Breaking news: Dramatic increase to annual pass prices announced by both Walt Disney World and Disneyland today.

Disneyland Castle

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World announced some notable price increases and changes to their annual passes today.  A few perks have been added and some types of passes have been discontinued or renamed. But everyone is – of course – talking about the price.  Ticket prices at Disney parks have been increasing dramatically in recent years, and this is the second increase in 2015 for annual passes.

Annual passes are purchased by many locals who visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World parks often. Increasingly, however, many Disney guests who live elsewhere use annual passes to save money, particularly if they take longer trips or visit several times a year. In some years, the “break-even” price on certain types of annual passes at Walt Disney World could be met on just a 7 or 8 day vacation by taking advantage of the other perks and discounts that come with the passes.

Walt Disney World Annual Passes

Disney World Castle

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

How much of an increase can you expect?  At Walt Disney World, the increases are more than $100 on certain types of passes. The highest level Disney Platinum Plus pass is now $829 plus tax for non-Florida residents. The Disney Platinum pass is $749 for non-Florida residents.  

Both of these passes offer access to all four Walt Disney World theme parks and no blockout dates, but the Platinum Plus pass also includes water park access as well as access to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Florida residents and DVC members save $100 off these pass prices and current passholders can also renew at reduced prices.  

Walt Disney World also offers several cheaper passes to Florida residents only. For the first time, the Gold level pass (which is also offered to DVC members) now includes several blockout dates around Christmas and Easter holidays. These types of blockout dates have been common at Disneyland for many years to control local crowds, but the change may be difficult for the Florida and DVC faithful to swallow.

Disneyland Annual Passes

Meanwhile, at Disneyland, the most expensive annual pass now tops $1000. Disneyland has experienced overcrowding in recent years that many blame on the proliferation of locals who are annual passholders. The highest level pass now offered at Disneyland is the Disney Signature Plus pass, which is $1049 and has no blockout days. The $849 Disney Signature Pass has the same perks but blocks out the most popular days during the winter holidays. For both passes, renewals are available at a bit of a discount: $989 for the Signature Plus pass and $799 for the Signature pass.

For Disneyland locals who purchase more limited passes, prices are also increasing. The Deluxe pass which includes Saturday and holiday blockouts, has increased from $549 to $599. The cheapest Southern California Select pass has increased from $299 to $329 ($319 for renewals).

By far the biggest sticker shock is on the Disney Premier Passport, which offers unlimited access to both DIsneyland and Walt Disney World. Its price has increased from $1099 to $1439.

Is there a silver lining to the price increases?  Maybe. One notable perk is that the higher level passes at both resorts now offer unlimited PhotoPass access. If you like to take home ride photos and have Disney’s professional photographers get your whole family in the picture at key park locations, this is nice addition. Additionally, many Disney watchers have suggested that these price adjustments may also help control overcrowding at peak periods, particularly at Disneyland over the Christmas holidays where the parks have reached capacity many times in recent years.

What do you think of the Disney annual pass price increases?  Will you reconsider your pass purchase this year?