If you already have a Disney park ticket and find yourself in the happy circumstances of needing an annual pass, you can take that ticket and apply it to the AP upgrade and pay the difference. Here are the most likely situations you’ll encounter.
1. You have an unused ticket and you want an AP: The full value of your ticket will be applied to your new AP.
2. You have a used ticket and are within the 14-day window (that is, more than 14-days have not passed since you first used the ticket to enter a park): Again, the full value of your ticket will be applied to your pass, regardless of how many days you have left. The pass can even be completely used. This 14-day window is very important to adhere to, although I’ve heard of cases where cast members will give you some leeway if it’s within a month. Added January 28, 2012: You MUST have one day left on your ticket.
3. You have a Give a Day/Get a Disney Day voucher. Here, the value of one day’s park admission will be applied to your annual pass.
Here are a few quirks when it comes to upgrading:
1. If you buy a ticket from a Disney authorized discounted broker (like Undercover Tourist), the value of that ticket will be applied based on what you paid to the broker, not the actual value. For example, say your ticket cost $250 from Undercover Tourist. That same ticket costs $270 from Disney. You’ll only get $250 for that ticket, not the $270 that it’s technically worth. Unless . . .
2. Unless you use the ticket first. Run that ticket through a turnstile in any park and walk over to Guest Services and your $250 ticket becomes a $270 ticket. Disney will give you $270 toward your AP even though you only paid $250. Some people purposely buy tickets from these brokers to save a few dollars in this way.
3. Disney calls all types of tickets “entitlements.” You can only use one entitlement per upgrade. So, say you have a Give a Day voucher and a five-day park hopper. You will only be allowed to apply one to your AP upgrade.
4. You may not upgrade special event tickets, special discounted tickets, and complimentary tickets. For example, during some Disney marathons, participants are allowed to buy discounted park tickets (through the Disney Endurance Series) for themselves and their travel companions. These tickets are usually a very good deal, but you will not be able to use them to upgrade to an annual pass.
5. The value you receive from your park tickets is the value at the time of upgrade, not the time of purchase. For example, Disney historically raises prices in August. If you bought a 7-day park hopper prior to the increase and decide to upgrade in September, you’ll get the increased value of your park hopper. In theory, you could take a 12-year old paper ticket and upgrade it; you’ll get today’s value, not what it was worth in 1998.
All upgrades have to be done at Guest Relations in the parks or at Downtown Disney. You can’t upgrade to an annual pass at your resort.