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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Annual Passes in the Ask The Experts forums; I've been researching ticket prices and have come to the conclusion that we could definitely benefit from purchasing no expiration date tickets. I'm currently planning to return to WDW in ...
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    annie609's Avatar
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    Annual Passes

    I've been researching ticket prices and have come to the conclusion that we could definitely benefit from purchasing no expiration date tickets. I'm currently planning to return to WDW in September and January 2009, but I am pondering the addition of a third trip in the next 12 month period. With that in mind, I think our best bet would be to buy annual passes. Can anybody give me some specifics of the benefits. The Disney website mentions discounts on dining, merchandise and hotels, but is very vague. Percentage wise, what kind of discounts are they talking about? And when are the hotel discounts available? We always go during non-peak times, so I think the hotel discounts would probably be available when we need them. Can anybody give me an example of what the hotel discount would be for a value resort? Any specifics about any of the annual passholder benefits would be appreciated. Thanks.

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    I have annual passes and they do offer some discounts only during certain times of the year. The cheapest far as Value is 49.00 during some times in Jan and Feb. then it goes to 79.00 per nite I think up to Mar 6. To get the prices from Disney you have to go Passholders website and put your pass in to see what and where discounts you can get. From a food stand point.....I have seen it on the website that one place does and then you go there they don't. I bought a DDE card and its about the same deal there. Merchandise are 10% off at SELECTIVE stores in the park. The passes are very expensive but you have to go alot to make it worth while. I have premium for the first time this year and I won't have anything else. I like going and coming into whatever I want far as parks go. Also its free parking in any lot with a pass.
    Also there are other websites that show when Disney has special codes that you don't need a pass for. But its limited anyway you go for rooms with passes or not. I don't have it on this computer but tommorrow when I get back on my laptop I'll paste the link with the codes.
    Last edited by Tmntrans; 02-13-2008 at 10:14 PM. Reason: spelling

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    mritty's Avatar
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    For all annual pass hotel discounts, you want to check out MouseSavers.com, specifically: MouseSavers.com - Disney World Resort Hotel Discount Codes & Deals If you go there now you'll see that there are two discounts available for two different time periods, though one of them just expired. $49 for a Value during value season, $79 for a Value during regular season.

    In general, Disney releases the AP discounted hotel rates about 2-3 months prior to the checkin dates for which they're valid. What I typically do is book my hotel stay at the cheapest currently available rate (which is usually AAA), and then when the AP discount comes out, call back to 407-WDISNEY and have them apply the AP discount rate instead.

    There are two kinds of food discounts. One is a 10% Epcot lunch discount. Most (perhaps all?) of the World Showcase restaurants give you 10% off the bill during lunch hours Monday thru Friday. The second is the ability to purchase the "Disney Dining Experience" card, which is otherwise available only to Florida Residents. This is a one-year long membership card not explicitly tied to your AP (ie, you could activate your AP on January 1, so it expires Dece 31, but not buy the DDE until April 1, so it would expire on March 31). It can be used at almost every table service restaurant in WDW, as well as the food courts of the value resorts, and the counter-service places at Animal Kingdom (though, with the introduction of Yak & Yeti and the renovation of Tusker House, I expect that may change soon...) It gives you a 20% discount off your bill, for all food and all drinks, for every member of your party (up to 8 people).

    There are several different merchandise discounts available. 10% off at the World of Disney, 15% off at Yak and Yeti, 10% off at the Lego store in DTD, 10% off at Arriba Brothers, etc. I'm going to refer you over to Annual Pass Information and Benefits for the full list of all the discounts.

    Other discounts include 15% off all tours (which you can also get with either AAA or Disney Visa), 50% off mini-golf (for everyone in your group), and free parking at all the theme parks

    There are also exclusive Disney Pins that only APholders are allowed to purchase. They have both a yearly "<year> Passholder" pin available year-round, and a series of four pins released throughout the year that follow a specific theme. I think in 2007, it was four pieces of a puzzle that all fit together.

    Again that site on AllEars that I linked you to has a full list of all the discounts available. There's a lot of them that I will probably never use, like 30% off the golf courses, $25 off a Richard Petty Driving Experience session, etc.

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    Also helpful: MouseSavers.com - Disney World Ticket & Pass Advice, Tips and Tricks Jump to the section "Are Annual Passes for You?" for more info.
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    As a side note.. to get the DDE card you don't have to be a Florida Resident only to get this..BUT when I bought it on Main Street in MK I did have to show my AP to get it for 65.00. Also I would say 1 out of 3 places took the DDE card. ALOT of CMS do not know if they take it or not but very quick to tell you no. More than once I had to SHOW them on the leaflet they give you when you purchase it that they do. I know for a fact that the Caribbean resort food court does not take it . The restaurant there does though. If they don't take the DDE card ask them about the AP discount. I bought the DDE essentially to help pay for meals when my family goes with us back in May. They do offer discounts as stated up to 8 or even 10 in some full service restaurants.
    Last edited by Tmntrans; 02-14-2008 at 04:32 PM. Reason: add

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    mritty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tmntrans View Post
    As a side note.. to get the DDE card you don't have to be a Florida Resident only to get this..BUT when I bought it on Main Street in MK I did have to show my AP to get it for 65.00.
    Right. You have to be either an Annual Passholder or a Florida Resident. And it's cheaper for AP holders than it is for FL Residents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tmntrans View Post
    Also I would say 1 out of 3 places took the DDE card. ALOT of CMS do not know if they take it or not but very quick to tell you no. More than once I had to SHOW them on the leaflet they give you when you purchase it that they do. I know for a fact that the Caribbean resort food court does not take it . The restaurant there does though. If they don't take the DDE card ask them about the AP discount. I bought the DDE essentially to help pay for meals when my family goes with us back in May. They do offer discounts as stated up to 8 or even 10 in some full service restaurants.
    The list of restaurants that accept it are posted at AllEars: Disney Dining Experience If your server claims they don't take it, just politely ask to speak to the manager. I've never had any problems using it at any of the restaurants that are "supposed' to take it.

    The foodcourts at the Values and the counter-services at AK were the only non-tableservice restaurants that took it because there were not table service restaurants at those locations. That's why I'm hypothesizing that the counter-services at AK will no longer take it fairly soon, since it now has two table service restaurants (plus Rainforest Caf)

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    Thanks for all the great info! Like you, mritty, there are a lot of benefits that we will never use, but I think the AP may be worthwhile for us too. If I decide to buy the APs, I'll just have to do some comparison shopping when I book the rooms & shop, since it looks like the AAA rate may be better at times and I've got the Disney Visa too . Just a few more question. 1) The examples for value resort room rates were all for standard rooms. Can you get the AP discount on preferred rooms? I like to walk, but I usually have to take the refillable mugs back to the food court after a long day at the park and the closer the better. 2) When Disney offered the free dining in Sept last year, did you have to book a room and tickets to get it or was booking the hotel alone sufficient? If I already have an AP, I would only be booking the room in Sept. Not a good reason not to go ahead and get the AP though, since there might not be any free dining this year anyway. 3) What are the advantages of renewing your annual pass vs. buying a new one? If the price goes up, do you get to renew it for the same price as the previous year? 4) When you book rooms with the AP discount do you still get to use the Magical Express?

    The real danger of having an AP is that I'm afraid I will use anything and everything as an excuse to go to WDW. We won't save any money that way, but we'll have a lot of fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by annie609 View Post
    1) The examples for value resort room rates were all for standard rooms. Can you get the AP discount on preferred rooms?
    When they offer AP discounts, it's kind of like a clearance sale - they offer whatever they have to get rid of. So, sometimes, yes.


    Quote Originally Posted by annie609 View Post
    2) When Disney offered the free dining in Sept last year, did you have to book a room and tickets to get it or was booking the hotel alone sufficient? If I already have an AP, I would only be booking the room in Sept. Not a good reason not to go ahead and get the AP though, since there might not be any free dining this year anyway
    In the past you had to have a Magic Your Way Package, consisting of a room & at least a one day Magic Your Way ticket. Many AP holders were getting the one-day ticket and not using it just to get the free dining.


    Quote Originally Posted by annie609 View Post
    3) What are the advantages of renewing your annual pass vs. buying a new one? If the price goes up, do you get to renew it for the same price as the previous year?
    There is a discount for renewing the pass, but you'll pay whatever rate is in effect at the time you renew. It should be lower than the cost of a new one.

    Quote Originally Posted by annie609 View Post
    4) When you book rooms with the AP discount do you still get to use the Magical Express?
    Yes, you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by annie609 View Post
    The real danger of having an AP is that I'm afraid I will use anything and everything as an excuse to go to WDW. We won't save any money that way, but we'll have a lot of fun!
    Oh yeah! I'm already on 3 trips on this AP, have a 4th in the works, and am trying to squeeze in a 5th (that will be an all-time record for me, having gone from once every 5 years to once a year to twice a year to..... )
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    mritty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneydame2004 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by annie6092
    2) When Disney offered the free dining in Sept last year, did you have to book a room and tickets to get it or was booking the hotel alone sufficient? If I already have an AP, I would only be booking the room in Sept. Not a good reason not to go ahead and get the AP though, since there might not be any free dining this year anyway
    In the past you had to have a Magic Your Way Package, consisting of a room & at least a one day Magic Your Way ticket. Many AP holders were getting the one-day ticket and not using it just to get the free dining.
    Just to make that clear - you CANNOT apply an annual pass discount to the hotel doing this. A Magic Your Way package includes the room and tickets at the rack-rate. You need to carefully consider whether or not the discount you get for Free Dining is better or worse than the discount you could otherwise get from booking the hotel at the Annual Passholder rate.

    If you do decide to go with the package and get the one-day ticket, hold on to that ticket. When it comes time to renew your Annual Pass, you can apply the cost of the one day ticket towards your renewal.

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    Thanks everybody, you've been a big help. Since we won't be going back to WDW until May, I think my best bet is to book the rooms for that trip now at the AAA rate, and add our tickets on later. So by the time I have to buy the tickets, I should know if free dining is going to be offered for Sept. If there's no free dining, I'll probably go ahead and get the APs. If there is an offer, I can do some further comparison once I know the details of the offer and see which way looks best for us.

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