What You Need to Know Before You Purchase a Walt Disney World Annual Pass

Walt DIsney World ANnual Pass Feature
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Annual passes have been unavailable to many Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort for the past couple of years, but that is all about to change. If you are new to the Disney Annual Passholder family, or if you let your last pass expire and missed your renewal, we’re rounding up everything you will want to know before you purchase a new AP.

Sales of new annual passes have been paused at Walt Disney World since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, with the exception of limited options for Florida residents only. Annual passes will finally go back on sale at all tiers to all Guests beginning April 20, 2023, but unfortunately, it seems like securing a pass will not be as easy as it has been in previous years.

Guests riding the PeopleMover in Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Which Annual Passes will be available?

Walt Disney World Annual Passes range in price from $399-1,399 depending on which tier you go with. Each pass comes with different benefits (and blockout dates) as well as eligibility requirements. Many Annual Passholder benefits are included with all passes, including merchandise, dining, recreation, and backstage tour discounts, special offers on Resort stays, the occasional complimentary magnets, standard theme park parking, and more.

While the theme park reservation system remains in place, all Annual Passholders regardless of their tier are able to enter Disney Parks after 2:00 p.m. without a reservation, with the exception of Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays.

annual pass

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Disney Pixie Dust Pass -$399

The most inexpensive annual pass option is the Disney Pixie Dust Pass, which at $399 plus tax, is limited to Florida residents. Payment plans are also available for this pass, with 0% APR after a $205 downpayment and $19 monthly payments. Guests using the Pixie Dust Pass are able to make three reservations at a time to visit the Parks.

The Pixie Dust Pass includes admission to all four Walt Disney World theme parks on most weekdays, subject to theme park reservation availability. There are select blockout dates, especially during busy times of the year like holiday weeks. Since this pass only covers weekdays, if you plan to visit the Parks on weekends, this is likely not the best option for you.

Disney Pirate Pass – $749

The next level up from the Pixie Dust Pass is the Disney Pirate Pass. This pass is again only available to Florida residents and is priced at $749 plus tax. Payment plans are also available at $50 per month after a down payment of $205.

Unlike the Pixie Dust Pass, however, the Disney Pirate Pass includes admission to at least one Disney Park most days of the year, with blockout dates again coming into play for peak crowd weeks and holidays. And, in another step up from the Pixie Dust Pass, the Pirate Pass allows Guests to hold four theme park reservations at once time.

Classic Disney Characters at EPCOT Sphere_Feature Image

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Disney Sorcerer Pass – $969

The Disney Sorcerer Pass is available to both Florida residents and members of Disney Vacation Club. (If you are a member of Disney Vacation Club, you can also purchase your new pass beginning April 13, 2023, rather than waiting for general sales to begin on April 20.) Payment plans for this pass are exclusive to Florida residents and run at $69 per month with 0% APR after a $205 down payment.

The Sorcerer Pass does come with some blockout dates, but it also allows Guests to hold up to five theme park reservations at once.

Disney Incredi-Pass – $1,399

The top-tier pass, and the only Annual Pass option available to Guests who reside outside of Florida, is the Incredi-Pass, priced at $1,399 plus tax. This pass, as its price suggests, does not have any blockout dates (though it is still subject to theme park reservations with the exception of the after 2:00 p.m. rule and asterisk about Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays.)

Guests who purchase the Incredi-Pass are able to hold up to five reservations at once. Payment plans are available only to Florida residents once again, and are priced at $108 per month after a $205 down payment.

Tree of Life

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How can I purchase an Annual Pass?

First, we have to apologize in advance for the process you are about to embark on. In the “before times,” aka pre-2020, purchasing an Annual Pass was no different than buying any other Disney ticket. Thanks to limited capacity and the theme park reservation system, however, times have changed, so we are going to do our best to prepare you for the process.

Passes will go back on sale on April 20, 2023, (or April 13, 2023 for Disney Vacation Club Members). Disney has not announced what time the sale will launch, however, it is typically early in the morning. You’ll want to be online, logged into your My Disney Experience account, and ready to buy as early as you can be.

You will likely be entered into a virtual queue, where you will wait until you are let in to shop for your pass. Once you are in, select your pass and check out quickly. (Basically, do your research on which pass you want to purchase before April 20.) Do not refresh your browser, breathe, and give yourself plenty of time to caffeinate before you log on!

Street Scene in Hollywood Studios

Credit: Disney Dining

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What about upgrading tickets?

You can technically upgrade your Disney Park tickets at any time (not only to Annual Passes, but say, if you wanted to add days to your ticket or if you purchased base tickets but want a Park Hopper.) The challenge in doing this now comes into play when you consider the theme park reservation system.

If you were to upgrade a regular Park ticket to an Annual Pass, you will lose your Park reservations and have to make new ones under the Annual Passholder reservation calendar. For that reason, Disney recommends that you wait until the last day of your trip to upgrade your ticket, but we would caution against doing this as with limited availability of Annual Passes, they may sell out altogether if you wait.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a great solution for this. If you find yourself in a situation where you already have tickets but would like to upgrade to an Annual Pass, it seems there are three options:

  1. Upgrade your ticket at the end of your trip, and hope there are still Annual Passes available.
  2. If you have a package booked, change it to a room only reservation, do not select tickets in the first place, and attempt to purchase a pass on April 20.
  3. Purchase an Annual Pass on April 20, keep your current tickets, and activate your pass at a later date. (Your pass is not active until you use it to enter the Parks, so you could buy an AP on April 20 and wait to activate it anytime within the year of purchase.)
Character Dining Lilo and Stitch Ohana Breakfast

Credit: Disney

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Is an Annual Pass worth it?

It depends. If you are a Florida resident who plans to visit the Parks frequently, at least one of the tiers will certainly offer a value. If you are traveling from out of state, you may want to crunch some extra numbers to see what the best “deal” for you is (and this can get quite complicated where regular ticket prices change based on the date.)

Before passes go on sale, we recommend viewing the complete details of each tier that will be available to you on Disney’s official website, and comparing estimates against the cost of purchasing regular Disney tickets. Annual Passholders are also entitled to discounts on merchandise, dining, and more, but for estimation purposes, we recommend purchasing a pass based on the value of Park entry alone. The discounts are a nice perk, but if you are buying a pass for the discounts alone, you will likely find yourself justifying more trips than you would have previously, which will cost more overall.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."