Annual Pass prices soar overnight – here’s why

Disney announced this morning that they were increasing the price of annual passes – and some of the increases are the largest in recent memory. For a complete look at the price changes, click here

Of course, DVC members are affected by this as well – the new ‘DVC’ price for Annual Passes is roughly what the ‘regular’ price was yesterday.

PassCurrent
Non DVC Price
Previous
DVC Price
Current
DVC Price
Increase
Platinum Plus$1219$849$999$150
Platinum$1119$749$899$150
GoldN/A$609$699$90

That being said, it’s still a savings of about $200 over prevailing rates if you’re a DVC member. That’s little consolation to most though.

Just yesterday, Disney announced that they would be giving early access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier pass holders. Those of us that have been following Disney for more than 20 minutes knows that they often give with one hand, while taking away with the other, and this is a classic example.

I have some theories on why this massive increase all of a sudden, so hear me out.

1 – Disney is under the impression that SW:GE is going to be a financial ‘game-changer’ for them. In the long term, I believe they are correct, it will have a huge impact on the parks and the value of what we pay. In the short term, however – that’s not panning out to be the case. Sales of Disney resort packages in the fall PLUMMETED after the announcement that SW:GE would open on August 29th. The often-discussed narrative about the crowds this would draw have a lot of people saying “maybe next year”. It didn’t help that all discounts in the fall were pulled right after the announcement was made that SW:GE would open on Aug 29th. They were so certain it would drive bookings, this is the first year in more than a decade where a free dining offer was not extended in September.

2 – Disney is going to have to offer a promotion to boost sales in the fall, and I expect that will happen in the next 2-3 weeks, and I’m guessing annual pass discounts will play a major role in that. Raising the price now will blunt any financial impact from having to do what they swore they wouldn’t – offer discounts post-SW:GE.

3 – The last time we saw a jaw-dropping increase in the price of annual passes was in 2015 when Disneyland did basically the same thing. The reason: to discourage Annual Passes. Why you ask? Disneyland is a ‘local’s park’ with the vast majority of its visitors living in Southern California. They needed to try anything they could to thin the crowds, and spiking the price of AP’s had the desired effect. The number of Disneyland AP holders dropped as a result. I’m not entirely sure that is not the intended effect of what we’re seeing here.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part and I could be completely off base, but I don’t think I am. This is consistent with the things they’ve done in the past. The question is – will it work? This is designed to discourage annual passes. Did it work? How will this increase impact your plans for buying / renewing an annual pass? Let us know in the comments below.

43 thoughts on “Annual Pass prices soar overnight – here’s why

  • June 18, 2019 at 10:39 am
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    We’re going from Silver FL resident to Weekday FL resident to save money and attempt to avoid higher crowds on weekends.

  • June 18, 2019 at 10:45 am
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    I have often debated upgrading my tickets to an annual pass, but with this price hike and the poor conversion rates from the Canadian dollar to American, it’s just not worth it anymore. There’s no value in the perks if I can save more money by not getting the pass. Especially since I can often find discounted tickets for Canadian residents and combine those with a discounted hotel room.

  • June 18, 2019 at 10:46 am
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    Not a happy camper. We will just have to suck it up if we are to be Annual Passholders. Thanks for the warning Pete!

  • June 18, 2019 at 10:53 am
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    Wow that’s some mark up, as stated i think Disney is under the impression that supply and demand is going to go throw the roof and the way to cu the demand is to increase the costs, now if your a able to visit on many occasions its still great value for money but overseas visitors who used to make two or three trips a year and still buy the pass may now find the cost of the pass does not work out like it used to.

    Also lets not forget Disney has to balance the books and with some massive costs lately as parks are updated the likes of Hollywood Studios and Epcot to name the two that are needing or needed massive overhauls the only way to balance the books is to increase park admission costs.

    Yes they could balance the books easily with the films but that’s another pot and no company balances from one to another.

    There are a lot of construction projects just been built, soon to finish and planned and the Disney executives do not want to see a pay cut in there already over inflated wages and bonus so the public have to pay more.

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:02 am
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    I am a DVC Gold AP holder. (Yes, there are blackout dates but Disney would have to pay me to go during those two periods.) Given current prices on multi-day tickets, I find that I come out ahead with the Gold AP if I go to WDW more than once in a given year for 2 or 3 days each trip. We will go to WDW 3 times this year for 5 to 7 days each trip. I am more concerned about prices for multi-day tickets that my daughter’s guests have to buy.

    • June 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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      Did you see that they are bringing back the buy a friend ticket for a discount-$89 per day, park hopper included!check it out and good luck!

      • June 18, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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        I did see the Friends and Family offer. Unfortunately the ticket offer does not extend to when I have trips planned. In addition to the Gold AP blackout periods, SWMBO will not travel to WDW during the summer (with temperatures just slightly less than those found on the surface of the sun).

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:04 am
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    It sucks but I still save money vs buying daily park tickets for the # of days we go twice a year

    • June 18, 2019 at 11:15 am
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      Just gonna have to do the math to see if it works for our family. We’re planning a major trip to disneyland so I’m not sure it’ll be worth it. Good thing my husband is in data analysis. He can do the math. LOL. Maybe we’ll get the premier passport! 😂😂

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:17 am
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    My family is all Gold because of the AP events that were being offered and excluding Silver. Now with Gold being excluded from the previews for GE and these price hikes, we will no longer all be Gold. We will do what most South Floridians do and get the Silver for everyone but one person for the Memory Maker perk. We’ve only done day trips in the summer because we were in the area and why not…but not anymore. It makes more sense for us to visit Sea World or Universal if we decide to do something in the summer (which is rare). We will also let our current passes expire and take a break from the parks for a few months. Our big annual DVC trip is every December and we may just not go until next December given all the price hikes. Will this stop us from going to Disney, no absolutely not. But it will change how we do it and how often. I will say this has been good medicine for my addonitis. No desire to add on at the moment.

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:21 am
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    Ridiculous, it will cost a family of 4 an additional $1000!
    Won’t be back for a second trip this year.

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:45 am
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    Yay, my stock will go up! 🙂 seriously though I am not happy even as a DVC Owner that the prices are going up!

  • June 18, 2019 at 11:59 am
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    I can hardly wait for the next recession and when Disney begs for business, we all laugh

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:02 pm
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    Well, we’ll go from Platinum to Gold and probably economize on meals a bit. Going to signatures every night to once or twice a trip might make up the difference. Our Disney budget, is our Disney budget – and I’m not adding to that column any time soon.

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm
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    Sounds about right. Thank goodness we just bought DVC! I doubt we would have been renewing our Platinum passes. DVC Gold, here we come!

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    Maybe Disney is going for the make the same amount of money with fewer customers route.
    But business debates aside, if you are a local, this may affect you some, but as a traveler it doesn’t change anything for me other than i have to pay more.
    As a PP stated, I am a gold pass holder. I have no interest in going during the black out periods (with the possible exception of new years eve – and now Ill just buy a 1 day ticket if i ever do go that route).
    I go more than once a year, so what choice do I have? It is still cheaper than 2 4 day park hopper tickets. let alone 2 7 or 8 day tickets.
    Heck, I bought a 4 day park hopper for a guest in April, and it was 500+ . My AP (renewal) is still a steal at 600 compared to that. its 100 more, and i have an additional 20 days already planned before my pass expires.

    If you throw in some food discounts its cheaper for me to get a gold AP renewal for 7 days then it is to buy 1 7 day park hopper.

    Its the people who buy those tickets I feel sorry for.

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm
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    Only the next recession will bring Disney prices down. Parks are to crowded and they need to find a way to thin the crowds down. Big price increases certainly fit the bill to do that.

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm
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    I am starting to wonder if they will “adjust” the standard tickets too. We are heading there in December, pre-Christmas trip, and haven’t bought tickets; we were holding out in case they re-offered that 4 Park ticket deal (4 parks, 1 park per day) through DVC but now re-thinking that strategy in case that becomes their next money grab (beyond $8 frozen “milk”).

  • June 18, 2019 at 12:48 pm
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    It makes me glad I bought the AP’s in plenty of time for our 60 day FP booking back in May. Most Likely, we will squeeze 3 trips out of our current A.P.’s After that, we will still go back to Copper Creek to DVC, but ultimately spend less money at Disney World. We can get our Disney “fix” with a hard-ticketed event or two over our stay, and Uber-it over to Universal and visit Harry Potter for a few days. We might buy A.P.’s again, but this price increase encourages a non-renewal.

  • June 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm
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    I’m glad I bought our 4 Gold passes over Memorial Day in preparation for our Galaxy’s Edge trip! And I sure am glad for my DVC membership even more now. Do I feel sorry for people? NO! The sense of entitlement on the internet over this is offensive. If you can’t afford it – so be it. But don’t be MAD at Disney. Find a more affordable form of entertainment because ENTERTAINMENT is what we are talking about here! Great read Pete! (As always)

  • June 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm
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    As a Disneyland AP holder, I have to say that this increase is fairly minor compared to the increases we get hit with many times

    • June 18, 2019 at 5:34 pm
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      I don’t think this increase will do much, if anything at all, to alleviate crowds at WDW. There are many other ticket options for people to choose from if APs are too pricey. And the next time regular ticket prices go up we’ll all be back on the AP bandwagon anyway.

    • June 18, 2019 at 6:44 pm
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      I agree!! Also, as a Disneyland AP, I’m always jealous of the many perks that WDW AP’s get to experience – previews for new attractions and shows, free merch like the magnetic bumper stickers, etc. You still get WAY more bang for your buck as a WDW AP, in my opinion. Not to mention you have access to way more in WDW than you do in Disneyland.

  • June 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm
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    My first big DVC trip is this December. We purchased our APs back in March. I am glad we got them before the price goes up. I got AP simply because we are planning at least 2 maybe 3 trips with in the same 365 day window, so the AP pays for itself.

  • June 18, 2019 at 2:28 pm
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    We don’t go to the parks anymore as our son is older and we’ve discovered how much we like DCL, mostly trips to Europe.

    Even though we live in NJ, we did AP’s twice — when we figured we would do 2 ~ 3 trips per 366 days period, and stay Off-Site in Marriotts (where we are Platinum) and then park for free. I think Disney is repricing their massive, but limited real estate as they charge for parking, create more visitor and investor properties, but NOT increase park capacity.

    Interestingly, as they add 3 more ships to DCL, that is one place they are adding more attraction capacity!?

  • June 18, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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    As long as people keep dishing out the money Disney will continue to do what they do best. $$$

  • June 18, 2019 at 3:36 pm
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    As a dvc member, I will ‘not renew my AP and do resort only staycations. I will do After hour events and water parks with the grand kids.

  • June 18, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    As a local and going on my third year with an annual pass, I’ll be renewing from a Silver to a Theme Park Select. I’ve been debating between the two for a while, but now the cost difference between the two is even larger. I don’t mind being told what park I can go on certain days, and I also don’t mind holding of on Star Wars until early next year. If only I had renewed last week when I had the chance before the price increase! 💸

  • June 18, 2019 at 4:46 pm
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    thanks for the warning Disney!

  • June 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm
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    Strikes as money grab. After years of EPCOT being crap (and still being garbage future world) and just a few rides, 1/2 a park at Hollywood studios. Haven’t been to Universal in 15 years but this may push me to switch this year. For someone due to work schedule can only vacation during peak seasons I dont have the option to downgrade ticket. When the next recession comes around and it will, the revenue loss will hot even harder on WDW than prior ones.

  • June 18, 2019 at 8:13 pm
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    Well, I now have a reason to switch to an annual pass from Universal. But Disney will also have one angry voting family next door that will not vote for anything that may come up in coming years the benefits the Company. They want to take us to the cleaners, okay, local voters have an impact as well.

  • June 18, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    When does the greed stop? I have to wonder when Disney starts to pay the price for their aggressive profit-taking from their customers. Is it a great place to visit? Yes. Has their consistent monetization of nearly every aspect of the park goers experience eroded the feel-good vibe that surrounded this organization? Yes. They are going to pay for that at some point.

  • June 18, 2019 at 9:24 pm
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    Currently, I pay $1,500 for a 20 game package to see the Kansas City Royals. An NFL season ticket costs more than that. Broadway tickets are out of sight. A season pass to major ski resorts cost more than a WDW annual pass. All in all, Disney prices are in line with the rest of the entertainment world.

  • June 19, 2019 at 1:11 am
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    we normally buy the AP due to the 10day price wasn’t that much more . Now with the Australian dollar its just too much . should have brought last weekend

  • June 19, 2019 at 9:20 am
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    I’m glad they are raising prices. The parks are too crowded

    • June 19, 2019 at 11:56 am
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      It probably won’t make a difference………………

  • June 19, 2019 at 11:38 am
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    As a retired person on a fixed income WDW is pricing me and my wife out of their plans. We love taking the grandchildren to the resort. And with these new price increases for parking, to come up with another $100 just to park a car is killing us. We last visited 3 years ago and were looking forward to coming back this October for Food and Wine. Now we’re looking at staying off property and getting a hotel shuttle to Epcot. We need to save where we can. And if it keeps going, we might be saving by not going to WDW anymore and start going to Busch Gardens.

  • June 19, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    I just bought direct DVC the day before the price increase with the intention of buying the passes the following day. I still did that, but I bought them from Sam’s Club and saved about $60. Such is life!

    • June 19, 2019 at 2:58 pm
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      I am not a FL resident, I’m a DVC member, I bought direct. Can I buy the Gold AP “for FL residents’ in Sam’s club? Help!

  • June 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    I live in NY and have gotten AP’s a few times.. This year I did the math and it just doesnt pay for me to get them. I will just have to get a 3 or 4 day pass. When I got the AP’s we would do two trips in the year. I have a timeshare and drive down, so the trips weren’t that crazy expensive. But I will miss going to the parks just to do dinner.

  • June 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm
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    I’m so glad we already bought our Gold AP’s (for hubby and daughter) that we will activate in July. My AP was activated in November when I went to F&W with a girlfriend. We used to go every spring break, but the platinum is out of our budget now. We can’t justify the extra cost for one week. We rarely go at Christmas, but have in the past. I have one more public school year with my DD before she graduates high school, and with that, goes the week before Easter spring break which is blacked out. This year we went to Disneyland for spring break. It was phenomenal. As Pete says, “go to Disneyland”. No FP+ was SO relaxing. It was nearly as relaxing as last summer’s trip when we skipped a summer and stayed at OKW and only did resort fun. I would still go at Christmas if I have points and can get a reservation, but I will stay out of the parks. Next year my DD will be in college, and we may have to let her AP go because whether she can vacation with us is uncertain. We might get a water park annual pass though. In the summer, that might be best.

  • June 20, 2019 at 1:21 am
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    The increase adds 210 more for our family of 4…3 silver and one gold . We will still renew when the time comes, because we USE it…going 5+ times a year for 2-3 days. It may limit our stays on property…or…just push us to get that camper we have been debating and just head to the Fort…still cheapest and nicer then any Value besides POP.

  • June 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm
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    We will probably take AT LEAST a year off from the parks due to this increase and we are Florida residents and DVC members. We will probably go to Hawaii next year instead. We were looking for a reason to take a Disney Break and I think this is it. For our family of 5 plus spouse and boyfriends , this amounts to almost $4500 !!! Time to take a Disney break !!!

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