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What You Need To Know About Disneyland’s Annual Passport Updates

RIP Disneyland Premium Annual Passport

Once again, Disneyland has shaken up their annual passport offerings. We’ll talk about what’s new, what’s out, and how this all affects you.

RIP Premium Annual Passport

The rumors are true –

Disney has officially cancelled the Premium Annual Passport.

The first and oldest AP, Premium will no longer be available for either purchase or renewal, replaced by several other AP options.

If you currently have a Premium AP, you’ll still be able to exercise the privileges of that pass until it expires. At that point, you’ll need to renew at a different passport level.

Two side notes:

1) The Southern California and Premium AP’s are now referred to as ‘legacy passports.’
2) After reading Disney’s announcement about the Premium cancellation Sunday morning, a funny thought struck me. Surely there are some folks who either bought or renewed at the Premium level as late as the night before, completely unknowing that the next morning their AP would be discontinued. And there are those folks who were going to buy a Premium AP Sunday morning, only to have it disappear during the night. Funny how life works, isn’t it?

Meet The Disneyland Signature Annual Passports

There are actually two passports replacing the Premium AP at Disneyland, the Signature and Signature Plus.

Both new passes are essentially more expensive clones of the Premium. They both enjoy unlimited parking and the highest discounts. As an added perk, both AP’s come with unlimited downloads from Disney’s PhotoPass®.

Disney Christmas Or No Disney Christmas?

The only real difference between the Signature AP’s, other than price, are the blockout days. While the Signature Plus is a true year-round passport, the Signature AP is blocked out for the 15 days surrounding Christmas and New Years.

The explanation behind these blockout days involves crowd control during the peak holiday season. Every AP except for Signature Plus and Disney Premier will now be blockout out for the winter holidays, providing traffic relief for guests with regular tickets.

For more discussion on this change, and Disney’s greater AP policy in general, check out my article ‘5 Steps Of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Strategy To Axe Passholders.’

For grins, I decided to see how much it would cost to make up for the extra 15 days you get with the Signature Plus AP with regular tickets. You could buy three 5-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $945 or fifteen 1-Day Park Hopper tickets for $2325.

Compared to these numbers, the extra $200 for the Signature Plus pass is a real bargain.

What Else Changed At Disneyland?

As you would expect, the price of all Disneyland Annual Passports has increased. This is the second increase this year (the previous bump happened in February). The last time we saw two AP price jumps in one year was 2010.

The daily cost of parking also increased, from $17 to $18 per day for a single car.

Downtown Disney Is Keeping An Eye On Locals

The parking policy at Downtown Disney (DD) also changed. Free parking at the DD lot has shrunk from 3 to 2 hours, with an additional 2 hours free with validation from a restaurant or movie theater.

This is no doubt in response to a number of local AP’s using the closer DD parking facilities to make quick trips into the parks and skip the healthy Disney parking fees. Let’s just say I’ve never done this, but my friends have (I’m talking about you Jackie).

What Didn’t Change At Disneyland?

With all of these changes in pricing at the parks, let’s take a look at what hasn’t changed.

  1. The price for regular theme park tickets has not gone up (yet), but I’m sure it will. I take a closer look at seasonal ticket pricing in another article.
  2. You can still renew the regular Southern California AP, though new sales are still suspended.
  3. Valid days and discounts for the SoCal Select, SoCal, and Deluxe Annual Passports remain the same.
  4. The AP yearly parking option is still unavailable.
  5. Blockout day tickets are still unavailable.

Conclusion

Once again it costs more to play at Disneyland. While some folks will give up their Annual Passport, I’d expect most people to just grumble and pay up.

I won’t be surprised if Disney raises prices again next year and also introduces seasonal pricing models to regular park tickets. Like any good business, they’re going to raise their prices to reach peak profit at maximum demand. As the number of visitors continues to rise year after year, even though prices have gone up dramatically, I’d say we haven’t reached that point yet.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’d love to hear what your thoughts on the Signature/Premium debacle. Leave me a comment below.

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2 thoughts on “What You Need To Know About Disneyland’s Annual Passport Updates

  1. Hello – I would like to purchase the Signature AP for my wife and I for Christmas. Obviously the last two weeks of the year are blacked out. I understand to get around this, I can purchase a regular day ticket for a blacked out day, go to the park and enjoy (during the last two weeks), then apply the cost of the day ticket towards the Signature AP on the same day we visit the park (during the last two weeks). That way we get to go to the park on one day during the blackout period with only paying the cost of a Signature AP.

    Does this thinking make sense?…what would be the step-by-step process to ensure I am doing this correctly?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance!
    Phil

    1. I just hopped off the phone with Disneyland. Apparently I am allowed to enter the park on a blackout day, on the day we purchase the pass. I can do that, or purchase a single day ticket and apply the cost of that ticket towards the down payment.

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