When Disney World presented the option of canceling Annual Passes, it left many of Disney World’s biggest fans with a TOUGH decision. And there may be some of you still grappling with the choice.
The final day to opt into cancellation of the pass is Tuesday, August 11th, and passes will no longer be valid for entry beginning August 12th if you choose to cancel, so time is running out!
While we don’t know your exact situation and the decision is ultimately yours, we can do our best to help you weigh the pros and cons as to whether or not you should cancel your Disney World Annual Pass.
What are your options?
Disney extended the option to Passholders to cancel their current Passes back in mid-June, ahead of the park reopening. At the time, Disney stated that Passholders can choose between receiving an added one-month extension to their Pass (on top of adding back the days lost due to the closure), or they could choose to cancel the pass. We will get into more specifics below.
Keep in mind that, as we said, Disney ALREADY extended Annual Passes based on the number of days the parks were closed. So, for example, if your Florida Resident Disney Weekday Select Annual Pass’ original expiration date was August 1, it will now expire on November 26, 117 days after the original date, plus the additional month, if you choose to keep your pass (so your pass would be valid until the end of December).
All Annual Passholders who choose to take the one-month extension (instead of canceling) will see the change processed and reflected on their Pass sometime in October 2020.
Now, there are some slightly different factors to consider depending on if you paid for your Annual Pass in full, or if you are on the monthly payment plan.
If you paid in full…
If you paid for your Pass in full and decide to cancel, you will receive a partial refund based on the amount of time left on your pass. Remember that the pass will no longer be valid for entry beginning August 12, so you could estimate your partial refund amount based on the time between August 12 and your most up-to-date expiration date.
If you are on the monthly payment plan…
If you are on the monthly payment plan and you choose to cancel, it’ll look a bit different. Disney will waive any payments due on your Pass after August 11, and any payments made between July 11 and August 11 will be refunded.
It seems like Disney has already been testing the monthly payment system, as back in July many Annual Passholders on the plan were suddenly charged for the four months’ worth of time the parks were closed. This has since been rectified.
Does it make sense financially to cancel your pass?
Depending on how much time is left on your Annual Pass, you may be faced with a nominal or a rather hefty refund coming your way, should you choose to cancel. For example, if you purchased a Disney Platinum Pass (non-Florida resident) in full at the current 2020 price of $1195.00, and your pass does not expire for another nine months, you’d receive a refund of $896.25.
If you’re a Florida resident and purchased a Silver Annual Pass last year in full for $519.00 (before the price increase), and your pass expires in four months, you will receive a refund of $173.00. That’s still a decent chunk of change!
Should you choose to cancel your pass that you paid for in full, Disney has stated that Passholders will receive their refunds on their original form of payment in mid to late September.
If you were on the monthly payment plan, it’s a little easier to do the math to calculate how much money you will save. You would simply multiply your monthly payment amount times the number of months left on your pass, and you will have the total amount that will be waived after August 11.
Have you already canceled your Pass or are considering canceling? Click here to see when and how you can expect your refund to appear!
Will the Park Pass System work FOR or AGAINST you?
The Park Pass Reservation System is one tricky little program and one that has caused some serious strife for Annual Passholders since its rollout.
Park Pass Reservation availability has filled up MUCH faster for Annual Passholders than for any other Guest type. The trouble here is that local Annual Passholders or those who can more easily take a last-minute trip to Disney World can no longer simply say “I want to visit the parks this weekend.”
In most cases, you may not be able to get a reservation until sometime over a month later (especially if you want to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios). So, one could justifiably say “what’s the point of being a Passholder?” if you can no longer spontaneously visit the parks whenever you please.
The Park Pass System specifically seems to be working AGAINST local Passholders who do not need hotel accommodations. This is because a Passholder with a hotel reservation can simply book a Park Pass Reservation as a Resort Guest, which has significantly more reservation availability.
It looks like Disney is periodically adding more Park Pass availability to Passholders, but we would not count on that as a guarantee if the date you want to visit is full. This suspicion seemed to be confirmed by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who during the most recent Quarterly Earnings Call noted that unclaimed reservations were being given to local Passholders at the last minute.
Because of the overall lower availability for Annual Passholders, you will need to plan your trips to Disney World much farther ahead of time than you’re used to. The spontaneity of using your Pass isn’t what it used to be, especially if you live nearby and are more used to last-minute trips to the parks.
Read more about what we’ve learned about Disney World’s current Guest percentages since reopening here!
And then there are all the OTHER things to consider!
Deciding whether or not to cancel your Disney World Annual Pass is a much bigger decision than how much money you’ll be refunded, and even bigger than the new Park Pass Reservation System. Beyond the objective variables that include financial implications and reservations, there are a ton of other factors to consider that only YOU can place a value on.
For example, how safe do YOU feel going to Disney World right now? Are the parks going to be enjoyable for you and your family, regardless of how much money you’ll save or how easy it is to get a Park Pass Reservation?
After crunching the numbers and mastering the Reservation System, if you don’t feel safe, you may not enjoy your time at Disney World until things start to resemble some level of “normalcy.”
From what we have seen and experienced ourselves, Disney World is doing quite a bit to make sure the Guest experience is safe in these unprecedented times. One of the most noticeable health measures is their face mask policy. While this may add a level of security for many Guests, others may feel like the masks diminish their overall experience at the parks.
There are also all of the reduced offerings to consider. If your Disney World vacations are all about meeting the characters and watching the fireworks every night, you’ll be out of luck for a while.
To give you a QUICK recap, Disney World has temporarily suspended fireworks, parades, character meet and greets, traditional character dining (with the modified exceptions of Topolino’s Terrance and Garden Grill), as well as the Disney Dining Plan, FastPass+, and Park Hopping. At this time, we do not know when Disney will bring these back.
Despite these cons, there are also a couple of significant pros to consider. It’s important to point out that for the most part, thanks to the limited park capacity, the crowd levels at the theme parks right now are DRASTICALLY lower than what they are typically. Most attractions are walk-ons, and there is more elbow room in the parks than we’ve seen in YEARS. There are definitely some things we like BETTER now than we did before the closures.
If you think it may be worth it to hang onto your Annual Pass, keep in mind that you’ll also get that renewal discount when it comes time to re-up your Pass. The savings here aren’t significant, but it’s certainly something to consider if you foresee wanting to have that pass in 2021 and beyond.
So, what do WE think you should do with your Annual Pass?
Ultimately we cannot tell YOU what decision to make with your Annual Pass, but being an Annual Passholder at Disney World is a whole different ball game than what it was before the closures. While there are some hidden benefits to visiting the parks now (low crowds being the big one), just getting TO the parks and enjoying your time there can be a burdensome experience.
The factors that you considered when you originally signed up for your pass may not be the same factors you have now when deciding whether or not to keep your pass. Every family and travel party is different from the next, so we hope you take all this information into consideration if you have yet to make your decision!
Are you a Disney World Annual Passholder? Have you decided what to do with your Pass? Let us know in the comments!