Hi Robert, I had the same question in November 2014 when I last went to Disneyland. I ended up, while at the park, buying the Annual Pass because they basically prorated what I already paid. I think I had a 4 day park hopper when I got to Disney but then upgraded while I was there. It helped a little to be able to spread out the payment doing it that way and gave me time to think about wanting the annual pass.
Now as for the discounts, when I got the pass I was told 10% discount for food and merchandise in the parks and 10% discount at a minimum for the disney resort hotels with deeper hotel discounts throughout the year. Based on the hotel discounts (I always stay at paradise pier) I decided to get the deluxe pass, I was also sure the person at the ticket booth told me if I want to come in on a block out day I could pay around $69 for a ticket on those days.
Unfortunately, now disney has changed their plans. They no longer offer a 10% discount on the rooms and there are no blockout day tickets. So far they still have the 10% in park discounts. Since November I have been watching the disneyland annual passholder website and from what I can tell we just get the same discount as non passholders but passholders are offered the deal about a week or so earlier than the general public. (please keep in mind I’ve only had a pass for 6 months so I do not know if there are better discounts that just haven’t come around yet) That just changed with tis offer. Right now the offer going on is up to 25% discount through June 15 and a free fastpass per guest. Non passholders look like they get 15-20% off depending on the room and no fast pass.
I did email disney about the changes and asked them why they would have gotten rid of the standard 10% discount and blockout day tickets and asked why I would want to renew my pass. They are trying to comp me with offering me a discounted parkhopper ticket on the day I’m blocked out of the park, but basically said that they decided to get rid of the standard 10% discount and offer passholders bigger discounts throughout the year and that blockout ticket sales have not been offered for years.
I am honestly unsure if I am going to renew my pass. The cost raised from $519 to $549. The main reason I got it is I plan to go down at least twice a year and when I did my calculations in November it saved me about $300. From some quick calculations based on being in the park 9 days (2 different trips) If things stay the same next year I will have only saved about $100 if I renew. Just not sure if it’s worth it…
Oh and I also have a disney visa from Chase and they are running the same 25% discount as an annual passholder (it even came out earlier than the passholder discount) It just doesn’t have the fast pass.
Sorry I rattled on so much. I had a hard time last year making the decision and couldn’t really find much information. Rather than telling you what you should do, I wanted to explain what I’ve learned.
My Challenges won’t stop be from going to Disneyland though still love that place!