You’ve enjoyed visiting Disneyland with your young children, but now they’re growing up and you’ve got some hard financial decisions ahead of you. When do you have to buy an Annual Passport for your kids? How much will it cost?
On this page, we’ll cover all the basics of Disneyland AP’s for children so you can make the best financial decisions for your family.
When Does My Child Need A Disneyland Annual Passport?
All children ages 3 and up need to have their own AP. They can no longer “piggy back” on your pass.
How Does Disney Know The Age Of My Kid?
Admit it, you’ve thought about it.
If Disney can’t prove how old my child is, how can they prove they need to have their own ticket?
I’m sure you can get away with sneaking your kid into the park after they turn three and I know people who have. I do not personally advocate this (fraudulent) policy, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you do this once or twice, perhaps right around their third birthday?
However, officially your kid needs their own Annual Passport or ticket once they turn three. If you do get ‘caught’, and I’m not exactly sure how that would happen, you can play the ignorance card the first time and simply buy them a ticket. Repeat offenders could have a harder time explaining themselves.
Let me warn anyone thinking about taking this route- it is against the terms and conditions of your AP contact and you can have your passport suspended or revoked for this type of offense. I’m not saying Disney will throw you in jail, but they do have an extensive network matching your ticket with your face and admission history. It wouldn’t take much for them to identify you.
Moral of the story: buy your kid an AP and enjoy your vacation.
Is There A Youth-Priced Disneyland AP?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a discounted version of the Disneyland Annual Passport for kids, like there is for regular tickets. You’ll have to pay the full amount for their pass. Also, there are no partial-year AP’s, so if you do buy your toddler a passport on their birthday odds are good it won’t have the same expiration date as your own AP.
Can I Buy A New SoCal AP For My Kid?
You’re in luck! Despite the elimination of new sales for the Southern California Annual Passport, if your family already has SoCal AP’s you will be allowed to buy new ones for your children when they turn 3.
Note: This only applies for kids turning three. You can’t use this method to buy tickets for your spouse, older children, or other friends and relations.
Will My Child’s Passport Have Different Benefits?
Since there aren’t different age-related versions of Annual Passports, your kid’s AP will have the same blockout dates and discounts as any regular passholder.
Can I Make Monthly Payments On My Kid’s Annual Passport?
If you’re eligible to finance your Disneyland AP, then you can also make payments on your child’s pass.
Can I Buy My Child A Half-Year Annual Passport?
Your kid probably won’t turn 3 on the same day your AP’s come due for renewal. There may be a period of weeks or even months between the two dates, during which you’ll have a valid passport, but won’t be able to use it for your child any longer.
Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t sell a half or partial-year AP’s to cover the gap (though if some Disney manager happens to read this post, this would be an awesome idea).
My own family is going to come face-to-face with this issue next year. My wife and I have SoCal Annual Passports that come up for renewal in November, but my son won’t turn 3 until April, about 5 months later.
This leaves parents with a few different options, depending on their AP plans:
If you reasonably expect to have an AP ‘forever’:
If your family will renew their passports year-to-year like clockwork, then the time gap between passes doesn’t matter very much.
Your AP’s will expire at different times but, assuming you get the same level of AP, you’ll have the same blockout days and operationally it won’t matter. With the randomness of Disney price increases, you may end up paying different amounts for these passes, but it’s really just a crap shoot.
If you don’t plan on having an AP for some period of time:
If you plan on letting you AP lapse at some point, then there will almost definitely be a time when one part of your family will have a valid Annual Passport and another won’t.
Case in point, your child’s pass may last months longer than yours, or vice versa. If you can’t take them to the park, the rest of the child’s passport is just a waste of money.
To remedy this problem, I see three solutions:
- When your child turns 3, continue to bring them with you into the park. If someone asks, you can say that they’re under 3, until the time comes to renew your AP’s. At that time you can buy them a pass and all the family’s passports will expire together. By the way, this is technically illegal and a violation of your entry agreement with Disney. Be advised that I am not advocating this course of action.
- To make up time until your renewal date, buy regular tickets for your 3-year-old child when you visit Disneyland. Don’t discount this option immediately. Unlike Annual Passports, regular park tickets have cheaper child rates. While buying tickets will undoubtedly cost you more than an AP, it will allow the whole family to visit to resort together while you wait to renew.
- Leave your 3-year-old with a babysitter on your trips to Disneyland or don’t visit the park at all until it comes time to renew your own passes. This will result in a bunch of wasted time and money, as well as the potential heartbreak of visiting the park without your kid(s)! Not the option I’d pick.
It’s inevitable that our kids will grow up, along with the costs associated with them. My own family will be hit with these rising costs next year when our son turns 3. Until then, we’ll try to squeeze in a much “free” Disney-time with him as we can before he’ll need his own AP.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other questions ask us in a comment below. Have fun at Disneyland and we’ll see ya’ real soon!
Wondering which annual pass to buy and when? Visit the
Mouse Monthly Ultimate Guide to Disneyland Annual Passports
for all your AP answers.
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