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Disney Annual Pass Strategy for Saving Money
Disney and annual passes. Am I right?!? I mean they hook us with all of their great theming, rides and entertainment, but then they raise the price so high that we have to consider selling our organs just to pay for our “Disney Vacation”.
Of course “Disney Vacation” is a term we no longer use either, because that love of Disney has now turned into a need to visit multiple times per year. It no longer is a vacation, but rather a way of life. Or at least that is how it goes for some. But would you believe you can have your cake and eat it too….sort of! Let’s take a look at your Disney annual pass strategy and how you could save yourself some money and perhaps even get some more Disney along the way!
Are Annual Passes Worth It?
Keep in mind that in the past year both Disneyland and Walt Disney World both dramatically increased the costs of both tickets and annual passes. To find out which option makes the most sense you should look at the ticket costs associated with any trips over the next year. Also try to calculate your annual pass savings on dining, etc., but be conservative.
Disney annual pass prices:
If you have decided an annual pass will make financial sense then you aren’t done yet. There are some other things you need to keep in mind as well. Hopefully my Disney annual pass strategy can help you take a bit of the sting out of those crazy high prices!
Subscription Plans Are Not Your Friend
Disney offers a monthly payment plan for annual passes to certain people on both coasts. Most California residents are eligible for the Disneyland monthly payment plan while Florida residents are eligible at Walt Disney World. Do these interest free plans make sense? I would argue they don’t for a lot of people.
If you’re the type of person who is going to the parks weekly then it doesn’t matter. Your monthly plan is fine. But if you visit 3-4 times per year as part of longer trips then you may want to consider dropping that payment plan and letting your pass expire.
Better Trip Planning Saves Money
If you plan your trips around the annual pass expiration, you can often let your pass expire for months until you need it again. Why would you want to pay every month if you aren’t going to use it? Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you visit Walt Disney World 4 times a year and have decided to get an annual pass. Your trip will start on June 1, so your pass will begin on that date. To keep it simple lets say you visit every 3 months. Trips 1-3 work as usual, but you should plan trip #4 for the week before your pass expires.
In this case your pass would expire on May 31, but you would have used it for all of your trips. You then wouldn’t be due back until September 1. If you follow this strategy then you wouldn’t need to pay for a pass for the months of June, July and August. In other words with the current cost of a Disney Platinum Pass being $1,119 that amounts to a savings of $279.75.
Annual Pass Renewal Discount?
The scenario above is a simple one, but if you determine an annual pass is worth it for you, then some sort of schedule strategy will probably be in your best interest. Disney does sometimes offer discounts for renewing your annual pass, but it almost never will add up to the savings as shown above. If you multiply that savings across an entire family it is substantial. Heck, even letting a Walt Disney World Platinum Pass expire for a month would save a family of four $373!
Disney Annual Pass Strategy for Once A Year Visitors?
But what if you only visit once per year? In some cases it may actually make sense to get an annual pass then as well. While it will depend on the length of your trips, in some cases if you plan two or more visits in a year then an annual pass will make sense, especially if you are eligible for a discounted pass or you spend a lot on dining/merchandise.
Additionally you may also be able to give yourself a free trip/trips! By using a scheduling strategy of planning a trip on day 1 and then a trip just before the pass expires you can achieve your once per year trip and give yourself free admission the rest of that year as well. Perhaps you can talk yourself into another trip if you don’t have to pay for tickets!
Think Outside of the Box
The truth is there are tons of methods you can use to formulate your Disney annual pass strategy, but you should have one. Thinking outside of the box can result in tons of money saving ideas. Determine which passes you are eligible for and claim any and all discounts within your grasp. Then, be strategic with your trip planning and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish! More Disney for less money. Sounds good to me!
Do you employ my Disney annual pass strategy or do you save money another way? Share your Disney annual pass tips, tricks and strategies in the comments!