Now that the shock of the price increase on annual passes has set in, let’s look at the updated value of an annual pass. Besides the price, the biggest change to the annual pass is that Memory Maker photo downloads are now included. An advance purchase of Memory Maker currently costs $169. If you are a fan of Memory Maker, this is an awesome addition; if you’re not, it is just lipstick on a pig.
To keep things simple, I’m just going to compare the price of Magic Your Way tickets*, Memory Maker, and annual passes. Free parking, dining discounts, shopping discounts, and other benefits will be ignored in the calculations to keep things as simple as possible. (These are nice benefits, but they will end up being a small portion of your vacation budget.) To find the break-even point, we are going to look at how many trips would you have to take in order to make purchasing an annual pass less expensive than purchasing individual Magic Your Way tickets. Below are all the options for annual passes.
*Magic Your Way is the Disney-fied name for standard park tickets.
- Prices are based on Disney’s official prices on October 7, 2015.
- 1-day tickets have different prices depending on the park you are going to — I’m using $100 as an average price.
- To simplify the analysis, we assume each visit will be the same length and that the same type of Magic Your Way ticket will be used.
- I’m using the label “Deluxe” as a Magic Your Way ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More option.
- Tax is not included, but will not have an effect on the analysis.
If you don’t live in Florida and are not a DVC owner, you only have two annual pass options:
- Platinum Plus is the pass with all the bells and whistles. This pass would be similar to the Magic Your Way ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More option.
- Platinum has all four theme parks and park hopping. This pass would be similar to the Magic Your Way ticket with Park Hopper.
The tables below show the number of trips at the specific length you would need to break even. The three tables show the calculations based on how many times in the year you would buy Memory Maker(MM).
An example to help you read the chart: Say you are considering a new (non-renewal) Platinum Annual Pass. You plan on visiting Walt Disney World twice in the next year and are likely to purchase Memory Maker on one of those trips. You look at the table in the top section (for New Annual Pass) and at the middle table (Buy MM Once). Any row in which the number is less than 2 means that an Annual Pass would be worth it for you — which is likely because only two 1-day trips would cost less than the Annual Pass.
In short, if you go to Walt Disney World twice a year and buy Memory Maker, buy an annual pass. If you don’t buy Magic Maker and go on two trips of 5 or more days, buy an annual pass. If you go on three trips a year, buy an annual pass.
If you don’t park hop you can save money on Magic Your Way tickets. It’s natural to assume that if you don’t park hop, you don’t see value in the park hopping feature on the annual passes. This table shows only the breakeven point for the Platinum pass. As you can see, it will take slightly longer for non-park hopping visitors to reach the breakeven point.
Florida Residents and DVC Owners
Florida Residents and DVC owners have more options when purchasing an annual pass. If you can live with the limitations of the lower level passes, you can really save some money. For most options, the break-even point is one or two visits. Silver, Weekday, and After 4 passes are only for Florida residents.
A good resource is James’ recent blog post on maximizing the use of an annual pass. If the Memory Maker is the tipping point for your vacation, consider only getting an annual pass for one person in your family. If you opt to purchase Magic Your Way tickets, use the TouringPlans Lowest Price Ticket Calculator. When Disney inevitably increases the price of Magic Your Way tickets, I will update the tables.
I’ve done some deconstruction of the tiered pricing for Floridians and DVC owners. Based on new pass prices, and the days that are unique to each pricing level. Here is the breakdown for each level:
|Pass Type||Value Per Day||Ratio with Platimum Days|