Evaluating the costs and benefits of memberships

With all that Southern California has to offer, Chapman students are just minutes from some major entertainment hotspots. For students who frequent these five locations, purchasing a membership will save money in the long run.



Freshman communication studies major Flissy Ford holds her Disney Annual Passport. Photo by Katelyn Antilla

Located just 10 minutes away from campus, it’s not surprising that many Chapman students choose to buy an annual passport to Disneyland. Flissy Ford, a freshman communication studies major, loves visiting the park with her annual pass. Ford said has the Disney Signature Passport and although it has blackout days where the pass is void, she said she always finds time to go.

“I try to go at least once a week, and sometimes I don’t have time to go, but I definitely think it was worth the money,” Ford said..

If you are a local Disney lover and are considering buying the pass, here are the various options for Disneyland passports.


Pros of Disney Pass: Getting to visit Disneyland, great place to destress, first to visit new lands and rides

Cons of Disney Pass: Expensive, waiting in lines, crowded area

Is an Annual Passport worth it?

It depends! How many times would you need to go to Disneyland to make up the cost? A one-day park-hopper ticket is about $125, taking into account a price rise on peak days, which can cause tickets to cost up $167.

  • To make up the price for the Disney Southern California Select Passport, you would need to go to Disney three times a year.
  • To make up the price for the Disney Deluxe Passport, you would need to go to Disney about six times.
  • To make up the price for the Disney Signature Passport, you would need to go to Disney about eight times.
  • To make up the price for the Disney Signature Plus Passport, you would need to go to Disney about 10 times per year.



Molly Weitzman, a freshman peace studies major, holding her MoviePass. Photo by Katelyn Antilla

Over the past decade, movie tickets have steadily risen in price and a student ticket at the local Century Stadium Cinemark is about $9. The MoviePass is an annual pass that allows subscribers to view one movie per day at participating theaters. Subscribers are billed $105.35 for a twelve month period, which is a total of $7.95 per month. Watching one movie per month essentially covers the cost, and some students are noticing the price difference.

First year peace studies major Molly Weitzman said she bought her MoviePass in February. She has seen over five movies since then, she said, and thinks the pass is an easy, inexpensive way to stay caught up on films.

“I’m able to see more films now, for a cheaper price, just because I bought this pass, “ Weitzman said.  “The best part is it works in my hometown too so I will be able to use it over summer and breaks as well.”

To find out if the MoviePass works at a local theater in your hometown, visit https://www.moviepass.com/ and enter your zipcode to see results. There is a good chance theaters around you will accept the pass, as over 91% of theaters are accessible with the pass.


Pros of MoviePass: Cheaper movies, accessible locations, one film a day

Cons of MoviePass: Company is unsure if it will survive the year, so buy pass cautiously

A typical MoviePass card. Photo by Katelyn Antilla

Is a MoviePass worth it?

Yes! If you go to just 13 movies in a year, you will makeup the cost of the pass.



Costco Wholesale in Garden Grove. Photo by Justin Skoda

While not unique to Southern California, a Costco card offers deals that can benefit Chapman students. Freshman  Taylor Collins, a strategic and corporate communication major, raved about the Costco food and deals. “Honestly, it’s such a good deal because I love the bargains and deals I can get there,” Collins said.

To get into a Costco, however, one must bring their membership card with them. Along with their card, members can bring up to two non-members into the store with them. The traditional annual membership, referred to as the Costco Gold Star Membership is a one time payment of $60. This membership is valid at all Costcos worldwide.

The closest location is a little over twenty minutes away from campus in Garden Grove. There are also Costcos based in Fullerton and Tustin, which both take less than 30 minutes to reach.


Pros of Costco membership: Free food tastings, Costco pizza, bulk shopping

Cons of Costco membership: A bit of a drive, yearly membership

A Costco Executive Membership Card. Photo by Katelyn Antilla

Is a Costco Pass worth it?

It depends! If you are a bulk shopper and like to buy up a lot of food at once then Costco’s membership is well worth the price. It can also be helpful for roommates who want to go in together to buy in bulk for their house, apartment, or dorm. However, if you buy food in small quantities, then any local grocery store would suffice.


Universal Studios

Universal Studios is home to various rides relevant to popular culture, and there are rides for dozens of movies and shows including the Simpsons, Jurassic Park, Shrek and Transformers. Universal Studios has stood as not only an amusement park but also as a film studio since 1964. Because of its roots in film and entertainment, the theme park offers studio tours.

These studio tours take Universal’s patrons to visit iconic sets from the hit show “Desperate Housewives,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” and Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws”. Throughout the tour, there are 4D simulations from movies like “King Kong” and “The Fast and the Furious.” Harry Potter World is rich and fun to visit, and with butter beer and quidditch rides, it feels as if it is from the pages of the books.

Universal Studios’ annual passes come in a wide variety. The three different annual passes include the Silver Annual Pass, the Gold Annual Pass, and the Platinum Annual Pass. Each pass comes with varying degrees of perks and prices, as seen below.

For more information on the the  price for each pass and blackout dates, visit the Universal Studios website.


Pros of Universal Studios pass: Plenty of rollercoasters, not too expensive

Cons of Universal Studios pass: Drive to LA, crowded park

Is a Universal Studios pass worth it?

For anyone that is willing to commute to LA, it would only take two trips up to make up the cost of the Silver Annual Pass. To make up the price for the Gold Pass, it would be about three trips, and the Platinum Pass would require almost six trips to fulfill the cost of the annual membership.


Six Flags

Although Six Flags is the furthest location from Chapman, as it is about 65 miles away from campus, their good deals and annual passes earned them on a spot this list.

With 19 roller coasters, Six Flags entails some of the most twisty, turny, loopy, and highest coasters found in the world. It is also known for its spooky Halloween-themed “Fright Fest” and holiday-themed “Holiday in the Park”.

If water parks are up your alley, Six Flags is connected to Hurricane Harbor, which offers a lazy river, a wave pool and more water amenities to splash in on a hot day, but requires extra cost to enter.

Just like Universal, Six Flags offers its customers One Park Passes, as well as Gold and Silver Annual Passes. However, for unlimited access to the Six Flags Magic Mountain park, the best deal is the Superman: One Park Pass. At $150 total, this pass gives you unlimited access to ALL Six Flags parks, and includes admission to “Fright Fest” and “Holiday in the Park”.


Pros of Six Flags pass: Big roller coasters, more spread out (less crowded), annual pass allows you to bring extra friend for no cost on some days of the year!

Cons of Six Flags pass: Long travel distance


Is a Six Flags pass worth it?

It would only require about three trips to make up the price, and the ability to bring friends free of charge on a bimonthly basis is a nice touch that makes this pass unique. This pass is cheaper than Universal Studios and has no blackout dates, so it may be worth another look.

Featured photo courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Katelyn Antilla & Ela Suvak

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