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Disneyland Annual Passport Tips And Tricks | Ultimate Guide

Disneyland Annual Passport Tips and Tricks
On this page, you’ll find some tips, tricks, and loopholes that let you get the most from your Disneyland Annual Passport.

How To Finance A Disney Premier Passport

The Disney Premier Passport is the ultimate ticket to every Disney theme park in North America. The only catch is that you have to pay for the whole pass at once, over $1,400! Or do you?

Passholders can actually work around this limitation by upgrading an existing, financed AP to Disney Premier.

Let’s review the AP upgrade rules:

  1. You have to pay the full difference in price between the new and existing passport at the time of upgrade. For example, if you upgrade from Southern California to Disney Premier, the cost will be about $690.
  2. If you’re already financing your current passport, your monthly payments won’t change.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Buy or renew a Disneyland Annual Passport at any regular level (SoCal Select, SoCal, Deluxe, Signature, or Signature Plus). Make sure to set it up for monthly payments. If you’re not eligible to finance your AP, this strategy won’t work.
  2. Go down to the Resort Main Entrance Ticket Booths and pay the fee to upgrade to Disney Premier.
  3. Whatever monthly payments you previously set up will continue as before, therefore you’ll have just “financed” a chunk of your new Disney Premier Passport.

If you’re going to pursue this option, I recommend that you initially buy/renew at the Signature Plus level. That will allow you to “finance” the largest portion of the Premier pass, over 50% after Florida sales tax.

New Passholders Can Get Into Disneyland On A Blockout Day

When you first buy an Annual Passport, you get admission into both parks that day, regardless of whether or not your pass is blocked out. For example, if you purchase a new Southern California Select AP on a Saturday, you’ll still be allowed in that day.

This can work for holidays too!

While Disney maintains that the ‘free day’ only works for new Annual Passports, several Mouse Monthly readers have said they’ve been able to get a ‘free day’ every time they renew, when they do it in-person at the park. Let me know if this has worked for you!


31 replies on “Disneyland Annual Passport Tips And Tricks | Ultimate Guide”

I came across this page when trying to figure out if a Premier pass can be financed like all the other APs. I had some questions:

1) I’m set to renew at the end of march and was wondering if this “trick” still works?

2) If this is something that still works… when it’s time to renew again a year later, do I have to pay for the premier pass that I upgraded to in full or am I still able to make the monthly payments after renewing the premier pass?

3) Is there a work around if I am unable to continue monthly payments on renewing a premier AP, like downgrading then re-upgrading or canceling a pass and reapply for a regular AP pass then upgrade again to premier at a ticket booth?

Hi Mel- lots of questions! Here we go:

1) This trick still works.
2 & 3) When it comes time to renew next year, in order to finance half of the AP, you’ll have to do renew at the Signature Plus level, finance that, and then upgrade to the Premier. At that time, the other half of the cost for the Premier AP will be due in full.

Hope this answers your questions!

We have a deluxe annual passport from DL and i wanted to upgrade. We are going to WDW at the end of January and our pass expires February 1st. Would it be worth it to get a premiere pass? We usually renew right before February. Would it be better if i just get an annual pass for WDW since i can get a DVC discount?

Hi Emily. Upgrading to a Premiere pass won’t extend your current DL AP. The answer to your question depends on how long you’ll be at WDW and the kind of tickets you’ll be buying. If you plan on visiting both DL & WDW in the next year for more than just a few days, it probably makes sense to buy the Premiere. It really depends on your vacation plans. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

I have a deluxe annual passport from DL that expires Feb 1. We plan to go to WDW in January and would like to upgrade to a premier would it even be worth it? Would i be able to keep it for another year even if i upgrade right before my renewal date?/ We have DVC and even wondered would it be cheaper just to get an annual pass with the DVC discount?

We’re DL AP Signature Plus holders and our passes expire October 15th, which is generally right after they raise AP prices. This year we’re going to WDW at the end of October/beginning of November, so we’ll be upgrading to the Premier Pass by paying the difference and sticking to the payment plan. A couple of questions:

1. We get the option to renew our pass usually sometime in September. Say we renew our passes on September 30th. Do you know if we could upgrade the renewed pass to the Premier Pass on October 1st (and possibly miss the price hike) and if that pass would be valid October 15, 2016-October 15th, 2017 (rather than it being “upgraded” for the last two weeks of our previous pass that ends October 15, 2016)?

2. Since our WDW stay starts October 26th and we’re staying on property, we’re making our FastPass+ reservations 60 days out. This requires us to purchase park tickets (before we have the Premier Pass). Can we take the value of the WDW park tickets we need to purchase and apply them toward the price difference between the Signature AP Plus and the Premier Pass when we upgrade in person at DL?

Thank you for any information you may have!

Great questions Renee! 1) I don’t think you can upgrade your AP this way, in advance that is. You’d have to wait for the old pass to ‘expire’ then upgrade the new pass. 2. Unfortunately, I don’t think would work either. While you can upgrade tickets to AP’s, you can’t apply the cost of those tickets towards the cost of upgrading an existing AP. You can wait to get/upgrade to your Premier passes on October 15th and then make your FastPass+ selections.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I hope you enjoy your vacation just the same!

Be very careful with trying to do things this way. I went to WDW last summer and, not having a pass at the time at all, bought our 10 day park tickets with a package. I also booked the plane flight through Disney. About 6 weeks later and a month before the trip, I decided to buy a Premier Pass. I had a 3 day Southern California Disneyland ticket, which they upgraded and gave me credit for the entire price of it, even though I was on the last day, and, because they’d given me some incorrect information and hassle, I was given the OLD premier pass price. Anyway, when I called to negate my portion of the 10 day park tickets because I now had a Premier pass, I went through about 3 hours and 2 days of phone calls to get it approved. They had to take my tickets out of the system, which were linked to the plane fare, but TSA had to be consulted. It was really quite crazy. Anyway, if you have plane tickets linked to your WDW trip, just be careful. 🙂 It can be done, but it is a headache, to “un-do” the park tickets. I ended up saving about $200 (I think a mistake was made, but it was such a nightmare that I let it go). It ended up being okay because I found myself in Orlando a second time in less than year this past February (I booked my vacation a little differently this time!).

If I have already bought a one day ticket and i have the option to upgrade to an annual pass. Can i finance it then or would i have to pay full price at that time?

I renewed, but UPGRADED, my So Cal Select to a Deluxe recently (Jan 2016) and they gave me a Blockout Day exemption pass (: Dunno if just renewing will get you in on a day that’s normally blockout for your current pass level if renewing.

I know that you say you can only get a “Blockout day exemption” when you first are buying you pass. However I have a socal pass that expires on December 31st and for the past 3 years I have been going on that date to renew my pass and they always give me an exemption to go into the park that day 🙂

I live in So Cal but do not have an AP right now. We are planning to go to WDW in January. I want to get the Premier pass (for future WDW & Disneyland trips) but I want to finance it too. Could I buy the AP here at Dland, set it up on payments–but not use it/start it until we go to WDW? Or does it start as soon as I purchase it? Also can they be purchased/financed as gifts for another?

Thanks!!! Love this website for planning our WDW trip!

Hello Jessica. Great questions.

Since you’re buying a brand new Annual Passport, it won’t become valid until you visit a park with it for the first time. So you can buy a new Premier AP today and wait to activate it until later in the year.

Also, you can buy an AP as a gift for someone else and, since you live in California, finance it. You’ll enter your own billing information and then the recipient’s name, etc for the actual passholder information.

Thanks again for the great questions. It’s given me a few things to add to the Ultimate Guide, including a page on buying AP’s as gifts. I’ll be announcing new additions in our weekly newsletter, if you’re a subscriber.

Thank you for the quick response & all the great info!!

So just to clarify– I could buy a Premium pass now at Disneyland–but not start using it until our trip to WDW in January. So my payments on the Premium would start now, and then when we actually go to WDW I would go to their ticket office, pay the difference and upgrade to the Premiere that day.
That way I could finance a large chunk of it right?
And do they offer financing on the Premiere renewal?

You can buy a Disneyland Premium AP now (I recommend you get it online). You’ll receive a confirmation email of your purchase. If you’re financing it, your payments will begin then and each month thereafter.

You can then take your confirmation email to the park, where you can upgrade your Premium to a Disney Premier, good at both resorts. Your Premium payments will remain the same.

You’ll probably want to upgrade your Premium AP before you go to WDW, as they will at the very least be confused if not downright unable to do it there. It may be possible, but I wouldn’t risk it.

Unfortunately, you can’t finance the Premier upon renewal, but you can renew at the Premium level, set up payments, and then upgrade to Premier again. A little leg work, but it makes things more affordable.

My husband thinks I am loony or misunderstanding so I want to make sure I am on track 🙂 We got Premium passes that expire Aug 2, 2016. We have 4 of them (me, hubby, and the 2 kids) and we go to Disneyland almost every Sunday. We are planning a trip back to Disneyworld August 20, 2016 for 7-8 days.

By what I am understanding here, I should renew my Premiums beginning August and then turn around and go to the booth and upgrade them to the premier paying the difference which isn’t much (right now) for us. That would give us our trip to the world and Disneyland for the year.

Am I on track? 🙂 The only downside I see to doing it this way is I won’t get the hotel room discount at the resort when booking.

Hello Christina. Everything you said is absolutely correct. You don’t mention if you’re financing your AP’s, but that’s the cornerstone of this trick and I assume you’re a California resident will make payments. Renew your Premium AP’s and set them up for financing like you normally would.

Then, after August 2nd, you can go down to the park and pay to upgrade each passport to Premier. You’ll then continue to make the payments you set up for your Disneyland Premium AP’s, while enjoying the privileges of the Premier. And as you said, you won’t get the hotel discounts at WDW, unless you wait until the last minute to book (which I wouldn’t recommend).

I hope this helps you out. Enjoy your trip!

I currently have the Southern California Pass not the select and if I want to upgrade to the Premier would I still be able to pay monthly? I’m a bit lost on that, sorry. I would love to get the Premier pass since I’m planning to go next year to WDW in June with my daughter. And she’s finally going to get her pass this year. My pass expires in January which I’ll be renewing, should I upgrade my daughters after I get her the deluxe?

Thanks for the comment Sasha. If you’re currently making payments on your SoCAl AP and upgrade to Premier, your payments will not change. You’ll just have to pay the difference in price between the two passes (currently around $690).

As far as when/why to upgrade to Premier, there are a lot of options to consider. Remember that there is a difference between ‘upgrading’ and ‘renewing.’

1) You have a current annual passport.
2) You want that upgrade that passport to a higher level. This will only last for the remaining valid time left on your AP. For more information on the ins-and-outs of upgrading visit our ‘Upgrading Or Downgrading Your Disneyland Annual Passport.’

1) You have a passport that is close to expiring.
2) You’re interested in having an AP for another year. Come renewal time, you can choose whatever level of passport you’d like to have that year. You can even upgrade the pass later in the year if you want to.

As far as your passport goes, if your current AP expires in January and you’re not going to WDW until next June, it doesn’t make sense to upgrade this year. If you’d really like a Disney Premier AP and still have the ability to finance it, I’d recommend that you renew at the Premium level in January, set it up for monthly payments, and then upgrade it to a Premier AP before you go to WDW.

Things are a little trickier when it comes to your daughter. First, did you know that since you have a SoCal passport that she can get one too? I explain this in greater detail on our ‘ Disneyland Annual Passports For Children’ page. You could save a little money there if you wanted.

Also, depending on how long you’ll visit WDW and the kind of tickets you get, it might be cheaper to just get your daughter regular tickets on your vacation. They have children’s prices for tickets, but not for annual passports. If you do decide to get you daughter an AP, you can upgrade it to a Disney Premier passport at the same time you upgrade your own and with the same conditions.

Another thing to consider is your current AP parking situation. Have you heard that Disneyland has cancelled new sales on the yearly parking option for Annual Passholders? If you have that option as part of your current AP and you upgrade to a Premier, you won’t be able to get the option back the following year if you go back to SoCal (assuming that policy doesn’t change). So if you’re going to be a Disneyland passholder for years to come, you could be stuck with a $17+ parking fee each time you visit (or you’ll have to maintain the more expensive Premium annual passport).

Lots of things to consider. I hope this explanation answered a few questions. Thanks.

Quick ?. If I were to purchase an AP at the park would I be able to make monthly payments or would I have to pay full price the day of? I’ve only purchased the AP online before. Trying to get the So Cal Select on a weekend day, to get the extra day. What would you recommend? Thanks!

Great question Jose! You can set up monthly payments in-person at the park. If this is for a new AP, you’ll then be able to enter with your pass that day. If it’s a renewal, the special blockout day privileges won’t apply. Have fun!

Thanks for the comment Justine. When it’s time to renew your AP, if you’re a California resident you can choose to either pay-in-full or make monthly payments. You’re not locked into a payment schedule until after you renew.

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