Walt Disney World Annual Pass Info

Disney World Annual Passes – The Basics

New Walt Disney World Annual Passes are good for 366 days from the date of activation. In other words, if you activate your new pass on January 2, 2011, it will be good through January 2, 2012! (Yep, you get an extra day, except in a Leap Year.) Renewal Annual Passes, which are discounted, are good for 366 days starting with the renewal date, whether you use them right away or not.

You should carefully calculate your costs with and without Annual Passes before buying them. In general, Walt Disney World Annual Passes are worth the money if you will be going into the theme parks for more than 11 days in a 366-day period. In some cases they are worth the money for shorter stays because of the substantial benefits that are often available to Annual Passholders: hotel discounts, discounts on entertainment, free parking and the opportunity to buy a Tables in Wonderland card that saves 20% on most of Disney’s full-service restaurants.

How to Buy a Disney World Annual Pass

If you buy a Walt Disney World Annual Pass in advance by phone at (407) W-DISNEY or online, you will receive a plastic card that is your “exchange certificate” or voucher for an actual Annual Pass. The exchange certificate must be “activated” (exchanged for the actual Annual Pass) at Guest Services outside of one of the Walt Disney World theme parks, or at the Guest Services Offices in Downtown Disney. To activate the exchange certificate, you’ll have to show photo ID (for adults) and you’ll get a finger scan that links your pass to you personally (which prevents sharing of the pass). Each time you enter the theme parks with the Annual Pass, you’ll have to put your index finger in a scanner. If the scan fails, you’ll be asked to show ID.

We don’t see much point in buying the pass in advance, unless:

  1. the prices are about to go up and you want to lock in the current price. Even if the price goes up after you purchase it, your exchange certificate/voucher is valid (apparently for years) without paying any extra. MouseSavers.com reader Patricia K reports that she has redeemed annual pass vouchers 3 years or more after purchasing them and was not required to pay an upcharge.
  2. you plan to go to the Orlando Auto Club South office and buy the pass in advance (which will save AAA members some money).
Walt Disney World Annual Passes can be purchased at the following locations in the Orlando area:

  • Guest Services offices in Downtown Disney sell activated passes and activate pre-purchased vouchers
  • Guest Services windows and park ticket booths at any of the Walt Disney World theme parks sell activated passes and activate pre-purchased vouchers
  • Disney gift shops* at Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Disney’s Character Premiere* store in Orlando
  • Orlando Auto Club South office sells discounted Annual and Seasonal passes for AAA and CAA members

*These locations sell new, fully-activated passes only and cannot activate pre-purchased exchange certificates. They also do not offer the Florida resident discounted passes at these locations — only full-price Annual Passes.

You cannot buy an Annual Pass at the front desk of the Walt Disney World resort hotels.