Going to Walt Disney World feels like a right of passage as a Floridian. And lucky for us, Jacksonville is just under three hours’ drive from “The Most Magical Place On Earth.” To thank Florida residents for their ongoing support, Disney offers some amazing perks.
First, You Need a Ticket
The easiest way to buy your tickets is online at disneyworld.disney.go.com. For Florida residents, they offer package deals on multi-day trips. For instance, there is a 4-day ticket currently on sale for $195 (plus tax) per person. This breaks down to $49 per day (plus tax) for admission to one of their four theme parks per day. If you want to enjoy more than one park per day then you have to upgrade your ticket to add the “park hopper” option. This came to a grand total of $250 per person.
Get an Annual Pass
There are several options available to Florida residents to become a Disney World Passholder. Here is an overview:
The Weekday Pass: I recommend this pass to those with young children or those with the flexibility to travel Monday–Friday. This is the least expensive pass that allows you into all four theme parks. There are blockout dates during the months of April, June, July, August, and December. This will cost you $349 (plus tax) per person. After the fifth visit to a Disney park, you have paid the average cost of a park ticket and each visit after is free.
The Theme Park Select Pass: This pass was a new option last year. We had friends who ordered this and loved it. There are different months, weeks and days blocked out and vary by theme park. You really have to see this on a calendar to be sure it is right for you. However, unlike the Weekday Pass, this allows you to go to certain parks on weekends and during the summer months. This will cost you $439 (plus tax) per person. At this rate, you have to visit a park for more than seven days in the year to get the full value of this pass.
The Silver Pass: I recommend this pass for those who want access to all four parks weekdays and weekends but do not mind being blocked out during Easter break, the summer months, and Christmas break. This pass costs $519 (plus tax) per person and after eight park visits, you have received the full value.
The Gold Pass: In my opinion, this is the best pass deal. Here you have access to all four parks. Now, this pass has just four weeks out of the entire year that are blocked. Easter break in April and Christmas break in December. AND the biggest deal is that it includes photo pass downloads. If you are not familiar, Memory Maker Photo Pass is an additional option you can add to your ticket to buy the professional photos taken at unique locations all throughout Disney World Resort. They even add extra pixie dust to some of the photos! It is really awesome. The advance purchase price of Memory Maker Photo Pass is $169 (plus tax). You will spend $699 (plus tax) per person and it includes Memory Maker Photo Pass. If you deduct what the photo pass would cost you it takes just eight park day visits during the year to reach the full value of this pass.
The Platinum Pass: Again you have access to all four theme parks. There are no blockout dates with this pass. The Platinum Pass costs $899 (plus tax) per person and includes the Memory Maker Photo Pass. So, if you deduct what the photo pass would cost you, it really only takes 11 park days in the year to reach the full value of this pass.
The Water Parks After-2 Pass and the Epcot After-4 Pass: These passes only allow access to their specific parks and in the afternoon. I recommend this pass for local residents or those who do not wish to go to the other three theme parks. They are very reasonably priced. The Water Parks After-2 costs $139 (plus tax) per person, and the Epcot After-4 Pass costs $309 (plus tax) per person.
Additional Annual Passholder Benefits
Passholders enjoy free standard parking at all four theme parks. You can save up to 20%-off dining at restaurants at Disney Resort hotels, Disney theme parks, and Disney Springs. Annual Passholders get special discounted room rates at select Disney resort hotels. As a Passholder, I have seen discounts of 35%-off resort rooms. You can book FastPass selections up to 30 days in advance of your trip. And you can save up to 20%-off merchandise at Disney parks, Disney Springs, and online. There are also discounts on guided tours and special events throughout the year.
Lastly, if you are a collector, there is specific merchandise only available to Passholders during special events. As a Passholder, you get to display an iconic car magnet. And certain times of the year they release limited-edition car magnets.
Book a Room
When we travel to Disney, we always stay on property at a Disney Resort hotel. It begins the magic as soon as we arrive. From the hotel theming to the top-notch customer service, we immediately feel the joy. While staying at a Disney Resort hotel you have no need to drive your car. They provide buses, boats, monorail or the new Skyliner gondolas to get you to and from the parks. Each hotel has different options for transportation. We also get extra magic hours at the parks varying each day by staying at a Disney Resort hotel. And best of all, we can book our FastPasses 60 days in advance. This is crucial for the most popular rides. Florida residents get up to 30% savings on Disney Resort hotel rooms.
Since I was a toddler, I have been enjoying family vacations to Disney. It has changed a lot over the years — it is bigger, more crowded and more magical every year. If you have not already, I encourage you to make the leap and plan a trip to Disney. You won’t regret it!