Lessons Learned: Our First Year as a Disneyland Annual Passport Holder
It has been nearly a year since we've became Disneyland Annual Passport holders and I can only tell you that it was well worth the price! The original assumption was that if we visited Disneyland more than three times in a year, the Passports would more than pay for themselves with cheaper Disneyland Tickets. What we didn't account for was the additional savings we saw as a holders. But the largest benefit was that we could always come back another day and didn't have a feeling like we had to rush through the park on any given day.
50% Discounted Park Hopper Tickets
We purchased the Southern California Annual Passport which gave us 215 days which were not blacked out. Most of the summer, all Saturdays, Christmas Holidays, Valentines Day and Spring Break are not accessible on this type of Passport. However, you can still enter the park at half price on black out days.
Lesson 1: Go to the ticket window and show your Passport. The ticket is 1/2 price and is only good for the day and Passport Holder.
I discovered this when I was a Cast Member in the 2009 Candlelight Processional on Saturday and had to purchase a ticket for my wife. The half price ticket allow her access to the park for the day.
We also forgot that Valentine's Day is blocked out and we ended up using our Complementary Park Hopper Tickets to get in that day.
Discounts on Purchases
Just about every thing you purchase at Disneyland is discounted. We made the mistake of not showing our Passports at several non-Disney affiliated stores located in Downtown Disney. It wasn't until we started wearing our Passport on a lanyard, that store clerks started applying a discount.
Lesson 2: Show your Passport during every purchase to get at least 10% off.
Join the Passport eMail List
Last December, Disneyland opened the Disney Store to Passport Holders from 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM offering everything in the store at 50% off. Several thousand Holders started lining up at four in the morning to receive substantial savings for Christmas gifts. The only catch was that you need to join the email list to get the notification.
Unfortunately we were not signed up on the list and did not get know about it until we went to the store the same day a few hours after it was over.
Lesson 3: Sign up on the Annual Passport email list to get notified of special deals.
Having an Annual Passport really gives you a flexible schedule where you don't need to rush from ride to ride. Many of our trips are only a few hours and sometimes we just go to Downtown Disney and avoid the rides altogether. But sometimes it is nice to hop on the Matterhorn or Space Mountain a few times and call it a short day of enjoyment.
Lesson 4: Be flexible and enjoy your stay at Disneyland!