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.
Update: My 2020 Annual Pass Guide is out! Please head here to find out if a 2020 Disney World Annual Pass is worth it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is a 2019 Disney World Annual Pass for You? Here’s the Scoop.