So, Florida Resident, you can’t get enough Disney? Then you probably have looked into an annual pass. Here are some tips to work your annual pass like a boss:
10. Play [Just a Little] Hookie – Obviously, the best value in annual passes is the Weekday Select Pass, with rates only slightly higher than a multi-day hopper. But weekends are the key to your free time…and they’re blocked out. Hmmmm. Don’t worry – you can still make this work! When you have an annual pass, you’ll be OK with just going for a few hours. Take a half day off here and there, or just go over after school/work. Honestly, we’ve noticed a significant decrease in wait times in the early evening anyways. And sometimes it’s less exhausting on small kids if you do Disney in several small doses.
9. Parking Probs – Utilizing the Weekday Select in small doses is awesome…except the multitude of parking fees that you’ll incur. $17 each trip really adds up! If you plan to go more than 13 times with your passes, it may be worth it to buy just ONE person a regular annual pass, which includes free parking. (13 times $17 is the difference in pass prices currently.) However, if you plan to do most of your park visiting at night, take note that parking is free after 7:00 anyways.
8. Don’t Forget the Discount – Annual Passholders get discounts on almost everything inside the parks. That discount also adds up! Don’t forget to show your discount card each time you make a purchase, even if it’s just for a snack.
7. Additional Discounts – As a frequent visitor, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for other ways to keep costs down on your park days. One of my favorites has always been using a Disney Visa Card. Not only will you get additional discounts, but you’ll also be constantly earning rewards points…those points translate to free stuff at WDW! Another way to save money is purchasing Disney Gift Cards at a discount. BJ’s Wholesale Club sells multi-packs of gift cards for less than face value, which instantly saves you money when you use them to make in-park purchases.
6. Be Spontaneous – Sometimes the urge for some Disney time is just so strong! Go with it! Keep your Magic Bands in the car and My Disney Experience on your home screen so that you are ready to go at the drop of a hat. Use the app to check wait times and make FastPass reservations on your way.
5. Utilize ALL FastPasses – Parents Night Out at Disney? Yes please! But don’t forget to bring the kiddos’ Magic Bands. Load FastPasses onto their bands too, and you can increase your riding potential. You paid for that privilege, after all…might as well use it! Do the same for a “date day” with just one of your kids, and make some special memories that make them feel like the star they are.
4. Talk it Up – Do a social media search for local Disney Talk and Sell groups in your area. If there’s not one – start one! It’s nice to have other Disney fans to “talk” to! Not only is it nice to know others share in your version of crazy (ahem), but it’s also a great resource. The group members in my area are always posting about new deals they found in the parks, new merchandise available, swapping collectibles, weather in the parks, park wait times, picking up limited-edition souvenirs for one another, and more.
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3. Celebrate – Yes, if you’re going a lot, not EVERY visit can be a bust-the-budget event. But take the opportunity to do some special experiences on special days…like Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique for your little princess’ birthday or the fireworks dessert on Tomorrowland Terrace for your anniversary. Or make an experience into a reward…like promising breakfast at O’hana for an honor-roll report card.
2. Watch your Timing – Unless your entire party has the most expensive versions of the annual pass, you will have some black-out dates over high-volume times. (And who really wants to go during high-volume times anyways?) So watch those calendars carefully, planning when your “last day” should be before each scheduled break. Also, for families with small children, remember to plan around toddlers turning three. Children two and under do not need passes, so the best time to get the rest of your family’s passes may be right after they turn two. That way you can take them with you all year and not end up with staggered start/end dates.
1. Take a Stay-cation – It might seem weird to take your “big” vacation at a destination so close to home. But remember, non-Floridians choose to take their vacations at Disney all the time! Why shouldn’t you too? Book a resort, make some fun dinner reservations, go to the parks as much as you want, and live the leisurely tourist life for a while. And since you’ll already have your passes, you’re sorta saving money (compared to other people’s Disney vacations)…so maybe you can afford a spa treatment, right?
Being an Annual Passholder makes the magic of Disney accessible whenever you want. Make the most of it! It’ll be a decision you won’t regret and a year you’ll never forget.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!