Getting an annual pass for Disneyland is one of the biggest decisions a Disney traveler can face. You’re looking at $400 to $1400 a year right off the bat, plus—for non-locals—the cost of the vacations you’ll have to plan to get value out of the pass.
In this post, we review the major types of Disneyland annual passes, discuss whether or not a Disneyland annual pass is “worth it”, and discuss all the different perks you need to know when considering a Disneyland annual pass.
Types of Disneyland Annual Passes & Prices
First, we’ll discuss the major types of Disneyland annual passes. This is just to familiarize you with the options. We’ll cover deciding between them next.
Disney Signature Plus Passport
The Disney Signature Plus Passport is the most extensive Disneyland annual pass available. You get:
access to both theme parks every day of the year
included MaxPass (Disneyland’s paid FASTPASS enhancement), which in turn includes Photopass downloads
up to 15% discount on select dining and 20% on select merchandise
free standard theme park parking
The Disney Signature Plus Passport costs $1,399 for adults and children. You can purchase all the Disneyland annual passes at Guest Services or online at Disneyland’s website.
If you’re bi-coastal, you’ll want to consider the Disney Premier Passport, which is essentially a combined Disney Platinum Plus Pass in Walt Disney World and Disney Signature Plus Passport in Disneyland. The Disney Premier Passport costs $1949 plus tax—$2,012.34 total.
Disney Signature Passport
The Disney Signature Passport is similar to the signature plus but with two major differences:
MaxPass (and thus Photopass) is not included
Blockout days apply (about two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Day)
The Disney Signature Passport costs $1,149—a $250 drop from the Signature Plus Passport. MaxPass can be added for $100 or $15 per day.
A “blockout” or “blockout day” is a day on which your pass cannot be used to access one or both of the parks. For April 2019 through May 2020, the Signature Passport is blocked out December 21 through January 4 at both parks. All of the annual pass blockout calendars can be viewed here.
Disney Deluxe Passport
The Disney Deluxe Passport has a more limited set of benefits all around. That pass offers:
Substantial blockouts during holidays, peak seasons, and most Saturdays at Disneyland
Fewer blockouts at Disney California Adventure
10% off select dining and merchandise
You can view the complete blockout calendars here. The Disney Deluxe Passport costs $799. MaxPass can be added for $100 or $15 per day.
Southern California Select Annual Passport
The Disney “SoCal Select” Annual Passport is the most limited of the Disneyland annual passes. For starters, you need to reside in zip codes 90000 through 93599. This pass offers:
Substantial blockout days (discussed more below)
10% off select dining and merchandise
The Disney Southern California Select (SoCal Select) Annual Passport costs $399. MaxPass can be added for $100 or $15 per day.
The SoCal Select pass is valid for 143 days from May 2019 through April 2020 at Disneyland and 157 days at Disney California Adventure. Weekends are entirely blocked out, as are most Fridays, most of summer, and anything around a holiday. You can see the blockout dates here.
Disney Vacation Club Annual Passes & Discounts
DVC members get a $20 discount on the Disneyland annual passes, except the SoCal Select pass, which is not discounted.
Disneyland Annual Pass Renewal Discount
Renewing your Disneyland annual pass typically comes with a discount of $10 to $75 (depending on the pass). These discounts change regularly. Keep in mind you will have a specified renewal window—typically the last 30 or so days of your pass validity—to renew. If you miss this window, you’ll need to pay full price for a new pass.
Is a Disneyland Annual Pass Worth It?
In this section we’re going to analyze the Disneyland annual passes from least expensive to most expensive. For the sake of these examples, we’ll be comparing the full annual pass price to the full price of Disneyland park tickets. Here are the park ticket prices we’re using (keep in mind Disney updates prices regularly, so these may be out of date):
|Ticket Length||No Park Hopper||Park Hopper|
|One Day (Regular)||$129||$179|
|One Day (Peak)||$149||$199|
Let’s start with some very important context before we go through each pass option individually.
Make Sure You Compare Passes
Here’s the wrong way to analyze the Signature Plus Passport. “Our family is making four, three-day trips with park hopper this year. That will cost about $1,420. So we all should definitely get the Signature Plus Passport for only $1,399!”
There’s so much wrong with this. But here’s the obvious—if your visits are only on dates covered by the Deluxe Passport, you can save $600 by getting that pass instead! Yes—you might save money on parking, dining, and merchandise with the Signature Plus Passport, but that brings us to the next question…
Does Every Family Member Need The Same Pass?
Keep in mind that as long as one family member can be in the car for parking and make all the dining and merchandise discounts, it might make sense for one family member to have an annual pass while the others have either lesser passes or even just regular tickets.
We’ll see this particularly below when we talk about the SoCal Select Annual Passport—which is the cheapest way to unlock dining and merchandise discounts for your family—and the Signature Passport—which gets higher discounts than the passes beneath it, along with free standard parking (which costs $25 per day).
Basically, every Disneyland annual pass decision comes down to three questions for you family:
Do we visit enough to need an annual pass to begin with?
What is the best pass for us all to get, given the blockout dates?
Do we visit enough and spend enough for one family member to get a better pass for the discounts on dining, merchandise, and parking?
Keep those question in mind as we go through the passes and when making the decision for yourself and your family.
Is a Disney SoCal Select Annual Passport worth it?
We’ll start with SoCal Select. Now, obviously there are true locals for whom this pass is an easy choice. They visit once every few weeks and like the freedom of coming and going as they please. They don’t mind the blockout dates because they’re in the parks regularly otherwise.
If you’re on the fringe of that group, here’s how it breaks down. A $399 SoCal Select pass is going to be worth it if you make three one-day visits to the parks or two visits of at least two days. Again—keep in mind you’ll have many blockout dates to plan around.
If you’re only taking one trip in a year, it’s a tougher sell. A three day park-hopper ticket costs $355, a $44 savings. To take advantage of the annual pass, you’d basically need to spend $440 on dining and merchandise during those three days. For one person that won’t be easy…
But if one family member of a family of four buys a SoCal Select Annual Passport just for a single trip, they can make all food and merchandise purchases for the family. This makes the $440 spending much easier to hit. For families of three or four, it’s probably worth one member getting the SoCal Select Pass for a three-day trip unless you’re definitely not park hopping and are spending less than $80 combined per meal.
Be careful with this though—once one family member has an annual pass, you might start itching for more trips. If you’re going to be making multiple visits, just get everyone the annual pass to begin with.
Is a Disney Deluxe Passport worth it?
For SoCal residents, the Deluxe Passport is a $300 upgrade to lose some blockout dates. I’m not going to dive into that—just look at the blockout calendar and decide whether you have to have a trip during one of those dates. Keep in mind if you’re only visiting for one peak date, a single-day ticket is probably a better choice than upgrading your pass.
For everyone else, this is the entry-level Disneyland annual pass. If you can work around the blockout dates, the Disney Deluxe Passport is worth it if you make three two-day (or longer) trips to Disneyland in a year. For just two long trips (four days or more), it might be worth it for one family member to purchase a Deluxe Passport for discount purposes.
Is a Disney Signature Passport Worth It?
For $1,149, a $350 premium over the Deluxe Passport, Signature Passport holders cut their blockout dates down just to two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s. They also get an additional 5% discount at most dining establishments and an additional 10% off on most merchandise (which so far we haven’t really been talking about). Finally, they get free standard parking, valued at $25 per day.
For starters, if your family: visits ten days a year, pays for parking, and spends $180 on food per park day, you’ll want at least one family member to upgrade from the Deluxe (or SoCal Select) to the Signature for the savings alone. If you’re not exactly in that group, run your own calculations ($25 per day parking, 5% additional dining discount, 10% additional merchandise discount).
The reduced blockout dates give them more Saturdays and more summer than Deluxe Passport, along with a few minor holidays. If you need these expanded dates, the Signature Passport is usually worth it for families who make:
four trips of two days or longer or
three trips of three days or longer
If you’re right on the margin of this group—making exactly four two-day trips or three three-day trips—and you don’t need park hopper, then it might make sense for just one member of your group to get an annual pass for parking and discount purposes.
Is a Disney Signature Plus Passport worth it?
This is the easiest one. The Signature Plus Passport is $1,399—$250 more than the Signature Passport. For that $250, you get MaxPass (a $100 add-on to the Signature Passport) and access to the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s.
These are both benefits that the entire family will need to use, so it usually won’t make sense for one family member to have a Signature Plus Passport and the others to have some lesser pass (assuming they visit on the same days).
Obviously MaxPass alone won’t make this worth the upgrade since you can just add that to lesser passports for $100. You’ll only cover the extra $150 if you need to visit at least one day during the holiday season. In that case, a single day ticket will cost at least $149.
And Then There’s The Disney Premier Passport
As we mentioned above, the “ultimate” Disney annual pass is the Disney Premier Passport, which is basically a combined Disneyland Disney Signature Plus Passport and Disney World Disney Platinum Plus Pass. Separately, these two passes cost $1,399 and $1,058.61, respectively—or $2,457.61 combined. This Disney Premier Passport costs “only” $2,012.34, including tax.
Basically, if you’re already a Walt Disney World Platinum Plus Pass holder, you could get a Disneyland Deluxe Passport with MaxPass and spend $1,957.61 total, or you could go all the way up to the Premier Passport for $2,012.34.
Disneyland Annual Pass Food and Merchandise Discounts
For starters—the Disneyland annual pass discounts on food are much more generous than those at Walt Disney World. We were very impressed with how frequently discounts were available and offered, to the point of being surprised when we finally found some place without a discount.
The Dining Discount Is 10% to 15% Almost Everywhere, Excluding Alcohol
The full dining discount chart if found here. Unlike Walt Disney World, the dining discount applies to almost everywhere that sells food—including quick service. Also, besides Downtown Disney locations, the higher-level passes almost always get their full discount. Moreover, the Chase Disney Visa card dining discounts don’t compare to the annual passholder discounts.
Merchandise Discount Is Consistently 10% to 20%
The 10% to 20% merchandise discount is as advertised, the only exception being that certain Downtown Disney stores cap out at a 10% discount, even for Signature Passport holders.
Other Discounts and Perks
Event and Tour Discounts
Annual passholders get 15% off the major tours at Disneyland. They also receive small discounts on some ticketed events, like Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Annual Passholder Room Offers
Annual Passholders occasionally have access to special Disney hotel offers. These usually have substantial overlap with publicly available discounts, with the annual passholder benefit being slightly expanded dates or an extra 5% off.
Exclusive Annual Passholder Merchandise
Annual passholders have access to exclusive “Annual Passholder” branded merchandise throughout Disneyland resort. Most commonly, this gear going to be found at the main stores of the parks. Occasionally other items are passholder-exclusive, like this Steamboat Willie popcorn bucket.
Early RunDisney Registration
RunDisney events do still sell out, though not as quickly as they used to as prices have risen. We like early registration just because it completely removes the stress of booking.
All Your Other Disneyland Planning Questions Answered
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Know what to ride with our: Disneyland Rides Guide and Disney California Adventure Rides Guide. And just as important, know how to get on the best rides without the wait with our Disneyland and Disney California Adventure FASTPASS and MaxPass Strategy! For the complete guides to a day at the park, we have a One Day Disneyland Itinerary and a One Day Disney California Adventure Itinerary.
We always recommend arriving at the parks early. If you can get access to Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure or Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at Disneyland, you’ll have the most time in the parks. Even without those bonus hours, you’ll need to know Rope Drop Strategy at Disneyland and Rope Drop Strategy at Disney California Adventure.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.