A lot of people ask, is a Disneyland annual pass really worth the money? I mean, don’t you have to still pay tons of money every time you go? Isn’t it always crowded? Disneyland in Southern California is an extremely popular place. And not just to Southern California residents. People come from all over the world to visit Disneyland. So is a Disneyland annual pass actually worth it? Let’s see if I can help you decide.
Disneyland and California Adventure Park
Growing up, there was only Disneyland. There was only one park and it was very expensive for my parents to go as a family. We actually got annual passports to Knott’s Berry Farm instead because it was cheaper. And it didn’t hurt that we all were adventure seekers and LOVED the roller coasters! But so much has changed since then. Disneyland isn’t just for kids anymore! I think I love Disneyland more as an adult than I did the couple of times I went as a child.
I mean look at this joy (and those ears!) Like my Minnie ears? You can find some here!
Plus, they added a whole new park! California Adventure wasn’t that great when it first opened. There were only a couple of rides and we didn’t appreciate it as much as Disneyland. But now, since it has grown, sometimes I like California Adventure better! Cars Land is one of my favorite places to just go and walk around. Plus, who doesn’t love the Cars Ride?! It’s literally the BEST!
I love backpacks that are this size to carry all my stuff in. And, when you wear Disney stuff to Disneyland, you actually fit in! It’s so great! Also, you can’t get these fantastic Starbucks cups anywhere else! I literally use them all the time!
Suffice it to say, Disneyland is pretty fantastic. It’s a magical place that can always make any day better. That’s why I loved having an annual pass. As a Disney fanatic, I could go there hundreds of times and it would still feel just as magical. Okay, done with the mushy stuff. Let’s get down to the facts. Yes, tons of people looove Disneyland. But is it actually worth it to invest in a pass?!
The prices for Disneyland and the Disneyland Annual Passes have changed so much over the past couple of years. Recently, Disney went to a different style of ticketing. AS of now (2018), they price the tickets for value days, regular days, and peak days. That means for one day in one park, you could spend from $97 to $124! That’s a pretty big difference, especially if you are buying more than one ticket. Those prices are also only for one day into one park. That means you have to choose to either stay in Disneyland the whole day, or California Adventure the whole day. That can be difficult to choose if you only have money to pay for one or two trips to Disneyland in a year.
Now remember, children under 3 years old get in for free. So, if you are an adult with small children, I have heard it can be extremely fun and entertaining to go with children under 3. You only have to buy passes for 2 adults if you have one child under 3. Seems like a good deal to me.
Disneyland Annual Pass
So let’s look at what a Disneyland Annual Pass actually gets you. No matter what pass you get, and there are four to currently choose from, it gives you access to both parks. This means you never have to choose which park you want to spend your time in. You can jump back and forth and see everything you want in one day. B and I usually go in between both parks 3 times during our day trips! Sometimes we want to ride a specific ride. Sometimes we just want to see World of Color! (Which is FANTASTIC btw!)
Getting into both parks is just one perk. Even the cheapest pass gives you a 10% discount on select dining and merchandise. Which is great news for me, because I have 3 different pairs of Mickey ears right now and I always find things to buy when I go! This also means, if you’re eating dinner in the park, you get at least a little discount to make it cheaper. These discounts can go up to 15% off dining and 20% off merchandise if you buy the higher priced passes!
Still not really convinced, you say? The two highest priced passes give you theme park parking included in your pass! That’s worth $20 every time you go! Yes, parking is now $20. It saddens me, but what can you do?
Price vs. Value
Now let’s look at the prices. Yes, a Disneyland Annual Pass can be extremely expensive. Especially if you are buying more than two for your family. They range from $339 to $1,049. There is an option for monthly payments to pay for your pass. This is only open for California residents. I have never done this option, but it’s there for you. How valuable is a Disneyland pass to you? That is what will determine what you are willing to pay. I’ll share with you why I think a pass is valuable and who gets the most value out of it. But first, let’s see if the price is worth it.
Disney Southern California Select Passport
Disclaimer: [This pass is only good for Southern California residents living in specific area codes.] Let’s say you buy the cheapest pass like B and I did. $339 for a whole year of entry into the park. This pass is only good for Monday through Friday and is always blocked out on major holidays and holiday weekends. This pass is also blocked out for most of the summer from June to August since this is one of the peak seasons. People who have an open schedule (such as nurses!) or anyone who works tons of weekends, would do well with this pass. This pass does not include parking.
So how many times do you have to go to Disneyland to make it worth the price? If you are only going on value days when the tickets would cost $97, you would have to go 4 times to make it worth it.
Do you think B and I went to Disneyland 4 times in this last year when we had our passes? YES! We went at least 8 times and that is being conservative. So to me, it was worth it. We paid a one time fee for each of our passes. It was our anniversary present to each other. And honestly, it provided us a year of cheap entertainment. Yes I said cheap! One of my next posts will be how we keep it cheap on our day trips to Disneyland!
Disney Deluxe Passport
The Disney Deluxe Annual Pass pretty much adds every Sunday to the available dates, and a lot of Saturdays. If you are someone who doesn’t have an open schedule during the week, or would like to go with family and friends on weekends, this pass would be good for you! The total cost is $619 and it does not include parking.
So how many times do you have to go to make it worth the price? Since this mixes both value, regular and peak days, the tickets would average $110 if you bought them separate. Meaning, you would have to go 6 times to make it worth it.
B and I had these passes a while ago when we were in college. I can tell you that we went so often, we both knew where every single restroom was in the park! B told me after that year that we could not renew our passes until he forgot the locations of the restrooms. So, lo and behold, we didn’t get passes again until 4 years later. This pass is still a very good deal if you are planning on visiting many times throughout the year.
Disney Signature Passport
We are officially moving up in the world. If you have the money to afford this pass, you probably want to live pretty close to Disneyland. Also, would you mind buying me a pass! Just kidding. Pricing is $849 for this pass. However, it does give you more perks including higher discounts on dining and merchandise as well as included parking. Which, if you are going more than 5 times in a year, would already save you over $100 in parking! The only block-out dates I see for this pass are the 2-3 weeks around Christmas. That means you can go to Disneyland whenever your little heart desires.
So how many times do you have to go to make it worth the price? I would say this pass gives you a ton of available peak days, so the average ticket price would be $124 separately. Therefore, you would have to go 7 times on a peak day to make this pass worth it.
However, if you live close enough to go to Disneyland extremely often, this would be a great buy. Even though we live at least 45 min away with no traffic… [which NEVER happens,] B and I would often go for the night to just watch the fireworks. Or, we would drive to Disneyland on a day off and get there at 5pm to eat dinner and people watch. To me, if I had the money, I would so have this pass.
Disney Signature Plus Passport
The mother of all Disney passes with ZERO block-out dates, included parking, discounts and the MAXPASS feature is the Signature Plus Pass. Pricing for this pass is $1049 for one year. Once again, this pass saves you from paying $20 every time you park. If you plan on going over 5 times in a year, it already saves you $100. This pass is good for people who live close to Disneyland and want to go extremely often.
So how many times do you have to go to make it worth the price? Since there are no block-out dates, the average ticket price would be $124 separately. Therefore, you would have to go 9 times on peak days to make this pass worth it.
Only You Can Decide
Really, the bottom line is, it’s up to you. Only you can decide with Disneyland Annual Pass is right for you and your family. Or, if it is easier to buy single day tickets, or 3-day tickets. Because I love Disneyland and Disney so much, I would love to have an annual pass every year. Honestly, I never get sick of going. Especially when you have friends and family to enjoy it with you. I love spending my birthday at Disneyland. It makes me feel special. Especially when my hubby takes me to The Blue Bayou! You know, that fancy restaurant INSIDE the Pirates of the Caribbean ride?! Pretty awesome!
For Southern California residents, Disneyland is a fantastic place to relax, enjoy the magic, and escape from reality. As a college student, it was a great escape from homework with friends. As a nurse, it is a fantastic place to de-stress from work life and enjoy a night off.
Some of the best times I have had at Disneyland were not even a full day packed with rides. Because we had the flexibility of an annual pass, we were able to go in the morning and leave before traffic. Or, we would go at night after traffic and eat dinner, see the fireworks, and just wander around and look at the pretty lights. No matter what you decide to do, there will always be something for everyone. If you like my Little Mermaid shirt you can buy one here!
Let me know what you decide! Do you think a Disneyland pass is worth it? What tricks do you have for going to Disneyland cheap with your pass?
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