If you’re like me, you go to Disney theme parks a lot. And I mean a lot. I literally went just yesterday. When you go, you enjoy every moment and soak up all the Disney magic. The second you’re on the tram back to your car, you’re planning the next trip. That’s just how Annual Passholders think! But what if you wanted to upgrade your annual pass for Disneyland or Walt Disney World?
You’re already an Annual Passholder, but you want to level up your Disney game. Believe me, I get it. I’ve upgraded my pass personally over the past couple of years, and I almost did it again yesterday! That got me thinking. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there that would love to know how to go about upgrading their Annual Pass to Disneyland or Disney World to a different level.
Thankfully, like most things Disney-related, it’s actually very easy. There is really only one “difficult” requirement, but we’ll get into all that in just a minute. For the moment, let’s start with the different theme parks. I’m on the West Coast, so we’ll begin with Disneyland. If this doesn’t apply to you, hop on down to the Walt Disney World section.
How to Upgrade Annual Pass at Disneyland
To upgrade your AP at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, there is one tricky requirement. You have to go to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. That’s right. Disney does make you actually go to the parks and be present there at the ticket and sales window to upgrade your pass. Other than that, it’s a piece of cake. And, if you upgrade all the way, no more pesky blockout dates!
Here are the main steps, in order, for upgrading your pass, as well as a note of caution for those with grandfathered APs.
- Go to the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. (This is the hardest part, technically, since they don’t allow you to call or do it over the internet, unless you are up for renewal.)
- Find a ticketing window. You can also go to the Group Sales window in the area between Disneyland and California Adventure, since the line there is usually much, much shorter.
- Hand them your current pass, so they can bring up your information on the computer.
- Let them know if you have any questions about the pass levels or upgrading process.
- Choose a new level for your Disneyland Annual Pass. This level must be higher than your current one. You cannot downgrade your Annual Passholder level.
- Pay for the FULL difference in price upfront. You read that correctly. You do have to pay for the entire amount immediately. Disney does not allow you to tack it onto the monthly payment you’re currently paying, unless you are currently renewing your pass. In my case, if I had upgraded yesterday, it would have been $625 ($650 for the upgrade – $25 for parking, which would’ve been included in the next level up). It’s a lot of money! So make sure you know the cost effectiveness of the pass you want and whether you will actually be able to take full advantage of it.
- One final note of caution: If you have a pass that is no longer offered by Disneyland, you can never go back to that level. Scary, I know. That is, unless they decide to offer it again. I was grandfathered into my current price, which is about $10 below the actual offer that Disneyland has. Because of that and the fact that I’m not sure I could make the new AP level cost effective at the moment, I decided to hold off. Just something to keep in mind before committing to a new Annual Passholder level at Disneyland.
That’s it! In just a few easy and simple steps, you can upgrade your Annual Passholder level at Disneyland. You’ll be one step closer to actually living at the park, which is what we all want anyway, right?
Two more quick notes about parking and reimbursement. If your new pass includes parking, it will not apply to any blockout dates. Also, to get reimbursed, make sure you park at one of these three parking structures/locations:
- Toy Story Parking Area
- Mickey & Friends Parking Structure
- Pumbaa Parking Area
How to Upgrade Passholder Level Type at Walt Disney World
There is some overlap between upgrading an Annual Pass at Disneyland and upgrading your Passholder Type at Walt Disney World. I’ll walk you through the step-by-step details.
- Go to the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida. Again, this is the only hard part. They do not currently allow you to upgrade by calling or over the internet, unless you are up for renewal of your annual pass within 60 days. Even then, some exclusions may apply.
- Find a ticketing window. Just walk up to any of the Walt Disney World theme park ticketing windows. Guest Relations locations are also available.
- Show them your current pass or day ticket, so they can scan it to bring up your information on the computer.
- Let them know if you have any questions about the pass levels or upgrading process before going further.
- Choose a level for your Walt Disney World Passholder Type.
- Pay for the FULL price upfront. At time of writing, monthly payments are only available for Florida residents that currently live in specific ZIP codes (32003 – 34997). Even so, there are ways to budget for becoming a Passholder. One Disney Moms Panel expert recommends buying Disney gift cards throughout the year. Use them to purchase the annual pass when the time comes.
If you happen to renew via the Monthly Payment Program available for Florida Residents, Disney World does not currently allow phone renewals. That said, you can easily renew on the internet or in person at a theme park ticketing window or any Guest Relations location.
Pass owners do not have to be physically present for renewal, but each pass owner does need to be there at the ticketing window in order to receive their annual pass.
NOTE: If you bought your annual pass prior to October 4, 2015, you might be required to choose one of the newer pass types that are currently available at time of renewal.
I hope this was helpful for you. If you have any questions or notice that something that has changed, please let me know in the comments!
Have a magical day!
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Neal Tucker is one of the world’s most engaging Disney influencers, with thousands of views and responses across his blog, podcast, and social media profiles every month.
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