As a Disneyland Annual Passholder (AP), you might often forget that you’re paying for so much more than just admission into The Happiest Place on Earth. One of the questions I get most asked from my fellow APs is this one: “How do I get the most out of my Annual Pass?” As a result, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite ways to maximize your Disneyland Annual Pass.
Early registration to runDisney events
Have you ever missed the boat on registering for a runDisney race weekend? There are now so many runDisney events on the Disneyland roster and more often than that, they sell out within a few hours! However, runDisney gives Annual Passholders early registration to each runDisney event – before it’s open to the public! There is limited availability on early registration too, so don’t be discouraged if you miss early registration. The beauty of having an AP is getting a second chance at registering! I have participated in two runDisney events at Disneyland – The Tinkerbell Half and the Disneyland Half and I used the opportunity to register early to secure my spot.
Limited Time Event Offerings
Disneyland is known for offering up events that have a limited run (remember Limited Time Magic?) For example, this past year Guests could enjoy “Wednesdays with Walt” screenings at the Main Street Opera House. All you had to do was show your Annual Pass to a Cast Member at the Main Street Opera House, and enjoy screenings from years past that feature Walt Disney himself, and get transported back in time. Keep on the look out for limited time offerings such as this!
Discounts on food, merchandise, and hotel stays!
Okay, so this might seem like an obvious perk but you’ll be surprised at how often the food and merchandise discounts can get overlooked! While you won’t get discounts at quick service places like the outdoor vending carts (i.e. churros) or the Cozy Cone Motel, you’ll be able to knock off a few bucks from several counter and table service dining experiences and, if you’re like me, take advantage of the merchandise discounts! However adults, be warned: The discount does not apply to any alcoholic beverages purchased at Disney California Adventure.
Also, Annual Passholders receive discounts on hotel stays at the Disneyland Resort! Log into your AP account and use the special AP search engine to maximize your savings on your next stay!
Free Movie Screenings at The Disneyland Resort
Recently, Annual Passholders were invited to an exclusive screening of Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” at AMC Downtown Disney, giving APs first look at upcoming movies before they hit the big screen for the masses. Due to their popularity (let’s face it, it’s a FREE movie!), these events require registration and do fill up quickly! Follow @DisneylandAP on Twitter or the Disneyland Annual Passholders Facebook page for announcements when events become available.
First Looks For Upcoming Films & Projects
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure aim to give Annual Passholders an extended first look at any upcoming projects and films. The “Extended first look” experiences offered at both the Magic Eye Theater in Disneyland and the Bug’s Life Theater in Disneyland California Adventure are first premiered to APs – so take advantage of the Annual Passholder Previews!
Attraction & Show Previews
When the Disneyland Resort premieres a new attraction, Annual Passholders are often the first to experience the ride and give their feedback. I was fortunate enough to get into the AP premiere of “The Little Mermaid” attraction before it was opened to regular Guests. You may also remember that I attended an AP Preview event for Buena Vista Street and Carsland before it was open to the public (a paid event but one that was worth being an AP!) and was able to give you a first look at the Disney California Adventure makeover before anyone else!
There are also show previews offered from time to time for APs. I took advantage of the “Glow with the Show” AP events for both World of Color and Fantasmic!, and I was gifted with my own pair of “Glow with the Show” (now called “Made with Magic”) ears. It was amazing to look out across Paradise Pier and see everyone wearing their ears and watching them change colors – not a sight you see every day at Disneyland!
There are many opportunities to get Annual Passholder-exclusive artwork. At Disney California Adventure, visit “Off the Page” to get your hands on a print featuring Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater (available at the time of writing this post!) Also, this past year, Disneyland commissioned WonderGround Gallery artist Liana Hee to create a series of art pieces exclusively for Annual Passholders. To the surprise and delight of APs, we received a print in honor of the new “Frozen Fun” entertainment, featuring Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Now, for the 60th, you can downloaded 3 exclusive digital prints from Liana Hee (and if you’re a current AP, you should be receiving a print in the mail!). Go to www.Disneyland.com/APGift and log into your AP account to download the digital print now (don’t delay, it’s only for a limited time!)
Not receiving mail from the Disneyland Resort? Make sure to call the Annual Pass line at (714) 781-PASS to verify that you did not opt out of any mailings from The Walt Disney Company or checking your registration at www.disneyprivacycenter.com. I discovered that by opting out of mailings from other Disney entities, I was selecting to opt myself out of any AP mailings – even though my info was up-to-date in my AP profile. It is important to verify that you opted in for mailings, not just emails! This is especially important for your children as well – they won’t receive any notice that passes are expiring or anything else in the mail if you don’t register them!
Access to Special Events & Disneyland After Hours
It’s a rarity for Guests of The Disneyland Resort to get the chance to have the parks “all to themselves” or experience the Parks after-hours when all the regular Guests have departed for the day. Since 2014, The Disneyland Resort has been hosting AP “Anniversary Celebrations” as a thank you to APs and a reminder that their passes will be expiring soon. Earlier this year, I attended the Annual Passholder Royal Celebration event since my pass expires in March. **Update: As of 2016, there have been no anniversary celebrations announced, but there are plenty of special events on the horizon for APs!**
APs have always had access to attraction and show anniversary celebrations, such as the 20th Anniversary of Indiana Jones, or the screening and special panel for movies such as Sleeping Beauty. In fact, my first Babes in Disneyland post was about Fantasmic!’s 20th Anniversary Event for APs!
If you’re a Pin Trader and a Passholder, you have access to AP-exclusive Pins throughout the Park! While the 60th anniversary pins have been selling like hotcakes, every few weeks there is a new exclusive AP pin that you can get your hands on. Ask any Cast Member or look for the “Limited” display with the pins specifically labeled “Annual Passholder.” Sometimes, Disneyland merchandise will offer up other AP-exclusive merchandise, like these Old Fashioned glasses featuring Disney characters that I was gifted for my birthday back in 2012 (there was a set of 5 different glasses released in the collection.)
Discounts on Guided Tours
The Disneyland Resort hosts a number of guided walking tours that Annual Passholders also get a discount on. Take the “A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” tour and see Disneyland the way Walt Disney would have experienced it. If you’re a green thumb, check out “Cultivating the Magic” to see how the Disneyland horticulture team brings Disneyland’s flora and fauna to life.
These are just a few ways that I’ve been able to make my Annual Pass work for me. What are some of your favorite ways to maximize your Annual Pass? What makes you happy to be an AP? Let me know in the comments!