Disneyland Tickets

Parent Q&A

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  • 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! 

    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!

  • I live in the peninsula and my kids love Disneyland and ask to go back constantly.  The tickets to Disneyland are expensive and we were wondering if it makes sense to buy the season pass if we end up going more than once a year despite not living close to Disneyland.  Does anybody living in the Bay Area chose to buy the season pass for each member of the family (we have 2 adults, and 2 kids over the age of 3yo) and found it to be worth it and a good deal versus just paying for the tickets when vacationing there?  We usually drive down to LA and stay at nearby reasonably priced hotels, so the main cost of our Disneyland trips end up being the tickets to get into the park.  

    Hi there!

    I had a season pass during college and felt like it was worth it. But I ended up going down there from Berkeley maybe 7 or 8 times that year.

    Just some math based on numbers from the Disneyland website:

    • A 2-day pass for kids 3-9 is $232 per child
    • For adults its $244
    • That would make two days for your whole family $232 x 2 + $244 x 2 = $952
    • The season pass (with no blackout dates) is $1049 for anyone older than 3, so for your family, season passes would be $4196

    You'd need to make at least 5 trips as a family, for two days each, within a year to make it worth it for you.

    You'll be the best judge of that, but there's the math.

    Every family decision is different, but here's what worked for us. Our typical trip to Disneyland Resort includes three days in the parks. We're not as concerned with holidays or peak times, so we felt we could justify the lower level season pass for the adults if we went 2-3 times per year. We didn't feel the pass was worth it for the kids, given there's no price difference, but there is for the regular passes, and they don't purchase anything to use the discounts.

    It really depends on how many days you plan on going, whether or not you get park hopper tickets, if you get multi-day ticket discounts and which pass you get. I would calculate how much you spend on tickets and then divide that number into the cost of the annual pass you're interested in, which will tell you how many times you have to go to make the annual pass worth it. Be sure to look at the blackout days for each of the passes. The cheapest non-Southern California pass blocks out a lot of Saturdays, which may not work for a Bay Area resident. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Best way to buy Disneyland tickets

March 2014

My family and I would like to go to Disneyland for 2 days and we have to watch our budget. Did you get tickets for admission in advance or is it the same as at the gate? Has anyone purchased admission tickets online through eBay (since the prices appear lower)? Any suggestions about where to stay? Any advice regarding local hotels, discount tickets, etc would be appreciated. Meredith

We're planning our first trip to Disneyland with the kids next week. I've found tripadvisor's Anaheim forum to be quite helpful (go to 'more' in the top menu, click forums, and then go to Anaheim forum). Post your budget with numbers and there are people who will give you suggestions on hotels and the rest. There's not much in the way of meaningful discounts on Disneyland tickets, particularly for less than 3 days. The best I've seen is $5 off a $200 ticket, and that has a $2/ticket convenience fee. Avoid Craigslist/Ebay -- there is no way to verify the legitimacy of a ticket you buy there until you arrive at the gate, and that's not where you want to find out you've been scammed. going to the happiest place on earth

I have a friend who has this down. First off, she did try getting tix on craigs list - she said she would never do it again. of the 4 she got 2 worked, 2 did not. Not worth the stress of not knowing if you'll get in, and then not and end up in line etc etc. And the money lost.

So this is how they do it: they stay at the Residence Inn and she brings *all* the food. She makes a big dinner - like frozen lasagna and another big meal, packs a big cooler, they drive down, and they bring *all* their food and water into disney. They bring back packs for the parents to carry the stuff. They do 'treats' like ice cream back at the hotel (pool!) because ice cream for a family of 5 at disney can cost more than $50. So for them its usually two or three nights at the residence inn (full kitchen!), gas and entrance tix. Its still not an inexpensive trip but they have a great time when they go. Not sure of your kids ages but Legoland is great if they are under 10. And if someone you know gets the lego magazine there are often coupons in there - half off admission. Something else to consider. happy travels

None of it is anything like inexpensive, the best deals still cost a lot! I've never tried eBay. Last Nov. a regular admission of one day was $92 for an Adult and only a few dollars less for 2 - 9 year olds. Its slightly less through Costco or AAA but they give you other goodies with the deal, and are far better for motel/hotel deals than the listed prices but I don't think anyone really pays them. a grandmother veteran of two, 3 days trips

Sharing Disneyland Tix

Aug 2011

Hi, We are going to Disneyland in September and have heard that splitting park hopper passes is a great way to save money. Has anyone actually done this? Has anyone tried to do this and had it not work out for some reason? My husband is worried that it is an urban legend and we are going to end up paying for way more days than we actually want. Thanks for any input. Lucy

Disneyland tickets are expressly non- transferrable. ''Splitting'' your multi-day tickets with another family may work, as long as the first family to hold the tickets does not actually use more than the number of days they agreed to. But if Disney catches you, the family that did not buy the tickets directly will not be admitted to the park. And there is no way to tell in advance how many days, if any, are left on a given multi- day ticket.

There are better ways to get a good deal on Disney admission, if you plan to buy at least three days. If you want only a one- or two-day pass, you may be out of luck but occasional bargains do arise.

Check out www.mousesavers.com

My family went last spring and had a great time. We bought only a 2 day pass (and spent a 3rd day at Legoland, which I highly recommend) so I totally understand the temptation -- we also considered whether we could get a SoCal resident discount through a friend who lives in the OC, but if you buy those tix you have to show ID at the gate with a local address -- but we decided it is just not a good idea -- not to mention a pretty poor example for our children -- to try to circumvent the rules and risk being denied entry in order to save a buck. Holly

Split a Park Hopper pass with another family?

Nov 2009

The info in the archives is from 2005 on this subject so I thought I'd check. We are going to Disneyland for the first time in December. We are looking at splitting a Disneyland Parkhopper pass with another family who is going the week after us. Are the tickets transferrable or do they track who purchsed them? Fan of the Mouse

They track who purchased them, and they explicitly say that they are not to be shared among individuals. Its still worth it to go...!

I have had 100% success rate at splitting our Disneyland hopper passes and boy does it save money! I used Craigslist and the BPN to advertise. Altough a little unsure of Craigslist I did end up splitting the passes through Craigslist. In both cases I purchased the passes and the other family went first - we traded the tickets back upon their return then our family went. I was paid cash for their half and felt very comfortable they would return with the remaining days. I divided the pass by however many days and let the other people know how much per person, per day was their share. The first time we split the hoppers and decided not to use the last day of the passes I sold them at the entrance - no problems. There was no name or signature on the passes. We always purchase through AAA, comes with free parking, early entry etc. diane

Splitting Disneyland Park Hopper Passes

Feb 2005

Has anyone split a Disneyland Park Hopper pass lately? I bought five day passes for our family when we went to Disneyland two years ago and split the cost with some other people. I'm just wondering if they are still loose about checking the passes. Technically I think you are supposed to sign the back of the pass but we didn't and they never checked. We want to go to Disneyland again this Spring Break. I think the only way we can affort it is if we go with the 5-day Park Hopper passes again and split them with another family. We are going the week of Marck 28. If you are interested in splitting the pass with us drop an email. (2 adults and 1 child) We plan on using two days so you could use three days the week of April 4th. Dawn

We visited Disneyland last March, with the 5 day passes. All of the grownups had to show ID (we used our driver's licences)to match the name on the pass. Barbara

Here's an idea for you: I have purchased and sold partial Disneyland Park Hopper Tickets on Ebay. I've not encountered any difficulties with park entry for either my family when I purchased used Park Hoppers with days left, or for the buyer of my used Park Hoppers. And I saved an incredible amount of money!! None of the tix were ever signed and no one ever checked. Check out Ebay...there are many, many Park Hoppers for sale-- both kids and adults tickets, for varying number of days. As long as there's enough time for you to get the tix (or many will offer to meet you at a convenient location to pass off the tix.)you're set. Good luck. Karen

We bought a 5 day park hopper for our trip to Disneyland in October of last year. We used 3 days and sold the other 2 days on E-bay. They did not check our signature and it all went fine! Have fun! Nancy

As early as last August we did ''split'' a Park Hopper pass and it worked just fine. In fact the family that had the second set of days went on to purchase an annual pass. Since they had the 5 day pass already the annual pass was much cheaper. I doubt they've changed their policy drastically in the past 6 months. Have a great time! disney fan

Discounted Disneyland tickets

March 2003

I read through the archives about Disneyland, but didn't see any information about how/where you can get discount tickets. I understand that UC no longer offers discount tickets. It also appears that if you get one of their 3, 4, 5, or 7 days passes, these never expire. Perhaps some of you have some of these passes that you would be willing to sell? Toby

I did some looking a couple of months ago and the best deal I was able to find on Disneyland tickets was 5 days for the price of 3 through AAA (for park-hopper tickets good for Disney's California Adventure as well as Disneyland). However, these tickets expired 13 days after the first use. According to the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland (highly recommended on this site in the past), some multi-day tickets expire soon and some don't, depending on where you buy them: If you buy them at the park or on the phone, they're good for two years; if you buy through the Disneyland internet site they expire in 13 days. You can probably find better deals through friends or family who work for large employers.

If you only need three days and don't find a better deal, you might consider going through AAA and getting the 5-day pass anyway. We did that and gave the remaining two days to our son's preschool teacher, who used it to take her family on a vacation that wouldn't have fit into the budget otherwise. Just don't sign the back of the tickets (we didn't even notice that there was a place to sign and no one asked us about it) and there should be no problem. If you don't know anyone who could use the days, I'm sure a posting on this list would find some grateful takers, especially if you could give some advance notice. Or contact me--there are other teachers at the school who'd be glad to go.

You can get discounted Disneyland Tickets at AAA if you are a member. Also once you get down there many of the hotels offer deals. Anon

Go to the website mousesavers.com for all kinds of info on discounts for anything ''Disney''. Link to ''Disneyland'' then to ''tickets/passes''. There are offers currently available for multi- day park hopper passes, such as ''5-days for the price of 3''. We have frequently bought our multi-day tickets at AAA (CSAA), which also gives you free parking in the Disneyland lot (which you might not need if you're staying right by the park).

Multiple day passes at Disneyland DO have an expiration date once you start using them. I've heard that multiple day passes from Disney World do not expire and can be used at the parks in California, but not vice versa. Disney Person

We recently did our own research on discounted Disneyland tickets and found that the best deal was getting the Southern California Seasonal Pass for $109. It was even better than any two-three day discounted passes we were going to get from our employer and through our friends. With this pass you can go to both parks for the whole year. The best part is you don't have to be a Southern Califonia resident to get the deal. While there are black-out dates, you can plan your vacation around them. You probably wouldn't want to go during their black-out dates anyways, they tend to be the most crowded during those times. We used the pass two weeks ago and spent two days at Disneyland and California Disney. Those two days paid off for itself. Since we go every year, we plan to go again next year a week before the pass expires. If you have any questions, please email me DanVy

We got our discounted tickets at AAA. They sell a three-day pass that gets you into both parks and it cost the same price as buying two separate day tickets that are good for only one park. I think these tickets also cover parking. Have fun. Hannah

One piece of advice about the AAA discount tickets. Buy them up here in Northern California. Southern California is not part of CSAA and doesn't offer the same deal. We found this out the hard way... we didn't stop to get the tickets until we got to Anaheim (instead of stopping at AAA in the morning when we left.) It turns out they only offer 5 for 3 up here. Down there it is 5 for 4. We ended up buying tickets through our hotel near the park instead. It was 5 for 4 (I think it was $110) but also included a 10-30% discount on all purchases in the park over $100. (The % off depended on which employee happened to be ringing us up... they were all quite confused.) we were there in November

I just wanted to mention that I think the information given in last week's newsletter about sharing Disney passes is not legal. It may say on the pass that its transferable, but the fact that they have you sign it before entering the park indicates to me that its not. Heather J