Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Disney Offers Year-Round Pass a Month at a Time

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Disney Offers Year-Round Pass a Month at a Time

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BAURELEIN

The Mouse is using a page from the Jacksonville Jaguars' playbook.

Just as the Jaguars have given football fans the option of paying for season tickets interest-free over an eight-month period, Walt Disney World is giving Florida residents a way to pay for theme park passes over a one-year period.

For people who go often to Disney World's parks, it's a way to spread out the cost of a year-round pass.

I've written before about how some zero-interest payment plans offered by retailers have "gotcha" terms that can trigger double-digit, retroactively applied interest rates if consumers fail to meet deadlines for payments.

Disney World's promotion is fairly straightforward and free of those pitfalls. Customers purchase the passes and agree their credit cards will be billed monthly to pay off what they owe. That is similar to the Jaguars' program, though the Jaguars allow fans to pay by either a credit card or debit card.

If you fully pay your credit card bill each month and don't carry a balance, you will be able to pay for Disney World without incurring interest charges.

But if you are someone who carries a balance, then the credit card company will charge interest. In that scenario, you're not really buying the Disney World passes interest-free.

If Disney cannot charge a credit card because it's maxed out or the customer canceled the credit card, Disney World will call to make other arrangement for payment. Disney World won't charge a fee in cases where there is a late payment. But people who use a payment plan for the passes are entering a binding contract to pay the full amount that's owed.

The extended payment plan is the latest wrinkle in Disney's discounted prices for Florida residents.

Florida residents can use the extended payments to purchase a "premium annual pass" costing $531 for those who are 10 years old and older, or $479 for those between the ages of 3 and 9. The payment plan also is available for an annual pass that costs $403 or $364 for those age groups. The seasonal pass - which has some blackout dates when the pass cannot be used - costs $276 or $249 respectively for Florida residents. Those prices include sales tax.

Disney World spokesman Dave Herbst said the blackout dates fall around the Christmas holidays, spring break and the peak summer months. The blackout dates are a double-edged sword: They are the theme parks' most popular times, but they also are the most crowded. If you don't want to go to the parks when they are busiest, then the seasonal pass is a good fit because it costs less.

Some other Florida-resident discounts don't have payment plans but offer other perks.

Florida residents can purchase Magic Your Way tickets for up to seven days of theme park visits. …

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