If for no other reason than to cut down on stress, I suggest that every Mickey Mouse loving Southern California resident become a Disney Annual Passholder.
Just picture it… the standard Disney visit of the unfortunate non-holder of an Annual Pass:
With anticipation and excitement shooting through the roof, the typical family of four looks forward for weeks or possibly months to their Disney trip. They shell out the big bucks for tickets for a one day, single park (currently $80 for visitors aged 10 and up, and $74 for children 3-9), or the extra-big bucks for a park-hopper ($105 and $99). This is after they have already paid $15 to park in the Mickey & Friends parking structure, of course.
And then the pressure is on. With the limited time, and despite the harrowing crowds, that family has to do absolutely EVERYTHING! After all, they want to get the most out of their money, and they don’t want to miss out on any of their favorite rides, which include most of them, since they won’t know when they’ll be able to afford another trip. And what happens if one or more of the rides happen to be under construction or just closed for the day? What if it rains? Even if none of those unfortunate scenarios take place, there is still a lot of pressure to do more than is humanly possible with the time they have.
They arrive at the gates as early as possible, rush in to beat the crowds to Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain before the lines get too long, and never stop rushing from ride to ride until the park closes late at night. By the time they are standing in the crowd jostling for a seat on the tram at the end of the night, everyone has achy feet and can barely keep their eyes open. The next day is even worse, when they have what I like to call “A Disneyland Hangover.”
Now imagine life with an Annual Pass:
The pressure is off from the get-go, since Annual Passes are available with monthly payments. No need to be at the park from open to close and wear yourself out, because you can come whenever you want (depending on your Pass level) and never worry about missing something crucial to your enjoyment. If you don’t get to experience The Haunted Mansion this time, no big deal! You’ll catch it in a few weeks or next month when you return! Pirates of the Carribbean was closed? That’s okay, you’ll spot the hidden mickey made of cannon holes next time!
After work some night during the week, you decide a few hours at Disneyland seem like just the trick to lift your spirits, and a Dole Whip will certainly hit the spot! Or perhaps you feel like watching World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure, so you drive over after to dinner to catch the show. In these cases, you don’t even have to pay for parking, as parking in the Downtown Disney lot is free for three hours, or for five hours with validation. This is what I call “Dessert Parking.” Have fun at the park for 4 hours and try a Sparkling Volcano at The Rainforest Cafe to end your night. You can always pay to add a parking pass to your Annual Pass, and never worry about watching the time.
Passholders also enjoy discounts on food, merchandise, and hotels. Who doesn’t love a discount?
If you have a Southern California Select Pass, visiting Disneyland only two times during the year makes the pass worth the money. But if you’re like me, you’ll be there twice a month!