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Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

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  • [Question] Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

    I'm having a small argument with my spouse about Disneyland, of all things. I'd love to hear opinions on the "value" of an AP if you live further than 15 min away.

    As for the background of this debate....
    It is because we technically qualify for the SoCal passes but we live roughly 1.5 hours (with no traffic) away in SD. Add in traffic, gas, parking fees, food, then the return trip, block out weekends....well, then the AP does not seem like the best of deals.

    He does not like DL as much as I do. If it were up to me, I'd make the drive up at least once a month. He said he could only imagine going 4x for the entire year. And for 2 people for 4 trips, that still adds up to about $1000.
    tickets $279x2
    parking $16x4
    gas $35x4
    light food $40X4

    In his opinion, it is a lot of money being wasted on something we can't enjoy properly. He'd rather save for a week-long trip to WDW...that would cost about $2,000. But in my opinion, it is a perfectly fine trade off. As long as we can enjoy ourselves at DL and DCA at least 3-4x a year on a random Friday, what is the problem? We both are lucky enough to have flexible work schedules and no children (yet). I also like the casualness of it all -- we could drive up whenever and stay as long as we wanted - as opposed to a full, scheduled trip. Both, of course, are very expensive choices for us because we're just a young couple so we're trying to think it through. What do you all think?

  • #2
    Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

    I hate to say it, but you're both right.

    For you, it's obviously worth it. You say it explicitly and it shows in your post.

    He does not share your opinion. It does not sound like he would expect to receive the worth of the pass in value from the experience.

    Don't plan on him "seeing the light" and forcing the issue. If you can't carry the day through logic and non-coercive persuasion, you may have to surrender the day. Worst case would be forcing him to get a pass that doesn't get used and having that become a bone of contention between you.
    Boggard LIEEEEF!


    • #3
      Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

      You'd save a lot more money by going only once a year.


      • #4
        Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

        I guess it really depends on how much you'll end up going, as you've already explained. I've always lived 1-1.5hrs away, so it was a no-brainer to have it. If you plan on going a lot, then distance doesn't really matter. If you're going only a few times a year, don't bother.


        • #5
          Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

          I live 6 hours away, and the AP was worth it to me.

          I don't think distance matters. What matters is how many times you'll be visiting, and whether or not the cost of whatever AP you're looking into will be less than paying for admission that many days.

          Thank you to Poisonedapples for my awesome signature!
          KellyMcG86's Disneyland To Do List


          • #6
            Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

            Right away Im thinking, "Yes its worth it!!" We live 4-5 hours away and still make that trip as often as possible. The passes paid for themselves about five months ago. However, we are a family of Disney lovers, so I cant possibly begin to put a value on someone who doesnt appreciate and adore Disneyland. You could always request trip after trip until the need to save on all your trips outweighs his need to be cautious. (joking!!)


            • #7
              Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

              We live near Temecula and have an AP. We looked at the cost and found it to be a good value for our entertainment dollars for our family of 3. We usually go at least twice a month and usually 3 to 4 day stays 3 to 4 times a year. While my DD and I are fanatics, the hubby still enjoys going enough to want to do it. To bear the expense of the pass, I think all the adults have to want to go to make it enjoyable. My husband gets a kick out of how much his daughter and wife love it.
              “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”


              • #8
                Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                It's not distance, but whether you go (or will go) often enough to make it worth it. We have member who live as far away as Chicago who buy an AP because it's cheaper than multiple multi-day passes. There are also people who live in SoCal who don't have APs. If you bought them would your husband be inclined to go more often? When it's not the weekend? If you can see yourself going after work several times a month it might be worth it but if he doesn't want to go that often, it's not.


                • #9
                  Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                  My family all have AP's and we live in Australia (3 of us). It all depends on how often you are going to get to the park in the year. We came over 3 times in the last 12 months and stayed for 10 to 14 days each time so it was worth it.

                  If we only came over once then we would have just got the 14 day pass (available to us in Australia) as it would have been cheaper.


                  • #10
                    Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                    Distance doesn't matter, it's how much you truly love the place. We have the premium annual passes, which include parking. Our renewal rate was $649 for the year, for the two of us, that's $1,298. A one day ticket to just one park is $86 each or $172 per day, when you throw in parking, you are up to $187 per day. We live in San Diego, we only have to make the trip to Disneyland just under 7 times to get the full value of our pass, and that's not including the money we save on food and merchandise, which really adds up. We always visit on Thanksgiving, Christmas, near Halloween, for my birthday, for my boyfriend's birthday, with or without an annual pass, so that means we only need 2 other trips to break even. During the winter it's not uncommon for us to go every weekend or every other weekend, but that is our main form of entertainment since we don't have cable and stuff like that. It breaks down to roughly $3.55 a day whether we go or not, that's cheaper than a cup of coffee at my boyfriend's work, and the memories last forever.

                    If you aren't both "gun ho" about the idea, then in my opinion it would be a waste. If you both really want to do it then it's worth it. To me saving up for one big trip a year would be a waste because we only last 2-6 hours when we are at the parks, so a big trip would be wasted and we'd feel like it wouldn't be worth it to us. But, everyone is different.


                    • #11
                      Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                      400 miles. Always worth it because when we go it is usually for seven to fifteen days, so an annual pass is sort of a requirement. Bonus: we can go later in the year for a few days and only need food and lodging.


                      I am Sambo, and I endorse this signature.


                      • #12
                        Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                        My daughter and her husband had the cheap AP for a year, then upgraded to the most expensive one for 2 years. We live in North County Inland (San Diego). We're about 1.5 hour drive away if the traffic is right. They used it a LOT, especially after upgrading, because they'd go up for a day here, a day there. What they had to add in, though, was the cost of gasoline, food, and the occasional souvenir. When they added it up, it almost doubled the cost of their 2 passes for a year. Then they decided to start saving for a baby (which they had), and next is a house, and they gave up the passes.

                        Friends of mine in a nearby town have annual passes, but of the less expensive kind. The one thing they DON'T like about the lesser expensive ones are the black-out dates. Almost always, they have to pull their kids out of school for a day here, a day there, to get the use out of the pass. Going to the more expensive pass isn't an option for them because of the size of their family and the cost.

                        As for us -- after two trips of 2-3 days within the same year, we decided we wouldn't go often enough to warrant the expense. Also, it helps to watch for the "So Cal Specials", when they're offering 2-days-for-$99 to residents of specific zipcodes. For us, we also have military specials. Next week, we're going and taking family members on a 3-day-park-hopper-for-$122.50 pass.

                        1967, 1973, 1977 - DLR (RV parks)
                        1980-1984 - DLR (multiple single days or at now-defunct motels)
                        1994 - DLR (off-site hotel)
                        2007 - DLR (single day)
                        2008, 2009 - DLR (BW Stovall's)
                        2012 - WDW (PopC)
                        2013 - DLR (Candy Cane Inn)


                        • #13
                          Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                          I live in Chicago, and when my last trip to Disneyland, turned into a 10 day vacation, I purchased a Deluxe Annual Pass. Because of that decision, I have decided to use it during one more trip in October for 4 days. That means I have gotten 14 days for my $469. Do the math. That's pretty cheap. I wouldn't be able to do it, though, if I wasn't able to pair up that AP with the opportunity to use my Wyndham Time Share points at the Dolphin's Cove Resort.
                          Walt Disney World Vacation
                          Jan 31, 2016 - February 6, 2016


                          • #14
                            Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                            I agree with Kelly on this. The value of an AP is not about distance; it's about how often you intend to use it. If you live around the corner and plan to only visit DLR once a year, obviously it's not worth it. If you live 500 miles away and you plan to go down to Anaheim every month, or you plan to take a trip that is longer than a few days, it is. Mathematically, if you get the Deluxe AP, your pass will pay for itself after 3.6 days in the park (if we consider the hopper day tickets are $137).

                            I live in the greater Los Angeles area, and it takes me three hours on the bus or the bus/train to get to Disneyland. I have an AP. Does it mean I can pop into the park on a whim? No. Do I get to do all the AP events? Again, no, because if they're too late at night, the buses stop running and I can't get home (Amtrak and the 460 run until about midnight but making your connecting bus from there, aye, that is the rub...and the Disneyland Express stops at 9...). However, I love Disneyland and do as many day trips as I can - usually once a month, if my pass is not blocked out. Since I'm getting about 10 trips a year, it's definitely worth it to me.
                            Merida looks like this. Not a Barbie doll!


                            • #15
                              Re: Annual Pass - how close should you live for it to be "worth it"?

                              I'm 90 miles south in San Diego. Going twice a month we save about $100 on merch and food and $4983 on admission. The drive used to be long but after the fourth or fifth trip it goes by pretty quick.
                              Many Bothans died to bring you these fastpasses.


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