Sunday Savings Series: Will Buying One Annual Pass Still Save You Money?

These lines aren’t always open… 

I’ve mentioned before that you and your family might be able to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation by purchasing one Annual Pass. Then Walt Disney World suspended Annual Pass sales, using COVID-19 as an excuse. The new program is rolling out, and passes are not cheap! I thought that I would once again explore whether or not buying one Annual Pass could help you to save on your Walt Disney World vacation.

I’ll start with the cost. The Disney Incredi-Pass will cost $1,299. (All prices listed here will be before tax.) A ten-day ticket during the slow season will cost $609.05. That’s half the cost of the Incredi-Pass! A ten-day ticket with Christmas Eve as your starting point will cost $765.46. That’s still quite a bit less. These prices include Park Hopper, which is also included with an Annual Pass.

As an Annual Passholder, you will receive benefits. One of the big ones is free theme park parking. Another perk is that sometimes there will be savings on your Walt Disney World accommodations. That said, if you’re staying on property you will receive free theme park parking, so those two cancel each other out. If you’re staying off property, free parking is nice.

One perk that has been taken away from Annual Passholders is the free PhotoPass downloads. You’ll now need to pay an additional $99 to not have a watermark on your pictures. Memory Maker costs $169 up to three days in advance of your vacation, $199 if you add it after that. So you’ll save a little bit there, but I’m as annoyed as the next person that we now need to pay for something that was included in the past.

There are discounts of up to 20 percent on merchandise and food. This could add up, but you’d have to buy a lot of souvenirs to make up for that extra $600 that you paid for one pass! That wouldn’t be $600 worth of souvenirs, it would be $3,000 worth. The dining discount can make a difference, but most quick service locations don’t give one. That means that you’ll have to eat at a lot of table service restaurants to benefit. If you’re trying to save money most likely you won’t eat at too many sit down restaurants.

There are also discounts for special events. The discount right now is $10 for Disney Boo Bash After Hours or Disney Very Merriest After Hours. That’s not a considerable savings.

Overall, I don’t think that buying one Annual Pass will help you to save anymore. You might break even if you stay off property, buy a lot of souvenirs, and eat at several table service restaurants. My advice is to instead save that money and spend it on something extra. Have one splurge meal or buy a souvenir that you really want, even though it’s overpriced.

Of course, if you’re a Florida Resident, it’s a different story. We have other levels of Annual Passes that are much more affordable. The benefits are the same as the Disney Incredi-Pass, but there are blockout dates. If you plan carefully, purchasing one lower level Annual Pass could help you to save quite a bit on your vacation.