The DVC and Annual Pass One, Two Punch

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's probably happened to you and it’s certainly happened to me.  You have a Disney World annual pass sitting in your desk drawer.  Every once in a while as you walk past your desk your annual pass speaks to you.  It says “Hey!  Don’t forget about me.  I’m here at your disposal.  I can get you into a Disney park.  You’ve paid for me; why not use me again, and again, and again”!  You stop in your tracks and start theorizing about a possible future trip to Orlando.  You have flashes of airfare, finances, work schedules, timing, etc, etc. 

To make matters worse you are a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) member.  You have points to use whether it’s in your current use year or you can barrow points.  They are so easy to barrow.  Again, these points are there at your disposal ready and waiting for you to use. 

Let’s recap.  You have an annual pass that’s already been paid for.  Next, you have your resort accommodations paid for, or at least will not cost you anything during your trip.  Add into the equation the discounts you can take advantage of with your annual pass and DVC membership.  Mix these factors all together and then suddenly you realize a quick trip to Walt Disney World is within your grasp.  In fact, it’s not only within your grasp it’s something you should do to take advantage of your annual pass and DVC membership.  But let’s not forget there are other factors to your possible vacation like airfare, food, and souvenir costs.  Those variables are not free and do cost money, but in the grand scheme of a vacation they can be on the lower end of a vacation budget. 

The Biggest and Best DVC Discount

A Disney Vacation Club membership goes hand-in-hand with an annual pass.  One of the best benefits of a DVC membership is the discount you get on the purchase of an annual pass.  Currently, the discount is $100 off of a basic annual pass and $125 off a premium annual pass.   With this type of discount purchasing an annual pass is almost a no-brainer decision.  If you plan on taking a couple of trips during a year the purchase of an annual pass with the discount is probably a good decision.  However, what you are left with is an annual pass that can get you into the parks 366 days a year.  This is what entices you to take that extra trip or two during the year.  It’s these two elements together that hit you hard and convince you a quick trip to Walt Disney World is within your grasp.  It’s Disney’s way of enticing you to come back over and over again.  I’ve always wondered - is Disney giving us a benefit with the DVC annual pass discount or are they simply trying to get us to come back 4 or 5 times a year to spend our hard-earned money.  It maybe a combination of both, but either way I’m glad to have the benefit of the annual pass discount. 

No Disney Loyalty Program, But….. 

One of my biggest pet peeves about Disney World is the lack of a loyalty program.  For those of us who visit every year we don’t have the opportunity to accumulate any type of kick back or points to lead us to free goods or services.  But, if you are committed to taking your vacations to Walt Disney World year over year there are opportunities to save some money.  It all starts with the purchase of your annual pass.  Once you have your annual pass and your DVC membership the trip opportunities to Disney World are endless.  Each time you use your annual pass to enter one of the theme parks the cost of your annual pass is essentially getting cheaper.  So, the more you visit Disney World the more value you get out of your annual pass and the more you can use your AP and DVC discounts.  This isn’t a loyalty program, but it is a way to decrease the cost of your vacations.  Basically, this is Disney’s way to get you to commit to their vacation kingdom, its theme parks, and resort hotels.  If you are willing to take multiple trips per year the more value you’ll receive out of your annual pass and possibly your DVC membership. 

Conclusion

If you are a consistent visitor to Walt Disney World you understand the power of an annual pass.  It can have a good or bad influence over you depending on your perspective.  Mix your DVC membership into the recipe and suddenly trips to Walt Disney World become a much easier decision.  

If you are a DVC member and an annual pass holder how do you deal with this “problem”?  Do you take spontaneous trips to Walt Disney World?  Do you have other factors that hold you back?  Do you have an awesome spouse who understands your addiction to Walt Disney World and agrees to let you take these trips to Orlando on a consistent basis? 

A DVC membership in combination with an annual pass is a good situation.  However, it is somewhat a matter of perspective.  It can afford you the opportunity to travel to your favorite destination in the world, but it can also be a drain on your economic situation even though your theme park admission and hotel accommodations are paid for in advance.  I guess if there is such a thing as a “good problem” this maybe it. 

The next time you walk past your desk and you have a conversation with your annual pass make sure to do it in private.  If someone hears you they may think you are as crazy as taking several trips to Walt Disney World in a year. 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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