Disneyland in March - purchase tickets in advance? Where?

Hello, I am planning a two day trip to Disneyland for my daughter's 7th birthday in March. I have not been to Disney in years and I'm hoping to get some tips and pointers from Disney enthusiasts! Should I tickets be purchased beforehand or at the park? Discounted tickets better through Costco or AAA? Any tips for avoiding long lines? Which hotel do you recommend from the 3 that are in the park? Thanks in advance for any advice! Cheers! 

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Most parents will gasp with horror, but the tip for truly enjoying Disneyland is to take your kid out of school on a school day in the middle of winter and just indulge. Summer and weekends can be nightmarish. We'd sneak off on a Wednesday when we lived in L.A. and our kid was under 10 -- a single school day at that age just isn't that important, compared to the sanity of our family.

We really enjoy Disneyland -- just hate the crowds.

I'm not sure that any of this is secret news ... but we were just there, so here it goes. Best way to avoid lines is to go on a weekday, stay at a Disney hotel, and/or get a three day pass. Staying at a Disney-owned hotel or getting a three day pass gets you into the park an hour early when the lines are shortest. We stayed at the Disneyland hotel, and we'd come back to the hotel in the middle of the day to swim at the neat pools with waterslides (it was crazy hot there last weekend!) We've also stayed at the Grand Californian, but like the Disneyland hotel better. 

We used the mobile fast-pass on our trip this past weekend. (I think the official name is FastPassMAX or something). Anyway, instead of getting paper ticket fast-passes to skip most of the line, you can do it on your phone through the Disneyland app. It is $10/person/day, and we found it totally worth the extra cost. We never stood in line for more than 5 minutes, and we got to ride everything we wanted. The mobile fastpass allows you to pick what ride you'll go on next, and we usually did this while waiting in the (short) line for the ride that we just used of fast-pass for ... and you get digital copies with this pass of any picture that Disney folks take for you (there were a lot of these). The app is super useful for wait times, too. 

The Costco package is a good deal, it includes one dinner with the characters and a $40 gift card per room. We did this and had fun at dinner.

Have a great trip. 

We were just there two weeks ago and I second what the previous responder said- get a MaxPass that you pay $10 per ticket extra for and allows you to skip the long lines. We were only there one day so it made it totally worth the extra cost. I was skeptical because you can get fast passes by going to the actual ride as well without spending the extra money, but it makes things more complicated because you have to run back and forth across the park (or between two parks if you plan to go to CA Adventure) to the different rides you want to get them for to book them ahead of time. If you can get the FASTPASS on your phone, which the MaxPass allows for, then you can book the next ride while you are standing in line for your current ride- I was totally confused by this but once you get there it's not complicated). There are only certain rides which allow you to use fast passes, so it does help to plan ahead and go to the rides that don't have fast pass but have long lines first thing when you get there. For the rides we got fast passes for we never waited in line more than 5 minutes (without fast passes wait times were listed as 45-50 minutes). Download the Disneyland app for wait times on rides but add about 20-30 minutes to their estimates (we did not find them to be accurate). Look on "isitpacked.com for the days you want to go to get an idea of how busy it is on those days. And go on a week day. My friend who lives there and goes 25 times per year says even on a "Hey Its Alright" day you can easily wait in line for an hour for rides. We did take our kids out of school because we knew we'd probably only go once, we were only going for one day, and we didn't think it was worth it to go, spend all that money and wait in line all day. We went on a Friday which in winter is mostly "hey its alright" and until 4:00 pm had a "Ghost town" day (apparently all the locals come after work on Fridays). My friend who lives there told us we pretty much had to go in January to miss the crowds. Only downside is this is their construction season and some rides were being renovated and main street square was walled off (you can youtube it to see what it looks like currently!). My kids didn't care because they didn't know what they were missing, but there were no fireworks or parade (I don't think these are coming back until April but not sure) which was kind of a bummer. (The show "Fantasmic" made up for it.) Over all though we had a great experience and so much better than I was expecting, all due to not having to wait in lines all day and no real crowds to speak of. Have fun!