Annual Passes Just Changed. Here’s What You Need to Know
During the pandemic, Disney Vacation Club members possessed the ability to renew their annual passes.
However, Disney didn’t go out of its way to emphasize this ability. Instead, the company moved forward with its plan to modify the program.
The same thing recently happened at Disneyland, where management introduced the Magic Key program.
Today, Walt Disney World unveiled its new Annual Pass program. Let’s talk about your new options.
First, I should mention that if you still have an active annual pass, this information won’t apply to you until you’re ready to renew.
That’s important because I cannot sugarcoat the fact that prices just increased for annual passes. Simultaneously, amenities decreased.
To wit, you no longer receive PhotoPass automatically with an annual pass purchase.
Similarly, even the highest tier of annual passes no longer includes the Water Park and Sports option.
Disney has added a “customization” option for such amenities, a polite way of saying you can pay for the privilege if so inclined.
Adding PhotoPass to any annual pass will cost an additional $99. The same price applies to Water Parks and Sports as well.
So, to get back what you already had as a Platinum Plus Passholder, you must add another $198 on top of the price of the top-tier pass.
Disney did keep most of the perks for annual passholders, though.
To wit, you’ll receive up to a 20 percent discount on food and merchandise at the parks. Also, standard parking is free to passholders.
Beyond those benefits, the various tiers for the new annual pass system come down to the number of Park Passes you can hold and when you can visit.
Let’s Talk about the New Annual Pass Tiers
The new annual pass system comes in four forms, one of which targets DVC members.
As usual, the cheapest option applies exclusively to Florida residents. Disney calls this one the Disney Pixie Dust Pass.
For $399 plus tax, Florida residents may visit “one or more” Walt Disney World theme parks on “most weekdays.”
The language suggests that you must make an advance park reservation and are “subject to blackout dates including peak and holiday periods.”
As was the case with Magic Key, Disney didn’t reveal exact dates for any of its blackout periods yet.
So, we’re all just guessing, although we know how the system worked previously. I doubt Disney moves away from the old blackout dates substantially, but that’s just speculation.
Holders of the lowest tier of annual pass may schedule up to three simultaneous Park Pass reservations.
As for monthly pricing, all four annual passes will require a $205 down payment if you prefer to pay monthly.
For the Disney Pixie Dust Pass, you’d then get billed $19 per month afterward.
The second tier is the Disney Pirate Pass. For $699 plus tax, Florida residents can visit one or more resorts on “most days” during the year.
You’ll also hold up to four park reservations at a time. This one would cost $205 and then monthly payments of $45.
Let’s Talk about the DVC Annual Pass
Since most people reading this don’t live in Florida, you’ll really choose between the top two annual passes.
The first one, the Disney Sorcerer Pass, is available for DVC members and Florida residents only. So, it’s like the old Gold pass.
For a price of $899 plus tax, you’ll get to visit the parks on most days, albeit with blackouts on select dates during holiday periods.
A fair assumption here is that the most expensive dates on the DVC Points Chart are likely to come with annual pass blackout dates.
On the plus side, you’ll get to hold up to five park reservations at once. I know that many of you book weekly stays at Walt Disney World.
As such, the limitation of five Park Passes seems restrictive and at least somewhat problematic….but it’s not!
Significantly, the announcement adds that “Passholders staying at select Disney resorts” – like DVC ones! – can book Park Passes for each day of their hotel stay!
That’s one less thing to worry about as we transition to a future with permanent Park Pass requirements as part of a standard Disney vacation.
The monthly bill for the Disney Sorcerer Pass is $63 per month after the $205 down payment.
The Incredi-Pass Is the New Platinum Plus Pass
Those of you who want to avoid blackouts should consider the Disney Incredi-Pass, the closest equivalent to the Platinum Plus annual pass of old.
For $1,299 plus tax, passholders receive access to all Disney parks every day of the year. So, there’s no fear of blackouts.
Yes, you will still face the limit of five park reservations at a time. However, that’s less problematic since you can also book reservations for each night of your DVC stay.
This plan costs $99 per month after the $205 down payment. If you want PhotoPass and Water Park and Sports options, it’ll cost $1,497 plus tax.
Also, Disney is no longer offering a DVC discount. So, the Platinum Plus annual pass that cost us $849 plus tax to renew until the pandemic is now $1,497.
As I said, there’s no sugarcoating that. As an aside, these prices go into effect on September 8th.
You have until then to speak with Disney customer service about renewing your old version of the annual pass. It’s worth a shot.