Breakeven Point for Disneyland Annual Passes

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This post is about Annual Passes at the Disneyland Resort, for Walt Disney World please read my previous post: Breakeven Point for WDW Annual Passes.

Let’s start by looking at the value of an annual pass compared to purchasing regular tickets. Disney has two Southern California passes — regular and select — but the Southern California pass is only available to renewing users as is the Disneyland parking pass. For new annual passholders, that leaves the Deluxe, Signature, and Signature Plus. There are several differences: parking and PhotoPass downloads are included with the Signature and Signature Plus passes, but the biggest difference between the passes are the block out dates. To see the specific block out dates, visit the Disneyland Calendar, for other differences here’s an basic table:

Disneyland Annual Passes

To keep things simple, I’m just going to compare the price of tickets, PhotoPass, and annual passes. Free parking, dining discounts, shopping discounts, and other benefits will be ignored in the calculations to keep things as simple as possible. (These are nice benefits, but they will end up being a small portion of your vacation budget.) To find the break-even point, we are going to look at how many trips you would have to take in order to make purchasing an annual pass less expensive than purchasing individual tickets.

Assumptions:

  • Prices are based on Disney’s official prices on October 15, 2015
  • To simplify the analysis, we assume each visit will be the same length and that the same type of Magic Your Way ticket will be used.
  • Disneyland tickets and passes are not taxed

The tables below show the number of trips at the specific length you would need to break even. The three tables show the calculations based on how many times in the year you would buy the PhotoPass CD.

An example to help you read the chart: Say you are considering a new (non-renewal) Signature Annual Pass. You plan on visiting Disneyland Resort three times in the next year, you normally visit one park a day, and are likely to purchase a PhotoPass CD on one of those trips. You look at the table in the top section (Adult Base Ticket and  New Annual Pass) and at the middle table (Buy PhotoPass Once). Any row in which the number is less than 3 means that an annual pass would be worth it for you. If your three trips would be 4 or 5 days long a Signature pass would be worth buying.

 

Adult Base Tickets breakeven for New Annual Passes

This set of tables are for different combinations for Adult or Child, Base or Hopper ticket, New or Renewing annual pass.

Adult Base Tickets breakeven for Renewed Annual Passes

Adult Hopper Tickets breakeven for New Annual Passes

Adult Hopper Tickets breakeven for Renewed Annual Passes

Child Base Tickets breakeven for New Annual Passes

 

Child Base Tickets breakeven for Renewed Annual Passes

Child Hopper Tickets breakeven for New Annual Passes

Child Hopper Tickets breakeven for Renewed Annual Passes

If you are close to the breakeven point, the discounts and other benefits of an annual pass may make it worth buying one pass for your family. When Disney inevitably increases the price of tickets, I will update the tables.

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

4 thoughts on “Breakeven Point for Disneyland Annual Passes

  • October 19, 2015 at 7:53 am
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    It may be worth adding another set of tables which add the cost of parking for those who drive. I would expect to see the gap between the Deluxe and the Signature close significantly once you factor in that many days of parking costs in many cases making the Signature much more cost effective.

    Reply
    • October 19, 2015 at 9:24 am
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      Good point. If you pay for parking, 14 days is the breakeven point between the Deluxe and Signature pass. Only one person in the group would need the Deluxe pass to get the paid parking and other benefits.

      Reply
  • October 20, 2015 at 11:02 am
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    I’m a little shaky on how to interpret this table. Can you clarify the example, you need three trips of four or five days to make it worth it? When I read the table I’m seeing that just four or five days give you a ratio of less than 3.0. To use the table do we have to assume three trips, each for the number of days listed on the left, as in the example? Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
    • October 20, 2015 at 11:49 am
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      In the example, I’m using the “Buy PhotoPass Once” table. If you took three 3-day trips you would save money not buying a Signature pass. A Signature pass will save you money if your three trips are 4 or 5 days long.

      Reply

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