Calling all Disney Annual Passholders, are you ready to take your Disney experience to the next level? Being a Passholder means you’ve got the keys to the kingdom, and we’re here to help you make the most of it! Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned pro, these tips are designed to sprinkle a little extra pixie dust on your Disney adventures.
Overview of the Disney World Annual Passes
Walt Disney World, the magical place filled with Rides, Eats, Characters and lots of Dopamine, offers Annual Pass options for visitors to enjoy the parks year round.
There’s several versions of Annual Passes, and they’ve had different variations throughout the years. In 2023, there are four pass options available for purchase.
If you are currently living in Florida, you can purchase the Pixie Pass, Pirate Pass or Sorcerer Pass.
For those outside of Florida wanting to purchase an annual pass, you can select the Incredible Pass (or DVC members can purchase the Sorcerer Pass).
Passes do not mean automatic entry, and you will still need to get the applicable reservations and abide by the attendance and decorum guidelines.
While Annual Passes come in a variety of flavors, but the tips below apply to all the passes at Walt Disney World! (and find information on direct benefits of your Disney Annual Pass here)
Tips and Benefits of a Disney Annual Pass
-Have the MyDisneyExperience App (for discounts, since they will ask for it)
A newer change (and one that a few of us will need to adjust to) is Cast Members asking to see your MyDisneyExperience App instead of your physical card for discounts. Currently this is a non issue as it’s easy to get to, but if Disney makes it any more difficult to get the discount, this tip will end up on the con’s list for Disney Annual Passholders.
Inside the app, under the ‘three lines’ you’ll find the Tickets and Passes category. Click that and you’ll see your pass! This is what Cast Members will be asking for most of the time.
It’s helpful to make sure your app is updated, logged in, and easy to access for quick checkout.
– Have a Backup Annual Pass
I’ve only had to do this once… but having my physical Annual Pass on me was a much needed option the last time I park hopped! My phone had died in between the Monorail from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, and I needed to get into EPCOT to swap out my Fuel rod.
Thankfully, I had my physical Annual Pass on me and was able to scan in, because I dont carry a magicband.
This also applies to Magic Bands, Apple Watches or a Physical Card.
- If you plan to use a Physical Card, go ahead and set up Magic Mobile (just in case)
- If you plan to use your Magic Band, be sure to add your AppleWatch or Magic Mobile
- If you plan to use MagicMobile, be sure to add a Magic Band or Physical Card
-Have the Best Email on your Profile (and whitelist everything from Disney)
Yeah, it means more email from them, but it also means you won’t miss Passholder exclusives like Passholder Previews!
And then ALSO turn on notifications on social media so you don’t miss Disney Annual Pass perks like passholder previews. I tend to get all of my information from Instagram now, and the only reason I got a Passholder Preview for Cosmic Rewind AND Tron was because of Social Media.
-Sometimes you have to toggle the Annual Pass ‘off’ or ‘on’
There’s two times when you might want to change your online Annual Pass status.
The first is when booking a room for Disney, under the Annual Pass discount option. Occasionally, rooms will show fully booked under the Annual Pass discount, but if you toggle that option to another discount it will likely show rooms. This also works vice versa, when you are looking under another discount and no rooms come up, you may need to toggle over to the Annual Pass option. You might be paying more, but at least you’ll have a room!
This is also applicable when you are trying to book Park Reservations. There’s been several instances where I booked a Park Reservation under my Hotel Stay, but then had to switch to my Annual Pass pool because the Park I wanted was ‘full’ (but it wasn’t full when I switched to my Annual Pass Allotment Pool, only when I tried it through my Hotel Allotment).
-Use the Annual Pass Lines (when available)
While they aren’t always ‘in service’ at the scan in tills, there are designated lines available for Annual Passholders when scanning into the parks. I’ve tested these lines many times, and even if the Annual Pass line is long, it always moves faster than the regular lines.
Find the Annual Pass lines at the following locations:
- At Animal Kingdom, on the far right hand side.
- At the Main EPCOT Entrance on the left hand side. (and the International Gateway on the Right Hand Side)
- At Hollywood Studios Entrance on the right hand side.
- At Magic Kingdom, you’ll find the line on the left hand section, closest to the center. (See picture below!)
-Want a discount at the EPCOT Festivals? Plan for weekday discounts (if they are available)
It is common to see discounts on EPCOT festivals for Food Booths, but only when Disney feels like it! Typically these are on a weekday, like Tuesday or Wednesday and only last for a month.
You’ll also have to follow other restrictions, like using a cashless paying method, or only purchasing items after 4 pm.
-Know when and where to use your Discounts!
My general rule of thumb is… if the location has Air Conditioning (think Table Service or a Shop) then it has an Annual Pass Discount. If it isn’t 100% Air Conditioned (think Quick Serve locations that often have outdoor seating, or Outdoor Carts), then there’s no discount.
There’s exceptions to this rule, but it’s just one that I’ve made up and it’s served me well! For example, you’ll find Annual Pass discounts occasionally at outdoor EPCOT Festival Booths (but not always!). You’ll also find discounts on certain outdoor tours at Animal Kingdom!
Here’s a list of places you can ask for your Annual Pass Discount:
- Table Service Locations- 10%+
- Joffrey’s Coffee- 20%
- Disney Owned Merchandise locations generally 20% (sometimes 10%)
- Third Party Owned Merchandise locations generally 10% (sometimes 20%)
- Mini Golf 15% off
- Tours 15% off
-Issues with your Pass or Trip? Call the dedicated line
One big perk of an Annual Pass is being able to call someone (quickly!) with issues about your trip. Call for trip issues, payment issues, benefits or general pass questions. (407) WDW-PASS or (407) 939-7277.
-Find a Travel Agent that will work with Annual Passes (as many wont!)
Unless your Travel Agent charges a planning fee, most of their income comes from commissions on their bookings. If they are only booking your vacation for Hotels (and the elusive dining plan once it comes back) they might not have a high commission. Find a reputable Travel Agent and let them know up front that you have an Annual Pass.
– Don’t get caught up in the Tourist Hype
If you have an annual pass that means you’ll be at Disney more- Yep, you’ll get to see the “Welcome To Walt Disney World” at least twice a year! And for some of you that live closer, you might even make the trip month or weekly.
So because you have more access to the Mouse, I want to encourage you not to get caught up in the tourist trap of time limits and seeing as much as humanly possible.
What you can do is make it a priority to hit up your favorites while checking out some of the lesser-known places, because every Disney World Vacation is unique. Even if you’ve been 100 times.