If you love Walt Disney World, there’s no better place to live than the beautiful state of Florida.
How many of you longtime Disney fans have dreams of being able to just hop in the car, throw on a MagicBand, and take a spontaneous trip to The Most Magical Place on Earth? For Florida residents, this convenience is a reality that dramatically changes our perspective on Mickey’s kingdom. Despite being a die-hard WDW fan since childhood, I had no idea we would ever become residents. When a career change brought us to the Sunshine State two years ago, it took a long time for the reality to sink in that we lived within two hours of our favorite vacation spot. From the first time we took a spontaneous trip to Disney Springs for dinner, we realized our relationship to Walt Disney World had changed substantially.
Indeed, a lot changes when Disney fans become Florida residents…
1. Tickets become way more affordable
The most obvious benefit besides convenience for Florida residents is cheaper Walt Disney World tickets! While The Most Magical Place on Earth is always somewhat expensive, compared to the average cost of a visit, Floridians get access to several substantial discounts. These vary by season and length of stay, but one example would be comparing the price for a 3-Day Florida “Discover Disney” ticket at $159 per person verses the same ticket for $305 for visitors from abroad.
The most significant discount Floridians get access to is Annual Passes. Florida residents can choose from 6 tiers of annual passes with various levels of blackout days. They also can pay monthly without interest, a huge convenience. On the low end, visitors who specifically only want to dine at Epcot can get Epcot-After-4pm passes for $279 or $14 a month. For families who prefer to visit on weekdays only, Weekday Select passes are only ten dollars more. Our favorite is the Silver Pass which blocks out busy holidays and summer for $439 a year or $28 a month. The prices increase from there to include less blackout days, Disney Photopass downloads, and recreation/water park access. The most expensive pass is the Platinum Plus at $829 or $63 a month.
Remember that price point we brought up earlier about the price for a three-day trip, $159 for residents and $305 for non-residents? Locals quickly do the math and realize they’ll save big by just getting an Annual Pass (particularly the Weekday Select and Silver levels). Oh, and all passholders get access to discounts on dining, shopping, and resort rooms which make trips even more affordable.
2. You might be a little obsessed at first
This insane ease-of-access brings out a certain understandable excitement in Disney fans turned Florida residents. You might experience a little bit of “the Disney shakes” for your first year. Even living hours away, we found ourselves spontaneously driving to Disney Springs and Epcot for impromptu dinners and park visits. You might quickly add up gas miles and SunPass tolls with frequent visits. The switch to unfettered Disney access might have you spending a lot more time in places you’ve never explored before at Walt Disney World. This is understandable. You want to get all you can out of those new passes!