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If you are planning a trip to Disneyland for your family, you are probably looking at a lot of different options. From hotels to activities away from the parks to which Disneyland tickets to purchase, there is a lot to decide on. For many families, the Disneyland tickets will be the biggest purchase you make for your vacation. The options for your park tickets can be a bit overwhelming. How many days should you go? What are magic mornings? Do you need to parkhop? Where can I get the best deal on tickets? Don’t worry. I am here to help you figure out everything you need to know before buying your Disneyland tickets.
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Disneyland Tickets- The Basics
Disneyland park offers tickets for various amounts of days, with additional options available. With all of the different options, it can get a bit confusing to know what tickets you will be needing and what options are best for your family. So we are going to start with the basics.
- Disneyland Tickets range from 1-5 days. Disneyland offers single day and multi-day tickets to their parks. A single day ticket will vary in price based on if you are visiting during peak season, etc. but the cost is approximately $100/day/person for a single day ticket. One day tickets can be purchased with a park hopper option (at an additional cost) which allows you to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) on the same day.
Multi-Day tickets range from 2-5 day tickets. The more days you purchase, the cheaper the per day cost. Multi-day tickets are not currently priced differently based on date used so this is a great option for some. Multi-Day tickets must be used within 13 days of first use (with the exception of the SoCal tickets sometimes available to SoCal residents at the beginning of each year). They do not have to be used consecutively so you are able to take a break from the parks mid week. Multi-Day tickets also have the ability to add in a park hopper option, in which case, you can visit both parks in the same day every single day of your visit if you choose.
NOTE: Residents of Australia are able to purchase up to 10-day tickets.
Multi-Day tickets purchased online that are for 3 or more days will include a Magic Morning Admission (more on that later) but those purchased at the kiosks at the park will not. (This does not include pre-purchased tickets being redeemed or picked up at the kiosks.)
- What is considered an adult admission and who is free? We often don’t think of our tweens and teens as adults, but when purchasing your Disneyland tickets, it is important to know that guests over the age of 9 are considered adults when purchasing theme park admission. If you are visiting over your child’s birthday, and they will be 9 the first day of your ticket use, you may purchase them a child’s admission. Children 10 and over are also considered an adult when purchasing character meals.
At the same time, a lot of people want to know how long they can get their children in for free. Disneyland does not charge admission for guests under the age of 3. They also do not charge those guests for character dining (but you will need to include them in your party count). Just like with your 9 year old, if your child is under the age of 3 on the first day of admission, you will not need to purchase a ticket during this trip, even if their birthday falls during this vacation.
- Disneyland tickets are non-transferable. Once a ticket is scanned for first entrance, tickets may not be transferred. Disneyland will take the picture of the person using the ticket to ensure the same person uses the ticket every day, so unless you have an identical twin, there is no getting away with using someone’s ticket after they have used it. (HINT: Do not buy partially used tickets off ebay, etc for this exact reason)
- You can purchase Disneyland tickets from different places. Disneyland tickets may be purchased online, at the kiosks, and through multiple authorized ticket agents. Our favorite is Get Away Today.
- SoCal City Pass. You may have read about, or seen on the Disneyland site, the Southern California City Pass. The SoCal City Pass gives a 3-Day Parkhopper to Disneyland Resort, plus one day at LEGOLAND and one at SeaWorld. This pass is a GREAT Value as it is priced just slightly (about $40) above a 3-Day Parkhopper. Even if you only visit one of the other parks you will have a savings.
Can You Get Discounted Disneyland Tickets?
Disneyland is expensive, I get that. Because of that, most people want to know if there is a way to get discounted Disneyland tickets. While discounts are few and far between, there are a few ways to get discounted tickets.
- Authorized Ticket Dealers often have sales. There are a handful of authorized ticket agents/dealers that sale Disneyland tickets. Some have discounted prices through out the year. Our personal favorite, as mentioned above is Get Away Today. They have several tickets sales a year, such as Adults at Kids Prices, summer sales with dollar amounts off, and more. My favorite part about Get Away Today is they offer these discounts by themselves as well as in packages.
- Military Discounts for those in the service. Disneyland knows how to thank our service men and women. There are a few different discounts available to those who have served or are serving in the armed forces. Members of the armed forces and their spouses can purchase tickets through their bases, or at Disneyland’s Ticket Booths. The tickets at the Ticket Booth tend to be the best deal (approximately half price). Currently Disneyland offers 3 and 4 day park hopper tickets at the booths. You must have a military ID to purchase. Military members and their spouses can purchase for others, but must enter the gate with their guests and show their ID upon the first entrance.
- SoCal Tickets. Some years, Disneyland will offer SoCal tickets for residents in Southern California at the beginning of the year. These tickets are discounted and good for dates from January-May with black out dates around spring break. The options for these tickets changes each year, but they are typically 3 day tickets. Days DO NOT have to be used consecutively, or even in the same two week period. In 2017 there was both a parkhopper and a one park per day option. Watch the Disneyland website for more information on this offer. You do need to show proof of residence to purchase SoCal Tickets.
- Spring ticket sales. In the past, when Disneyland has not offered SoCal Tickets, they have offered a discounted spring ticket deal. We do not know if they will bring this special back, but it is worth checking for it. The last time we were able to utilize this discount was 2012 or 2013.
- The Secret Target Red Card Discount. This is honestly 100% my favorite way to save money on Disneyland tickets. The best part is, this can be used along with military discounts, and SoCal discounts. Basically any discount being offered directly by Disney. What is this secret Target Red Card Discount? Simple: If you have a Target Red Card- you can purchase Disney Gift Cards and get your 5% discount when you pay using your Red Card. So if you buy $500 of Gift Cards you only pay $475. You can then use those $500 of Disney Gift Cards to purchase tickets, including the military tickets or SoCal tickets, at the Disneyland Ticket Kiosks. I share more about using your Target Red Card in my post sharing how to go to Disneyland for cheap.
What Disneyland Tickets Should You Buy?
Deciding what Disneyland tickets to buy is such a personal decision. You can ask 5 different Disneyland bloggers and each one would probably give you a different answer.
Personally, I am big on getting the biggest bang for your buck. In that case, you will definitely want to look into multi-day tickets. The more days you spend in the park, the better the price per day. My family almost always chooses to get 5 day tickets if we will be in the area for a week. I don’t think we have ever gone for less than 3 days. Why? Because 3 days is what you need to get the magic morning entry. Oh, and because we just love Disney.
When decided what tickets to purchase here are some things to consider:
- Budget. I think budget should always be at the top of the list of things to consider when deciding which tickets to purchase. Definitely staywithin your budget. Maybe this means choosing one-park-per-day tickets instead of parkhoppers, or maybe this means going for 3 days instead of 5. Whatever you decide, let your budget be your guide.
- Time. You can not do everything in one day. Even with super spectacular planning and use of the fastpass system, you can not do every ride or attraction in one day, let alone hit up your favorites twice. If you have enough time during your vacation I always suggest at least two days in the parks. That said, any day at Disneyland is better than none, so don’t think you are wasting your money if you only go one day. Also, as much as we love Disneyland, we do like to go a few other places during our vacation. Maybe that is a beach or another theme park, but we know we want to spend some time doing other things. If we are only there 4 days, we know at least one of those we will plan to spend elsewhere.
- Future Vacation Plans. If you think you will be able to make it back to Disneyland within the calendar year, it may be more cost effective to get an Annual Pass. This was the case for my family this year. We knew we would be doing at least 2 trips, but more likely 3, within the 12 month period (plus they had a special for an extra month free!) so it was much more economical for us to splurge on Annual Passes. Just two trips more than paid for our passes, but then we also get discounts on purchases and dining. I upgraded my husband and I to Signature Passes so that we would have free parking, a bigger discount, and at the time it included free Photopass services. If you can, I always suggest purchasing the annual pass at the beginning of your visit to utilize the discounts, but if you decide at the end of your vacation that you want to come back again within the year, you can go to any ticket booth on the last day in the parks and upgrade to an annual pass by paying the difference. The pass will expire 12 months from the first use of your ticket. The only downside to Annual Passes is that you do lose out on Magic Morning Entry.
There are several different annual pass options, with different prices and blackout dates, so be sure to compare all pass type to decide which ones are the best fit for your family.
- What about Parkhopping? Parkhopping is one of those things that people have very different opinions on. Honestly, we used to forgo parkhopping. When the Goof was little, and we were on a stricter budget, I couldn’t fathom spending the extra money. Instead we always did 2 days at Disneyland and one at California Adventure. But one time we were going for 4 days, and so we decided to parkhop (this was before the revamp of DCA so it felt like we could never spend more than a day and a half there). Honestly, we have never looked back after that. The two parks are so close that parkhopping is super easy. It is nice to be able to go to the other park if one is too crowded or the lines are too long. If your budget allows, I would definitely suggest adding parkhopping.
No matter what tickets you choose to go with, you are sure to have a magical time at Disneyland. If this is your first trip (ever or just in a while) I have a full Disneyland 101 series to help you learn all about the parks. Also, your tickets now double as your access to fastpass lines. Learn all about Disneyland’s digital fastpass system and the new MaxPass system here.
Did I answer all of your questions about Disneyland tickets? If not, leave your question below in the comments and I will try and answer it for you.