Considering a Disney World Annual Pass? You need to know what pass is right for you

So you have decided that for Christmas this year, you are going to splurge and buy an Annual Pass to Disney World, that's great but which one is right for you?
Disney Annual Passholder entrance sign. Credit: Brian Miller
Disney Annual Passholder entrance sign. Credit: Brian Miller /

You made the right decision! You are going to surprise your family at Christmas with a Disney Annual Pass and now, you have to decide which pass is right for you!

Let's not beat around the bush with a bunch of fluff stuff in an attempt to get you all hyped up over your decision. You want to know what the best pass is to choose. So let's dive into it from another passholder who has asked themselves this very thing each year when they renew.

There are four different APs to choose from but there is a caveat. If you are a Florida resident, you have four options, if you are not a Florida resident, you have one.

  • Pixie Dust Pass - Florida Residents only - $439.00 plus tax
  • Pirate Pass - Florida Residents only - $799.00 plus tax
  • Sorcerer Pass - Florida Residents and DVC members only - $999.00 plus tax
  • Incredi-Pass - Everyone - $1,449.00 plus tax

You can dismiss the first three passes if you live outside of Florida but if you split your time between one state and Florida and have a utility bill, drivers license, and other proof that you are in Florida as well, you may be able to get the FL. resident rates.

If you live in Florida or can get that rate, how do you decide?

Pixie Dust passes are good only during the week and do not include any weekends and that does not change. There are other blackout dates that change a bit from year to year depending on the calendar of holidays. For example, there are many blacked out for Christmas, New Year's, and even holidays that give you a three-day weekend. Think you are going to hit Disney World for Spring Break? Check the calendar as that could be blacked out too.

With far fewer blackout dates, the Pirate Pass will give you weekends, weekdays, and some 3-day weekends but overall, most of the holidays are still blocked out. Christmas for example is blocked out from December 20th to January 3rd.

Almost all holidays come with a blackout. The benefit of the Pirates Pass compared to the Pixie Pass is simply the weekends. If you are more likely to visit on Saturday and Sunday, then this is the better option over the Pixie Pass.

The Sorcerer Pass comes with fewer blackout restrictions. You can visit almost the entire year. The only restrictions with this pass are the Thanksgiving four-day weekend and Christmas from the 20th of December to January 3rd. All other holidays, Spring Break, etc. are open.

Finally, is the Incredi-Pass your best value?

There are no restrictions for those who have the Incredi-Pass. None.

Making your decision has to come down to a few things.

1: Your budget

This is the most important question you need to answer. Especially if you have a larger family. These passes will add up quickly.

2: What days are you most likely to go to a park?

If you are more likely to visit a park on the weekends, then obviously you need to take that into consideration. I have a Pixie Pass and we have opted to visit other parks, like Sea World on the weekends or spend our time at the hotels.

3: How often will you visit a Disney park?

This is a question many don't take into consideration. If you are wanting to buy the Incredi-Pass but are only going to use the pass for a few days, you won't make your money back and you are not saving much. Then again, if you are only looking to go to Disney a few times, you probably don't need a pass as it is.

With prices now ranging from $119.00 to $159.00 to get into a park, APs are becoming more of a way to save money. If we average every ticket out to $130.00 (not including the park-hopper option which is included in every AP) here is how many times you need to visit. We rounded up to the next full day.

  • Pixie Pass - 4 days
  • Pirate Pass - 7 days
  • Sorcerer Pass - 8 days
  • Incredi - Pass - 12 days

All passes are relatively equal aside from the blackout dates. Each pass offers up to a 20% food and merchandise discount, and each pass comes with free parking. Each pass also will give you discounts on Disney hotels as well.

Starting on January 9th, AP holders will no longer be required to enter another park after 2:00 p.m. and can instead jump from park to park at any time during the day. Currently, each pass requires a reservation. That will change in 2024 but the reservation system may not fully go away and isn't expected to.

As far as reservations go, each pass comes with a preset number of reservations that you can make at a time. For example, the Pixie Pass allows up to 3 reservations at a time whereas the Incredi-Pass allows five.

It should be noted that once you have visited the park, you can make another reservation. You are not limited. We typically make the first three reservations for our trips and then add more as we go. It should also be noted that no reservations are needed for any park after 2:00.