Passholder Perks- Amazing Benefits of an Annual Pass
The story behind my often asked-about Instagram handle (@NYCtoAP…you should check it out!) extends beyond the simple fact that I like words and I like to make them rhyme, which is true. This story is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. If its possible to say it without bragging: I grew up in the Disney Parks…specifically the Parks of Walt Disney World Resort. Wait, what rhymes with passholder?
Every single year, year after year, my parents would take me to Florida to experience in-person the attractions, shows, and characters that fueled my imagination for the other 51 weeks of the year. Slowly but surely, we somehow worked our way up to 2 Disney vacations each year by the time I hit high school. The impending fact that I would be leaving home for college meant that our trips would soon be ending.
Fast forward to college, and mine and my mother’s complete infatuation with Walt Disney World hit an all-time high, like how I look into my sweet little kitty cat’s eyes every day and think I couldn’t love her more…and then the next day I do. That’s the level of Disney fandom I was reaching, and I had to do something about it. I went to college in NYC; a 2 day by car journey to Central Florida, so what did I do? I bought myself and my parents Platinum Annual Passes 3 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Platinum Annual Passes allow the holder to enter and exit each of the four Disney theme parks without limitation, 365 days per year. With that kind of access comes a hefty price tag, and when I first approached my parents with the idea, I made sure to lead myself with an arsenal of passholder perks to present to them in the hopes of them agreeing to make the purchase.
The first perk I brought to the table was…drumroll please… free parking! Even though we usually stay at a Disney Resort, more often than not, the busses provided have been more trouble than they’re worth- they’ve caused me to miss countless FastPasses and nearly miss a flight- so we usually rent a car. That way, we can come and go as we please without having to wait for a bus, and free parking saves $20 per day!
Room Rates and Dining
While the Resorts transportation could use an overhaul, you really can’t beat staying on-property. After a day spent hitting your favorite attractions, licking a Mickey bar, and capping it off with a sparkling display of fiery burst of light above Cinderella Caste, that unmistakable lightness and belief in your dreams has a better chance of lasting you until the next morning if your hotel reflects the same magic as the parks! Multiple times throughout the year, Disney offers discounted room rates to Annual Passholders!
Once you’ve booked your discounted room, it’s time to start thinking about dining! Even for AP’s, dining reservations should be made six months in advance. This will give you your best shot at getting into your top restaurants…but not before you do your research! Most table service restaurants, and a few quick serve options, offer between 10-20% off of food purchases! My favorite restaurants that offer the discount are: Be Our Guest, Spice Road Table, and Kona Café (if only for those amazing sweet buns)!
Where are my fellow mile-loggers? This section is for you! First off, if you’re into running and have never participated in a runDisney event, I am here to tell you to get over your aversion to waking up at 3:00am and sign up for a race right now! Since you’re reading this you’re obviously a Disney fan. Running through Animal Kingdom before sunrise is amazing. The monkeys are just waking up for the day. Welcoming you to their home is an experience you have to see to believe!
It’s no secret that runDisney events are superbly popular destination races, and when I registered for last years’ Star Wars race weekend, I was very thankful that I had early Annual Passholder access to registration…because the races I participated in ended up selling out!
Festival Gifts and Holiday Parties
Flower and Garden, Food and Wine Festival, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the list of seasonal festivals and ticketed parties goes on and on, and when you’re an AP, experiencing them all is a no-brainer! Disney has offered some pretty cool gifts to AP’s who attend the parties and festivals.
This year during Flower and Garden Festival, Passholders in attendance were given both a festival-exclusive Mickey and Minnie AP-branded magnet, and during Christmas at Hollywood Studios, an adorable string of lights adorned the recognizable AP logo on the free magnet!
If you’re planning to visit during Halloween or Christmas, the two parties offered at Magic Kingdom during each season are a sensational and seasonable way to experience the Magic Kingdom all decked out in its holiday best, and with a limited number of tickets sold per event, wait times at popular attractions are almost guaranteed to be nonexistent. As an AP, you’ll receive discounted ticket prices to each of the parties!
TIP: Exclusive party-only Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards are available during each holiday party, so be sure to stop into the Fire Station to snag yours!
V.I.P Passholder Nights
For the first time, Disney has announced that select AP’s (Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Premiere) will receive email invitations. These will invite you to attend an AP-only after-hours event. These events will be in Magic Kingdom and Epcot until the end of the summer! Based on the official statement by Disney, the events will be strictly limited.
If you’re one of the lucky AP’s to receive an email invite to one of these events, you’d better RSVP ASAP to make sure yours is one of the lucky MagicBands that will have access! Have you received your email invite yet? Are you considering becoming an Annual Passholder? Let us know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to be a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!