This is a very important question that I struggled with last year. When does it become worth it to buy an Annual Pass? Before we answer this question we have to start with some assumptions. First, you get a park hopper when you come to the parks and second, you come to the parks more than once a year or stay for long periods of time. If you don’t stay for long periods of time or come multiple times in a year the answer is almost assuredly no. Before we get in into the numbers lets look at the difference between the two options we are exploring.
Multi-Day Park Hoppers
As we can see above, your per day ticket price drops each extra day you plan to go to the parks except for the second day. For some reason that jumps a few dollars and is something I can’t quickly explain or figure out. With every ticket purchase you can add the park hopper option, which allows you to jump form park to park with buying another ticket.
Many people say its way to expensive to go to Disney World because the only ticket price that is ever mentioned in the news is the one-day ticket price and everyone thinks it will cost them $100+ everyday. So, they think if they stay a week it will cost them over $700! When in actuality staying for 7 days would cost $370.02 plus tax, and if you add a park hopper option it would cost 439.02. Unfortunately this myth that you have to spend over a hundred everyday to get in the parks prevents people from ever considering a vacationing in Disney World and its something you know better than.
Annual Pass Options
You have to choices for annual passes. The Platinum Plus Pass and the Platinum Pass. Both names sound like Disney is trying hard to make both passes sound premium. So, they have a Premium Pass and an Extra Premium Pass. They have the same base options, which are admission to all the parks for a year, no blockout dates, park hopper and free parking, plus PhotoPass downloads. Where they differ is the Platinum Plus pass includes admission to the water parks, ESPN Wide World Of Sports, and the Oak Trail Golf Course, while the Platinum Pass does not have these extras.
Comparing the Two
Ok, now that we know what the options are, when is it best to jump over to the annual pass? I can give you a very quick answer; if you plan on going to the parks for 13 days or longer in a row you will most definitely save money with an Annual Pass and have added perks to go with it. If you make two trips in the year and plan on staying at least 4 days or more each time, you are better off getting an Annual Pass. I will try to demonstrate this below in a fancy chart!
Ok, not so fancy! This chart should show most combinations of visits and when you should stick with regular old tickets and when you should move into Annual Passes. In the red, stick to tickets. In the green, go for a Platinum Pass. In the blue, try out the Platinum Plus.
Say your first vacation of the year is 7 days, look at the vertical days and go down to 7, now your second vacation of the year is only 4 days, look at the horizontal days and go to 4. Now find where they intersect. If your first vacation is 7 days and your second vacation is 4 days, you will end up spending $833 and are better off buying the Platinum Plus Annual Pass.
It should even work with a vacation that is longer than the maximum 10 day Park Hopper. On the first verticals days go down to 1o and on the horizontal go to how every many days you are staying above 10. So, say you are staying two weeks, on the vertical column go to 10 and on the horizontal go to 4 which gives you a total spent of $863 and you will be better off buying a Premium Plus Annual Pass.
I hope I explained this chart somewhat adequately and that it helps you decide when to get an Annual Pass and when to stick to Multi-Day tickets. The one thing a failed to add into the price figure is the value added options that come with the Annual Pass. For the Platinum Pass that is the PhotoPass downloads and for the Platinum Plus Pass that is the PhotoPass downloads, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and Oak Trails Golf Course access. I decided to leave these off of the price figure to focus on ticket prices and when you would save money jumping to an annual pass that would give you some great value added options that you might not purchase as a stand alone option.
For most families that only go once a year it’s usually always cheaper to buy a Multi-Day ticket, but there is a lot to consider if you plan an extended vacation longer than 10 days or you make multiple visits throughout the year. It is somewhat surprising how quickly it becomes best to buy an Annual Pass, two 4 day visits or one 3 day visit and one 5 day visit means you are better off buying an Annual Pass. You would be saving money and getting extra benefits at the same time. So, the next time you are planning your vacations keep this in mind! After writing this I have definitely realized we would have saved money last year if we would have gotten the Platinum Pass. Oops!
Let me know if I need to explain the chart better, because I’m sure I do.