Sunday Saving SeriesWDW Blog

Sunday Savings Series: A Tough Time to Be a Passholder

I love being an Annual Passholder, but… 

There have been several Sundays that I have given all the reasons why it can make good financial sense in some circumstances to become a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder. Because of COVID-19, Walt Disney World has taken a financial blow unlike anything that anyone could have imagined. Disney had to make some difficult decisions. Some of these decisions have made it a tough time to be a Passholder.

Right now it is not possible to purchase a new Annual Pass to Walt Disney World, and we have no idea when the program will be opened up again. Current Passholders can renew, but can’t change levels. I still thought that I would mention what is going on here. I will always share the good with you, so I thought that I’d share the flip side of the coin as well.

With the Disney Park Pass reservation system, Passholders are allowed to hold three reservations at a time. Once you’ve used a reservation, you can make another one. The problem is that there are rarely last minute openings. As I write this, the next opening for Annual Passholders on the Availability Calendar is August 24. If we want to grab a reservation for a park other than Epcot, we need to go all the way to September 1! Those spots will be taken as we get closer to the dates.

The frustrating part for Annual Passholders is that the calendars for Disney Resort Guests and Theme Park Tickets Guests seem to have plenty of availability. For tomorrow there are spots for either in all four parks! I really want to go to a park tomorrow, but I haven’t been lucky enough to grab a quick spot.

It was easier to snag a last minute reservation a little over a week ago. That’s because some levels of Florida Resident passes were blocked out. They aren’t any longer, which means that those Passholders are trying for last minute reservations as well.

From time to time Disney has adjusted the calendar, and more spots have become open for Annual Passholders. It hasn’t happened often, though. It also has not happened last minute, so we still can’t get a reservation the morning of and head to a park a few minutes later. I miss being able to go spur of the moment.

Disney has tried to appease Passholders to some degree. We were given a 30% merchandise discount (it’s normally 20%) for a limited time. They are sending out Tinkerbell magnets, one to each household. In an unprecedented move, Annual Passholders were given an opportunity to cancel and receive a refund, if applicable. Since an Annual Pass is a legal contract written by Disney’s lawyers, they didn’t have to do that. Those who didn’t cancel received a free month.

There are also room discounts for Annual Passholders. I know people who have stayed on property, just because they would then be eligible to get a Park Pass reservation under Disney Resort Guests. There are also ticket discounts for Florida Residents. I know Passholders who have gone that route to get in.

Another thing that is frustrating right now is that I’m a Disney Platinum Plus Passholder. My ticket includes admission to the water parks, but they remain closed. I’m paying more each month (Florida Residents can use a payment plan) but I have the same benefits as a Florida Resident Gold Passholder. Disney has not addressed this issue, I wish that they would.

I’m not complaining. Believe me, I am still thrilled to be a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder. I never considered canceling, and I know that I got my money’s worth, even before the parks closed. It’s just hard sometimes, to have a pass that I can’t use the way that I want to. I don’t know what the solution is, or if there even is one. Stay safe, my friends. In the meantime, I’ll still be trying to get a reservation for tomorrow.