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When Is a Disney World Annual Pass Worth It? – Out of State Edition

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You don’t live that close to Disney World, but you’re thinking you might want an Annual Pass anyway. Never fear, TouringPlans is here! The math for a Disney World Annual Pass is different for those living out-of-state than it is for Florida residents, since you’re only eligible for some pass types. But we’ve got you covered.

I’m going to start with a review of Annual Pass perks that might tilt your decision one way or another. But if you already know all that, you can skip straight to the “is it cost-effective based purely on ticket prices” math. Or, if you are math-averse, you can skim from there straight down to the wrap-up at the end.

The Annual Passes covered here are the two that are available to out-of-state guests. If you live out of state, the Disney Sorcerer pass requires you to be a Disney Vacation Club Member and be eligible for Membership Extras; it costs $999 plus tax and it’s blacked out around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Disney Incredi-Pass is $1,449 plus tax, has no blackout dates, and is available to the general public.

Disney World Annual Pass Perks

Other than the price and blackout dates, the Sorcerer Pass and the Incredi-Pass have the same benefits. Even if it looks like a no-go for the math when you take your first look, give it a second glance. These perks could add up to making sense of an Annual Pass for a single person in your group.

One thing to note that’s kind of an anti-perk: unlike regular tickets Disney World Annual Passes require park reservations. Both passes allow up to 5 reservations at a time, and there’s no penalty at Disney World for not using your park reservation. If you’re staying on-site, no worries, as you can hold a reservation for each day of your hotel stay in addition to your bucket of five. But even if you’re staying off-site, at this point park reservations are mostly a formality – and are not even necessary on “good-to-go” days.


If everyone in your group is linked on your Family and Friends list, then only one person needs to have any kind of PhotoPass entitlement. The Memory Maker add-on is $75 for one day, or $185 for a 30-day period if purchased in advance. Over multiple trips, that could be hundreds of dollars in savings. Of course, this is only true if you were planning to get Memory Maker to begin with — it’s not a great value proposition to end up with two of something you never would have bought and don’t want, just because it’s on BOGO sale.


All Disney World Annual Passes include free parking at the theme parks.  Standard theme park parking is currently $30 per day, so if you’re staying off-site and renting a car that can add up quickly.  Over a week-long vacation that’s $210 worth of savings. If you normally do on-site stays, theme park parking will be included with your hotel reservation.

Dining, Merchandise, and Hotel Discounts

The average merchandise discount is about 20%, meaning that you’ll need to spend $500 to save $100 with an Annual Pass.  The average dining discount is 10%, which translates to a savings of just under $25 on dinner for 3 adults and 1 child at Chef Mickey’s.  Yes, there are cheaper table service restaurants — and more expensive ones too. If you like to do sit-down meals and you have a big family, you can ring up the savings pretty quickly. But take care, because the savings might not be as big as you think:

  • If you’re already a Disney Vacation Club member, you’ll get many of these discounts anyway
  • If you’ve purchased a Disney World Vacation package, some of these discounts may be included in the Magical Extras
  • The discount only applies to a maximum of 3 guests in addition to the Passholder, and it doesn’t apply to tax and gratuity
You can get discounts on dining, but some of those may be available to you without an Annual Pass

If you stay at a Disney World Resort, you can also save some money on the lodging front with an Annual Pass. Historically most Disney World room discounts for the general public are accompanied by a Passholder offer worth about 10% more.

Finally, an Annual Pass can save you money on … tickets. Although your regular park admission is covered, there are often Annual Passholder discounts for hard-ticket events such as seasonal parties or Disney After Hours.

Exclusive Opportunities

It’s not uncommon for there to be Passholder Previews for new attractions before the official opening, or Passholder-exclusive merchandise. Sometimes there is limited-time access to special spaces like a Passholder lounge. These probably don’t add up to a lot in monetary value, but they can certainly bring a little something extra to your trips.

The value of these Passholder extras is going to depend a lot on your individual circumstances.  If you stay off site, don’t buy a lot of merch, and you tend to eat Quick Service, there may not be much here for you.

Disney World Annual Pass Cost vs. Regular Tickets

The cost of a regular ticket to Disney World is based on the dates that you visit. If you have some specific trips lined up then you don’t need to read this article, you can look up the prices and compare the cost directly. But many people who are thinking about an Annual Pass are working with a “some trip” that they might take “some time” in the future. So we’re going to use median math – based on the ticket prices you’re most likely to pay – to calculate when the Annual Pass might be cost-effective. This article uses regular ticket prices from 2024, without tax for simplicity.

Let’s start with the chart below, from Every Regular Disney World Ticket Price in 2024. You don’t need to read it in detail, but one important thing to note is that the per-day price (in the second row) is fairly constant for the first 4 days, and then begins to decrease sharply.

Add-on prices and multi-day ticket discounts percentages. Prices do not include 6.5% sales tax. *For Water Parks & Sports and Park Hopper Plus add 1 day of use to number shown.

That decreasing cost per day means that if you’re taking two trips the price will always be highest when the number of days is split as evenly as possible. For instance, if you’re taking two trips that total 12 days, the cheapest option will be a 10-day ticket and a 2-day ticket. The most expensive will be when both trips are 6 days. Put differently, you will tend to break even the fastest with a large number of short trips, and the slowest with a small number of long trips.

Very Short Trips

Maybe you don’t live close enough to drop in for the day, but it’s a short enough drive that a hot hotel deal can bring you down for a quick getaway.  Maybe you live in Chicago, but you fly all the time for work and have air miles to burn getting to long weekends in the World.  If you’re the type of visitor who comes a few times a year for a very short visit, you’re looking at a lot of 1 and 2 day tickets.

Chart comparing the ticket cost of multiple trips using 2024 Disney World ticket prices for 1- and 2-day tickets
Based on median 2024 ticket prices, does not include Florida 6.25% sales tax.

In the chart above, the yellow highlights show the “last trip before break-even” for the Sorcerer Pass, and the orange highlights are the same thing for the Incredi-Pass. All told, you’ll need at least 7 days spread across 1- and 2-day tickets to make the Sorcerer Pass favorable against base tickets, or 5 days to win against Park Hoppers. For the Incredi-Pass, you’ll want more than 9-10 days total to break even against base tickets and 7-8 days for Park Hoppers.

Of course, if the numbers are close you may decide to just take the step up to the Annual Pass anyway. For instance, you could easily look at the $978 for 6 1-day tickets compared to the $999 for the Sorcerer Pass and feel that you’ll make up that $21 difference in dining discounts, or that it’s a bargain price if you’ll want to park hop on even one of those visits.

 Mid-Length Trips

For mid-length trips of 3-4 days, let’s flip that chart around a little and put the number of ticket days across the top. Here, we’re going to lean on our trick that distributing the days evenly across the trips will give the highest cost; that gives us a rough idea of where to start looking for the break-even point. Again, yellow highlights are for the Sorcerer Pass and orange highlights are for the Incredi-Pass.

Chart comparing the ticket cost of multiple trips using 2024 Disney World ticket prices.
Based on median 2024 ticket prices, does not include Florida 6.25% sales tax.

For the Sorcerer Pass, two 3-day base tickets are just less than the cost of the pass. A 3-day and a 4-day ticket are more, at $1,026. If you’re getting Park Hoppers, the two regular 3-day regular tickets are more expensive on their own, but a 3-day and a 2-day is still a bit less than the Pass.

For the Incredi-Pass, with these mid-length trips you’ll need a third visit no matter what, and for base tickets the minimum across those three trips is 10 days; two 3-day trips and a 4-day. But if you’re comparing to Park Hoppers, you can come out ahead with two 3-day trips and a 2-day.

Very Long or Mixed-Length Trips

What if you’re coming for a reaallly long vacation?  Like, two weeks.  And you just need to be in the parks, every single day!  Even if you’re only going to use it on one trip, how many days does your visit need to be before an Annual Pass will be your ticket to savings?

This is a good time to remember that all our math is based on typical ticket prices – if you have actual dates for your trip, then that’s what you should use to check. But previously we’ve looked at trips that are a similar length; the numbers here give us an idea not only about what to do for a single long trip, but also for two or more trips of very different lengths.

A longer trip gives you plenty of time to relax at the pool

Even a 10-day Park Hopper is typically about $150 less than the Sorcerer Pass. You will not break even on any Annual Pass unless you would buy at least two regular tickets. If any of the regular tickets would have been Park Hoppers, you’ll break even on the Sorcerer Pass with a 10-day ticket and any other ticket length, even a single day. Without any Park Hopper add-ons at all, you’ll need a 2-day ticket and a 10-day ticket to pull the Sorcerer Pass ahead.

If you take very long trips, a 10-day ticket and a 7-day ticket are $1446, just $3 shy of the Incredi-Pass. But remember! Estimated ticket prices! If you’re taking a 3-week trip, you should look at the actual prices; if those are two week+ trips then the averages are more likely to apply. If you mix and match a little then a 10-day base ticket and 5-day Park Hopper (or vice versa) are needed to get above the cost of the Incredi-Pass. For straight Park Hoppers, it’s 10+4.


If you’re eligible to buy the Sorcerer Pass, and you usually buy base tickets, you’ll need at least 7-8 days at the parks to come out ahead with the Annual Pass. If you usually buy Park Hoppers, that drops to 5-6 days. Those numbers are the minimums and they apply to a group of trips that are all between 1-4 days. But, if you are using more than 10-11 days of admission in a single year, the Sorcerer Pass is almost certain to compare favorably with regular tickets no matter how long your trips are or how many you take.

If you live out of state and you’re not an eligible Disney Vacation Club member, then your only Annual Pass option is the Incredi-Pass. Depending on whether or not you would normally buy Park Hoppers, you’ll need a minimum of 7-10 total days in the parks if they’re spread over three or more shorter trips (1-4 days). If you’ll be visiting the parks for at least 15-17 days in the year, then the Incredi-Pass should usually win no matter how those days are distributed across visits.

Shopping discounts can weigh into your decision if the numbers are close.

If your numbers are close, then if you do a lot of dining or shopping, or you plan to stay offsite and drive to the parks, an Annual Pass might make sense even if it’s not saving you money on tickets. But keep in mind that you can make this go the other way. If you’re not buying single-day tickets or booking Disney World Vacation Packages, then you can often save up to 10% buying tickets through Disney-approved third-party ticket sellers and widen the gap between the tickets and the Annual Pass. The Least Expensive Ticket Calculator can help you find those savings.

Don’t forget that you can always upgrade a regular ticket to an Annual Pass, right up until the end of the day when you use the last park entry on that ticket. If you’re already on vacation and wish you had thought to buy an AP because you suddenly remember that you have a conference in Orlando later that year, it’s not too late.  See Guest Relations, they’ll fix you up and apply the price of the ticket you already purchased towards the cost of the Pass.

After all those numbers, are your eyes glazed over?  Do you think you might buy an Annual Pass?  Let us know in the comments.

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

4 thoughts on “When Is a Disney World Annual Pass Worth It? – Out of State Edition

  • This is fabulous data! As our son prepares to head off to college next year (aka as we prepare to pay for this next adventure) we’ve been having (difficult and depressing LOL) conversations about the fate of our 3x annual WDW trips and thus the feasibility of maintaining our long-standing Incred-Pass APs. This data has hit right on time to play a significant role in these conversations. Thanks for all you do, as always!

    • Oh, I’m so glad it was helpful. I just renewed a Sorcerer this week (which is actually what reminded me that we needed to update this article) and yeah … it feels like a lot so you want to be confident that it’s really going to be the better option!

  • Great break down of perks and costs. We had an annual pass when we knew we were going to visit 3 times over the course of a year. One of those was the opening to Pandora, where pass holders had a special chance to ride early. It was a great experience. I suspect they may keep doing something similar again in the future, perhaps with Tiana’s new ride, and then of course all the other reimaginings, like Test Track.

    • Ooh, that’s a terrific point about Passholder Previews and other opportunities. I’ll add it to the article, thanks for the reminder!


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