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