Walt Disney World Announces New Annual Pass System

August 30, 2021, 11:05 AM · The Walt Disney World Resort will start selling annual passes again on September 8. And like its older sibling the Disneyland Resort, Disney World has revamped its pass system.

At least Walt Disney World is still calling its annual passes "annual passes," rather than rebranding them, as Disneyland did. But like Disneyland, the new WDW APs will come in four tiers, and advance reservations will continue to be required to use them. And the names are no longer intuitive, either.

Here are the new Disney World AP levels:

Pixie Dust Pass: $399 plus tax. Hold three reservations at a time. Florida residents only. Blockout dates apply.

Pirate Pass: $699 plus tax. Hold four reservations at a time. Florida residents only. Blockout dates apply.

Sorcerer Pass: $899 plus tax. Hold five reservations at a time. Florida residents or DVC members only. Blockout dates apply.

Incredi-Pass: $1,299. Hold five reservations at a time. No blockout dates. Open to all.

Monthly payments are available to Florida residents on all plans, after a $205 down payment. All passes include parking. (Disneyland fans weep.) Food and merchandise discounts of up to 20% will be available at participating resort locations, as well.

Disney PhotoPass no longer will be included in these AP tiers, but will be available as an add-on for $99. There will be a $99 water parks and sports add-on available, too.

Current annual passholders may continue to use their APs, but must switch to one of the new plans at renewal. A 15% discount is available to renewing passholders, however.

Note that upgrading to an AP will cancel your existing park reservations, so if you want to upgrade your day ticket to an AP, you probably should wait until the final day of your visit to do so. However, if you book a Disney resort stay as an annual passholder, you will be able to make park reservations as a resort guest for each day of your stay, in addition to your regular passholder reservations. Disney also said that it will add "bonus reservations" to the calendar from time to time, so passholders can make an additional park reservation without it counting against their reservation limit.

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Replies (9)

August 30, 2021 at 12:13 PM

Loving Walt Disney World for forcing out of state residents to pay for the expensive pass. This should have also been implemented for Disneyland’s Magic Key.

August 30, 2021 at 1:51 PM

I don't agree AgustinMacias. DVCs and frequent out of state WDW visitors should not be treated significantly different from Florida residents, and this is what these new AP rules do. I don't have a problem giving Florida residents a break on their passes or giving them special perks that are especially advantageous for those that can come to the parks on a regular basis (i.e. every month or 2). However, DVC owners invested with the expectation of visiting WDW more than 10 days every single year, and forcing them into an AP tier that's significantly more expensive changes the calculus for those guests that have already invested tens of thousands of dollars into Disney. It would be one thing if WDW offered multi-day passes that stretched beyond 10 days that were specifically geared towards DVC owners that typically spend 15-20 days per year in the parks. What is currently being called the "Pirate Pass" (second tier) was sufficient for most DVC owners unless they needed to have a no-blackout pass, but that level is no longer available to guests living outside the State of Florida. DVC owners are now being forced into the 3rd tier of passes (Sorcerer), an increase of nearly 30% over the 2nd tier (and the tier pass DVC owners typically purchased in the past).

I think the biggest mistake Disney is making here is that they've removed Memory Maker/PhotoPass as a benefit of being an AP holder, and are not offering additional benefits at each tier (the only differences are the ability to hold more reservations at a time and blackout dates). They are offering a subscription Memory Maker/PhotoPass, but it's an added charge regardless of which tier you purchase. This goes along with my criticism of Disneyland's AP changes where not only is Disney raising the price of their product, but they are making it less valuable. Whether people use PhotoPass or any of the other AP benefits or not, taking anything away as a basic benefit of being an AP is a perceived reduction in value, and when paired with a pretty hefty price increase (much more so than the more subtle increases in California) it's going to create some pretty significant outrage among the Drones.

There also doesn't appear to be any AP holder advantages for Disney Genie+, which was hinted at when they initially announced that system. In fact, aside from park hopping (whether those rules will change any time in the near future is anyone's guess) and free parking, the generic 20% discount is the only other benefit of being an AP. Typically AP holders got discounts on rooms, experiences, after hours events, and numerous other WDW offerings, but the new benefit details only specifically include "dining, shopping, and more". Whether "more" includes rooms and many of the other things WDW guests purchase while visiting (like Genie+) is anyone's guess at this point.

What's crazy is that WDW will start selling these in just over a week, yet they don't seem to be completely decided on the specific details yet. It's almost like they were in the process of figuring out what to do and because DL released their program that WDW got their deadline pushed up a month, so WDW has put together a half-hearted, incomplete attempt at a revamped AP program. They've left enough nebulous terms and flexible language in this to basically work their way out of any corner, but at some point they will need to provide a complete list of benefits, especially if they're going to get anyone to buy the Incredi-Pass - the only advantage of that extra $400 appears to be the ability to visit 4 extra days during the week of Thanksgiving and the week before and after Christmas. That extra cost must get holders of that tier something more than just those few extra days, right?

August 30, 2021 at 4:56 PM

@ Russell: You're assuming DVC members use their days only at WDW and only to visit the parks.

August 30, 2021 at 8:48 PM

I’m actually shocked that the two lower tiers don’t completely block out June and July like the old silver and weekday select passes did. At the same time, I’m a little leery of it because Disney could choose to severely limit the number of pass holders at those tiers they could allow reservations to on those days.

August 31, 2021 at 8:00 AM

@TH - That's true, but WDW vacations are the primary use of DVC points for most members. I guess if WDW's goal was to reduce the number of APs among DVC members, this will probably do the trick, because most owners typically spend somewhere between 8-15 days per year in the parks, meaning that if they're willing to visit on the bottom end of that average, they would be better served not getting an AP.

August 31, 2021 at 9:30 AM

With the consistent crowds at WDW, I don't see an issue with these prices. Granted I'm simplifying it as supply vs demand.

I don't think Disney is being greedy with these AP prices. I think they are managing their unique position in the industry. Frankly, the less Annual Pass holders they have/need, the better off they likely are.

August 31, 2021 at 5:02 PM

Do you think this will have an impact on crowds in September? My recent bride and I purposefully picked this time of year to go for our honeymoon since it's usually on the slower side. But now I'm worried there will be a rush of AP members...

August 31, 2021 at 7:06 PM

Russell: "That's true, but WDW vacations are the primary use of DVC points for most members."

Me: No doubt, but not necessarily to hit the gated parks during the entirety of their visits. DSTP, the watermarks, Cirque, dining outside of the parks, resort activities, etc.

August 31, 2021 at 9:20 PM

@upsidown …. I don’t think there’s going to be much of an influx of new AP’s going to the parks until after October 1st. Maybe at weekends there will be a few more, but other than that, I’d say you’re going to be ok. Only uptick you might see is if you are at WDW that last week of September when people start to arrive for the 50th celebrations.

It will be interesting to watch the reservation availability calendar after the 8th though. At the moment everything is green, even into October. Of course the next bitching session on the blogs will be the new AP’s not being able to get a reservation for October 1st at the MK !! Unless Disney cranks attendance up to 100% for that day?

The parks are amazingly quiet right now. Yesterday at the MK most rides were posted at 10 or 5mins, with 7DMT being the exception at 30mins. I read today FofP was posted at 10mins. Crazy short waits for sure, but it’s all going to change as we get closer to the 50th celebrations.

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