Disneyland Annual Passes – Why Would You Do That?

A lot of people ask us why we have Disneyland Annual Passes.

We live in the Bay Area, so it’s not like we can decide on a whim that we’re going to head to Disneyland for the evening. If we wanted to just go there randomly, no matter what, we’d have a 5.5hr drive ahead of us. I can imagine that the excitement of “spontaneity” would wear off during the drive. We also have a dog, so we’d have to find a dog sitter. Really, at any point for the Kleists, going to Disneyland on the “whim” definitely requires at least like half a day of preparation.

So, why purchase annual passes for Disneyland when you live over 300 miles away?

Well first, the cost. Here’s the deal – Disney just upped their prices again last week. For $150 you can enjoy both Disney parks, for one whole day. ONE day. Want to add days? The price jumps to $217 for 2 days, and so on. Disney ain’t cheap. I’m not going to dip into the conversation about why Disney is so expensive, and why the price increases seem so drastic, and how it’s outrageous (blah blah blah) because at the end of the day, a trip to Disneyland is just going to be expensive no matter what. If that bothers you, I’d kindly suggest traveling elsewhere. The Disney Annual Passport system actually isn’t terrible, and it can still benefit you even if you live 300 miles away. A Premium Annual Passport isn’t cheap ($699 for the year with no blackout dates and free parking), but if you’re planning to take a 3 or 4-day trip to Disney 2 times or more in one year, the savings are actually pretty substantial. That’s actually what prompted Jason and I to look at it in the first place  – we were originally planning to go 3 times in 2013 for various reasons – we thought there had to be a better method than paying $265 x2, three times that year.

Take Jason and I for example. We got our passes in February 2013 and we ended up going 6 times while the passport was active (over one year). Those 6 trips translate into about 18 days total in the park. If we do 18 x $150 that’s $2700. I know what you’re saying, what about the multiple day passes? Okay, let’s look at that. Let’s say I trekked down to Disney 6 times last year, each being a 3-day trip, that still puts me at $1590 in Disney tickets just for myself.

The cool thing about the Annual Passes? They have a monthly payment plan for CA residents with no interest. So, Jason and I pay monthly on two $699 Annual Passes. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a hefty sum, but we’re loaded so it doesn’t bother us 😉 JK! We’re a family on a budget, but we budgeted for Disney. It’s really our only vacation throughout the year. We may do an overnight here and there, but our big trips are always down to Disneyland. So that means we’re actually just prepaying on our vacations each month so the overall financial blow isn’t as bad when we go.

So how much did we save last year? Since we went 6 times, 3-days each (assuming we’d pay $265/person per trip on 3-day tickets) … we ended up saving $1389. 

I get it, we’re not your typical Disney goers because we go multiple times in a year. And we’re only a family of two; I can imagine that if we were a family of three or four, we’d probably do things differently. So, annual passes aren’t for everyone when you live 300 miles away. But, for now, having the annual pass is really the only thing that makes sense for us. Now we can go to Disney worry-free and with some great discounts while inside the park (15% off food, 25% off merch, etc.)

All that to say – if you live in the Bay Area and you plan to visit Disney more than 4.66 (price of a 1-day Park Hopper ticket divided by the Premium AP) days in one year, the Annual Pass might be the way to go for you. If you’re only planning to do your one big trip a year, then stick to the regular passes.

Call us crazy Disney people all you want, but we have a method to our madness. Joke’s on you!

the dream

the dream