I LOVE Disneyland, I always have and I always will, but I haven’t always been able to afford to go. We went a couple of times with my daughter when she was 2 and 3, but after that we were unable to go for a lot of years. In fact my son’s first trip to Disneyland was when he was 10. Why is this? Disneyland is not cheap. It is in fact very expensive and it gets more expensive year after year.
However this last year I stumbled upon the info about buying an annual pass. Now this might seem silly considering that I live in Utah but it seriously got my wheels turning. How affordable is an annual pass compared to a park hopper pass? Could I manage to go to Disneyland enough times to make it worth the cost?
Let’s start with Park Hopper passes.
Whether you want an Annual Passport or not I highly recommend the Park Hopper Pass with a 3 day minimum. At Disneyland it is very convenient to go back and forth in between the two parks. If you want to spend the first part of the day at California Adventure in Cars Land and then you want to head over to Disneyland and watch Fantasmic that night. Why not? If you made a reservation at Ariel’s Grotto but you want to go on Space Mountain and Indy before, you can. If you want to spend the entire day at Disneyland except that you really want to catch the World of Color show, you definitely can. (Make sure you run in and grab those fast passes before you head into Disneyland though, so when you come back you can get a good spot!) The possibilities are endless.
The current Park Hopper prices as of October 2014 are:
Children are 3-9 years and Adults are 10+ years
1 Day- $144 Child – $150 Adult
2 Day- $204 Child – $217 Adult
3 Day- $254 Child – $265 Adult
4 Day- $274 Child – $289 Adult
5 Day- $289 Child – $305 Adult
The more days you buy the better deal you get but after 5 days you have to start from scratch. So if you want to go for 7 days you would end up buying a 5 day+ a 2 day which for a child equals $493 and an adult equals $522.
Now for the Annual Passes:
Annual Passports are only available for purchase at the park and the prices are the same whether you are a child or an adult. And if you live in California within a certain zip code area there are additional annual pass options for you. However, they are more limited than either of the annual passes that I am going to go over. You can find information on purchasing park tickets or passports by clicking on these links.
Deluxe Annual Passport- $519
This pass includes 315 pre selected days of use at BOTH Disneyland Resort Parks. You also receive a 10% Discount on select Dining and 10% off on select merchandise.
Blackout dates from September 2014- August 2015 are:
September- No Blackout Dates
October- No Blackout Dates
November- 27th, 28th, 29th (Thanksgiving Weekend)
December- 20th- 31st (All of Christmas Break)
January- No Blackout Dates
February- 14th-15th (Valentine’s Day)
March- Saturdays 14th, 21st, 28th
April- 3rd and 4th then Saturdays 11th, 18th, 25th
May- Saturdays 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
June- Saturdays 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
July- 3rd, 4th, 5th, the 11th, 17th, 18th, and the 25th (4th of July Weekend)
August- 1st and 8th
This pass has NO BLACKOUT DATES and includes parking which is $16 per day. It also includes select dining discounts of 15% and select merchandise discounts of 20%.
If the discounts are what calls to you on this pass, but you don’t necessarily want to buy everyone in your family one. You can buy one for you and use it for the free parking and the larger discounts. Then buy everyone else the Deluxe. You will still have to abide by the blackout dates if you want to go as a family though. But it will probably still save you a bundle.
Worried that you would like to do this but have already purchased your Park Hopper tickets. Don’t fret, you can upgrade up until the last day you are at the park. For instance the time we upgraded we went over the 4th of July which is blocked out on the Deluxe Annual Passport (which we were purchasing) so we went ahead and used our Park Hopper Passes until that weekend was over and then upgraded afterwards and we ended up being able to go for an extra day that we had originally not planned on!
If you and your family can and would travel to Disneyland for at least 7 or more days during the next year, the Deluxe Annual Pass may be the cheapest option for you. It is the one that my family purchased and we actually ended up going 30 days in 4 trips. After the first trip your tickets are paid for which means that planning a return trip becomes A LOT more affordable. For a family of 4 adults like mine that shaves $1200 off of the total. That is a huge chunk!
For my family this works out to our benefit and it has inspired us to take more trips together and we have had the opportunity to take these wonderful trips and spend quality time together as a family making memories that will last a lifetime. We found that having the pass actually make the trip less stressful, because you know you will have the opportunity to return. The need to cram everything you can into this one trip seems less important and when you slow down you get to enjoy the park in a way you never would have been able to before. There is so much history and so much fun in everything at Disney. I personally could spend an entire day just wandering around Disneyland without going on a single ride. The experience for us has been so magical we just purchased our second annual pass and hope to be able to do so for many more years.