purchase the Disney Pixie Dust Pass will essentially be qualified to purchase the higher renewal-exclusive Passes at the of their renewal. However, many Disney fans at this time are expecting Disney World Annual Pass sales to resume very soon.
Please feel free to reach out to the Walt Disney World V.I.Passholder Support line, the Walt Disney Travel Company, or the Walt Disney World Resort Website for the most up-to-date information regarding the details and inquiries of Disney World Annual Passholder renewals, purchases, and more.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney Parks news and stories as more developments come to light.
Source: Walt Disney World Resort