I could talk about Disneyland forever, y’all. You know my history with the parks — I worked there as a dancer in college, and ever since have had Annual Passports on and off over the many years.
This year we had Annual Passes for our whole family, and I have to say it was the most fun I’ve had there yet. The kids are at the perfect age and we’ve really figured out how to make the most of Disneyland Annual Passes. So I wanted to pass on those tricks!
And if you’re Disney-bound any time soon, you’re definitely going to want to look at our other posts with all of the secrets and hacks I learned when I was a parades cast member at Disneyland:
- What to Pack for Disneyland
- How to Go to Disneyland On a Budget
- Two Cute Shirt Ideas for Your Next Disneyland Trip (with Free Patterns!)
- Our Best Secret Disneyland Tips and Hacks
- How to Take Awesome Disneyland Family Photos
- How to do Disneyland with a Baby and a Toddler
How to Make the Most of Disneyland Annual Passes
Before You Buy a Disneyland Annual Passport, Make Sure it Makes Sense
Some of what goes into buying a Disneyland Annual Passport is just plain math. In other words, you have to be sure that you’ll come to the parks enough times to break even on the cost. Aside from that, we always make sure to factor in the associated costs that come along with it — hotels if you’re from out of town, food, and so on. Disneyland Annual Passholders (also called APs) also get a few discounts on food and merchandise, so you can factor that in to your math.
Follow Exclusive Disneyland Annual Passholder Social Feeds
After you purchase, I highly recommend joining the Disney AP group on Facebook. It’s a great source of information to keep track of all of the special events and perks that they offer to the AP community.
Take Advantage of the Perks
And speaking of those perks, use them! There are actually a ton of events and fun freebies or discounts that pop up for Annual Passholders, but sometimes they’re not very widely publicized everywhere. So when the opportunity arises, go for it. There are everything from special movie screenings, to free pins or other merch, to early or discounted registration for events like the Halloween party or runDisney, to discounted events in Downtown Disney. There’s also an AP Corner where you can find merch that’s exclusive to Annual Passholders. Again, I can’t say enough how much the Facebook group can keep you updated to really make the most of Disneyland Annual Passes!
Use the Disneyland App
This is my top recommendation for all Disneyland visitors, but it’s even better for Annual Passholders. You can sync your pass to the app, and it helps keep track of everything tied to your ticketing. You can actually use it (with photo id) to get into the park if your pass is linked, so you don’t have to carry your pass with you. Certain tiers of Annual Passports actually come with MaxPass, which is a huge help — you can download all of the PhotoPass pictures that you take in the park, and reserve FastPass tickets through the app without having to run across the park to get physical FastPasses.
On top of all that, the app shows current wait times for rides and has guides to all of the dining and entertainment in the park. And my favorite feature is the Mobile Food Ordering! You can order your food on the app and it’ll be ready when you get to your restaurant of choice. Sometimes they even have an AP perk (like a button or something similar) if you use the Mobile Ordering.
Always Ask for the Discount
I mean, I think that’s probably a lesson for just about anything, right? 😉 But seriously! Annual Passholders get discounts at a ton of restaurants, lots of merchandise, and even guided tours. Some special events have discounts as well (like the Oogie Boogie Bash). So be sure to check before you make a purchase whether there’s an AP discount!
Go For Half Days
This one mostly applies to SoCal residents, but it’s a great way to maximize a Disneyland Annual Pass! When you think of heading to the parks, usually you operate under the assumption that you’ll need a full day to do it. But if you’re an Annual Passholder, you can go for just a half day or a few hours and you really start to maximize the usage of the AP. We don’t live in SoCal any more, but we almost always tack on a half day in the parks at the end of our trip to get the most out of it. Then, once the kids are tired out and it’s midday, we hop in the car for the 5 hour drive home.
Will We Renew Our Passes?
We’re coming up to the end of our Annual Passport year, so we’re currently deciding whether to renew! With Henry heading into TK, our travel schedule will probably be somewhat diminished so we’re weighing the pros and cons. But if we do renew, we’ll definitely be using all of these tricks to make the most of our Disneyland Annual Passes!
What other questions do you have about the Annual Passport program? Leave a comment and let me know! xoxo