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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Annual Pass question in the Ask The Experts forums; So, I purchased an annual pass online (mostly because I needed to spread out my purchases so anything I can buy ahead of time is a help), and I have ...
  1. #1
    zippitydoodah's Avatar
    zippitydoodah is offline Annual Passholder
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    Annual Pass question

    So, I purchased an annual pass online (mostly because I needed to spread out my purchases so anything I can buy ahead of time is a help), and I have my confirmation number printed out to swap for the actual pass in a few weeks. We are staying off property so part of the reason that the annual pass was worth it is all the free parking, but does anyone know how it will work the first day that I go to get my pass? Will they let us park if I have my confirmation number proving that it's already been purchased? Otherwise the only thing I can think of is to get my boyfriend to go to the drop off area and drop me off, let me get the actual pass, and then go back and park.... but that seems complicated.

    Now, I'm guessing that most annual passholders stay on property so this issue has never come up, but is there anyone who can help me? Thanks!

  2. #2
    tizzo is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    We are staying off property so part of the reason that the annual pass was worth it is all the free parking, but does anyone know how it will work the first day that I go to get my pass? Will they let us park if I have my confirmation number proving that it's already been purchased?
    It's been a while since I had a new (not renewal) pass - and I didn't buy online, I bought at AAA, so I had a voucher. So in other words, the last time I tried to enter without a valid AP in my pocket was close to ten years ago. And I didn't have just a confirmation number, I had a voucher. But I'm pretty sure I didn't pay for parking for that first day, and I don't think you'll have to either.

    Now, having said that, I could easily be wrong, or things may have changed. Like I said, it's been a while, and after a quick search I could find nothing online saying anything one way or the other. But there are other options available to you.

    For example, I did see the following at allears.net:

    Self-parking for use of the entertainment and dining facilities at the Boardwalk's entertainment area is also free.
    I haven't been to the Boardwalk, but this implies that there's parking for the entertainment area that is separate from the resort parking. This seems to be confirmed on the Guest Services page for Disney's Board Walk resort:

    Guest Services | Disney's BoardWalk Area | Walt Disney World Resort

    which says that

    For Park Guests choosing to drive, complimentary self-parking is also available.
    So it seems like you should be able to park here for free, take the boat or walk to DHS or Epcot and get your pass there. You may even be able to pick up your pass at the Boardwalk itself, but I couldn't find anything to confirm that.

    Also, you didn't say exactly where you are staying, but a lot of off-site hotels have shuttles to the parks. It's not as convenient as driving, but doing this might be a good option for the first day.

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    Now, I'm guessing that most annual passholders stay on property so this issue has never come up, but is there anyone who can help me? Thanks!
    Actually, I suspect that most AP holders are probably locals, who generally stay right in our own homes, so it probably comes up more often than you might think. There must surely be someone out there with more recent experience than mine, if you don't get any more answers here try some of the other Disney boards, I'm sure you'll be able to get the info you need.

    Of course, there's always 407-WDISNEY (if you've got enough free time to call half a dozen times and and see which answer you get most frequently ).


    Update: I found this post on another board I monitor, suggesting that if you pay for parking before you pick up your pass you can get it refunded as long as it is the same day. Please note that this is not official, just anecdotal information posted by someone else who I do not know.
    Last edited by tizzo; 07-15-2010 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Found more info

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    zippitydoodah's Avatar
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Hmm thanks. I guess it is a voucher... they call it a voucher but its just a thing I printed off with my ticket into and my confirmation number. I think they WILL let me park with it, but I just wanted to see if anyone had tried and been told they couldn't.

    I do know that other areas are free to park... and that may be an option. We're driving and will be arriving on the 14th and we wanted to see the electrical parade and fireworks that night, so we're just going to the MK for a few hours, but before we might do a bit of resort hopping and grab dinner at Captain Cooks or something like htat. I've done this plenty of times and there is free parking at any of the resorts (we usually park at the Polynesian and visit all the monorail resorts). We could always do this and then take the monorail to the MK... it's not like we would be doing it just for free parking, we would be visiting and parking there ANYWAYS beforehand (and really we're just at the park for a few hours).

    Oh and our hotel does have a shuttle, but you have to pay, reserve it in advance, and it has particular hours and they don't have one for in the evening. So a-driving we will go!

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    tizzo is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    but before we might do a bit of resort hopping and grab dinner at Captain Cooks or something like htat. I've done this plenty of times and there is free parking at any of the resorts (we usually park at the Polynesian and visit all the monorail resorts). We could always do this and then take the monorail to the MK... it's not like we would be doing it just for free parking, we would be visiting and parking there ANYWAYS beforehand (and really we're just at the park for a few hours).
    That sounds like a good option if you're only doing a few hours the first day. I had heard that resorts were cracking down and that you could find yourself handed a limited time (3-hour?) parking pass, and that in some cases you couldn't even get that without having an ADR. The Boardwalk think sounded like it was distinct from resort parking and might not have such restrictions - but that won't help you if you're trying to get to MK.

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    Oh and our hotel does have a shuttle, but you have to pay, reserve it in advance, and it has particular hours and they don't have one for in the evening. So a-driving we will go!
    That stinks. Well, hopefully you won't have any trouble with the voucher. If it was me, I'd just try to get in for free with the voucher, and in the worst case pay for parking and try to get it refunded when you redeem.

    If you go late enough, they may have already closed the parking booths - or may be close enough to doing so that they won't care one way or another. I think it should all work out for you.

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    zippitydoodah's Avatar
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by tizzo View Post
    That sounds like a good option if you're only doing a few hours the first day. I had heard that resorts were cracking down and that you could find yourself handed a limited time (3-hour?) parking pass, and that in some cases you couldn't even get that without having an ADR. The Boardwalk think sounded like it was distinct from resort parking and might not have such restrictions - but that won't help you if you're trying to get to MK.
    Hm really? I was just there in March and parked at resorts 5 times with no problem Two of the times we had ADRs but they didn't even ask us. One of the times was in the early morning, one in the afternoon, and the rest were in the late evening and there was absolutely no problem. They do ask to show ID at the parking gate, but that's standard. But they allow resort hopping and visiting... people who visit might just like it enough to stay later, plus they might spend some money there, so I don't see them not allowing parking for awhile... its not like its overnight or anything.

    But maybe just in case we will just try to use the voucher. How does the annual pass parking work anyways? Do they give you a parking pass, or do you just show your annual pass? If its the latter I'm sure the voucher would work.

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    OFFICIALLY there is a three-hour time limit for parking at resorts. And they CAN refuse you if they are busy unless you have an ADR. If they are not busy, they may not care at all, but they also don't want people using resort parking for free parking for the parks either, so they are likely to be more strict at the MK resorts, etc.

    Parking at BW has often been a complaint of those staying there because of spaces being taken up by people "visiting" the Boardwalk but going to Epcot. It got worse with PI closing. They really need to figure it out.
    Doc

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Hmmm. Ya, I've never parked at a resort and then gone to a park, I've always been honest and paid the parking. The only reason I would be doing it in this case is IF I happen to be visiting a resort anyways and then going to MK for a few hours after. There has always been plenty of parking at the BW when I've been (during spring break, during dinner time) but maybe they need a bigger lot? Again, its advertised as a place to visit for anyone, so they can't prevent people from visiting. And I've never had ADRs at the BW, I always just eat at beaches and cream and shop and rent a bike and all that so I would never get to go if I needed an ADR! Darn dishonest people ruining it for everyone else! On many of my trips in the past I've been in Orlando and only had the money for one day at a park, so to get my Disney fix in I visit as many of the resorts as I can, just walking around and taking pictures... the occasional ADR but usually not. It would be very disappointing to not be able to resort hop anymore if I'm staying off property (which is most of the time).

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    tizzo is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    Hm really? I was just there in March and parked at resorts 5 times with no problem Two of the times we had ADRs but they didn't even ask us. One of the times was in the early morning, one in the afternoon, and the rest were in the late evening and there was absolutely no problem. They do ask to show ID at the parking gate, but that's standard. But they allow resort hopping and visiting... people who visit might just like it enough to stay later, plus they might spend some money there, so I don't see them not allowing parking for awhile... its not like its overnight or anything.

    But maybe just in case we will just try to use the voucher. How does the annual pass parking work anyways? Do they give you a parking pass, or do you just show your annual pass? If its the latter I'm sure the voucher would work.
    That's just what I've heard. I've only ever entered a resort parking lot once, it was the Poly several years ago, and I got a 3 hour parking pass.

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Could you swing staying on property?

    Right now Disney is running a 40% off special for many of their resorts. I know staying on property is more expensive. But with that AP you can get a nice discount, then you don't have to worry about shuttle expenses every day.

  10. #10
    zippitydoodah's Avatar
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Not for this upcoming trip, the only reason we're doing it is cause its with my bf's mom's timeshare. I'm not paying a penny for lodging, otherwise I wouldn't be able to go at all. We also need the multiple bedrooms and kitchen and livingroom and all that first of all to stay sane on a trip together for 2 full weeks (it is with my mother-in-law to be after all lol) plus keep the cost of food way way down. Frankly the place we're staying for the second week sounds awesome anyways... it has a lazy river and multiple water slides- pretty much a 12 acre water park! Oh and you can see the animal kingdom lodge from it, so its not like its far or anything.

    Actually, come to think of it, if we HAD stayed on property then I just wouldn't have bought an annual pass. That $140 worth of free parking was a big part of the reason I got it in the first place. Oh and driving is much, much quicker and easier than the buses (not that they're horrible, but driving is quicker) if you have a car and its free for me anyways! If I were staying on property I would drive to the parks everyday anyways. Its really just that first night that's the issue. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by zippitydoodah View Post
    But maybe just in case we will just try to use the voucher. How does the annual pass parking work anyways? Do they give you a parking pass, or do you just show your annual pass? If its the latter I'm sure the voucher would work.
    I'm almost positive that showing the voucher will get you into the parking lot without charge - and if you're not sure, call and ask a CM. Doesn't hurt to ask. When I park, I just show my annual pass, the CM glances at it and tells me to have a nice day, no mess no hassle.

    If you have the option, you might also consider just stopping at Guest Services at Downtown Disney; they should be able to print your annual passes out for you, so you wouldn't have to worry about it.

    Good luck
    Last edited by MorenaSangre; 07-21-2010 at 06:34 PM.

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Vouchers look different and contain different info than an active AP, so I'm not so sure they'd qualify. Otherwise you could get a voucher and hold on to it theoretically forever, and make back the costs just on the parking fees...
    Doc

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Go up to the MK gate and show them, and say you're going to redeem your annual pass, they'll let you in. We've never had a problem, and we've done it for 5 years.


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  14. #14
    zippitydoodah's Avatar
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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Quote Originally Posted by pranker51502 View Post
    Go up to the MK gate and show them, and say you're going to redeem your annual pass, they'll let you in. We've never had a problem, and we've done it for 5 years.
    Wonderful, thanks a lot! I figured it would be fine, the people at the gate are always so friendly and I'm sure this does happen occasionally. Thanks again!

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    Re: Annual Pass question

    Yes, agreed with what pranker51502 says. We just got AP's in June and showed our AAA vouchers on the first day at the parking gate. They barely looked at it and were very familiar with what we were doing. Even if you say you are going to be purchasing an AP at the gate I'm sure they'll just let you on through with the intent to purchase. I've found that the parking lot gate CMs are typically very pleasant, especially at MK since they get a lot of resort traffic as well.

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