I first visited Disney World when I was 9 ½ because my dad won a trip through his work that let us go and stay on Disney property. We had the best time and since then, well and before then, I was obsessed with Disney. I loved the movies, the characters, the history, basically everything about it. Once I visited the park, I fell in love with it as well. I assumed this trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity I might never get to have again. In 2015 my family moved back to Florida. They had lived in Florida before, actually during the time we went when I was a child. I decided in September of 2015 I would go visit them because I was very close to them and not seeing them was driving me crazy. After that I was hooked and I didn’t even go to Disney that time. My trip in February of 2016 we all got to go to Magic Kingdom for free. They have a good friend who works for Disney and he got us all in for a day. I always had wanted to be a season pass holder but with my work, and my horse shows and the money I didn’t know if that would ever be an option. They told me in December of 2016 that they were going to get passes for them as their Christmas presents. I said I would think about buying one after looking at my bank accounts, my horse show schedule, my work schedules, etc. I finally decided if I am ever going to get one this would be the ideal time since they have them. I’m from Missouri but last fall I moved to Oklahoma and started working at a Thoroughbred race horse farm. I’m never away from horses if you couldn’t tell between work and showing my own personal paint horse. I bought the pass and I’ve only used it once but I am going again in mid-May. We went to all four parks in 3 days and I hope to visit all four again in May. Anyway, that’s my story about getting a pass and now I will share some pros and cons about getting a pass if you live out of state.
1. Anytime you go to Florida, you could visit Disney World and who wouldn’t want to do that?
2. Passholders get special deals on Resorts. They try to accommodate everyone who has a pass by discounting rooms for your stay. Now will you get 50% off a room? Probably not but all of the resorts will be discounted. There are hotels within all of the price brackets so there is something for everyone. I am blessed to have family close so I don’t ever stay in a hotel but I realize not everyone can stay at a house. Bonus tip, When I was little we stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort and we LOVED it. My cousin from back home has stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and it is incredible as expected.
3. Special events will be offered to you as a passholder. I got an e-mail that I could sign up to tour PANDORA: The world of Avatar before it opens to the public. By the time I figured out if I could go or my family would be free it sold out. But, you do get special access to new things happening as well as events that are only for passholders.
4. Discounts on shopping!! You do get a discount on Disney merchandise. Basically all of the shops within the parks that sell Disney Merch. At Disney springs many of the stores, even non-Disney ones will have a discount for you to take advantage of. The Disney specific stores are 20% and that is a good discount in my opinion. Especially if you are wanting souvenirs or something only sold in the parks. I’m sure a lot of people will not buy stuff every time they visit the parks. However, I have a slight shopping problem and I usually will buy at least 1 item, usually more.
5. Discounts on Dining: Until September certain restaurants are giving 20% off and that is a really good deal. The other restaurants give the basic 15% off which is still a good deal also. You can visit Disney World online to view every restaurant at the parks or Disney Springs that offer a discount as well as the certain 20% restaurants.
6. You could visit all 4 parks in one day if you really wanted to. They do not sell a one day park hopper pass anymore although even visiting 2 parks in one day would be tricky. With a pass you don’t have to worry about cramming every single thing you want to do into one trip or one day. Say you missed the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom this trip, then when you are planning for your next one maybe you can find a fast pass for it. You can really take your time enjoying the parks without being stressed that you aren’t getting exactly your money’s worth for the ticket price.
7. FREE PARKING: Unless you drive this isn’t a huge selling point, but if you do it’s a nice bonus. If you are out of state and stay on Disney property there is free transportation to the parks as well as Disney Springs. So either way Disney is helping you and your family out. Disclaimer, you do not have to be a passholder to use the transportation from the resorts. As long as you stay at the resorts, you can use it.
8. Discounts on tours and guided tours: I’m not going to list every single tour Disney offers but as a passholder you do get a discount. It varies but the average discount is 15%.
9. Photo Pass Downloads: You will receive any professional pictures taken of you in the parks as long as you scan your magic band or card. This is free unless you want to buy actual photos. You can use the free photos from the downloads on social media as well as e-mail. This is neat because it is a professional grade picture rather than one from your phone.
1. Money: A pass will be roughly $779 plus tax for the one without the water parks and ESPN access. That’s a big chunk of money per person especially if you have more than one adult and multiple kids. Heck, I thought $779 was a lot for just me!
2. If you do not think you will be able to make it to Florida more than one time in a year then maybe the season pass isn’t for you or your family. The experts say if you cannot make seven separate one day visits then it isn’t worth the money. Also if you plan on being at Disney 11 days out of the 366 days the pass is good for. You really just need to plan ahead with your vacation budgets to see if a pass makes sense for your household. I plan on going to Disney a minimum of 4 times and if I make it more than that then I will just call those trips a bonus.
3. Boredom: Personally, I don't think I could ever get bored visiting Disney many many times but for some families this could be an issue. A pass is a commitment to visiting Disney multiple times, unless financially you can purchase one for only one vacation. Maybe there are other vacation spots your family has been wanting to see. If you have to visit Disney more than once in a year, then you probably cannot take those other trips you are wanting to go on.
4. Travel: Since you are out of state travel is an issue. This means wear and tear plus the expensive of driving. Or this means you will have to pay for a flight every time you visit. I fly a lot with my horse shows and Florida trips and my favorite airline has to be southwest. Many times you can get discounts and EVERY time you do not have to pay for your baggage. Either way, you have to budget travel into your vacations every time.
Honestly I cannot think of more than four Cons and that isn't because I am trying to say buying a pass is the only option. The biggest two factors for a family to make a decision would be time and money. So really that's what makes or breaks everybody's choice to be a passholder. I did my research with my calendar and budget to make my decision. I highly suggest you make sure to budget everything because this will make it easier. I hope this blog post helped a fellow out of state Disney lover! Have a Magical Day.
Just for fun I will tell you about the pictures I posted. The top one obviously is what your pass will look like if you choose to purchase one. One is myself and my cousin Jalen jumping in front of the Castle. This picture was taken by one of the workers at Disney World and with my pass I used the downloader to keep it. Another is a cool shot I snapped at Epcot. The water picture is from Disney Springs. This last one is my cousin Jordan, myself and Jalen at Animal Kingdom in front of the Tree of Life.
Photos and post by: Kayln Epperson
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