Please welcome our new writer, Cassie Schwartz, to the blog. She’s going to be writing posts here on Thursdays, as well as contributing to the Question of the Week and other random posts. You can learn more about her and all of our writers on this page.
My whole life I grew up looking at Disneyland as the ultimate vacation destination, and many people think of Disneyland as being simply that; a place to take a great trip. Families save for months or even years to be able to bring their loved ones to the happiest place on Earth, creating memories that last forever. My parents took us to Disneyland for the first time when I was eight and my brother was ten and it was, of course, the trip of a lifetime. I always figured that that is just what Disneyland would be to me, a place to visit every few years or so. However, after making the decision to move to Los Angeles in 2012, the experience, magic, and attainability of the Disney Parks became so much easier. For those of us lucky enough to live mere miles from the park, there is a way to enjoy the Disney experience for an entire year. By purchasing a Disneyland Annual Passport, southern California residents can attend the parks whenever they desire, making Disneyland so much more than just a vacation destination, it can become, like it has for me, a second home.
An annual passport is a clever and financially smart decision for locals who plans on visiting the Disney Resort Parks throughout the year. There are three different levels of passports, each with their own pros and cons. All three passes allow admission to both Disneyland and California Adventure, allowing you to pop back and forth from one park to another as much as you want. For the past two years, I have had the Select Annual Passport and loved every minute of it! Personally, this has been the best pass selection for me and below I will tell you why:
1. Premium Annual Passport
Pros: The Premium Annual Passport is definitely the head honcho of all the passports. A lot of my close friends have purchased this plan and used it to its full potential. With the premium pass you have access to the parks 365 days a year with no blockout dates, meaning you can pretty much go to the park whenever your little heart desires! With this pass, you will definitely get the best perks of all of the plans. This includes free parking, 15% off dining and 20% off merchandise. This plan is for people who mean serious Disneyland business.
Cons: The only con I can truly state for this pass is the price. The pass costs a whopping $780 dollars, which of course is chump change for a lot of wealthy SoCal residents/celebs. However, if you cannot easily afford this steep one time price, you can always opt for a payment plan, which includes a down payment and monthly payments.
2. Deluxe Annual Passport
Pros: The Deluxe Annual Passport is a very practical choice for someone who works a Monday-Friday job or who has children who are in school during the week as it allows you to visit the park on many weekends (the SoCal select pass does not—see below.) The park allows you to visit 315 days out of the year with minimal blockout dates. You also receive 10% off merchandise and food with this plan. It also has a more practical price of $550.
Cons: Similar to the SoCal Select Annual Pass (below), the block out dates are probably the biggest con of the Deluxe Passport. If you enjoy spending the holidays at the Disney parks, this plan is not for you. There are blockout dates for the second half of December, as well as most of the other major holidays. You also have to pay for parking each time you visit, and at $17 per car per visit, that can add hundreds of dollars to your annual Disney budget.
3. SoCal Select Annual Passport
Pros: The SoCal Select Pass is by far the best option for anyone on a budget. The pass costs $300 and has 170 days of park admission. Keep in mind, a daily ticket to only one park is almost $100, so once you have visited the park three times in a year with the SoCal Pass you have pretty much paid the pass off. (That’s how I like to see it anyways.) In addition to the lower pass price, you will receive 10% off food and merchandise.
Cons: With this pass, you have a ton of block out dates. You cannot attend the park on any weekends, holidays, and are blocked out for the majority of July and August. For many people, especially those who work Monday through Friday or have children in school, this pass is out of the question. You have to pay for parking with this plan as well.
I believe the SoCal Annual Pass is the smartest decision for someone like me. I do not have kids or a family yet, so when I visit the parks, it is mostly with friends and done on our days off work. Also, keep in mind the SoCal Select Pass blocks you out on certain days because THOSE ARE THE BUSY DAYS! Personally, I try my very best to go to the park when it is slower and I avoid the busy weekends and hot summer days. I enjoy the park more in the “off season” and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because it is much less congested and wait times are low. With this pass, I have still been able to go to the park almost once or twice a month for the past few years, which makes it completely worth the lower price.
All in all, I hope my info has helped you make the right decision if you are considering an annual passport at the happiest place on earth!