Disney World AP News: Discounts, Refunds & More Park Pass Availability!
We’re back with a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder update, and this time, it’s all good news! We cover the latest about AP hotel & merchandise discounts, refunds, and more Park Pass theme park reservation availability. We’ll also offer some additional commentary about all of that and other Annual Passholder issues of interest. (Updated July 19, 2020.)
Let’s start with the discounts. As we shared last week, Annual Passholders Can Save Up to 40% on Walt Disney World Hotels Now Through September 30, 2020. The best discounts are for the month of September, and includes Contemporary Resort for $272 per night, Beach Club for $265 per night, Saratoga Springs for $225 per night, Pop Century for $110 per night, Fort Wilderness Cabins for $239 per night, and more.
There was initially some confusion about eligibility for this discount. Many Annual Passholders couldn’t get the correct pricing to show, and (mistakenly) believed these “Rediscover the Magic” deals are only available for APs who are also Florida residents. There are separate deals for Florida residents–any Annual Passholder should be able to book them now, so if you couldn’t before, give it another shot. We have more good news on the deals front…
Beginning today, Annual Passholders now receive a 30% discount on merchandise purchases at most Walt Disney World stores. As Walt Disney World has not yet released the official details, we don’t know what the exclusions entail, but we suspect that they include cloth face masks, select Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge locations, national brand products, and select EPCOT locations.
Normally, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders receive a 20% off merchandise discount as part of AP perks, so this amounts to an extra 10% off. Cast Members have also received a bump in their merchandise discount, receiving 50% off. (However, they’re blocked out of the parks.)
While the Cast Member bonus discount expires July 31, 2020, it’s unclear when the added Annual Passholder discount ends. (We inquired with a couple of Cast Members, and there was no clear answer.) With crowds being low and disproportionately locals, our guess is that this will last through the fall. After all, there’s only so much that the fleet of eBay pirates can buy–their ships are relatively small and mostly full of Splash Mountain stuff!
In general, we’d expect a lot more discounts for Florida residents and Annual Passholders, with restaurants likely to be next up. We’ve been harping on this for a while, predicting low crowds and aggressive discounts repeatedly well before the parks even reopened. Until cases start decreasing and out of state quarantine orders are lifted, that’s even more likely–tourists are going to be cancelling their trips or simply not booking.
Which brings us to the next topic: Disney Park Pass availability for Annual Passholders. We’ve been monitoring this over the last couple of weeks since this opened to APs, and things have not been looking good. (See our Park Pass Update: AP Availability & Fresh Frustrations).
As of earlier this week, the earliest an Annual Passholder without a resort reservation could book a visit to Epcot was August 3, 2020. The earliest possible visit to Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom was August 18, 2020. The earliest visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios wouldn’t be until August 25, 2020.
This was despite no shortage of same-day Disney Park Pass availability for resort guests and theme park ticketholders, not to mention both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom being veritable ghost towns the last two days. (Even less crowded than over the weekend!)
This has been occurring because there are three separate “buckets” for Disney Park Pass reservations, and only the AP bucket has had any degree of serious demand. We’ve been assuming since the beginning that around 24-48 hours before the date in question, Walt Disney World would roll over surplus capacity from the resort and ticket-holder buckets to the AP bucket.
Good news on that front! An email just went out to Annual Passholders (don’t be surprised if you didn’t receive it), indicating that that starting July 16, 2020, additional Disney Park Pass reservation availability will be offered to Annual Passholders for select dates in July and August at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. (No dice for Disney’s Hollywood Studios…yet.)
This additional Disney Park Pass reservation availability does not reflect an increase in park capacity, which means that Park Pass inventory from the other two “buckets” is being dumped into the AP bucket.
Here’s a look at the full email in case you didn’t receive it:
Most of the rest of that was already known, but we now also have official confirmation of this:
“Annual Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels with valid Theme Park admission are eligible to make Theme Park reservations for each day of their resort stay(s), in addition to holding up to 3 days of Theme Park reservations at a time on a rolling basis. Once you use a Theme Park reservation, you can make another reservation for a future date.”
It’s not a huge surprise that Walt Disney World is reallocating surplus capacity to Annual Passholders, but it’ll be interesting to see how this works in practice. It would make the most sense if this occurred on a rolling basis, as that would allow for resort guests and standalone ticketholders something closer to “guaranteed” entry.
However, it sounds like this is going to be more akin to an inventory dump. (Which also makes sense if bookings are way down for later this summer and sufficient inventory is still held back for those guests.) Either way, good news all around–and something that should help fill the parks a bit more and keep them from looking like eerie ghost towns.
Update #1: Walt Disney World has released more Disney Park Pass inventory to Annual Passholders, so now we know (some of) the answers to these questions.
Above is a look at the Annual Passholder availability calendar for the rest of the month. As you can see, it went from every park being unavailable for the rest of the July to partial availability for the rest of the month. That’s only partial because nothing was added for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot now all have availability for every single day the rest of this month, as well as August. (The first date that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is available is now August 25, 2020.)
From that email and updates to Walt Disney World’s Annual Pass “Know Before You Go” page, we also have more details about AP cancellation & refund policies. Per that page, Annual Passholders have through August 11, 2020 to cancel their passes by calling V.I.PASSHOLDER Support. (Once submitted, a cancellation request cannot be changed.)
In lieu of the one-month extension, you may choose to cancel your Annual Pass. Your AP will remain valid through August 11, 2020 and will be canceled effective August 12, 2020.
Refunds to original form of payment can be expected by mid to late September. Refunds may take up to an additional month to receive if original form of payment is not available. To request this option, contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277.
Update #2: Walt Disney World has stated that refunds will be based on your “remaining access days of your annual pass from July 11, 2020 through your pass expiration date (as extended, if applicable).” While there have been rumors that refunds will be based upon actual usage, this is not the case. Meaning an AP is not deemed “fully used” if you’ve visited the parks for 12 or 14 days already (and so forth).
While we still don’t know the specifics as to how refund valuations are made beyond the above quote, we have confirmed that past usage is not a factor. Unfortunately, Disney will not disclose how much of a refund you will receive until you actually submit the refund request–and once that’s made, it cannot be undone.
For those of you who still have unanswered questions or issues with your APs, try the ‘Chat Here’ feature (blue button on the right side of the page) on this page: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/annual-passes/
If you do request and receive an Annual Pass refund, please share the details (amount of refund, level of pass, how much time you had remaining, etc.) so we have more data points that could be helpful to other readers. Thanks in advance!
Finally, if you’ve already requested a cancellation, Annual Passholder refunds are starting to be processed. In its own way, this is good news (albeit of the bittersweet variety) if you opted to cancel your Walt Disney World AP. This has been a common question/issue in the comments to our last Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Update: Charges, Reservations, Extensions & Refunds, so we wanted to quickly address it here.
If you requested a refund, you should’ve received an email late last week or early this week from Disney Destinations with the subject line: “Your refund request has been processed” (see above). Again, don’t fret as Walt Disney World has a known problem with Stitch consuming its communications (cursed alien!). In any case, you might want to check your bank account, credit card statement, or whatever, as we’ve heard numerous reports of these being processed. It’s probably slightly premature to call Walt Disney World if you’ve yet to receive yours, but we thought we’d give an update/heads up on this, as many readers have asked about it.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you an Annual Passholder? Thoughts on the merchandise and resort discounts? Will you be taking advantage of either offer? If you cancelled your Walt Disney World AP, have you received your refund yet? Think the new Disney Park Pass availability policy is fair? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Any idea when Disney World will start selling new Annual Pass memberships? Been trying to become AP for almost 2 months and no word on when the suspension will be lifted.
Any predictions on whether Disney might release more park pass availability for passholders for September dates?
Today (July 26) sadly made the decision to cancel our AP’s. Bought them last August for the first time. First trip was cut short for hurricane Dorian. Did the Princess Half this Feb (just a short 4 day visit) and we were scheduled to make up for our previously shortened trip with a two week visit for the Star Wars Half. You know the rest of that story. We were holding out hoping to go down once school goes back for everyone else. But FL is out of control. Sooooooo – we cancelled the passes. Took four attempts to get through (if you get the recording just hang up and redial. It didn’t take but five minutes to finally get through) then a ten minute wait. Got a very very helpful and polite young lady who was quick an efficient. They don’t have the information available to them to tell you the amount of your refund but apparently they will in August. Told we’ll get an email confirmation in the next few days and our refund in September. Although I called July 26 it will be effective from July 11. I’ll be interested to see how much we get. We should receive just about half of the amount we paid – five or take a few days.
I couldn’t believe how sad I was to actually do it though. It surprised me. We’ll be back next year though. Fingers crossed
I seem to have fallen into a frustrating Disney ticket loophole and wondered if you could offer any suggestions or at least some insight.
I have an annual pass, but my husband does not. We just booked a week long stay at Fort Wilderness in September. We were planning to spread out our park days throughout our trip (ex: Sat, then the next Tue & Thur). However, when I went to purchase my husband’s ticket online I saw that he has to use his 3 day ticket within a 5-day window.
I love my husband dearly but he is not of our kind. He enjoys some aspects of a Disney vacation but becomes disenchanted by the three things that can easily become overwhelming: weather/humidity, crowds and sticker shock. For this reason I usually take several trips a year and he joins me for one, MAYBE two. (Hence, AP for me but not for him.) He enjoys Disney at a much more leisurely pace and likes to take a break between park days. Now more than ever we are wanting to put more of an emphasis on relaxing and enjoying the resort side of our trip.
I attempted to voice my concern about this new policy to Disney. The response I received? For an extra charge, I can “upgrade to the flexible extended window option for my convenience!” *exasperated eye roll*
I’ve gotten used to throwing my money at Disney, but it was insulting to hear that they expected me to happily pay MORE money for what I have essentially already paid for, being disguised as a gesture of their goodwill! Very troubling.
As much as I LOVE the magic of Disney, I do understand there is always calculation behind every move they make. Do you see this as a fair policy, and what might Disney’s motivation be behind making this change? We are already paying exorbitant prices for the Disney experience, which I usually embrace and go quite far out of my way to defend. But paying extra simply for the ability to use the ticket (we already shelled out a lot of money for) within the span of our one week trip seems like a kick in the teeth.
They started this when they added expiration to the tickets. Pre AP I used to get 5 day tix which had to be used in 7 days. If your husband goes Sun, Tue, Thu, that’s 3 days in 5 and it works.
Our refund story…
We live in California. We had four WDW Platinum Annual Passes that expired towards the end of March 2020. We used those passes for vacations in March 2019 and Nov 2019, and we were going to take a vacation in March 2020 but cancelled it due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Several weeks ago, I called Disney and put in a request for partial refunds for all four of our annual passes. The other day my credit card showed two refunds from Disney in the amount of approximately $16 each. I’m not sure where the other two refunds are but if they don’t appear within the next week or two, I’ll contact Disney to find out what happened to them.
$16? Wish they would release their formula for calculating refunds. This seems based on how many days remained in your pass rather than days used? Seems like a paltry amount though,.. are you upset?
the parks closed march 16 right? and your passes expired “towards the end of march”. disney has implied they’re assigning a per day value and then multiplying that number times how many days left on your pass. if you paid $900 for a pass, and your pass expired march 23 (for example), 7 days left on your pass x (900/365) is $17, so pretty close to your refund amount. just guessing but that seems as close we can get based on the info disney has released.
Just a thought……..for those who feel Disney’s AP refund policy is unfair (I am one of you),is there any recourse through the credit card companies? If I feel a product or service is not as advertised, I can dispute those charges on my credit card. Wouldn’t the same apply here?
I believe it might however I think the transaction needs to have been in the last 6 months to be disputed and with Disney prevaricating as they have for months, the option to dispute may not be there.
I was in the same position with my flights that were booked almost a year ahead before they were cancelled.
I am not pleased with every level of AP getting the same “compensation”. I have Platinum Plus & will have 0 use of park Hopper and water parks!!! Our compensation should be greater than the lower ones. We live in Maine & clearly will not use our passes as frequently as FL residents do. The compensation needs to be more fair….
But I am incredibly annoyed that they even bothered to let us know they increased the discount to 30%! It expires August 14! It is only good IN PARK and for only a month! How in the world will anyone benefit from that? As it is, we arrive the 15th, so that’s an even bigger sting!
I agree 100%!!! We are in the same boat and can’t fathom that giving us an additional month and 30% is even remotely fair compensation for the amount of money we spend for 4 platinum plus passes. I’m hoping that something will be offered and quickly!!!
August 11th is the last day you can cancel your Las. July 11th was the last day you can request the credit for the 4 months of the park being closed as opposed to them extending the pass for the 4 months.
For those that are not canceling their APs, keep an eye on the new expiration dates. We had the extra 30 days added, but they were not added to our renewed passes. I needed to call them to have that fixed. Original passes should have total of 147 days added, renewed passes should expire one year after that.
For those of you who still have unanswered questions or issues with your APs, try the ‘Chat Here’ feature (blue button on the right side of the page) on this page: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/annual-passes/
I’ve had a couple of friends who have had success with this today. Hope that helps–and please share whatever you find out!
good news, bad news.
good news, chat function works. at 10pm, i got an agent immediately.
bad news, she wasn’t super helpful.
i’ve copied and pasted our conversation regarding AP refunds.
me: can you give me details about paid in full AP refunds?
rep:”You will be refunded for the remaining access days of your annual pass from July 11, 2020 through your pass expiration date (as extended, if applicable). Remaining access days is referring to the days you are able to visit the theme parks, you would not count your blockdates as on those days you would not be able to enter the theme park.”
Me: how much of a refund?
rep: copied and pasted above response, plus ” There is no concrete refund number that can be given. You would be able to receive that amount in the time frame that is provided.”
Me: um. super vague.
rep: copied and pasted 1st response, plus” That is just the information here that we are provided with. You are welcome to speak with our Passholder Help Desk, if you would like.”
Me: is AP worth more than 12 days then?
rep: “Exactly correct, you would have more than 12 access days as your Annual Pass does not expire until March 29, 2021. Remaining access days is referring to the days you are able to visit the theme parks, you would not count your blockdates as on those days you would not be able to enter the theme park. ”
Me: so disney expects me to make an irrevocable AP refund decision based on no info at all? and a clear unwillingness to provide concrete details or formula? since you gave me the same stock answer 3 times.
rep: “Please contact the Passholder Help Desk for more details. Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts with us. When we receive comments such as yours, they are shared with various members of our organization. We appreciate your observations and will share them at the appropriate levels.”
clear as mud. actually, clear disney is leaving LOTS of wiggle room on defining “Access days” and expects me to give up the pass without knowing how much of a refund they’ll be issuing. i just have to Trust Them.
no real answers but one rep implied the pass is worth more than 12 access days, at least.
We have a total of 4 AP and I am wondering if they are going to provide any type of discount on the monthly payments other than the pathetic additional 1 month. It’s very hard for me to swallow that Disney will continue to charge the same amount for these passes, seeing as how the hassle to get into the parks is anything other than convenient and that is the reason we pay for the passes. Not to mention what we have to go through while trying to enjoy the parks and with minimal entertainment. I decided to not cancel our AP’s and I’m starting to regret it. I really feel that Disney is starting to loose the Magic and not treating the loyal AP fairly. Giving us an extra month seems totally insulting.
Just checked my AP expiration date that included the additional month but didn’t extend the expiration date for the amount of time that the parks were closed. Were they not going to add on that time to the passes????
Thanks, Tom. I immediately tried the chat function upon seeing this the other night. Basically the guy couldn’t tell me anything because he was unable to pull up my info without the contract id#, which on the phone they are able to pull up the info without it.
Was able to reach someone on the phone today. Wasn’t that bad of a wait. For my 2 unactivated passes that are on the payment plan they said that they have to send it over to be approved for cancellation. So hopefully all works out, my passes are cancelled and everything that I have paid down on them so far is refunded $823.64. I also have been able to check the option with the link to cancel my out of state pass. I believe what happened is that they refunded the amount for the closure and then are doing the rest of the pass separately. Because I received $383.18. From talking to the cast member today they are still working on the system to issue the refunds.
I posted this on another page of disneytouristblog, but I think it might be worth posting here too: I just completed an online chat. When I requested a partial refund on my AP, I was informed that was no longer available. I said I thought we had until Aug. 11 to request it, and was informed that was the deadline to cancel APs. But the deadline to request a partial refund (which means to be compensated for the amount of time the parks were closed) had already passed. So, there is a difference between the Disney definition of a partial refund and a refund for cancelling an Annual Pass. That explains the different dates we have been seeing. In either case, they can’t tell you what your refund amount will be.
One extra month does not help an out of state AP holder! I’ve spent weeks and weeks trying to get through to request the refund for the park being closed. Could not get through for the life of me. Circuits are busy, busy signal, hung up on multiple times after waiting over hour waits…. I finally get through yesterday after waiting 2 1/2 hours for a condescending rep to tell me you’re too late you have to take the extension. WHAT?! When was a deadline given to request a refund and why am I being punished because you didn’t have enough employees to handle call volume? Extension on the pass does not help as we live in NY. We are livid. Class action lawsuit? I’m in…..
I thought the deadline was August 11th.
Original email did not have an expiration date on requesting the credit but apparently deadline was July 11th
My email says I have until August 11 to cancel the pass. July 11 is the date the parks reopened so comes into play when calculating the refund I guess?
I have an issue with the 3 day limit and probably won’t go back until it’s lifted. We bought passes but haven’t activated them so we can wait. We’re retirees from NJ and never go down for less than 2 weeks. Traveling that far and having to pay for lodging on the chance of being able to get in the parks is not worth it.
I emailed Customer Service and got them to agree to pass my concerns up the chain. I don’t expect much unless others make the same complaint. Am I in the minority here?
I live in Florida (but I’m a Jersey girl-44years before moved south) and we have a similar issue. My daughter has a friend and she bought a 5day ticket. They had a week long trip planned in June. Now they have to postpone even longer because the availability for AP’s and regular ticket holders is not the same. Plus she has a five day ticket and can only get 3 reservations. We renewed in June but with the extension we could cancel our renewal for a full refund if we don’t use after the new renewal date of October. So we are going to try the “wait and see” approach. If we can’t get decent reservations (weekends!) then we will cancel and wait 6 months and see if things are better. It is a unique situation and we all have to do what makes the most sense for us individually.
I doubt you’re in the minority as your situation applies to us also, although we live most of the year in the UK and aren’t even allowed into the US!
In response to the hours I spent on the phone getting nowhere I made a fair but nonetheless stinging complaint and received an email from someone who wanted to speak to me about my comments, only for me to have to make more phone calls and be ignored! I think the chances of complaints ending up anywhere other than in ‘Trash’ are low.
And don’t get me started on emails for AP holders. I’ve been an AP for 7 years and never had one email. This isn’t hit and miss, it’s a 100% fail! I receive spam from companies I’ve never dealt with two or more times a day so why is it so hard for Disney to manage one every now and then? On this occasion, I think it’s to make it difficult for me to cancel my AP! I used to love Disney, took two 14+day holidays there every year for the last 13 years and now I find them just annoying. They’ve turned a fan into whatever is the opposite over their handling of this debacle and their lack of respect for longstanding and loyal customers. I can’t think of a single reason to keep an AP or buy any ticket when you have the lottery of 3 park days and you must plan a transatlantic flight. It’s not helpful to learn you can have more park days if you stay in their overpriced hotels – that caters only to those with fat wallets and is already available to resort guests.
I agree totally with you Arthur. For what is paid outright to WDW for the AP passes it is incomrehensible that we are only allowed three passes. Trying to book a trip, but unless I give them more money to be a hotel guest, my access is denied. This clearly seems very skewed. So far when trying, it appears if I do not stay on site I will anly be allowed three park visits for the rest of the year 2020. With the history of extended travel bans and the difficulty getting refunds, if I chose to request one, is very risky at best. Will I really get a full refund? I understand folks believe that preference is given to AP’s. Not so this time around. My children will be allowed a park reservation on an $85 park ticket, but as a passholder I get three for the remainder of 2020 unless I can afford to fly there numerous times. That 3 days if roughly $400 dollars a ticket. Please tell me this fair? I am normally an extremely understanding and patient person. AP’s are getting the shaft if they live out of state.
I’m curious, in the article you mention about the AP email “don’t be surprised if you didn’t receive it”. We have Weekday Select passes originally good through November, before any extension, but we haven’t received any communication, email or mail, from Disney since an email on April 17. The only two emails we received about the closure were March 13, announcing the initial closure, and on April 17.
Has anyone else experienced this? We’ve received absolutely nothing about possible refunds, etc. All we know is what I’ve read on this blog.
Pretty much everyone experiences what you’re describing, unless they’re very lucky. Disney is very hit or miss with communications–we each receive around 25% of what they send out.