Walt Disney World Annual Pass Info
Disney World Annual Passes – The Basics
New Walt Disney World Annual Passes are good for 365 days from the date of activation, which is the first day you enter a theme park. In other words, if you activate your new pass on January 8, 2023, it will be good through January 7, 2024. Renewal Annual Passes are discounted, and just move the expiration date out by one year.
You should carefully calculate your costs with and without Annual Passes before buying them. As a very rough rule of thumb, Walt Disney World Annual Passes are worth the money purely on the basis of ticket cost if you will be going into the theme parks for more than 18 days in 1-2 visits or 14 days in 3+ visits in a 365-day period. If your plans are in that ballpark, it’s probably worth actually calculating whether you’ll save money with a pass. In some cases an annual pass can still save you money for shorter stays because of the substantial benefits that are often available to Annual Passholders: hotel discounts, discounts on entertainment, restaurant discounts and free parking.
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 (934-7639) or online, it will automatically be linked to your My Disney Experience account. If you would like an actual annual pass card (which you don’t technically need any more if you have a working magic band or ticket card from a previous trip), you will need to collect it at a Disney World ticket booth, Guest Relations at one of the Walt Disney World theme parks, or at the Guest Relations offices in Disney Springs. 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.
If it’s a new annual pass, the expiration clock doesn’t start ticking down until you activate it by going through a park gate with it the first time. You have 1 year from the date of purchase to activate the pass, after which you will get 365 days of usage. If for some reason you never go into a park over that year, the pass will disappear from your My Disney Experience account listing, but because it was never used, it can still be traded in toward a new pass or ticket. You will need to visit a Guest Relations or call Disney World ticketing and tell them you have an unused annual pass on your account you want to apply to a new pass.
If you renew an annual pass, the new pass will automatically be activated on the date the old pass expires. You can continue to use the old pass card (if you have one), but if you want a new card you can go to a Guest Relations location or ticket booth to get one.
The optional cards you can get to go with your annual pass are no longer useful for getting annual passholder discounts, since they no longer list your name and the expiration date of the pass. They’re just a plastic card useful for tapping in at park entrances and Lightning Lanes. To get annual passholder discounts, you will need to set up a digital pass on your phone, using the My Disney Experience app.
It can be useful to buy an annual pass in advance, for the following reasons:
- Even if you haven’t yet activated the pass, you can use the unactivated pass to make theme park reservations.
- If you’re worried the prices are about to go up, advance purchasing will lock in the current price. Even if the price goes up after you purchase it, your confirmation code is valid for a full year without paying any extra.
- There are a few sources for discounted annual passes, for members of certain groups or local residents, and some require you to get them in advance.
- Guest Relations offices in Disney Springs
- Guest Relations windows and park ticket booths at any of the Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks
- Disney’s Character Warehouse* stores in Orlando
*They 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.