So last week we talked about tickets at Disneyland. Today, let’s talk about a special kind of Disneyland ticket – an Annual Passport. Are Annual Passports for everyone? No. Are they for you? Possibly! Hopefully I can give you some information to help you decide.
1. There are Lots of Options – Disneyland has 5 different kinds of Annual Passes. There are two Annual Passes directed at Southern California residents residing in zip codes 90000 to 93599. Both of these Passes have blackout dates, which means you cannot use the passes on those specified dates. The first is the Southern California Select Annual Passport which is currently $269 and is valid 176 days a year. The second is the Southern California Annual Passport which is currently $329 and is valid 227 days of the year. To purchase either of these Passes, you must live in Southern California. There is another pass with some blackout dates that is available to anyone and it’s called the Deluxe Annual Passport. It’s currently $469 and is valid 315 days a year. You can add parking to any of those three passes for an additional $129. The next pass is called the Premium Annual Passport. It has no blackout dates, includes parking and is currently $649. The final pass is the Disney Premier Passport. It’s currently $849, has no blackout dates, includes parking AND (and this is an important “and”) is also a Premium Annual Pass at Walt Disney World. That’s a nice little feature isn’t it?
2. Ticket Savings – If you visit Disneyland more than once in a twelve month period, you may save money by purchasing an Annual Pass. Considering a 3-day ticket with the Park Hopper Option is $250, you can see from the above prices that you can start saving pretty quickly! If you are a Southern California resident and can avoid the blackout dates, you start saving almost immediately. If you don’t live in an eligible zip code and can avoid the blackout dates of the Deluxe Annual Passport, two 3-day visits will get you close to saving money. The bottom line is, when you are planning visits, run the numbers and see if you’ll save money.
3. Great Discounts – Another thing to take into consideration when considering an Annual Pass are the discounts that come after you’ve already purchased one. Disneyland has several discounts available to Annual Passholders of all kinds. The discounts vary depending on which type of Annual Pass you have, but they’re still abundant. At Disney World, Passholders have to purchase an additional discount card, known as Tables in Wonderland, to take advantage of restaurant discounts. Not so at Disneyland. At Disneyland not only are there discounts available at almost all of the restaurants, I’ve found the servers and cashiers routinely ask if you are a Passholder. No more slapping your head after you have paid for your meal and remember you forgot to ask for a discount! It’s like they don’t want you to forget! There are also discounts in many of the stores, and discounts at the three onsite hotels. The hotel discounts vary greatly and you can’t count on them, but definitely check for your dates! And bonus – There are even some Passholder discounts in the nearby Anaheim GardenWalk!
4. Buy Just One – If you’re only after the extra discounts and not the ticket savings, you may consider just buying one Annual Pass. If one person in your party has a Pass and doesn’t mind being the one who pays for food, pays for purchases and books the hotel rooms, buy an Annual Pass just for that person! In my family, that person could not be my husband. He likes to be blissfully in the dark about how much money is leaving his wallet every time we eat, shop or basically move when we are at Disneyland. If he was paying, our touring plans might drastically change. So, choose that person wisely.
5. Upgrade to an Annual Pass – Are the discounts sounding good but you’ve already bought a regular ticket? Or have you been having so much fun in Cars Land the last few days that you have decided come heck or high water you will be coming back? Well good news! You can upgrade any ticket that has not expired to an Annual Pass. Just do it before the end of the last day of your ticket. You can also upgrade any Annual Pass to a more expensive Annual Pass.
6. Buy Your Annual Pass on a Blackout Day – Here’s a little tip to get one more day out of the Annual Passes with blackout days. If you buy your ticket ON a blackout day, you can get into the park that day with it. Do you love the savings of a Southern California Select Annual Passport but really want to visit on a Saturday? I’m not sure why you would intentionally visit on a Saturday if you have other options, but let’s say you do! Buy it on the Saturday you would like to enter.
7. Some People are Eligible for Payment Plans – If you live in zip codes 90000 to 96199 you can buy your Pass with the Monthly Payment Options. The plan has no interest or finance charges, and you can spread the cost out over a 12 month period. You will have to make a down payment when you buy the Pass and the first month’s charge will be deducted within 24 hours of purchase.
8. Annual Passholders May Have Early Entry – Currently there is no Early Entry for Passholders, but it’s been offered at times in both 2012 and 2013, so it may not be gone forever. Of course Passholders can always stay onsite and take advantage of Extra Magic Hours for resort guests, or if you don’t have your pass yet, you can buy any ticket of 3 days or longer, use the Magic Morning entry and then upgrade to an Annual Pass before the end of the last day as discussed above.
9. There are Special Events for Passholders – These are subject to change, subject to availability, subject to the whims of Disney, etc. etc. etc. Got it? There is no set schedule for these! No guarantee they will happen! Don’t buy an Annual Pass strictly because of number 8 on my list!! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, there have been some super cool Annual Passholder events! Passholders were the first to get to try out the Glow with the Show Ears. Some Annual Passholders were lucky enough to get seating at the Candlelight Processionals this year. There have also been some Limited Time Magic events just for Passholders! Like the Golden Horseshoe Dinner Show for Annual Passholders. Or the special screening of Peter Pan in the Main Street Opera House for Passholders. Lots of fun things with more to possibly come!
10. Discounts on the Passes – Other than the discounted Passes with blackout dates, there aren’t many discounts out there on the Passes themselves, so if you see one, grab it! There are reportedly some discounts at certain AAA offices in Southern California, so if you’re a member, you may want to check there. If you’re a Disney Vacation Club member, you can save $20 on an Annual Pass. Hey, twenty bucks is twenty bucks!! Or in Disney-speak, roughly 5.7 Mickey bars.
So, do you have any tips for Annual Passes at Disneyland?