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Disney Annual Passholder Life Lessons

In Fall of 2017 (as a special early birthday gift to myself) I  purchased a Disneyland Annual Pass.  I’ve been very fortunate to make several trips to visit the Park as an out of town guest.  I wanted to share the life lessons I’ve learned in my 1st year of being a Disneyland Annual Passholder.

If you didn’t know AP stands for Disney Annual Passholder.  You will hear this term used both in the Disney Parks & in the Disney fan community.


There are discounts on lots of stuff both in park and out. This varies from special events, merchandise and food.  Sometimes you have to ask if it is offered because the cast Member might forget to ask when you are paying for it. But you can get similar discounts using your chase Disney Visa card as well.

Common Misconceptions

Just because you are an AP doesn't mean you get free tickets to bring friends.  It is a very rare occasion that Disney even offer special promotional tickets for friends of AP Holders.  Summer 2018 was the first time in a very long time that Disneyland has offered a Bring A Friend for a discount promo.

Price Hikes

The price on AP goes up about twice a year without announcements ahead of time. So if you start to hear rumors from big influencers accounts it is likely coming. Cast members are no help because they don’t find out ahead of time so I was told by one when I bought my sons pass in feb. same Hong happens for regular day tickets too.

Payment plans

Take advantage of monthly payments plan if you are California resident. If you have it added to your Disney chase visa you don’t get charged extra fees and you earn points for it!

Pass Levels

There are several different tier AP pass you can purchase.  Some are only available to certain zip codes while others are for everyone.

Blackout dates

Check blackout days. No one wants to get to the park only to be turned away because their pass is blocked. Luckily if you are a deluxe or higher there aren’t as many blackouts but that will be changing for summer 2018.

Pro tip for those of you who are buying day tickets, look and see the passes that are blocked. 
If deluxe is blocked out that could possibly mean the crowd level might be lower and a good day to go. I know several people this past Spring who were at the park on a Saturday say it was so empty.

Exclusive AP merch

Sometimes Disney offers pins and other merchandise that you can only buy if you are an AP. Remember those alien popcorn buckets, those were only offered to APs.

Exclusive Activities 

During special events there is often an AP corner with private photo ops, activities and collectibles like buttons,stickers and pins all for free. Sometimes Disney also offers special events just for APs.

Bragging rights

Silly I know but who doesn’t like to say oh yeah I’m an AP.  It’s kinda like being in an exclusive club that not everyone has the financial means to join.

In conclusion, while it has been an awesome year being an AP; I have decided that I won’t be renewing my pass at this time.  Living 390 miles away it makes it very difficult to visit when ever I want.  Plus after I bought my pass the price went up drastically.  In the next year there are other places I would like to visit with my family (like Hawaii) and it makes financial since to put the money towards that expensive trip.  Plus 2018 is going to be insane at Disneyland with the opening of Star Wars Land.  Going back to visiting once a year is going to be difficult but thank goodness for social media where you can stay up to date on all the new things.