Why You Shouldn’t Become a Disney World Annual Passholder

by | May 6, 2024 | Walt Disney World Annual Passholders

There are plenty of perks of being a Disney World Annual Passholder, from discounts to endless park visits. However, the Disney World Annual Pass perks come at a cost, one that’s not always worth it depending on how much you plan on visiting. We’re sharing the circumstances when you may want to consider not being a Disney World Annual Passholder, and instead opt for Disney World park tickets.

You’ll often find two types of people when you visit Disney World: Annual Passholders and Non-Annual Passholders. The people in the first category love their pass and the perks it comes with. If you’ve visited our blog before, you know we are all for Annual Passes and the perks they provide. It removes the need to purchase tickets during each trip, comes with perks like discounts and free goods and just makes the process a bit easier for those who visit Walt Disney World quite frequently. 

But, Annual Passes do have their drawbacks for certain types of people. Again, there are benefits but there are a few things that might make the decision different for you and your family. We’re going to break down the reasons why you shouldn’t become an Annual Passholder at Disney World. 

Before you see the reasons why you shouldn’t become an Annual Passholder, here are some of our previous posts to check out that explain the program and its perks. 

Walt Disney World Annual Passes

Disney World Annual Pass Cost 

Let’s look at the Disney World Annual Pass cost, as well as the four types of Annual Passes currently available for purchase:

  • Disney Incredi-Pass: $1,449/year for No Blackout Dates and Open to All Guests 
  • Disney Sorcerer Pass: $999/year for Select Blackout Dates and Open to Eligible Disney Vacation Members or Florida Residents 
  • Disney Pirate Pass: $799/year for Select Blackout Dates and Open to Florida Residents Only 
  • Disney Pixie Dust Pass: $439/year for Select Blackout Dates and Weekdays Only and Open to Florida Residents Only 

Renewal of these passes does come with a discounted price, meaning you won’t pay the above price each year if you are renewing your pass. 

The Perks

All Walt Disney World Annual Passes include certain perks. These perks include discounts at restaurants around Walt Disney World between 10% and 20%, merchandise discounts at retail locations between 10% and 20%,  event and entertainment discounts between 10% and 20%, and free parking around the resort. 

These perks also include free gifts throughout the year, special treats, lounges, and photo ops, among many other year-round pass holder benefits. 

Reasons Not to Purchase a Disney World Annual Pass

Here are our reasons why it might not make sense to get an annual pass. Again, we are definitely not discouraging anyone from purchasing an annual pass, but there are a few things to keep in mind that might help make your decision a bit easier. 

The Cost: Depending on Park Visit Frequency, It Might Not Pay 

Obviously, a Disney World Annual Pass’s cost is an investment in your Walt Disney World vacations over the period of a year. You pay that price and you are given park tickets for all 365 days of the year. Most people who purchase these passes do visit the parks multiple times a year. You’ll typically get your annual pass in lieu of individual tickets because it will be cheaper. That’s where our first point comes in. 

The more you visit Walt Disney World, the more the Disney World Annual Pass cost may be worth it. Let’s use the Incredi-Pass as an example. This pass costs $1,449 for the initial sign-up and has no black-out dates. If you decide to visit the Walt Disney World Parks 5 times in 2024, you are looking at $289.80 per day in park ticket prices. In that same time frame, if you decide to visit 10 times in 2024, you are only looking at $144.90 per day. That’s a big difference. 

That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense at all, but it’s just something to think about given the steep price that is attached to the passes. You’ll need to visit much more to actually get your money’s worth with the Disney World Annual Pass cost.

Doesn’t Make Park Visiting Easier 

For the last few years, a visit to Walt Disney World required guests to make park pass reservations, which were basically reservations for the parks they planned to visit. Back in January of 2024, that rule was lifted for guests visiting with date-based tickets… but it wasn’t lifted for Annual Passholders. 

Given you are paying for your park tickets ahead of time, you might assume that they would make the process of visiting the parks a little more streamlined and easier to navigate. But, that actually isn’t the case. Annual Passholders still need to make those park pass reservations if they plan to visit a theme park before 2 PM, which can be frustrating because if your plan is to visit on a busy day or visit last minute, you’re subject to the park pass availability. 

In an effort to quell frustration from Annual Passholders, Disney added “Good to Go” days for Annual Passholders. On “Good to Go” days, Annual Passholders are able to enter the parks without that park pass reservation. While this sounds amazing, it might be hard to navigate when these dates are, if a pass is actually required for your visit and more. If you are someone who is looking for more simplicity out of your visit and the use of your tickets, this might be something you should think about.  

The Out-of-State Factor 

Being out-of-state doesn’t mean that you don’t love Disney! There are tons of Walt Disney World Annual Passholders that live outside of Florida. Currently, there are only two annual pass types available to out-of-state guests: the Incredi-Pass and the Sorcerer Pass. THe Incredi-Pass is available to all guests and the Sorcerer Pass is available to out-of-state Disney Vacation Club Members. That could mean that if you don’t fit into the Disney Vacation Club category, you are limited to an expensive ticket where you might not reap all the benefits. 

As we said, perks typically include free magnets, ride previews, snacks, discounts and more. If you don’t actually live close to the parks, a lot of the perks that create the value of the pass won’t be experienced, which is a huge bummer. 

While your reasoning for purchasing an Annual Pass might not be dominated by getting the perks, knowing you will be missing out on these perks could be disappointing. 

Can Lead to Overspending 

You might be wondering? If I am saving money on my pass, how do I end up spending more? Well, if you are visiting more, you’ll end up spending more. Very simply, that’s the truth… especially if you are visiting from out of state. You’ll need to eat, sleep, and shop more frequently because you are visiting more frequently. 

As mentioned before as well, you are given a ton of perks, like discounts on food, merchandise and events. Obviously, you’ll want to take advantage of those perks when they do pop up, which might mean you’re spending money more frequently. 

We love shopping and eating at Disney like the next person, but we know that if you are on a budget and, of course, spending the money on an Annual Pass, the last thing you might want to do is spend even more money. 

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Purchasing

Before you say, yes or no to purchasing an Annual Pass based on our reasons, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you proceed. 

  • Do I visit the Disney Parks in Orlando between 10-14 times in one year? Think of it as an equivalent to how many park tickets you’d end up purchasing in the span of a year. 
  • What options for an Annual Pass do I have available to me? If you live in-state, you’ll be eligible for any of the passes, but if you live out-of-state, that number shrinks to 1 or 2. 
  • Will I end up spending more on my pass because I’ll be visiting more? If you know you’ll be staying at the resorts more frequently, estimate prices to see what you’ll be spending. 
  • Will I feel pressured to visit Walt Disney World more often? If you feel like it will be a hassle to visit enough times to make the pass worth it, think about it more. 
  • Do I not only visit Walt Disney World in Orlando? If you love Universal, SeaWorld and other parks in Orlando, maybe you shouldn’t invest all your money into the Disney Annual Pass.

Are you a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder? Let us know if you love your pass or would rethink it? 

Posts by Jenn Marrazzo

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Jennifer Marrazzo is a writer and adjunct professor and knows way too many facts about Disney and cruises. She’s a DVC Member and WDW Annual Passholder and has a vast collection of Disney merchandise from Beauty and the Beast to Baby Yoda. Jennifer has her own blog, The Happiest Travels on Earth, where she offers reviews and tips for Disney and cruises!
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Authored by
Jenn Marrazzo

Jennifer Marrazzo is a writer and adjunct professor and knows way too many facts about Disney and cruises. She’s a DVC Member and WDW Annual Passholder and has a vast collection of Disney merchandise from Beauty and the Beast to Baby Yoda. Jennifer has her own blog, The Happiest Travels on Earth, where she offers reviews and tips for Disney and cruises!
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