I am canceling my Disney World Annual Pass after 11 years. This is why my family is done with parks after all.

My family lives in Florida and have had annual passes to Disney World for years.Kerry McLaren

  • I grew up with an annual pass. Disney Worldand my family of four has had them for 11 years.

  • Lately, the park has disappointed me with less concessions, more crowds, and higher prices.

  • We are no longer spending over $2,000 on season annual passes only to be disappointed.

My family and I have reached our prime. Disney World.

As Floridians, we have had Silver Annual Passes for the past 11 years but, this time, we will not be renewing them. It was a tough decision for us even though the passes cost us $2,100 in 2021.

Over the past three years, though, the way I feel about Disney World has changed and our experiences at the parks have, in my opinion, gotten worse.

Here’s why I’m not. Renewal of our annual passes.

It has become difficult for us to deal with the crowd.

Crowds At EpcotCrowds At Epcot

Crowds at Epcot

Crowds at Epcot, taken from a recent trip.Kerry McLaren

gave Number of people In the parks These days feels Great.

Maybe it’s because of this year. Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Or, maybe, everyone is catching up on their travel plans that were derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, on recent trips, we found ourselves constantly surrounded by people, even on “less crowded” days.

Gone are the days of boarding a ride without waiting. Now, it feels like a race to get in line every morning before the wait times get out of hand.

On our last visit to Disney World, we got up at 6:30 each morning to get to the parks early enough to try to take advantage of the short lines. Waking up at sunrise navigating all sorts of logistics is not my idea of ​​a vacation.

Long gone are the days of impromptu Disney trips due to the park reservation system.

As Mid 2020, you must reserve your park dates ahead of time, usually weeks or months in advance. You also need to decide which park you want to visit on certain days.

These requirements mean that everyone in your travel party must have a reservation for the same park on the same day. How do I know which day I want to visit Animal Kingdom or Epcot two months in advance?

Even Annual Pass holders are limited on the number of park reservations we can hold at one time. The more expensive the annual pass you buy, the more reservations you’re allowed to make at once.

Although Annual Passholders get some bonus reservations, there have been several occasions when we simply couldn’t get to Disney World because we couldn’t get a reservation.

Of course, there are usually days available. But what’s the point of having an annual pass if I can’t go when I want? It takes the spontaneous fun out of a quick weekend trip.

Park reservations are supposed to help limit and control the number of visitors to the park. But, even if that’s the case, it hasn’t felt that way while walking through the crowds during my last few visits.

When asked to comment on my experience, a Disney World representative said that Insider Reservations help them maintain capacity at the parks and that many reservations are still available this year and next year.

He also provided a quote that Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during a February 2022 call with investors: “While demand at both domestic sites was strong throughout the quarter, our reservation system allowed us to enabled attendance to be managed strategically. In fact, their outstanding performance was achieved. at lower attendance levels than in 2019.”

The confusing, expensive Lightning Lane service only makes rider wait times worse.

An Arrow Pointing To The Author And His Family In A Large Crowd At The Haunted MansionAn Arrow Pointing To The Author And His Family In A Large Crowd At The Haunted Mansion

On a recent trip without a lighting lane pass, an arrow pointed to our place in line, waiting to board the Haunted Mansion.Kerry McLaren

I’m a longtime visitor and the lighting lane system still confuses me. In fact, this may be my last straw.

Beginning in October 2021, the Lightning Lane system is offered through Disney’s paid Genie+ service.

It costs about $15 per day, per person. To get to the attractions you want to ride, your best bet is to sign in to Genie+ through the My Disney Experience app at 7 a.m. and hope for the best as you scroll through the attractions.

I can’t imagine visiting the parks as a first-time guest and trying to navigate the system.

On our last visit, it cost my family $60 a day to use the Lightning Lane. Also, depending on the day, you may only have access to two or three rides.

For select rides, you can purchase Lightning Lane Skip the Line Passes. à la cartebut prepare to spend up to $15 for one person to drop a line.

Lighting Lane replaced FastPass+, which was available for free to everyone and could be used to skip the line on a few rides each day.

Technology is taking over the parks.

A Box Of Magic Bands For Colored Band Pass HoldersA Box Of Magic Bands For Colored Band Pass Holders

A box of Magic Bands for colored band pass holders

Magic Bands can serve as your park ticket and your wallet if you attach it to a credit card.Kerry McLaren

For those who are not tech savvy, going. Disney World Must be a nightmare.

I find myself on my phone more and more during park visits to check Lightning Lane options, digital wait times, park reservations, and show times.

Some places are also impossible to eat without using mobile ordering unless you want to wait in long lines. Plus mobile check-in is used for many resorts and restaurants.

I love that some of these technological advances are huge time savers. But I hate that it comes at the cost of constantly juggling logistics with my face buried in my phone.

I think communication with employees is also less.

I think Disney must have experimented. Personnel issues Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve really missed a lot of interactions with cast members, what Disney World calls its employees.

They truly do magic in the parks. In my experience, most of my interactions with cast members have been replaced by technological advancements, which has taken away a piece of the magic for me.

For example, I love seeing the excited faces of the cast members and shouting “Welcome home!” I miss listening. When I checked in at the Disney Resort. Now, I check in on my phone and go straight to my room.

When asked for comment, a Disney World representative said more than 75,000 cast members work at the property, and they still receive a lot of positive feedback about interactions with cast members.

I feel like I’m spending more money for less benefits.

Mickey Pass Holder Cards, Yellow, Held By Hand.Mickey Pass Holder Cards, Yellow, Held By Hand.

Mickey pass holder cards, yellow, held by hand.

I can no longer justify the cost of an annual pass.Kerry McLaren

The prices of annual passes keep going up and, in my opinion, the benefits keep going down.

Annual passes cost There has been an increase almost every year since we bought them.which is not surprising but still hard to stomach.

Previously, we had Silver Annual Pass This is for Florida residents only. In 2015, when they first became available, they cost just under $400. This particular pass is no longer available however Most comparableto Disney Pirates, expenses $699.

Annual pass holders also no longer have access. Extra Magic HoursWhere you can arrive at the park an hour early or leave two hours late. The benefit is now only for resort guests. And annual pass holders can now only. Park Hop – Free park-to-park travel – subject to availability and after 2pm.

Price increases would be fine if benefits were also increased, but I don’t think they are. As much as I love the merchandise and annual passholder discount. foodsI feel more limited than ever.

These limitations may not deter others — a Disney World representative said annual passholders still visit the parks as they did before the coronavirus pandemic and that annual passes are still in demand. – but that’s a big part of my decision.

The price hike has spread to resorts as well.

In my opinion, the term “value resort” is no longer relevant at Disney World.

In 2012, my family and I stayed at one of Disney’s cheapest resorts, All Star Sports Resort, for less than $70 a night. Now, those prices are closer to $180 or more a night with no housekeeping — and that price doesn’t include the recently instituted resort parking fee.

Introduced in March 2018, standard resort parking fees range from $15 to $25 per night, depending on the type of resort.

Although Resorts come with some nice added benefits.As with Extra Time in the Parks, it’s harder than ever for us to find dates where prices are low enough to be affordable.

I understand that Disney has renovated many of the rooms at their pricier resorts and that everything can go up in price over time, but it’s disappointing that even the most affordable accommodations at Disney are out of reach for my family. are happening

Goodbye, for now, Disney World

My Husband, Our Kids, And I In Front Of Cinderella'S CastleMy Husband, Our Kids, And I In Front Of Cinderella'S Castle

My husband, our kids, and I in front of Cinderella’s castle

A photo from my first Disney World trip with my daughters.Kerry McLaren

I’m a native Floridian who grew up just 2 1/2 hours from Disney World, so my family and I had annual passes and visited the parks regularly. I have always wanted children of my own Experience the parks. As I did as a child.

I’m incredibly grateful that we were able to make this dream a reality for our girls for a while, but 11 years later, I’ve reached my limit.

I was heartbroken to say goodbye to Disney World, my happy place, and I cried over the decision not to renew my annual passes. But it’s time for my family to move on.

I’m sure we’ll be back one day, but now it’s time to find a new place to make memories.

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