10 Things You Should Know About Annual Passes at Disneyland

by 27 Comments

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print
Posted on May 27, 2013

27 Responses to “10 Things You Should Know About Annual Passes at Disneyland”

  • by David Davies on May 27, 2013, at 12:44 pm EST

    I may have had a unique experience over the past week, but I suggest you make sure that Cast Members give you the appropriate discount when you make a purchase. Over the course of 5 days and plenty of Disney meals, I had three dining venues try to give me a 10% Deluxe AP discount instead of the 15% Premium AP discount (which I was entitled to with a Premier Passport). I think there are so many types of passes and discounts that it’s tough for Cast Members to be trained well to deal with them all. When you show your pass, tell the Cast Member that you should get “Premium AP” discount. (It’s time consuming to get this fixed if you wait until after you’ve paid to notice the error.)

    The discount list is at:

    http://disneyland.disney.go.com/passes/discounts/

    Also, I was disappointed that the two big ice cream shops (Clarabelle’s and Gibson Girl) do not give an AP discount. I was told this was because they are part of the “snacks division.”

    • by Tammy Whiting on May 28, 2013, at 9:26 pm EST

      That is great advice, David. It’s true that the different types can be confusing and you should always double check!

    • I always go over to California Adventure if I want ice cream. Go the Ghirardelli store. you can use your discount there and you get a free piece of candy at the door!

    • So they denied you at Clarabelle’s even though they are clearly on the discount list (unless this has just recently been rectified)? I hope not. I’ll be there all weekend so I’ll give a look and see if this is still an issue.

  • Yes your AP does not count at street stands sales nor at proprietary businesses inside especially on Main St. Magic shop, Ice cream and a few others are not operated by Disney directly. A little bit annoying but nonetheless, it is a nice option to have. I too like that they often remind you, “do you have an annual pass?” Recently however, at the Bengal BBQ, they asked my wife for her pass which she provided but the cast member never included the discount on the receipt! So check it.

  • Thanks for the AP info. I’m planning 2+ trips to DLR over the next year and here’s something I’ve been looking at. For the first trip I’ll buying 4 day park hoppers for the whole group(2 adult, 2 kids), we’ll all use the EMH on the 1st day of the trip, then I will upgrade my park hopper to a Deluxe Passport.

    This way I will be able to get a EMH, the 10% discounts most of the trip, and I’ll already have my ticket for the 2nd planned trip (and hopefully 3rd).

  • I’m going to Disneyland next week with my sister. I live in Southern California and qualify in the zip codes for the select annual pass but the dates in the select pass are locked out. So, can I buy a three day park hopper, use it in July, and on the third day upgrade to the so cal select pass for $35 more? I just think for $35 I can go again within the year. I’m just not sure if they will let me upgrade to a pass that is currently blocked out at the time of purchase.
    Thanks ;)

  • I have annual passes for my family (the platinum or the best one money can buy lol) anyways we are wanting to see disney on ice that is coming to our hometown. Do the passports give a discount on disney purchases outside the park? I know I get 20%off in any stores in the park and on disney.com. Just wondering if Disney on Ice qualifies.

  • Ok, We are headed to Disneyland and World by the end of the year. I want to get an annual pass for Disneyland and may upgrade to a Premier Pass (still to be determined). But my question is… If I get an Annual pass online will I be immediately allowed to purchase discounted tickets for Mickey’s Halloween party online too?

  • yes you can get a 3 day pass and then upgrade any time of the year. my question, if am going to Disneylands special event and tickets are discounted and are less then the normal day price,I upgraded my special event ticket to an annual pass?

  • Great article. We just upgraded to annual passes on our last trip. We discovered that one of the best benefits is the discounts on the resort hotels. Since we will be there in the off season (next week, I can’t wait!) we got a 20% discount at the Grand Californian. Which was substantially cheaper than booking the hotel and tickets through Disneyland itself. Between the hotel discount and the cost of the park hoppers, we are saving a ton of money on our two trips a year. Especially since the passports are valid for a year from date of purchase, we will get in the next trip, for a total of three, trips on one years passport purchase.

  • It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • What do you do if you find a Disney passport and you want to get it back to the owner?

  • by nancy visit disneyland?goodson on December 10, 2013, at 12:48 am EST

    I am trying to upload a photo for my husbands annual pass. we were at disneyland last night but the candlelight celebration was much too chaotic to get a photo taken for his pass. if I do not get a photo uploaded will we be turned away next time we go?

    • no they will just tell you to find someone and get your picture done. you can get anyone of the Disney photographers to take it just tell them you need a picture for your pass

  • I know that if you buy your initial pass on a blockout day you get into the park on the day you purchase the pass, is it the same if you renew your pass in person – do you get into the park on that day also?

    • Yes, you will get in on that black out day if you are renewing your pass in person. I did it last year… without trying LOL We went on a Friday (possibly easter weekend?) and was renewing so I could put cash down from my daughters birthday stash! Unknown to me she was blacked out (dlx pass) and they gave her an extra ticket to get in. :)

  • I bought annual passports at the grocery store for my son and his girlfriend without know they just renewed their annual passports. They have not been used or “activated” in any way. Does anyone know if I can get a refund or have any other ideas?

  • Let me know if you are interested in selling those passports

  • Great info in this Article. I have a question about purchasing passes on a blockout day. Does it still apply if you buy your annual pass online that same day, or do I have to buy in person in order for the blockout day to be included?

  • I have friends that live in So Cal. Can I get them to buy annual passes for me and my family members? Just wondering if I have to show I.D. with a So Cal zip code at any point in the process.

  • If I have a pass with blackout dates but want to go to the Disneyland on a blackout day, do I pay full price?