How the annual Walt Disney World passes have changed over time

Disney World tickets have changed a lot over the years. There have been price increases and even complete reforms to the ticketing system. But perhaps what has changed the most since the first opening of Disney World is its annual Passholder program.

Disney World Annual Pass

It is the new annual season ticket program that far from where it all started?

Let’s take a look at the full history of Disney World’s annual passes.

The original Disney World entry

When Disney World opened in 1971, guests didn’t buy the same tickets we know today. Instead, the park used one ticket book system that was the same as the one Disneyland had used since its opening. Basically, each trip received a ticket letter (AE,) and you could only board the attraction if you had the correct ticket.

“E” input for Magic Kingdom

But that changed in 1982 when Disney World (and Disneyland) switched to a Passport ticket system that is very similar to the tickets we use today. So instead of buying separate tickets for rides, there was a ticket that covered the park entrance and unlimited rides and rides. It was this change that eventually led to the introduction of Disney World’s annual season tickets.

When the annual passes were presented

Local guests did not like the new system, as many of them purchased the general admission ticket and had no ticket book when they visited. They just wanted to go in to shop, eat and see people. But, according to the Passport ticket system, it was much more expensive to visit, especially if you had no plans to ride anything.

Some guests came to see the parades. | Disney in the eighties ©Disney

Thus, Disney presented the first annual passports to Walt Disney World in September 1982.

Annual passport

These passports granted access to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center (when it opened in October 1982) for a period of one year and cost as little as $ 80 for a children’s pass of up to $ 100 for a pass. for adults. If you are a member of the Magic Kingdom Club, you will receive a $ 10 discount.

The annual season ticket program changed almost immediately

It wasn’t long before the annual passport program began to change, and the first price increase came just a year later, in 1983. Since the program had been in effect for a year, Disney also introduced the first renewal discount incentive. Those who maintained the passes one more year did so at a lower annual rate.

1989 annual passport

In 1985, Disney added a new $ 30 annual River Country Water Park Pass option, which it switched to a River Country and Discovery Island add-on option in 1986 (though the add-on only cost $ 10 above the price of the usual rate Annual subscription).

This aerial photo shows the now-abandoned River Country, lower center, Discovery Island, on the right, the contemporary complex, upper center and Shipwreck Island, located between the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge properties. © Disney

By the late 1980s, Disney had fully opened Disney / MGM Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and Pleasure Island, leading to the introduction of a new annual Pass option: the Florida Resident 3 Season Pass (which cost $ 70). . This was true at all three parks in January, May and September. In addition, customers could also purchase an annual season ticket for Typhoon Lagoon (for $ 75) and / or a season ticket for Pleasure Island (for $ 25).

The front door of Disney-MGM Studios theme park, which opened on May 1, 1989. © Disney

Of course, the price of Disney’s annual season tickets increased slightly each year, so in 1989 season tickets ranged from $ 140 (for children) to $ 180 (for adults).

What happened to River Country? The story behind Disney’s first abandoned water park

The evolution continued in the nineties

Aside from gradual price increases, the annual Pass program lasted until 1994, when Disney first announced it Premium annual passport. This pass cost $ 319 a year and provided access to the four Typhoon Lagoon theme parks.

Transport center and tickets

With the opening of the Blizzard Beach water park in 1995, another new pass was made available: the Passport’s annual water park supplement, which allows guests to choose between adding entry to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach for $ 66.

Melt Away Bay on Blizzard Beach

In addition, 1995 also marked the introduction of the Florida Resident Annual Pass after 4 years and the opportunity for Florida Residents to obtain special discounts on passes.

Disney is reviewing the Annual Pass Program

In 2000, the price of the base ticket was more than $ 300, although the program and ticket options remained the same. It wasn’t until 2010 that Disney added the next new so-called pass option Premier Passport. That provided entry to both Disney World theme parks i Disneyland theme parks. You no longer have to pay for separate season tickets if you plan to visit them all throughout the year.

Disneyland Annual Passport, Premier Passport and Admission

2015 led to more substantial changes in annual passenger levels and you are likely to recognize them. This was the year that Disney changed the structure to include four different passage options: Platinum, Platinum Plus, Gold and Silver: Each had its own price and advantages.

Annual subscription

Platinum and Platinum Plus tickets were the most expensive in the group (they cost $ 749 and $ 829 respectively), but included the lowest lock dates and were available to any guest. He The annual Gold Pass was only available to Florida residents and DVC members, including selective lock dates and cost $ 549. The annual silver pass was available only to Florida residents and was a season pass that had lock dates and cost $ 389.

Disney World Annual Passenger Entry

Then, a few years later, more annual subscription levels were introduced for Florida residents, which included the Theme Park Select Pass (which cost $ 439) and add-ons for Florida residents (which provided access to Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom during periods of time that were blocked for some annual subscriptions for an additional $ 89 ).

Annual merchandise for passports

In 2020, the cost of the highest annual Pass levels was more than $ 1,000, but sales came to a sudden halt when parks were shut down by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Disney World is once again introducing a new annual shareholder program

After suspending approximately 18 months of new Annual Pass sales, Disney World has revised the program once again and launched a new program that completely replaces the previous tiered system.

© Disney

Now, guests can select from four different levels, including Disney Incredi-Pass, Disney Sorcerer Pass, Disney Pirate Pass and Disney Pixie Dust Pass. And even add-on options have changed.

© Disney

Customers who purchase a pass can now choose to add unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads or the Water Park and Sports option for $ 99 each. While some of the benefits and lockout dates have changed, some things are still lagging behind, such as renewal discounts and select discounts on restaurants, products, and more.

We’ve answered your BEST questions about Disney World’s new annual passes

Annual passes have changed a lot over the last 40 years of existence, and we can probably expect more changes to come over the next 40 years. Of course, we’ll keep an eye on the latest news and updates from the Annual Pass, so make sure you stay with AllEars to stay up to date.

Are you an annual Disney World season ticket holder? Let us know in the comments.

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