In the grand scheme of things this is a question that gets posed to me time and time again. Why? Well the reality is that annual passes are very expensive and getting even more expensive by the year. Will we see an increase this year, most likely, but am I going to renew next year? Almost assuredly. In the big picture the answer to today’s question is simple. Is it worth buying a Disney World Annual Pass as a “non-local?” The simple answer is 100% yes but if you’re reading this you know there’s far more to it than that simple response.
Here’s the reality from a numbers standpoint, even though the numbers aren’t why I will always buy an annual pass. Realistically, if you spend more than 4 days in the parks on two separate vacations in one calendar year, it is worth it to buy the annual pass instead of two four day park hopper tickets. That’s the simple math. A park hopper four day ticket is $534.60 per four day ticket totaling $1069.20. An annual pass for a non local at the typical platinum pass rate is $1,119.
I know the math folks in the room aren’t happy with me right now because the two separate tickets option is in fact cheaper. However, you have to tack on the optional renewal discount that saves you around $100+ on next years AP and also have to consider the up to 20% off select dining at nearly any dining location on property. That difference of $50 can easily be made up with discounted food and even room rates discounted up to 35% which is a huge savings that I use all the time as a non local.
So, from a monetary standpoint the AP is legitimately a great deal even at the elevated price it has become notorious for over the years. The difficult reality is buying the ticket up front and sinking that much money into a one time purchase. I get it, trust me. Just because I do what I do certainly does not mean I enter the parks for free (Remember, I don’t work for Disney directly so I don’t get the added benefit of free theme park admission like those who work for the company do.)
To me though, none of the above facts and figures really matter and here’s why. My annual pass is a card in my wallet that allows me to take a step back, jump on a plane whenever and however I can make it happen, and walk through those gates any time they’re open 365 days per year. I can not tell you how many times I’ve come across a holiday falling at just the right time to squeeze in a weekend trip, a cheap flight popping up to get me down there for a few days, or even realizing Hilton Honors points have racked up and now I can buy a flight and just head to the parks.
Sure, these things don’t happen all the time but in many ways it’s knowing that it’s a possibility that often adds a weird sense of joy to having the annual pass. In many ways it’s like someone gave you a key to your favorite destination and said come and go as you please. My friends, that’s a wonderful feeling at times. Disney to me and so many of you all is this place where you can set the worries of the world aside and being able to go there as many times as I want to step through those gates is such an incredible feeling.
Obviously, the financial side of things is important, I totally get that, but don’t be so caught up in the numbers and realizing “I have to spend this many days in WDW to make it worth” that you lose sight of the greater benefits the Annual Pass has to offer. That’s my greatest piece of advice when considering this purchase.
At times, I genuinely look at an annual pass as my yearly contribution to better my own well being mentally. It’s a practical and metaphorical escape from reality that is unmatched by anything else in my life. Disney isn’t asking me to say that, but it is and likely always will be a true statement in my life. That means more than any dollar amount written on a page.
I tend to view Disney that way time and time again, and if you’re like me and share that perspective I invite you to check out some of my article that focus on letting the parks connect with you. It may surprise you how many people feel the exact same way you do about these parks.
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you’re there, and we’ll keep the conversation going in the future. We’re not the largest Disney community, but we’re one that’s here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!
Need a Travel Planner For Your Disney Vacation?
If you want or simply need a little bit of planning help to make your Disney vacation dream a reality, check out the quote request form below this article for our friends over at Destinations to Travel. They’ll let you do as much or as little of the planning as you’d like and may even save you some money along the way! As always, thanks for supporting those who support us.
Ready to Plan?
Last but certainly not least, if you’re starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2019. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2019 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2019 are a great place to begin!
Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2019 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You’ll probably even save money along the way!