Is a 2018 Disney World Annual Pass Worth it? 7 discounts to Consider

2018 Disney World Annual Pass Annual Passholder

Even though I live near Pittsburgh, PA, my family and I still have Walt Disney World Annual Passes. And, while it may not make sense why we’d invest in the passes for twice a year visits, we find that the discounts definitely outweigh the costs. Is a 2018 Disney World Annual Pass worth it? Here’s this year’s discounts and perks to help you narrow down your decision.

Is a 2018 Disney World Annual Pass worth it? Here's the top seven of this year's discounts and perks to help you narrow down your decision.

 

For this post, I’ll be using the Disney Platinum Pass as an example. There’s no visit blackout dates unlike the Florida Annual Pass. 2018’s Platinum Pass price is $849 plus tax, so you’ll be looking at $904.19 per person ages three and up.

Keep this in mind, though: apart from park admission, only one member of your traveling party needs to have an AP to reap the benefits. And, there are several Annual Pass tiers as well: Florida Resident, Water Parks, and Platinum Plus may work for you. 

When I travel to WDW with my family, we average at least 14 days in the parks per year with our two visits. If you visit the theme parks for more than 11 days in a 12-month period, your Annual Pass will pay for itself in theme park hopper tickets alone.

Add in the freebies and discounts and you can begin to see why it may definitely benefit you. Here’s the best discounts and perks for this year.

1. 2018 Disney Annual Pass Dining Discounts

In 2017, it was a no-brainer for me to have an Annual Pass for the dining discounts alone. There were plenty of on-property restaurants offering a 20% discount on food and beverage. Add up three meals per day times two weeks and you can see where I’m headed.

For 2018, there’s still plenty of Disney dining discounts, but most of them are 10% with a few 15% and 20% off. For a family of three, we average about $200 per day in dining (two quick service, one sit-down meals per day). Even at the lowest discount of 10%, we’re saving 20 bucks a day. That’s $280 a year with 14 days on property.

Magic Kingdom parking entrance

2. Annual Pass Theme Park Free Parking

Honestly, I find the park ticket prices to be pretty steep and to add in a hefty parking charge is just crazy. For 2018, you’re looking at $22 per vehicle per day if you drive or rent a car. Most of the time we road trip to WDW, so we generally like to drive ourselves to the parks (I really need to write about why we choose to) and, as long as one of us in the car has an AP, parking is free. Taking our 14 days a year as an example, that’s another $308 in savings.

All Star Music Resort Premium Room exterior

3. Discounted Resort Room Pricing

When you stay at an on-property resort, you’re in that “Disney bubble” for your entire stay. You don’t have to think about anything but park logistics like when to eat and what attraction to visit next.

Several times a year, Disney releases special AP resort room pricing that I love taking advantage of. Sure, there’s special room pricing without an Annual Pass as well, but AP holders tend to get a bit more of a discount. Again, this is all a bonus if your pass will pay for itself in theme park tickets. alone.

Snow on Main Street U.S.A. during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Snow on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

4. Special Event Ticket Discounts

I love visiting Disney World during the the holiday off-seasons (think the week before holiday break in school, right after Labor Day, etc.), and with these times of year come hard ticket events, AKA, Magic Kingdom Parties. Yep, we’ve checked out both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party & Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and I find them both worth the additional costs. Each is a hard ticket event, meaning a regular theme park ticket won’t get you admission into the parties.

A family photo at The Purple Wall in Magic Kingdom!
A family photo at The Purple Wall in Magic Kingdom taken by a PhotoPass photographer.

5. Free Memory Maker Photos

Yes, you can totally hand any PhotoPass photographer your phone or camera and ask to have your picture taken for free, but having access to Memory Maker and free PhotoPass downloads for the entire length of your AP is a definite bonus. I’m able to hop online and customize our photos with cute Disney details. I can also hop on the My Disney Experience app and download photos almost instantly after they’ve been taken.

To purchase Memory Maker separately, you’ll be paying $149 three days in advance or $169 day of but it can be used immediately.

Disney Souvenirs Minnie Mouse

6. Shopping Discounts

During Magic Kingdom’s 45th Anniversary in 2017, there was a huge 20% discount in most of the on-property shops. For us, especially for my teen daughter that loves pin buying and trading, we saved hundreds of dollars during each of our visits.

For 2018, at the time this post was written most on-property retail locations are still offering a 20% discount with a few 15% and 10% places thrown in. 

 

7. Additional Discounts

There’s so many for 2018 that I’d be rambling on and on for hours. So, here are the basics. You’ll get anywhere from a flat dollar off to a $15 discount on water parks, tours, and even the movie theater at Disney Springs. There’s also discounts on bike rentals, golf, and water sports. For the full list of special discounts, head here.

2018 Disney World Annual Pass Discounts and benefits

What Else?

Like I wrote earlier, you only need one member of your traveling party to purchase an Annual Pass to get all of the discounts. Do the math and figure out if it’s right for you – I’ve never second guessed my decision.

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26 Thoughts to “Is a 2018 Disney World Annual Pass Worth it? 7 discounts to Consider”

  1. James Leatherman

    Either the price has gone up, or you know how to get a pass discount. 2018 pass on the Disney website is $849.00 and $$904.19 after tax

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hi James, the price just went up yesterday – Gah!

  2. Ellen

    Can a passholder get discounts on tickets?

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hi Ellen, thanks for stopping by the site! Yes, but it depends on what type of tickets you’re talking about. WDW has offered discounts on party tickets including Mickey’s not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you’re talking about theme park tickets for guests, the answer is sometimes.It has offered Annual Passholders the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets for friends and family. When it does offer them, it’s generally for a specific window, so make sure to keep checking its website – I’m not seeing any discounts for theme park tickets listed right now.

    2. Karyn Locke

      Hi Ellen,

      Walt Disney World has offered Annual Passholders the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets for friends and family in the past. When it does offer them, it’s generally for a specific window, so make sure to keep checking its website – I’m not seeing any discounts for theme park tickets listed right now.

  3. Ali R

    Having trouble finding it… Are there discounts at quick service restaurants too?

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hi Ali,

      Yep, there sure are! Right now, there’s 10% discounts at several Quick Service restaurants, but WDW likes to change up which ones pretty frequently so I won’t add them here. for the full list, head to the official Walt Disney World website and search Passholder Discounts. Hope this helps!

  4. Donald Goodman

    When is and how much is bring a friend with annual passes

  5. […] ticket and you’re ambitious, you can technically visit all four theme parks the same day. Disney World Annual Passes have built-in park hopping capabilities, too. There’s also basic park hopper tickets and park […]

  6. HANNAH

    Hi, this post has been helpful. We live in Florida and have been debating whether or not to get annual passes. We have 4 people in our family would it be cheaper to buy everyone their own annual pass or one annual pass and individual tickets every time we visited? We would be visiting probably every other weekend and a day trip here and there every month.

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hi Hannah, thanks for stopping by! Good question, too. If you’re planning on visiting more than 11 days a year, Annual Passes will be more cost-effective, for sure. Take into consideration that if you visit every other weekend, that’s 26 weekends a year – and double the amount of days you’d need to be in the parks to cover the expense. You’ll also get discounts on dining and free parking, too!

  7. This article has bee super helpful! I live in NYC and have been debating getting a WDW annual pass as I like to do quick 2-3 day weekends at the park. Every other I’ve read have been from FL residents so it is great getting a non-FL AP perspective.

    1. Karyn Locke

      Well, thank you so much! When you start weighing in the perks, it’s definitely worth it for me. And thanks for stopping by the site!

  8. Becky

    Do AP get discounts on dining plans?

    1. Vex Maryn

      Hi Becky, thanks for popping in! Sorry, there’s no discounts on the Disney Dining Plan for Annual Passholders, but keep checking the official website for discounts – you never know when one will pop up!

  9. Susan

    Hi there! My husband & I visited WDW this year back in January for 4 days. We’re going back next month for another 4 days, because we had such a great time. Do you know if we can receive a credit for the price we paid back in January towards an annual pass when we visit in April? If so, that would be a good amount of money towards annual passes for us?

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hi Susan, I’ve purchased tickets for my family and then upgrading them while we were on our trip with valid theme park admission still left on them and that was no problem to do. To my knowledge, you’re able to upgrade tickets to Annual Passes within 14 days of the first use of the ticket. Since you’re going back, though, I’d take my used tickets with me and talk to a guest relations castmember just in case. Good luck and have fun – we’re headed back in April as well!

  10. Linda Locke

    Good evening, I seen your name .You might be related to my husband, his last name is Locke. Raised and lived in New York State. I just thought maybe we can find out if you are its good to know if he has more family out there somewhere.. I know its totally off the comments but we also live in Florida now, so we are thinking about getting annual passes. My two brothers , my sister-in-law, my daughter and my daughter-in-laws all work for Disney. I tired to work at Universal but the drive and the hours didn’t work out.. I love Disney, my family tired to get me a job at Disney but of course you need to go thru the channels.. Anyway, if you have any suggestions on annual passes for me and my husband(JIM) i would appreciate a e-mail back.. Thanks looking forward to hearing from you..And we have AAA would that save us money as well?

  11. […] Is a 2018 Walt Disney World Annual Pass worth it? Seven discounts to consider. […]

  12. […] finally had my head wrapped around the Walt Disney World park tickets and Disney annual passes. Then WDW goes and offers a 1-Day, 1-Park with 3 Linked Fastpass+ selections. Sigh. Is a 1-Day, […]

  13. Ashley

    Hi Karen,
    Thank you for your insight into the WDW passes. We are Florida residents and our family includes me, my husband and our 5 year old daughter. My daughter and I like to hit the parks while my husband will do the Magic Kingdom for a day and then he likes to golf/swim at the pool. I would think we would need to purchase all 3 Platinum passes so that my daughter and myself could hit the parks while my husband golfs, but I saw that you said it only takes 1 person to purchase a pass to receive the benefits? I am bit confused. Sorry but do you mind elaborating on that a bit? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Ashley! thanks for reaching out – and reading!

      You only need to have one person in your traveling party to get benefits like free theme park parking, dining discounts, and discounts on special events if there are ones for passholders.

  14. Dan Tramon

    DISNEY needs to offer non-Florida residents a monthly payment option for Annual passes, like every other major theme park. I do not know why they cannot find a way to offer it. Universal does it, Hersheypark does it, Busch Gardens does it, even Sesame Place. It is so difficult for a family of 4 to try to come up with $4000 in one fell swoop to pay for park tickets. This needs to happen! A lot more people would buy Annual passes.

  15. Stacey

    Hey, I am planning on going to Disney twice next year and checking into Annual passes. It is worth it? . I would be the only person getting a AP since one trip is with my Daughter and the other is anniversary trip with my husband. WE are staying at Disney both times about 6 days in parks each time. Also I always get memory maker.
    How does it work for me to get a room and the other person’s tickets. Do I have to do it all separately? or I can do it through My Disney app? Do you get room discounts as well with Annual pass? One trip is Jan or Feb. the other is September. Thanks,

    1. Hi Stacey – thanks for reaching out. Here’s the scoop: you only need one annual pass to reap the benefits. If you’ll be in the parks for more than 11 days in any 12 month period, the pass will break even. Add in the benefits of discounted rooms and dining (and shopping) and it makes sense for my family. you’ll also get free Memory Maker photos for every visit as long as your annual pass is valid.

      Do get an AP discounted room, your pass needs to be activated and ready to use. I always log into the WDW official website and my discounts show up when looking for rooms. If you’re planning on making FastPass+ reservations for attractions, you’ll need to purchase your party’s tickets in advance to take advantage of that benefit.

      Hope this helps! Karyn

  16. Brenda

    HI our trip is this year Dec 7th when should I buy my annual pass for this trip? I don’t want to buy it to early so we have more time to use it we don’t usually go in the summer season due to the crowds were always off season.
    Thank you
    Brenda

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