Disney World Hikes up Annual Pass Prices

The most magical place in the world is becoming a little less magical due to rising prices that could see your next trip to Disney World costing you a pretty penny. As the beloved theme park reopens attractions that had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ahead of the park's 50th anniversary celebrations this fall, Disney World in Orlando, Florida this month announced the return of its annual passes, which are now not only more expensive, but also come with fewer perks.

Under the new annual pass program, customers can choose from four options that have price tags between $399 and $1,299. The cheapest option, the Pixie Dust Pass, costs $399 and allows Florida residents to visit the theme park on most weekdays with an advance reservation, subject to blockout dates. At $699, the Pirate Pass, also for Florida residents, allows holders access to the parks on most days, also subject to blackout dates. The Disney Sorcer Pass, costing $899, is for Flroida residents and similar to the Pirate Pass, though it's also open to Disney Vacation Club member. The Incredi-Pass, with a price tag of $1,299, is the most expensive of the annual passes and can be purchased by any guest. No blackout dates apply to this pass. All passes do not included taxes.

Don Munsil, co-owner of travel website MouseSavers.com, told Market Watch the prices are "roughly the same as it was just before they ended the annual pass program," though at the time, "those prices had only been in effect for a few months before they ended the program.

However, that is just the base price for the passes. Potentially making the annual passes even more expensive than their price tag are the missing perks that had previously been included. For example, those wanting the PhotoPass downloads bonus will need to shell out an additional $99 per person before tax, and those wanting to visit things like Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, or Disney's Oak Trail Gold Course, among others, will have to purchase the Water Park and Sports Option for $99 per person plus tax if they did not select the Incredi-Pass.

In addition to annual and day passes, Disney has also introduced its Genie service, which allows guests to personalize their Disney day. However, with the service's introduction came the official end of FastPass, FastPass+ and MaxPass reservation systems, with guests now having to pay for the Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes options if they wish to have access to short lines like the FastPasses previously included.

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According to Munsil, Disney goers shouldn't expect these price increases to stop anytime soon. He said guests "should absolutely expect that Disney will continue to make moves to raise the average cost of a day at Walt Disney World. All of these annual pass changes fit into that model." In fact, a recent study showed that by the year 2031, a one-day ticket could surge to more than $250.