Annual Pass Analysis

Okay … what am I missing or calculating incorrectly? Posting here so I can link to this from Lines Chat.

Given that you’re traveling with a buddy, are you planning at all to purchase everything with your AP discount and have your buddy pay you back?

Have you double checked to be sure that all of the restaurants that you plan to eat at actually have an AP discount?

Those are the two I can think of off the top of my head.

Don’t forget to add in the costs of the next trip you will plan to get the most out of your AP :wink:


for those of us from the forum…what exactly is the hiccup? Math looks ok and sometimes adding an AP doesn’t always drop your bottom line. But it doesn’t look like your tickets are factored in at all beyond the $80 one? Is that going to cover the whole trip, or just 1 day?

Just as an aside, it is so interesting to see what other people spend their money on.

If we were in the same touring party I would annoy you by never wanting to sit down and eat, or shop, and complaining endlessly about the room. :rofl:

But in the end, we are both going to have a great time, even with vastly different spreadsheets!

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Most if not all quick service restaurants don’t offer an A/P discount.

I’m assuming your estimated meal expenses are for two - otherwise you’ve seriously over estimated. And as others have said, most QS locations do not give an AP discount.

In general, I have found out that an AP is very valuable if you have several shorter trips planned in a year. This is because adding additional days on a longer trip becomes progressively cheaper; your AP would have more “value” on two 5-day trips than on one 10-day trip. The only time I’ve sprung for the AP was when I knew in advance that I would have more than one trip per year.

Somebody commented on the QS not being eligible for AP discount on Lines Chat - so that definitely put a bit of a damper on the numbers.

I re-ran the numbers (not shown anywhere in this thread) and it comes up that I’m $45 cheaper without the AP than with the AP when just considering this trip. So it really just comes down to whether or not I’d be taking another trip between July 21, 2019 (my first park day on this upcoming trip) and July 2020. There is a possibility I take another quick trip in December - and also a possibility of a trip in June 2020 - but nothing is definitive.

Really this now just boils down to a discussion with my wife and son to determine what the plan is. Maybe they want to come in December when I go for another Challenge Run - and we go to a MVMCP together. Maybe my son will need an AP, too - but my wife would rather just go to the party, then relax by the pool while I take the boy to the parks. Who knows… but thanks for all the feedback (here and Lines Chat).


I personally would get the AP if all I am losing is $45 if I don’t go again. Also the potential to save if you happen to take both the possible trips is significant!


Good to know - I didn’t catch this in all my excitement when I got my A/P! If I were to purchase TiW, are there QS restaurants that it would work with?

I don’t think any QSs honor TIW. You would have to spend about $750 at TS locations to “break even”…

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My understanding is that TIW does work at many CS locations at the resorts, but I don’t see many QS locations in the parks. NOTE the AP doesn’t provide any discount at the resort CS locations - so TIW could be beneficial if you plan on eating at the resort food courts more often.

Here is a link to the complete list of TIW restaurants:

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After I submitted that response I noted some walk-up locations in the park like Pizzafari and Restaurantasaurus in AK, R&C Pub in EP. There are many, however, I that I noticed missing like CHH and Pecos Bill in MK.

Point being - TIW wouldn’t only limit you to TS service or even TS in-parks and CS at the resorts - but it’s not a “go where you want” solution either.

I wish MK were more like other theme parks in this regard - I get a pass-holder discount at all locations inside Hershey or Busch Gardens Williamsburg - even food carts for popcorn, pretzels, etc. The workaround at Disney that I understand is to buy bottles of water, lemonade, soda, etc. - and snacks (if possible) - in the gift shops to get the “Merch” 20% discount.

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Over here at DLR we get a an AP discount at most QS and TS venues, but not at carts or contracted establishments like Ghirardelli.

I’ve never been able to figure out DLR’s rhyme or reason to what they consider a “snack cart”. For example, the Corn Dog Cart on Main Street, gives the AP discount. But the brick & mortar location of the Mint Julep Bar, nope, no discount!

My first time buying a turkey a leg with an Annual Pass I asked the CM do you give an AP discount and her response was “Meals and Merchandise” and since I still wasn’t exactly clear (because I certainly consider a turkey leg a meal) I asked her if that meant yes and her response right back was “Meals and Merchandise”. But it ended up being a no. So I really, truly can’t figure it out.

But, I do know that my favorite loophole is that the custom flavor machine in DCA across from Soarin is considered a part of the Humphrey’s store there & so you can get 20% off a Cherry Vanilla Coke (or Coke Zero if the calories count).

Oh and Ghiradelli’s- they totally give you a discount! They can’t actually scan in your pass, but they will give you I believe 15% off if you show your pass.

really??? I was told when we went to Ghiarardelli we could NOT have a discount. It has been a couple of years, so maybe something changed?

Funny, the pass discount is one of the reasons we go to it nearly every trip (also their amazing ice cream). I do know they absolutely cannot take Disney gift cards (but Starbucks inside the parks, not the ones in Downtown Disney, can take Disney and Starbucks gift cards both) :woman_shrugging:t4

So I don’t think I saw this: if you have a AP, you can buy a Tables in Wonderland card for $100, which gets you 20% off everything at TS restaurants (beer, wine, everything). That saves me lots of money over the course of the year. Its not a reason to buy an AP, I think, but it might affect your calculations, especially for multiple trips.

Hmmm? Maybe the CM was confused…wouldn’t be the first time.

I know this is an old post but I’m about to resurrect it via the Lines Chat - and I wanted to comment on this. If TIW does, in fact, get you 20% at nearly all TS - and costs $100 - then you need to spend a total of $500 over the course of the year to break-even on the $100 cost vs. savings. Stated differently:

– $500 without TIW = $500 out of pocket
– $500 with TIW = $400 (20% off) + $100 for the card = $500 out of pocket

This therefore, again, comes down to how much you’re going to spend over the course of the entire AP year more likely so than how much on a single trip. On a family vacation, I’d spend $500 easily - but if I’m taking just my son - or coming on my own - $500 is going to be a tough mark for me to hit even over the course of a year. I simply don’t eat that may T.S. meals and it doesn’t appear to cover enough QS/CS places to rack up the savings either (not for me, anyway).

Then again, if I’m going with my sister and niece in 2020 and they want to go to a couple TS meals, and I can use the discount on the entire check, I can consider it part of my graduation present to my niece! And things brings me to my closing argument on the case of AP analysis … it truly is “Disney Math” at its finest. If you’re close like I was ($45), I’d agree with what @carthy15 stated in this thread … just do it. Put a value on your time. How many more hours are you going to spend trying to justify that last $45 in savings? If it takes you 5 hours - and you think you’re time is worth $9/hour - you may as well pull the trigger and save yourself the 5 hours analysis.

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