Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beckee's Deals at Disneyland: Tickets to the parks

Hello From Disneyland!
I realize that most, if not all, of my recent posts are all about Disney. If you're not a Disney fan, sorry about that (sorry because that's just sad, and sorry because I am an obsessed fan)! :) You may have picked up on the fact that I am a big Disney fan. In fact, my family is in the beginning of our 3rd consecutive year as Disneyland annual pass holders! We have had passes at other times, but this is 3 years and running now! That's just how much we like it.

The other day, before taking off for this most recent trip to Disneyland, I posted the following on my personal Facebook page:

Do you have a favorite thing about Disneyland? A favorite ride, a must try treat, or tricks to get great seats for shows?! We have annual passes and are headed to Disneyland in a few days, but I find we kind of do all the same things each time so I want to hear your Disney favorites and see if there is any new inspiration for me! 

Response to my message was varied. Some people took my plea seriously and gave me some great advice, one friend thought I was joking to even ask, and my brother-in-law commented that I was the one that should be giving the advice. I was really looking to see if I would learn anything new and awesome about Disneyland. Not kidding at all. But I realized that even with all the awesome advice I got, I did not learn anything new. Apparently my vast experience at Disneyland has not been for nothing. I have a pretty good idea of the tricks and treats and I know what my family likes.

And, maybe my brother-in-law was right, maybe I should post what I know. 

So, here it is, I will start to share some of my Disney deals, tricks, treats, and favorites for anyone who cares.

Let's start with this little question: Why would a family who lived in Arizona, and now lives in Washington state have Disneyland annual passes? Well, it's because we did the math. 

When you go to Disneyland, you really need to think about how much time you really want to spent there in the long term (like over the next year). Will you be frequently in Southern California? Do you have more than one opportunity to vacation to Disneyland? When you do visit will you want to spend multiple days at the parks? 

As you are answering these questions, you will want to keep in mind the fact that price per day of your Disney ticket goes down when you buy multiple day tickets. (Check out the price breakdown here: Disneyland ticket prices) Also note that it costs more money if you want to have park hopper passes (meaning you can "hop" between California Adventure and Disneyland throughout the day). 
Beckee's opinion about Park hopper passes: At Disney World, park hopper passes may not be worth it since the parks are so far from one another, but at Disneyland, it is absolutely worth it! The 2 parks are literally across a courtyard from one another. 
Why do we, the Beckee's Deals family, have annual passes? Like I said, we did the math. Our first year as annual pass holders, we lived in Arizona and discovered it was a 6 hour drive from our house to Disneyland. For us, that was close enough to decide we could drive down any 3 day weekend or week off school for the kids. PLUS to sweeten the deal, our good friends were living just a short drive from Disneyland and also had passes that year. We could drive out as often as we wanted and stay with our friends. (Well, often enough, but not so often they wanted to kill us!) It was an awesome year, and we got SO much use from our passes.

The next year we moved to Washington state. I actually let the passes expire thinking we would never get enough use from them. We were going to go to California in August of that year, but had decided to try the SoCal City Pass. That way we'd get to do Disney for a few days, but we'd also get to do some other things. 

While we were on that trip, my husband's sister, who we had been trying for a long, long time to plan a Disney trip with, called. Her family was good to go to Disneyland with us in October and were starting to book travel arrangements. We had let our passes lapse, and had purchased the SoCal City Passes already, but we decided to do this awesome thing, and upgrade our Disney Passes into annual passes while we were at Disneyland that trip. It turned out we were able to use them several more times through the year since my husband had some work conferences in SoCal later in the year. 

This year as our renewal date approached, I was mourning the loss of the passes as I could not see any upcoming trips or a need to renew. One day I got something from Disney saying if I renewed by a certain date that week, I could get each pass for $509 instead of $549. That same day my husband (who was in Utah visiting his family) called to tell me his parents were planning to go to Disneyland with us in the spring, so could I please renew the passes...YES!!! So, we renewed them once again.

For us, the Deluxe Annual Pass was the best option. We have used it and enjoyed it so much over the past 3 years. There are blackout dates, but we don't like to go when it's busy enough to be a blackout day anyway! You will need to watch out for those when planning trips if you buy the Southern California annual pass or the Deluxe annual pass though! 

My first piece of advice to all of you who may be planning a trip to Disneyland is to first figure out how often over the next year you plan to go to Disneyland and plan your park ticket purchases accordingly! Decide how many days you want to spent, how many trips you will take, whether you want to park hop, and then do the math to decide what your best option is for tickets! 

(Keep in mind, if this is a one time trip, or if you plan to stay in hotels near the park, many of them offer package deals, so that is also an option to look into as well!) 

Speaking of hotels, I think that will be the topic of the next installment of my Beckee's Deal at Disneyland! Stay tuned!