As many of you probably heard, effective Sunday, there is a new Annual Pass Program at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. WDW MAGIC Annual Pass Article provides a great summary of the changes, but I will go into them in a bit here. I also looked at Theme Park Insider. It was a bit challenging to try to compare the Annual Pass prices over the past two years since once the new prices came out, everyone changed their websites!
Basically, the whole system has been changed. So you used to choose between a Premium Annual Pass or the basic Annual Pass and then there were other options for Florida residents. However, now anyone can purchase a Platinum Plus or Platinum pass but only DVC and FL residents can purchase a Gold pass and only FL residents can purchase a Silver, Weekday, or Epcot after 4pm pass. So, there are many more options and they are way more complicated than necessary. The price difference between the old regular Annual Pass and the new Gold pass is $64 for DVC and FL residents at $549. The difference between the old Premium Annual Pass and the new Platinum one is $115 for everyone (up to $749) and $44 (up to $649) for DVC and FL residents. These differences are WITHOUT taxes and see the links above for a more organized breakdown. An 8 day Park Hopper pass is $435.59. So, if you are going for an 8 day trip and are a DVC Member the Gold Pass is over a $100 more than the 8 day pass. Once you add a second trip on though, the cost sort of evens out because a one day pass is $100 and then you get all of the Annual Pass discounts (10% off merchandise, 10% of boat rentals…etc).
The only added benefit that Disney has put in to sort of justify the price increases is getting PhotoPass downloads with the Platinum Plus, Platinum, and Gold plans. I see this as a small benefit because when you go with family members, you might want to purchase a few pictures and I was shocked by the online price of $15 a pop for a photo. But on the other hand, cast members are often willing to take a photo with your personal camera or phone or the family in line behind you will do so. And many guests just take photos of the screens when they come off rides instead of buying the photo even though there is now a watermark on the screens.
The price of Tables in Wonderland also increased from $100 to $150 for Annual Passholders and DVC members and $125 to $175 for FL residents. Tables in Wonderland is a dining discount card where you can receive 20% off of meals at many WDW restaurants. However, you are not able to purchase this card unless you are an Annual Passholder, FL resident or DVC member. If you go to Disney with a large group and eat meals at the restaurants on the list, then the card usually pays for itself after a few meals, but the $50 increase is not small change.
In conclusion, and while we wait for my cousin to finish the WDW Weekend trip recap and send it to me…have the price changes affected anyone’s future pass purchase plans?