Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Disneyland Annual Passes

I am sad to report that the hubby and I will not be renewing our Disneyland Annual Passes this year. Our current passes are set to expire as of November 3rd and we will not be renewing them.

This is hard for a few reasons.

First (and most obvious), I love Disney! There is just something magical about Disneyland! I mean, it is the happiest place on earth, right?! Even if we would much prefer the parks be kid-free (okay, maybe that is a bit extreme, but stroller-free would be amazing) it is a pretty fan-freakin'-tastic place to go! It literally washes all of the worries away and transports you back to when you were a kid... even if it only lasts for a couple hours, it is so worth it!

Next, the Southern California annual pass that we currently have is no longer for sale (it blacks out the summer, Saturdays and most major holidays but we get a deal because we live nearby). This means the only way to keep this level of passes is to continue renewing. Once you let it lapse you can no longer get that level again (so we'd either have to upgrade or downgrade). And same with parking - you can no longer have it added to your pass (which we currently have), so once your pass lapses you have to pay every time you want to park out of pocket. $18 per trip - WOOF!

Also, the holidays are AMAZEBALLS! Sure, Disneyland is fun and exciting all year round, but when they do it up for Halloween time or for Christmas, it is legit PURE MAGIC! "Snow" during the fireworks, holiday smells around the parks, characters all dolled up - it is hard to top for sure! It makes my soul smile!

But, even still, we have decided to give up the passes (although the term "give them up" makes it sound like they were free or something). The $70+ a month we were spending can definitely be put to better use (during the summer, when we can't go to the parks with our passes, seeing that big chunk of change come out of our bank account is like a dagger in the heart) - especially if we truly plan on buying a van and traveling the country.

We figured that we could still go maybe once or twice a year, but we'd just buy a single day pass (or maybe ask for one as a holiday gift) and just hit the parks up from open to close (one of the nice things about having an annual pass is that you don't feel pressured to jam everything in all at once; you can go for a couple hours and then peace out without feeling like you are wasting your money).

It may sound silly, but this was actually a difficult decision for me. Disney is one of my happy places, somewhere you can go to get away from life's stresses and be a kid again. I didn't want to give it up, and I know I will definitely miss it when it's gone, but we don't utilize them enough (once we rescued Walt it was a little harder to make the trip happen as frequently) and I know the money can be used in a more financially intelligent way. So although our wallets will be doing a happy dance, my child-at-heart heart may let out a tiny tear or two.

Hopefully, we will be able to get in one last trip before the passes expire, but even if we don't I know Disneyland will forever hold a special place in my heart!

Do you have an annual pass for anything?


Kathleen said...

My brother is big into Disney, but I don't have a pass. I figured it locks me into visiting one place over and over to get my "money's worth." Did you add up the times you visited in the past 12 months and calculate if it was cheaper having the annual than buying the day passes + parking?

Bree at Clarity Defined said...

I totally understand this! I let my pass lapse back in 2012 and renewed again this past year (I expire again at the end of October). I knew I had a few races on the schedule this year and could make the pass worth it and it was super sad those years not having it (even though I still got to go a few times). As I approach the time of the pass expiring, I was debating whether to let it lapse again, renew at the same level, or upgrade, lol.

I think I've definitely decided to renew at least one more year as my nephew is just old enough to enjoy Disney now and it's a great halfway point for me and my sister. PLUS, I'm doing one or two challenges this next year (so the benefits of the upgrade would be race photos and parking), but I need to do some math to make sure it'll shake out in my favor. :)

Unknown said...

Parking can still be added a la carte! I knwo it's nto enough to sway a decision, but they would have let me add it this year...

Anyway! It's tough. Doug and I went back and forth a lot, especially while trying to save and plan for the wedding, but decided we've had enough fun with it and this AP fun will probably only last another year or two (especially once kiddos enter the picture). Disneyland will miss you! :)

Bianca @ Mitten Runner said...

I always thought it would be cool to live close enough to Disney (land or world) and have the annual pass. We don't go very often, so when we go there is generally a lot of new stuff to see. I have often wondered if it wouldn't be as fun if you went more often. But it's Disney! It must still be fun, right?! ;) I'm sure it was a tough choice turning down the renewal though. Ah all this Disney talk and now I think we need to go back!!! hahaaaa

John @ run. geek. run(disney) said...

I can understand where you're coming from. We have APs this year from Walt Disney World, and are trying to find every way to squeeze in an extra trip where we can. I so wish I could have them every year. This just worked out right for us.

Ben and Jack's Momma said...

I let mine expire this August was very hard for me, but I don't like in CA so I could not justify travel and paying the INSANE premium price. I may get it again someday if we can afford it!

Mrs. D said...

I can imagine this was an extremely difficult decision for you! I have come to Disney regularly since I was a little girl. I moved away to Chicago for a couple years, and that was the one thing I promised myself to budget into my life because I genuinely missed that happy place the most next to family. (But Disney MEANS family time to me I think). Sometimes it gets really difficult to justify the cost, or the RAISING prices when things are all closed. (Like the train, after a race...I just want to SIT disney!!)

BUT, an option that I think makes it much more meaningful is to volunteer at a RunDisney race. If you aren't going to run it, volunteer two days (Friday and Saturday) or 1 Sunday, and each volunteer will receive an e-Ticket a month later via email. It has SOME blockout dates, but honestly handing a sweaty tired runner a smile and a water bottle is worth more than the free ticket. The free ticket is just an added bonus. (They don't give them to you that day to prevent over crowding). Think about it! I like volunteering at races I'm not running but I love because it helps give back. Follow their twitter for volunteer openings!

xx essiedee