From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Michelle Perkins
Another week has gone and we are almost to mid-March! That seems so crazy to me. We are busy in our little household having recently finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend and we just signed up to do the Wine and Dine in November ( just the half and the kid’s race this go around). I had my friend who is also my daughter’s godmother fly down and she did the 5K & traveled with her two children. We were talking before she arrived via text about memory maker and other things with her stay and it got me thinking. I don’t have to worry about that type of thing I just grab my magic band and my bag and go. I don’t need to worry about memory maker with my pass or what type of tickets to get. I mean, I can’t always go on the rides I love but I can go back and try another time. So that is my topic this week… to have a pass or to pass on the pass. What are the pros and cons? Let’s dive in.
I am going to start with the affirmative. I am a local and I am speaking from a local perspective. We go to the parks a few times a month on weekends during the school year. Now in the summer, we go more often, I don’t have school and we will go in the morning for a few hours then come home. I like being able to go whenever I want. My pass doesn’t have blackout dates but some passes do. I personally want to choose when to go or not to go I don’t like not having the option. Some folks, this won’t matter. They won’t go in the summer for other reasons so the other passes may make sense. As a family, we enjoy the water parks, especially when it gets very hot in the summer. So, we have that option on our passes as well. Disney to me is my fun, my happy place, we budget for this as a family. We opted to do monthly payments and use some of our tax refund money to put a down payment on our passes. This makes them very affordable for us. You can pay them all at once too. If you are a Florida resident it is one of the benefits, being able to pay each month. Now we do have passes to the other attractions in the area as well, but Disney is our home away from home.
Your annual pass also has some benefits that some people who do not have a pass may not know about. First of all, it gives you discounts. You get 20% off at select dining and merchant locations. This is great if you want to buy some of the fabulous merchandise around the parks. For example, we all love the ears and the backpacks, getting a little bit of a savings makes some of these items more affordable. If that’s not enough you also get free parking! Parking is very expensive if you are driving to the parks every day, so this benefit is totally worth it. Now to my favorite part of all. You can get free merchandise at select times in the year. When EPCOT has its festivals, they usually have a special car magnet available for Passholders. These are collectible for Passholders. Especially is there is a limited amount of time. Last year, there was a Simba magnet at Animal Kingdom, they were not available after just about a day. Disney had to take names of guests that visited the park during the time, the magnet was supposed to be available to send them one in the mail. Sometimes there are other little treats. Usually, at The International Food and Wine Festival, you can get a Passholder exclusive item after you visit 3 times. They have had glasses, cheese boards, and coasters so far. Free stuff is always an incentive if you ask me!
Recently, the prices for the passes did go up for out of state pass holders and for some of the other annual pass options. There are many options for passes. You can have a pass for example that just lets you go to EPCOT after 4 pm. If that is the only park you like, why not? That pass is one that you must live in Florida to get. If you are a resident, you can choose from any of Disney’s pass options. If you live out of state, you can only get the top two passes Platinum Plus or Platinum. These are also the only two passes with no blackout dates. I think the only reasons people opt to not renew their pass or to not get one is cost, and ability to get to the parks. If the passes are too expensive for your budget, then obviously you will not get one. This is especially true if you live out of state and must pay for a pass all at once. Living in this area, my pass is a must. We go often, we enjoy it, and it’s our entertainment. The passes do increase in price, but this is going to happen, people do pay the price. An increase in price will not keep everyone away. Sometimes even on vacation, it makes sense to buy the pass because the price of the single-day park hopper tickets plus memory maker is simply too much. It’s all about what works for you!
Some people love to travel around the world, some people love to visit museums and national parks. We are theme park people. Its what I enjoy so my annual pass is a must for me. It’s up to you though folks. It’s ok if you take a year off if you want, you can always come back when you are ready. It’s ok if you would rather just buy tickets when you want to visit too. So, what is the answer to the question, to pass or not to pass? I say get the pass!
See you soon ohana!