Visiting Disney World is every kid’s dream! At least that was my dream going up. I have definitely realized my childhood dream with FOUR trips to Disney in less than 12 months! In this blog post, I will share why my husband and I became Walt Disney World Passholders in 2016 and why we will not be renewing our passes for 2018. We live in the Chicago suburbs in Illinois and the only way we travel to WDW is by airplane. Now, you may be asking yourself how and why we became Passholders when we live states away! Keep on reading to find out!
We activated our passes on November 10th, 2016 and our passes will expire December 10th, 2017 (we got an additional free month because we bought our passes during Disney World’s 45th anniversary).
About Walt Disney World’s Passholder Program
As a passholder, one has unlimited entrance to all 4 parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood studios) during operational hours for 12 months starting from the date you activate your pass- not the date you purchase it. Disney allows anyone (Florida residents or non-residents) to purchase a WDW Annual pass. Some perks about being a WDW Passholder are special discounts on select merchandise, restaurants, events and Disney resorts on property. Passholders also receive a different Mickey Monitor edition in the mail about every 3 months with the latest additional Passholder benefits and Theme Park events.
Some freebies included with the Annual pass are free magic band, free annual passholder accessory for magic band, free magnet, free parking, free photopass downloads, and an occasional freebie at the parks such as a magnet, cup, pin, or a drawing. There are three different annual passes that you may purchase for Walt Disney World. The Disney Platinum Pass includes everything I mentioned in this blog post (Platinum Pass is the one we currently have). The Platinum Pass Plus Pass includes everything I mentioned PLUS unlimited entrance to both water parks ( Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach), Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The ultimate Disney annual pass is the Disney Premier Pass! The Disney Premier Pass has all the benefits of the Disney Platinum Pass Plus AND all of the benefits of a Disneyland Annual pass!
Prices as of today (12/09/17) are:
Disney Platinum Pass: $779 + tax (per person 3 years and older)
Disney Platinum Pass Plus: $869 + tax (per person 3 years and older)
Disney Premier Pass: $1,439 + tax (per person 3 years and older)
We bought Platinum Passes on 08/21/16 and activated them in the parks on 11/10/16. The price we paid was $749 + plus tax for each ($1, 498 + tax for both). It ended up being $1,595.38 with tax for both.
4 Reasons Why We Became WDW Passholders
- Disney is the ideal vacation place: Okay, I may be the one who’s obsessed with Disney, but my husband loves going to Disney World! Our first trip to Walt Disney World was in 2013 and we have visited several times since then. The one time we chose to go somewhere else for vacation (in 2014) we both agreed that we would have rather gone to Disney World instead. Disney World makes it so easy to vacation there by providing free shuttles from the airport to your resort, extra magic hours for lower crowds, friendly cast members, and clean environment. Disney pays attention to all the little things and it just blows my mind how good they are at what they do. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you need to start planning a Disney vacation!
- It made sense, financially: Before becoming annual passholders, we would go to Disney World for 10 days straight whenever we visited. When our daughter was born I wanted to wait until she was a few months older to take her for the first time, so we decided that in the fall of 2016 would be a great time since she would be 9-10 months and the weather would be perfect. I did the math about 1000 times and discussed it with my husband several of times before buying our annual passes because they are not cheap at all! My conclusion was that if we were to visit in Fall 2016 for 10 days and then again in fall 2017 for another 10 days, before our passes expired, then the annual pass would pay itself and we would even end up saving money. The additional merchandise, food and resort discounts would just be a bonus since we would get our money’s worth by just visiting the parks for a total of 20 days. This was the main reason we became annual pass holders.
- Infants travel for free: I’m all about Disney vacations and about saving money! When Disney World is states away, you bet I am taking advantage of infants flying for free! This was my chance to take my daughter to my happy place for FREE. No additional airplane ticket, no additional annual pass needed for her. I was very lucky to have a baby who slept through the night, stayed quiet during airplane rides, and was able to take her naps at the parks with any amount of noise. Now, I have several of wonderful photos of all of her visits at the most magical place on Earth. She won’t remember it, but I know she enjoyed it and I will cherish those moments forever.
- Bragging rights: This a fun one! Becoming an annual passholder was never a goal or dream of mine. I live in Illinois and thought it would be silly to even think about it. I love looking through Instagram at other passholders’ pictures and I, too, love saying “I’m a passholder!” It’s fun showing your love for Disney and sharing Disney moments.
4 Reasons Why We Will Not Be Renewing Our Passes
- Terrible Twos: Our daughter, Elena, is turning 2 in January 2018, and her behavior and patience has changed dramatically. I would think people just made up stories about the “terrible twos,” but now I know it’s real! Traveling with Elena has gotten a bit difficult and we will continue to travel nearby, but we can’t imagine taking her on a flight at this time.
- Elena won’t travel for free anymore: An extra $300 for a little person? No, thank you. Although she can still visit the Disney parks (before turning 3), flying is not free anymore. This I can understand why- she’s getting bigger. At this time, with the terrible twos going on, we’re not ready to even get on the airplane with her, haha. When the time comes, we will of course budget to get her her own seat.
- We’re not planning to go to Disney in 2018: We traveled to Disney World several times between November 2016 and September 2017. Although Disney planning and Disney vacations are amazing, it can get exhausting. Planning, booking, reserving, packing, flying, waking up early, taking naps, visiting the parks, making it to fastpasses, going to to shows, riding attractions, making it to dining reservations, staying up late, traveling back home, unpacking, getting back to normal routine, and doing it all over again. It’s a lot and I even planned our wedding in 3 short months during that time! I think it’s fair to say that we all need a break. Don’t be surprised if we end up going to Disney World in 2018 because you just never know 😉 .
- We are saving money for other things: Unfortunately, life is not all about Disney vacations. We have other plans on what we will be spending our money for 2018. One of them being, a new car!
Will I ever be a WDW Passholder again?
I would love to be a passholder again! We will, of course, keep visiting Disney World throughout the years. If there comes a year where I know we will be visiting more than once or twice, I will consider becoming a passholder again.
Thinking about becoming an annual passholder? Are you an annual passholder? Let me know in the comment section below!
Read about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2017 HERE.