Posts Tagged ‘annual pass’

Shocking Savings of a Universal Orlando Annual Pass

by on July 23, 2014

Universal AP

Universal Annual Passes are a great way for even infrequent guests to save money.

We have been vacationing to Florida for the past seventeen years; visiting Universal Orlando Resort on each trip. During this time, it had never occurred to me to purchase an annual pass. After all, annual passes are more for those people who live close and can visit many times in the same year, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the potential savings of purchasing an annual pass for Universal. The annual passes can be a money saving option for people visiting as few as two days. Not only do you get unlimited day passes to the parks, but you also get free parking, discounts on food, merchandise, admission and special event tickets, and onsite hotel discounts.

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FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers and Frozen Meet and Greet

by on March 25, 2014

As I’ve detailed in my recent blog posts, navigating Walt Disney World now that FastPass+ has fully rolled out for Annual Passholders is a whole new adventure that seems to evolve on a daily basis. Here are some updated FastPass+ tips on two of the hottest topics among users of My Disney Experience and the associated MyMagic+ programs: Annual Pass vouchers and the new Frozen meet and greet.

FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

One of the most frequently asked questions in the comments to my recent blog posts has been if Annual Pass vouchers that have not yet been activated can be tied to a My Disney Experience account for FastPass+ access. This is important to guests who wish to purchase an annual pass in advance of their visit to make FastPass+ reservations without having the 365-day timer on their ticket start ticking until their arrival. Multiple readers have reported inputing their voucher number as a linked admission pass in My Disney Experience, and being unsuccessful in attempts to then make FastPass+ reservations.

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Adventures at Epcot with Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

by on March 21, 2014

Walt Disney World regulars rejoiced last week, as the rollout of advance reservation FastPass+ features finally reached all WDW annual passholders. That means that all Disney World annual passholders should be able to access the My Disney Experience website or mobile app and make FastPass+ bookings up to 30 days ahead of time. Previously, I shared my experiences using FastPass+ as an annual passholder making same-day reservations using in-park kiosks, as off-site guests still must do (at least for now). Now, I’m going to detail my personal adventures with week #1 of Annual Passholder advance FastPass+ reservations.

Getting Started with Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

First of all, if you haven’t already, log into and set up an account. Be sure to link your account to your valid annual pass using the ID number on the back of your pass, or voucher number if you have not yet redeemed an online purchase.

Next, visit the Magic Band page to customize your RFID wristband. You can select a color and name, verify your shipping address, and receive confirmation that your order has been received.

According to the webpage, Magic Bands should start shipping to annual passholders shortly.

Until your Magic Band arrives, you can continue to use your RFID-enabled credit-card-sized annual pass to enter the parks and activate FastPass+ sensors.

If you carry a smartphone in the parks, be sure to download the Apple or Android app. The iPad app is probably the most efficient platform for scheduling and adjusting FastPass+ reservations, but the website and phone apps work fairly well.

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Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Reopening March 17

by on March 9, 2014

Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopening is set for March 17

Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopening is set for March 17 (photo by Seth Kubersky)

The wildest ride in the wilderness will ride again a little sooner than expected, as the Disney Parks Blog has announced Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopening on March 17. The iconic Frontierland E-Ticket has been down since January 2013 for an epically extended refurbishment, but will resume delighting Disneyland riders ahead of the previously-published April return.

The revamped ride will sport a brand new track (following the same course as the original), rebuilt Rainbow Ridge buildings (again, reconstructed to resemble the rotted originals), and new lighting and sound effects. Most notably, the beloved dynamite-chewing goat is rumored to feature an explosive new digital projection found on the roller-coaster’s third lift hill, formerly the site of an unconvincing earthquake effect.

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Disneyland Annual Passholder Sing Along Under the Stars Events Start Feb 5

by on February 5, 2014

Disneyland Annual Passholder Sing Along Under The Stars in February at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree (seen here with holiday decor) will host Disneyland Annual Passholder Sing Along Under The Stars in February.

Drive-in movie theaters are sadly a distant memory in most of America, and the majority of us can’t jump on a Disney cruise just to watch a flick while floating in the pool. But this month, Disneyland Annual Passholders have a unique interactive opportunity to experience a Disney “second golden age” classic outdoors under the Anaheim night sky, thanks to February’s Disneyland Annual Passholder Sing Along Under The Stars screenings at Frontierland’s Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.

Each week, a different animated musical film is shown, accompanied by hosted trivia and (of course) sing-along sections. Passholders even get free popcorn, coffee, and cocoa! The venue opens at 5:30 p.m., and the film starts at 6:30 p.m.. Space is limited, so secure a wristband by presenting your valid annual pass after 2 p.m. on the day of at Westward Ho! in Frontierland.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Beauty and the Beast: February 5 and 6, 2014
  • The Little Mermaid: February 12 and 13, 2014
  • Aladdin: February 19 and 20, 2014
  • The Lion King: February 26, 2014

It’s worth noting that events like these, which were formerly promoted under 2013’s “Limited Time Magic” banner, seem to have outlived that marketing campaign. You can find all the fine print on the Disneyland website.


My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+

by on January 30, 2014

Disney World offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ updated

One of the kiosks that offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ users must use.

Last week’s post documenting my first experiences as an offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ user sparked a sizable reaction, with almost 50 comments so far. Since then, FastPass+ has replaced paper “legacy” Fastpass at all four Walt Disney World parks, and Rikki Niblett revealed plans to test a MyMagic+ program for offsite Annual Passholders in the coming months.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the FastPass+ program as it applies to those not staying in an onsite resort hotel. I’ve spent some more time testing the FastPass+ service and talking to cast members who work with it, and I’m here to report back my first-hand experience with some of the questions raised by our readers.

Note that the following is strictly from the perspective of a local Annual Passholder who has not stayed onsite since FastPass+ testing began, and has not been selected for any beta testing programs. If you previously stayed onsite and still have a MagicBand linked to your admission media, or are otherwise already eligible to use the My Disney Experience app and website to make advance FastPass+ reservations, your mileage will vary.


How busy are the FastPass+ kiosks?

It varies widely. The lines at some, like the Fantasyland kiosks at Mickey’s PhilharMagic, are epic. Others seem to be largely deserted.

I received assistance from this FastPass+ cast member inside Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater with almost no waiting.

Heritage House near The Hall of Presidents is my favorite FastPass+ service area: indoors, air conditioned, and utterly empty every time I’ve visited.

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My First Walt Disney World Annual Passholder FastPass+ Experience

by on January 20, 2014

Based on how much this blog has covered the ongoing FastPass+ rollout at Walt Disney World over the past year or two, you might assume every member of the Touring Plans team already has enough MagicBands to decorate their Christmas tree (I’m looking at you, Morgan Crutchfield). But since I haven’t stayed in a Walt Disney World on-site hotel since before the MyMagic+ program began, I’ve been excluded…until now. As we reported, Animal Kingdom went FastPass+-only late last year, followed by the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, January 14, and the rest of the parks will remove their paper legacy FASTPASS machines shortly. Now that the FastPass+ service has been opened to all guests, this acknowledged sceptic took the plunge with my first Annual Passholder FastPass+ experience.

Animal Kingdom

To be precise, my first FastPass+ adventure was an incomplete attempt that was unfair to judge the service by. Earlier in January, I tried using the service on one of the first days it was offered to off-site guests by visiting the kiosks outside Disney Outfitters on Discovery Island.

There was no wait, and a friendly cast member assisted me in using the touchscreen computer to enter my information and select three attractions.

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Disneyland Annual Pass Discounts Extended Through 2014

by on January 6, 2014

Disneyland annual pass discounts extended through 2014

Disneyland annual pass discounts extended through 2014

One of the great benefits of being a Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder is the generous discounts offered on food and merchandise in and around the Anaheim theme parks. But if you read the fine print on your Passholder agreement, or stumbled across Internet news reports circulating last week, you may have been concerned that Disneyland Annual Pass discounts were officially scheduled to expire on December 31, 2013.

We are happy to report that the resort rang in the new year by updating its Disneyland annual pass discount webpage. The expiration date on discounts has been extended to December 31, 2014, for all the same venues that previously participated, at the same savings percentages. The last-minute renewal appears to be an annual tradition that we expect should continue next year.


Disneyland Annual Passholder Event with Dave Bossert on Oct 24

by on October 19, 2013

Disney animation producer Dave Bossert

The Walt Disney feature animators who originally occupied the Magic of Disney Animation attraction at WDW’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios park were furloughed well over a decade ago. But, for one next week at least, a member of Disney’s animation team will appear at the sister attraction across the country.

On Thursday, October 24, Annual Passholders can attend a free session with Dave Bossert, Producer, Creative Director and Head of Special Projects for for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Bossert will tell behind-the-scenes tales and give “a close-up look at the new Disney Animated app.”

The 45-minute presentations will be held at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm at the Disney Animation attraction in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land. Required registration must be done in person at the attraction on the day of the event, staring at park open. As always, a valid annual pass is required, and space is limited.


Free “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” Screening for Disneyland Annual Passholders on 10/3/13

by on October 1, 2013

Sleepy Hollow may be a hot new television series from FOX, but Disney told Washington Irving’s tale of the Headless Horseman long before Kurtzman & Orci got in on the act. If you are an Anaheim Annual Passholder, you can relive the 1949 animated anthology The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad this Thursday inside Disneyland’s Main Street Opera House.

Screenings are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on October 3. A valid Disneyland AP is required, and space is limited, so you must register in person and retrieve a wristband beginning at noon. See here for full details on this “Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic” event.