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  • An annual passholder insight...

    We recently purchased the Annual Pass for WDW this year and I wanted to make a few comments, complaints and comparison to this pass. One can't argue that having an annual pass offers more flexibility to visit the parks not to mention the free parking, resort discount, no black out dates, etc. It does offer all these great things but I find the pass to be lacking a lot of benefits that other park annual passes offer. I also have a 2-park preferrred annual pass over at Universal Orlando so we will use this as an example:
    Universal Orlando benefits:
    20% off all merchandise inside the parks and citywalk.
    discount at citywalk clubs
    20% discount at Wet n Wild
    20% food and beverage at the parks
    discount at UO resorts
    Free Parking
    Special Pricing for special events (HHN...)
    no blackout dates
    etc...

    WDW
    10% merchandise at downtown disney select stores...NO discount at parks
    discount at pleasure island admission
    no discount on food
    discount on select epcot world showcase restaurants mon-fri
    $4 off water park
    discount at resorts
    Free Parking
    no blackout dates
    etc...

    Ok, as you could see, Universal is offering some competitive benefits to disney. Not to mention, that their annual pass is almost at about half the price and are constantly offering free days or even a free year. I was really dissapointed that they didnt offer any kind of discount on food or merchandise at the parks. And then the worse part is that they offer discount at epcot world showcase restaurants on selected days??? I mean why are they doing this? They could at least offer discounts with food at the parks. Disney's price for an annual pass could be considered expensive. I think the best part of the Disney Annual Pass is the fact you could come to the parks whenever you like without paying parking and admission. But I must give Universal credit for benefiting annual passholders, especially when it comes to special events. For example, during Mardi Gras, HHN, Macy's Parade, Universal 360 etc they offer special viewing, priority sitting, and special pricing (better than disney). The only thing Disney does as far as I've seen is have a "special" preview to new/updated attractions, although, many regular admission guests could experience these before the annual pass preview. This is were Universal exceeds Disney and the reason why Universal has a decent number of Annual Passholders. The most credit I could give Disney is the fact they actually take time to update their rides and offer more new attractions these days. Universal is lacking in this department. Look at Islands of Adventures that has been the same since 1998. I think the only new attraction has been the Dr. Seus. tram ride and a minor update to Poseidon's Fury. Universal Studios has added the Mummy coaster, but that's it, nothing else.
    Both parks have their flaws, but Disney must really improve benefiting annual passholders. That may help to get even more pass holders into the park!
    _________________
    - EPCOT1982 -

    "Since the dawn of recorded time, communication has revolutionized our lives and changed our world. We now have the ability and the responsability to build new bridges of acceptance and cooperation between us. To create a better world for ourselves and our children as we continue our amazing journey aboard Spaceship Earth." - Jeremy Irons (Spaceship Earth)

  • #2
    Re: An annual passholder insight...

    I agree that the perks with Disney are not as good as other AP's. I really wish we could get at least discounts on in park purchases and food Sun through Sat, even if it was only 10%. We don't go to the parks but on the weekends due to hubby's work schedule.
    :ap: AP Holder. :ap:
    Stay at home mom of 4 - Austin, Tyler, Sierra and Ashlyn.


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    • #3
      Re: An annual passholder insight...

      even the DL premium annual pass gives you 15% off meals and discounts on merchandise too. as well as free parking and room discounts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: An annual passholder insight...

        Having an AP give you the rights to but a Disney Dining Experence where you get 20% all food and drinks (including alcohol) at just about every sit down place as well as resort food courts.

        Yes, I know, its even more money on top of an already expensive AP, but it is something to think about.

        -dave
        "I'm gonna build my own amusement park. But with gambling and hookers!" - Bender
        "You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." - Bullet Tooth Tony

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        • #5
          Re: An annual passholder insight...

          After seeing some of the reports from some of the Micechatters
          trip to WDW, last October, it was evident that many of the meals
          at WDW were considerably less expensive than at DL in Anaheim,
          so just be glad you don't need an annual passport to get less
          expensive meals.
          Critter Country's a mess ev'r since the Country Bears were kicked out. Ya can't cover pooh with honey and 'spect people ta like it.
          An Adventurers It's Time to Put the Spotlight Back on Bring Back the REAL Disney Gallery
          Life for Me! ~ ~ ~ Melvin, Buff, and Max!!! ~~~~ Dump the Dream Suite!
          Meese-ka Moose-ka Mice-Chatter!

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          • #6
            Re: An annual passholder insight...

            Here's something to note though... Universal's food prices are much more than Disney's. Even with that discount on food at Universal, you're still going to pay more for food over there then you would at Disney. You also don't have to pay $5 for a FastPass at Disney, they're free.

            Your comparison should look like this:

            Universal Orlando benefits:
            20% off merchandise at select locations inside the parks and citywalk.
            discount at citywalk clubs
            20% discount at Wet n Wild
            20% food and beverage at the parks that is higher priced than Disney's to begin with.
            discount at resorts
            Free Parking
            Special Pricing for special event (HHN)
            no blackout dates
            $5 After 4 Express Passes (Upgrade to a better pass for Unlimited After 4 Express Access)
            etc...

            WDW
            10% merchandise at downtown disney select stores...NO discount at parks
            discount at pleasure island admission
            20% discount on table service food locations for an extra $70
            discount on select epcot world showcase restaurants mon-fri
            $4 off water park
            discount at resorts
            Free Parking
            Special Pricing for special events (NSS, VMP, & P&P)
            no blackout dates
            Free FastPasses
            Longer Hours of Operation than Universal
            etc...

            Unless you can come up with some better pointers, I think your point is a little invalid.
            -Dr. Nigel Channing
            "We don't know anything... that can't be imagined."

            "Keep Moving Forward"

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            • #7
              Re: An annual passholder insight...

              Even without the other benefits, the hotel discounts for WDW are reason enough to get one.
              It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!









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              • #8
                Re: An annual passholder insight...

                Originally posted by yoyoflamingo View Post
                Even without the other benefits, the hotel discounts for WDW are reason enough to get one.
                This is the big one for my family. Without it i don't think we could have afforded our concierge level at AKL last week. We saved $450 on the regular rate for 3 nights.
                Originally posted by larasound
                am I the burrito man?

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                • #9
                  Re: An annual passholder insight...

                  Originally posted by Dr. Nigel Channing View Post
                  Here's something to note though... Universal's food prices are much more than Disney's. Even with that discount on food at Universal, you're still going to pay more for food over there then you would at Disney. You also don't have to pay $5 for a FastPass at Disney, they're free.

                  Your comparison should look like this:

                  Universal Orlando benefits:
                  20% off merchandise at select locations inside the parks and citywalk.
                  discount at citywalk clubs
                  20% discount at Wet n Wild
                  20% food and beverage at the parks that is higher priced than Disney's to begin with.
                  discount at resorts
                  Free Parking
                  Special Pricing for special event (HHN)
                  no blackout dates
                  $5 After 4 Express Passes (Upgrade to a better pass for Unlimited After 4 Express Access)
                  etc...

                  WDW
                  10% merchandise at downtown disney select stores...NO discount at parks
                  discount at pleasure island admission
                  20% discount on table service food locations for an extra $70
                  discount on select epcot world showcase restaurants mon-fri
                  $4 off water park
                  discount at resorts
                  Free Parking
                  Special Pricing for special events (NSS, VMP, & P&P)
                  no blackout dates
                  Free FastPasses
                  Longer Hours of Operation than Universal
                  etc...

                  Unless you can come up with some better pointers, I think your point is a little invalid.
                  you still get a better deal on food and merchandise with a universal ap and you get discounts on other tickets as well. oh and the best part( and one i wish diseny would do,) you get to spread the cost of the pass over 12 months and charge it to credit card in 12 monthly installments. THAT makes it really nice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: An annual passholder insight...

                    VERY true. Forgot about that one. Universal offers the easy pay option to pay it off in 12 month installments! Busch Gardens and Sea World does the same. Only if you get the Disney credit card, you could pay it off in 6 month installments because the card offers 6 months 0 APR intro.
                    Ever since the removal of fast pass at Universal, lines have been shorter and move rather quickly. I'm yet to see the treatment that Universal offers for passholders at Disney. I do have a point there! Although, Express is still available for a fee but most of the time you don't need it, only for special events like HHN.
                    _________________
                    - EPCOT1982 -

                    "Since the dawn of recorded time, communication has revolutionized our lives and changed our world. We now have the ability and the responsability to build new bridges of acceptance and cooperation between us. To create a better world for ourselves and our children as we continue our amazing journey aboard Spaceship Earth." - Jeremy Irons (Spaceship Earth)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: An annual passholder insight...

                      When you are the best restaurant in town others will try to steal your business away by offering incentives. Universal parks just don't compare to Disney. They have some good rides but the overall feel of the experience isn't the same. I feel more like I've been to a carnival. SeaWorld is a great park because of the lure of the creatures, but again, the walkways are much smaller and the park just feels very small compared to the mouse house. At Disney you really feel like you have left the world behind. The parks are expansive and beautiful. They can afford to charge top dollar because they are the club everyone wants to get into. The other parks are trying to play catch up.
                      "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Walt Disney

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: An annual passholder insight...

                        Originally posted by yoyoflamingo View Post
                        Even without the other benefits, the hotel discounts for WDW are reason enough to get one.
                        I tend to disagree with you on this Yoyo.. I have been a WDW APers since 1987 (that's 20 yrs!) and I have *never* used the AP to get me a discount at any hotel at WDW, simply because as a local...that is not my primanry reason to have an AP nor it is something I wish to spend money on unnecesarily. For me being a local, the primary reason to buy the Premium AP was to have access to the parks as often as possible and also because they used to offer discounts on merchandise in many shops. Restaurant discounts do not interest me either. As a collector of Disney junk, merchadise discounts were welcomed.

                        Now? You only get some puny 10% at WOD and the discount is not even offered on some items I do enjoy buying... like CDs or DVDs, and even limited edition pins or pricey collectible. It is deplorable, when in comparison, the cheapest AP at Universal offers so much more.

                        Now to be balanced here...and everyone knows I prefer TDR and concider it the best Disney experience on Earth, ..but their Premiun AP offers absolutely NOTHING in the way of discounts at all. The current Premium AP to TDR is about $650 per year and all you get is entry to the park, and even that is not a garranty if you get to the park and they are closed due to capacity. You will not be allowed in. Yet... why am I happy with an AP that offers nothing in return but park admission? Because at least I know I am getting admission into the best operated, cleanest, most entertainment plentiful and highest quality Disney parks that ever existed. THAT to me is more important than the few perks. If WDW gave me back the same level of overall quality I get in Tokyo, well... yes, I'd pay anything for their Premium AP *without* the need for further discounts.

                        So to each his own..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: An annual passholder insight...

                          TDLFAN, being a local would definitely motivate me to get an annual pass to go as often as I like into the parks, for me living in New York, and probably only going about twice a year, the annual pass really helps with the hotels.

                          But that's coming from an out of towner, versus the local.
                          It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!









                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: An annual passholder insight...

                            Originally posted by EPCOT1982 View Post
                            Ok, as you could see, Universal is offering some competitive benefits to disney.
                            This is because Disney is top dog and Uni has to try to lure people away.. of course offering competitivly priced products and incentives is one way of doing that. Uni is the 'underdog'.. if they didn't offer lucative packages.. they'd be the 'dead dog'.

                            Originally posted by Cmash95 View Post
                            even the DL premium annual pass gives you 15% off meals and discounts on merchandise too. as well as free parking and room discounts.
                            And that is also the top tier... you're paying extra beyond the lower tier APs. Not quite a fair comparison

                            Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                            After seeing some of the reports from some of the Micechatters
                            trip to WDW, last October, it was evident that many of the meals
                            at WDW were considerably less expensive than at DL in Anaheim,
                            so just be glad you don't need an annual passport to get less
                            expensive meals.
                            Yes! $6 for a slice of pizza in DLR? Insane. Food is expensive in WDW, but probably in line with airport food, and other resorts. Its not STUPID expensive.

                            Originally posted by Keeper View Post
                            When you are the best restaurant in town others will try to steal your business away by offering incentives.
                            Bingo!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: An annual passholder insight...

                              The hotels were the biggest reason for us getting an AP.

                              For a 3-night stay in May/June we already are saving close to $300 off of what we would have paid. Throw in Oct and Dec trips and our passes will be paid for for just the hotel discounts, not even throwing in park admission.

                              And we are also getting the Dining Discount thing because we are spending close to 20 days on property this year and those discounts will sure come in handy.

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