Unless you live within easy driving distance of Disney World, it may seem like a no-brainer that a $600+ annual pass isn’t going to save you any money. However, there are surprising ways you can save by getting an AP, and some surprising ways it may save you more than you think.

Do the Math

Though the actual numbers for you will vary based on the length of your trips and whether or not you typically add park hoppers, generally speaking the breakeven point for APs is 10 days. That means if you’ll be in the parks for more than 10 days within a calendar year, then it’s likely cheaper to get an AP than to buy those tickets out of pocket.

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Plan Two Trips and Save

Many families don’t have the luxury of visiting Disney World every year, let along twice in the same year. However, if you’re the type of family that visits every other year, there may be a way to modify your plans to save you big: visit once, get APs, and then visit again right before they expire.

For example, instead of visiting in 2014 and then again in 2016, visit in July of 2014 and then again in July of 2015. You’d then wait until 2017 to visit the next time. This may sound complicated, but essentially it’s an every-other-year budget – you just modify the specifics so you can take advantage of annual passes.

Buy Discount Tickets Beforehand

Don’t make the mistake of buying your annual passes before you get to Disney World. Instead, buy discounted tickets and then upgrade them once you’re in the parks. This gives you a chance to get the discounts offered on multi-day passes. Just be sure you use at least one day on the tickets before you upgrade to annual passes or it can complicate the number crunching when you upgrade.

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The Tables in Wonderland Card

The Tables in Wonderland Card offers you up to 20% at many table service restaurants throughout Disney property, and quite a few quick service spots, too. It’s only available to Florida residents and those with APs, so if you upgrade make sure you check to see if it could save you money. The card does cost around $100 to purchase, and the breakeven point on this card is generally $500, so if you plan to spend more than $500 it could end up saving you a considerable amount of money.

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