Disney Offers Florida Residents Annual Pass Options
One of the benefits of living in Florida is the ability to purchase an annual pass to the various world-famous theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Busch Gardens. Offering unlimited visits, they can be a huge money-saver. As a 17-year resident of the Sunshine State, the first thing I did (right after getting my Florida driver’s license) was head on over to a Disney ticket booth to purchase my annual pass.
Even before moving to Florida I was a big fan of “the Mouse!” Every year we would spend our family vacations at Disney, probably about 20 memorable visits, more or less. Therefore, it was only fitting to celebrate the 1200-mile-move with our very first Disney annual pass! Way back then, Disney only offered 2 or 3 types of passes for Florida residents. For the first 10+ years we splurged and bought the highest priced ticket. But with hubby and I both working full-time, we found ourselves visiting the parks less and less. Not that we didn’t have a desire for the Disney magic, our schedules just didn’t allow for it. In fact, one year we only used the pass once or twice. Our “bargain-priced” Disney pass ended up costing us a lot of money.
After that, we discussed not renewing our passes. But then… the masterminds at Disney did something supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Something so extraordinarily good happened that I’m certain Mary Poppins herself would have been tickled pink. Disney introduced some brand new Passholder options. And, behold, the Weekday Select annual pass was born.
What is the Disney Weekday Select Pass?
The Disney Weekday Select annual pass is a fantastic option for Florida residents. Hubby and I have had ours ever since its inception, and it has served us extremely well. Hubby and I are retired now, so our time is quite flexible. And flexibility is key with this type of annual pass. Weekday Select Passholders can only attend the Disney theme parks Monday through Friday, and certain “blackout” dates are also imposed. The blackout dates are always around major holidays and some other peak times. (Here’s the link to the Disney Weekday Select 2017 blackout dates calendar.) They usually include Christmas/New Years week, Easter/Spring break, and the peak summer vacation period from early-June to mid-August.
But, that’s perfect for us. Since we are locals, with the ability to visit the parks anytime we want, why would we want to be there during those crazy busy times anyhow? We never enjoy having our toes stomped on by hoards of overly-excited tourists, nor waiting in line for hours for the most popular rides and shows. Oftentimes, during Disney’s off-season, we can get into those same attractions with little or no wait time. And once, we made the mega-mistake of going to Animal Kingdom over the 4th of July weekend, with 100-degree heat, and vowed NEVER to do that again! Between the record-breaking crowds and a downright dangerous heat index, clearly that foolish decision made for a most miserable day.
With the exception of those blackout periods and no admission on Saturdays and Sundays, the Weekday Select pass works just like any other Disney park-hopper ticket. We are entitled to unlimited visits to all 4 Disney theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. It also includes park-hopper privileges, meaning we can go to multiple parks on the same day, if we choose. (Some of the high-priced single-day admission tickets do not allow for park-hopping.)
With my Weekday Select pass I’m able to attend all my favorite Disney events, like the colorful Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, the yummy Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and the creative Epcot International Festival of the Arts. And this year I’m among the first to see the NEW Rivers of Light nighttime show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, and Pandora: The World of Avatar.
Disney Weekday Select Pass Perks & Discounts
In addition to unlimited park entry throughout the year (excluding the block out dates), there are many other special benefits included with the Weekday Select pass. Here are a few of my favorites…
- FREE Parking! The Weekday Select annual pass hasn’t always included this benefit. Free [standard] parking has only been added within the last two years. For us, this was an impressive improvement to the value of the pass. Considering that Disney parking is now $20/day, that can add up quickly over the course of a year. Hubby and I try to use our pass at least 12 times a year, so that’s a savings of $240.
- Disney Dining Discounts! As a Weekday Select Passholder we receive a discount at select Disney restaurants in the theme parks, at Disney Resorts, at Disney’s Boardwalk, and at the newly redesigned Disney Springs complex (formerly Downtown Disney). The discount is typically 10% off the total bill but can be greater during special promotions.
- Merchandise Discounts! A 10% discount is given at all Disney-owned retail shops, including some of the kiosks found throughout the theme parks. Another fantastic perk for us, as oftentimes we take our toddler Grandson, who expects a souvenir every time he’s there. NOTE: This year, in 2017, there’s a special 45th anniversary promotion that allows a 20% discount at many of the shops and restaurants.
- Lodging Discounts! As a Weekday Select Passholder we can make reservations at select Walt Disney World Resorts with savings up to 35%. Obviously, the best deals are usually during off-season, but again, that’s when we prefer to be on Disney property. Passholders should bookmark this page when searching for discounted accommodations at Disney Resorts.
- Tour & Special Events Discounts! There’s been a surge in recent years in the number of behind-the-scenes tours and special events added by Disney. Our Passholder discount varies with each individual tour.
- Movie Ticket Discount! The Weekday Select pass includes a $2 savings per ticket for movies at the Disney Springs theatre.
- Others! Although I’ve never used it, there are discounts available for rental cars, salon treatments, childcare at select Disney Resorts, and a 20% discount on all purchases made with the Shop Disney Parks app. Also, live entertainment discounts like 20% off Disney on Ice and Disney Live shows, and recently a $50 discount off certain performances of The Lion King touring production.
NOTE: In order to receive the special discounts mentioned above, the Passholder must present their physical annual pass (the plastic card, not just the MagicBand) along with a valid photo ID. Trust me, the savings are more than worth it!
TIP: A good place to find up-to-date information on deals and discounts is on the Disney Passholder Facebook page. Disney doesn’t always publicize special discounts on their website.
How Much Does a Disney Weekday Select Annual Pass Cost?
The Disney Weekday Select annual pass is only available to Florida residents with proof of Florida residency, such as a Florida driver’s license or State issued identification card. The cost, for ages 3 and older, is $286.49 which includes tax. (Our cost is even less, as we receive a renewal discount every year.) If hubby and I attain our goal of 12 yearly visits, that’s less than $24 a visit for each of us! You can’t get a better Disney deal (apart from being a Disney Cast Member with free tickets!).
Monthly Payment Program
In an effort to make Disney annual passes affordable to more Florida residents, Disney has implemented a monthly payment program. It allows the Passholder to spread the cost of the pass over 12 monthly payments. When you purchase the pass, you will be required to make a down payment. The balance will be split into 12 monthly payments that will be automatically billed to the credit card of your choice. (The first monthly payment is charged the day you sign up.) For the Weekday Select pass, the down payment is $114, with monthly payments of $14.38.
A Year of Magic for a Lot Less
I’m feeling oddly good about the value here. You won’t hear me say that about too many Disney price tags. But, as the price for a one-day Walt Disney World ticket keeps escalating, (from $105-$172) an annual pass is a valuable option for Florida residents. I highly recommend the Weekday Select pass if you are able to attend on weekdays. I haven’t missed out on anything by switching to this cost-efficient pass. In fact, I still have all the fun experiences and awe-inspiring moments that I’ve come to expect at “The Happiest Place On Earth,” only for a fraction of what I used to pay!