You’re Here Because You Want Discounted Disneyland Tickets?
Everyone planning a trip to Disneyland wants to save money on Disney tickets. Why pay full price when there are places that sell discounted Disneyland tickets! Keep reading for the best ways to save on Disneyland admission.
2021 Discounted Disneyland Ticket Changes!
After an over year-long closure and ticket suspension, Disneyland tickets will be sold again, beginning April 15th, 2021. It’s important to note that only California residents may visit the theme parks at this time. The Disney resort parks will reopen to out of town visitors at a later date. Keep reading for additional changes to expect in 2021.
I highly recommend purchasing discounted Disneyland tickets through Get Away Today. They offer fully refundable tickets (which Disney doesn’t do). They also offer the best rates on 2+ day tickets!
Some of the events, activities and attractions mentioned in this article are currently unavailable. For everything you need to know about Disney reopening, be sure to read more. I’ll also discuss how to secure a Disneyland reservation, a current must have to visit the theme parks both California and Florida.
My number one tip on buying Disneyland tickets is….
Don’t wait to buy your park tickets when you get to the park. Seriously. Do not buy tickets at Disneyland…that is, unless you like to stand in line for 30+ minutes when you could be getting into the park. Or if you like paying full price instead of getting a possible discount by doing a little shopping around!
2021 UPDATE – This tip is all the more relevant in 2021 when Disneyland tickets are NOT being sold at the front gates! Disneyland tickets are only being sold in advance and must accompany a separate park reservation for the day in which you are visiting. Keep reading for the important details.
Here’s some of the various places you can usually purchase Disneyland tickets
(some locations may not currently selling park tickets)
- I recommend purchasing online through my affiliate partner Get Away Today because they are an authorized seller of discounted tickets and full service travel agency.
- Purchase park tickets on the Disneyland website.
- Buy Disneyland tickets from AAA, credit union or at Costco.
- Your employer may offer theme park tickets.
- Tickets for Disneyland can be bought at ShopDisney or the Disney Store in your local mall.
- Anaheim Good Neighbor hotels sell Disneyland tickets.
- You can even buy Disneyland tickets at Southern California grocery stores or Target.
If you buy your tickets elsewhere, read the fine print that comes with it. Sometimes you can go directly to the front gate and they will trade your ticket in whatever form it is (your ticket purchase might look like a plain 8×11 print-out or like a plastic gift card). The Cast Member at the entrance will exchange that ticket for an official Disneyland ticket right then and there.
Other pre-purchased tickets may request that you go to the ticket booth in advance. If you have to do this, I suggest trading them for your actual park tickets on the day before you enter the parks to save time.
What is a Disneyland Park Hopper and Should I Buy One?
*2021 editors note* – Park Hopping now only happens after 1 pm each day. Guests must make an advance reservation for the park in which they will start their visit. If they hold a valid Park Hopper ticket, they may “Park Hop” to the other park. That is, only if space is available while capacity is limited.
A Disneyland ticket with a Park Hopper option allows guests to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park on the same day. “Hopping” between Parks is generally quick (they are just across a short esplanade from each other). Re-entry to Disneyland specifically can sometimes take longer on busy days.
Park Hoppers do add a bit more cost to your ticket price. If you are staying for only 1 or 2 days, I would highly recommend a Park Hopper option. This way you’ll be able to make the best use of your Disneyland mornings by hitting popular rides, grabbing FASTPASS and going back and forth between the Parks.
If you are staying for 3+ days, I would purchase non-Park Hoppers because you’ll be able to spend more time exploring each Park thoroughly by staying in one each day. You’ll also get a better price rate on 3+ day tickets.
Are There Cheap One Day Disneyland Tickets?
Unfortunately one-day Disneyland tickets are the worst value of all ticket options. Tickets are sold with “tier pricing”. This means if you’re visiting on what Disney considers a PEAK day, you’re going to be paying more for your ticket based on one of the five ticket tiers. Review some of the dates to avoid when planning a Disneyland trip and aim for off-peak times (non-weekend & not over holiday breaks will offer the best value).
You can save a bit on one day Disneyland tickets by only choosing the non-park hopper option. One day Disneyland tickets with a Park Hopper are considerably more pricey than the single park tickets. If you only have one day to spend at Disneyland, choose to stay in one park and save some money.
Multi-Day Discount Disneyland Tickets
Generally the more in-park days you purchase upfront, the better discount you’ll be getting. Keep in mind that once you enter the parks with the multi-day ticket, that ticket is assigned only to you. Each guest will have their photo taken when the ticket is scanned. That means nobody else except for YOU will be able to use this ticket for Disneyland park entry!
What About an Annual Pass?
*editors note* In the past, I often recommended that guests consider purchasing one of the Annual Passports. If you planned on returning to the park at any point during the year or if your vacation is going to be longer, it made sense to have an AP. Unfortunately Disneyland has “sunsetted” their popular Annual Passholder program. Former passholders are being called Legacy Passholders and are currently receiving some pass-specific discounts and perks. A new Disneyland Annual Pass program has not yet been announced.
Where Can You Get Discounted Disneyland Tickets?
Can you get cheap Disneyland tickets at Costco? Yes. You can also purchase Disneyland park tickets at AAA or through your employer. But often the cheapest and most reliable way is via an authorized ticket seller.
I highly recommend purchasing tickets from Get Away Today online as they are an authorized seller of discount tickets for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND. They also offer ticket bundles which includes tickets to Disneyland as well as other Southern California theme parks. You’ll save buying the ticket combo of attraction tickets versus buying individual tickets for each park.
Stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels and book a Get Away Today travel package, which includes park tickets at a discounted rate. Disneyland resort hotels do cost more than off-site hotels but have some added incentives. You’ll want to compare Disneyland Resort versus Good Neighbor hotels. Get Away Today can help you balance your budget and travel dates to get you the best deal!
Get Away Today also offers discounted vacation packages, so I’d definitely request a quote from them first! You can even place your vacation on layaway with Get Away Today and pay in installments. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).
If you are a Southern California resident you often have the advantage of receiving discounted prices on short visit tickets during certain times of the year. You’ll need proof of residence upon entry to the Park for each adult with a SoCal Resident ticket (when available, Get Away Today sells this discounted Disneyland ticket as well!).
What’s Included With My Disneyland Ticket?
Most everything inside of the Disneyland parks is included with the price of admission. Here’s what you get with admission:
- All rides, shows, parades, entertainment and most attractions from official opening/closing times
- Use of FASTPASS, to obtain shorter wait times (*editors note* – FASTPASS is currently not being utilized at the Disney theme parks).
- Any character greetings
- Photopass photographers (purchase of photos is an extra cost).
- Seasonal special events, including Festival of Holidays, Lunar New Year, Disney California Food and Wine Festival.
What’s NOT Included in the Price of a Disneyland Ticket?
There are some extra events throughout the year and other add-ons that can be made to your Disneyland day that are not included with admission:
- Parking in any of the Disneyland lots or garages.
- Food and dining (though Disneyland will permit outside food and snacks).
- Maxpass and Photopass downloads (more about Maxpass further in the post).
- A few attractions with a small fee, including Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition.
- Special packages, including reserved seating and dining packages for World of Color, Frozen and Fantasmic!
- After-hours special ticketed events including Disneyland After Dark and Oogie Boogie Bash.
In the past, guests could show up at any time with ticket in hand to visit the amusement parks. Currently, while guest capacity is being limited, anyone wanting to visit must make a separate Disneyland reservation. Here's how to do this:
The Disneyland reservation window opened to guests holding valid theme park tickets on April 12th 2021. Each person with a park ticket must also hold a date specific reservation. This can be done via the Disneyland website. Anyone with a single day ticket must first verify eligibility by checking the tier calendar before making a reservation.
How Do I Use My Ticket for a FASTPASS?
*editors note* - FASTPASS & Maxpass are not currently in operation at any Disney park. This system is expected to return, once park capacity increases. I've kept the information about FASTPASS for future reference about how this system works.
First I should answer, "What's a FASTPASS?"
FASTPASS is a way for you to get a "reservation" in a shorter line for a particular ride. FASTPASS is free so there's no reason not to try it! Certain attractions have a FASTPASS Distribution Area where you will scan in your park ticket and in return be given a special FASTPASS "time stamped" ticket. This will have a window of time printed on it for you to come back to the attraction. At that time you'll be able to take a "short-cut" by using the designated FASTPASS line instead of standing in the regular line-up.
You’ll be using your Park tickets to redeem FastPass – Keep your Park tickets close at hand inside a coin purse on a lanyard, like the Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lanyards with Detachable Coin Purse.
Tips and Rules About Using FASTPASS
I always use FASTPASS whenever possible. Of course there are days you won't need to use it, like if the park isn't terribly crowded. However there are certain rides I absolutely will not wait in the regular line-up and will only use FASTPASS for.
Radiator Springs Racers is one ride that you should grab a FASTPASS for first thing in the morning. Attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! will have a long wait in stand-by so nabbing a FASTPASS is imperative. The newest Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction, Rise of the Resistance doesn't offer FASTPASS (obtaining a boarding group through the Disneyland app at official opening is the only way you can get on this ride).
The best use of FASTPASS is to have a game plan of things to do until the FASTPASS time is ready. For instance, the Star Tours line is always long and I always get a FASTPASS for this. As an example, you might have 40 minutes to wait until your FASTPASS is valid so you could ride the Disneyland Railroad all the way around the Park, go on the Autopia, or go inside the Star Wars Launch Bay for a while. The point is to do something else while you are waiting for your FASTPASS time to come up. Make the best use of your time and find something else in that area to occupy you until your FASTPASS time is ready!
How To Use Your Tickets for FASTPASS
When you approach the FASTPASS Distribution Area for a particular ride, pay note to the time frame that you will be asked to return. If the Park is really crowded your return time might be a few hours out. There is even a chance that FASTPASS will not be available on extremely busy days at Disneyland because they will be "filled up" very early in the day. This happened to us for Soarin' last time we visited on a busy weekend. It was about noon and the FASTPASS times weren't available until after 6pm!
Each person in your party will need their own FASTPASS. This means you'll have to individually scan in each person's ticket so they will each get a FASTPASS. Follow the directions on the FASTPASS machine. Take note of the return time and when you can book another FASTPASS. You'll be able to schedule another FASTPASS within 2 hours (set a timer on your phone to remind you!)
What About Maxpass?
Maxpass eliminates your need to use paper tickets for FASTPASS, booking them on your smart device instead. You'll still need your ticket (or to scan the app in your device) when you return to the attraction at your scheduled time. The use of Maxpass is an additional charge, one that might be worth it if you're trying to maximize your time in the parks. For more tips on Maxpass, read Top 21 Disneyland Maxpass Questions Answered by my friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes.
Do Babies Need a Disneyland Ticket?
If your child is under three years old, their admission is free! Check out these posts with tips for traveling to Disneyland with a baby -
- Answers to the top 4 questions of What Can Babies Do at Disneyland?
- If you have just one day at Disneyland with a toddler, read these insider tips!
More Annual Passport Tips
*editors note* - As previously mentioned, the Disneyland Annual Passholder program is not currently operational. All AP were cancelled, without any immediate replacement. Annual Passes are expected to return in some capacity in the future so I've kept in this information for reference.
You may decide mid-vacation that you'd like to upgrade to a Disneyland Annual Pass. You can apply the amount that you paid for the ticket (so long as it hasn't expired) to the cost for the Annual Passport. If you buy the AP, consider which pass makes the best sense for you and your family. Different AP have certain blockout dates so check the calendar before deciding which one is best for you. Annual Passports have a monthly payment option (after an initial down payment) so you can take the year to pay the price of the Passport off.
The Flex Passport is a newer option that works well for many Disneyland travelers. A blockout calendar on the Disneyland website and app shows which dates are "good to go" for Flex pass holders (this means they can visit any time on these dates). Other dates require a reservation, which can be booked in advance.
Keep in mind that you can mix and match AP within your family to get the best deal that works for you. In years past, my boys had the SoCal Passport and I had the Premium (now called Signature). This meant that I could get free parking and a discount on food and some merchandise. There was no reason for the kids to have the Premium because they would never be at the park without me. I would be making all the purchases, so I was the only one who needed to have the higher costing AP with the best discounts.
What NOT to Do When Buying or Using Tickets?
- Don't buy tickets on Craigslist or on Ebay. You have no way of looking at the tickets and knowing if they are valid or legal.
- Don't buy tickets from anyone selling them outside the Park. Buy only from an authorized dealer.
- Don't buy anyone else's multi-day ticket from them. You have no way of knowing how many days are still valid on that ticket! Also your photo will be taken the first time you use your multi-day ticket and verified each time you enter.
- Don't lose your ticket!
Your park ticket will allow you entrance in and out of the park for the day. You'll also use it frequently for FASTPASS -So don't lose your ticket! I recommend that you take a photograph of the backside of your ticket. Capture the bar code/date stamp. You'll be able to get a replacement at Guest Relations should your ticket go missing. Make sure everyone in your group and all the tickets that were purchased are with you.
More Ways to Save on a Disneyland Vacation
Now that you know how to get discounted Disneyland tickets, find out more ways to save on your vacation. Check out these other money-saving Disney tips!