Annual Passports: Is it worth investing in when living outside Southern California?

Carthay Circle - Buena Vista Street - Disney California Adventure
Carthay Circle – Buena Vista Street – Disney California Adventure

By Joyce Kessel

Many of our Disney friends living in the general vicinity of the Disneyland Resort take advantage of the Disney Annual Passports. Is it worth the investment for those of us living in neighboring states, such as Arizona? My answer is yes, but let me share my insight, and you decide if the investment is worth it.

After Al’s first visit in 2007, we could not visit Disneyland often enough and wanted to be immersed in the magic as often as possible. We were making the 5 plus hour drive about every 3 months and purchasing 4-day park hopper passes. We enjoyed the attractions but one of our favorite things to do was to chat with Cast Members. It was during one of those chats that we met “Disneyland Dan”. He soon became one of our favorite Cast Members and we both felt as if we had known him forever. He asked how many times we visited a year and if we were annual passholders. When we told him that we visited frequently, but were not annual passholders, he explained what I am about to explain to you and what I have learned since then.

He suggested that we take our 4-day park hopper tickets to Guest Services and “trade it in” for an annual pass (of course, we had to pay a pro-rated upgrade amount) so we could continue to experience the magic. Our annual pass year began the first day we visited the park that trip, and we were able to start taking advantage of discounts on merchandise, some restaurants and future lodging. After we finished chatting with him, we made our way over to Guest Services, upgraded to the Deluxe pass, and decided to plan our trips around the blackout dates. When it came time for renewal we upgraded to the Premium Annual Pass because we were even more in love with this magical place and the perks, such as parking, better discounts, and no blackout dates.

At today’s ticket prices, Premium Passholders can experience the magic 365 days a year for $699.00 or Deluxe Passholders 315 days a year for $519.00 and the 4-day parkhopper ticket price is $289.00.

Yes, that seems likes a lot of money out of pocket but if it is in the budget, I recommend you make the investment and take advantage of these Passholder Exclusives:

  • Guided tours discounts
  • Table service dining discounts
  • Special event discounts
  • Merchandise discounts
  • Disneyland Resort Hotel discounts

And when you consider everything that you get with these passes that you DON’T see, like the upkeep of the grounds, great customer service, etc., it’s a terrific deal. What do you think? Is it the worth the investment? I would love to hear from you and your Disneyland memories. Contact me at