The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From the Annual Passholder Announcement

Last year’s Tinkerbell magnet 

Walt Disney World will once again sell Annual Passes, starting on September 8. There will be four different pass levels, three of which will be for Florida Residents. The top level, available to everyone, will be Disney Incredi-Pass. The Florida Resident Passes, from highest cost to lowest, will be Disney Sorcerer Pass, Disney Pirate Pass, and Disney Pixie Dust Pass. Disney Sorcerer Pass will also be available for DVC Members. If you’re currently an Annual Passholder, you’ll keep your existing level until you renew.

When the announcement was made on Disney Parks Blog, it had a positive spin. I thought I’d go through the information a bit and share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’ll start with the good. Under the new program, most Annual Passholders will be able to hold more Disney Park Pass Reservations. Disney Incredi-Pass (which is similar to the current Platinum Pass) and Disney Sorcerer Pass (similar to Gold) will be able to hold five reservations at a time. Disney Pirate Pass (similar to Silver) will be able to make four. It’s still three for Disney Pixie Dust Pass (similar to Weekday Select). If you’re a current Annual Passholder, you could be eligible for more reservations as well, based on your pass.

I was a bit worried that theme park parking would no longer be included. Fortunately, that will still be a perk for all levels. There will still be discounts of up to 20 percent on dining and merchandise at select locations. Current Annual Passholders will soon receive another magnet in the mail, based on the new Annual Passholder logo. Yay!!! (I hope my sarcasm showed on that.) We’ve also been promised “bonus reservations”, whatever that may mean.

Now for the bad. Annual Passes will no longer include your PhotoPass Downloads. You can add them on for an additional $99 per person, per year. There is no longer a Platinum Plus Pass, which included the Disney Water Parks. You can add the Water Park and Sports Option for an additional $99. That one isn’t really as bad, since there was a price difference for Platinum and Platinum Plus, which included the water parks.

Onto the ugly. The price for Annual Passes has gone way up. As in I-need-to-start-saving-to-renew-now high. If you are purchasing a new Disney Incredi-Pass, it will cost $1,299. The renewal rate will be $1,104. Disney Sorcerer Pass will cost $899 new, $764 to renew. A brand new Disney Pirate Pass will be $699, the renewal $594. Finally, Disney Pixie Dust Pass will cost $399 new, $339 if you are renewing. Those prices are all before tax. To compare, I have a Gold Pass, and renewed in April for $594. My ticket just went up by $170, plus I now have to pay for PhotoPass. But hey, they’re sending me a magnet…

Theme Park Select and Epcot After 4 are gone. These are current two Florida Resident options. My husband has Theme Park Select, which is a ticket that has blockout dates on certain parks, based on the day. There is always at least one park that he can go to. Since he doesn’t go often and it’s mostly for a special occasion, this works for him. When we renew he’ll probably go up to Disney Pirate Pass, which will be an increase of over $220.

I know that Disney is expensive. I also know that I will pay the price to renew next year. But I’m sorry, the original Disney Parks Blog post said that the new levels are “designed based on Passholder feedback”. I highly doubt that any Passholder said “Please take away my included photos, but send me a new magnet”. Based on the number of Annual Passholders who never received the promised Tinkerbell magnet last year, even this won’t be a perk for many. The best part about the new system is that we can make more Disney Park Pass Reservations, but before the closure due to COVID-19 we could come and go as we pleased. I guess the good from today’s announcement isn’t that good after all.