How Disneyland Tickets Work
Theme park admission options are pretty straightforward at Disneyland Resort. You have only two things to decide:
1. How many days admission you'll need.
2. Whether you want to go to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure on the same day. This is known as park hopping.
Disney says its tickets expire within 14 days of the first day of use. In practice, they really mean 13 days after the first day of use. If you purchase a 4-Day ticket on June 1 and use it that day for admission to Disneyland, you'll be able to visit a single Disney theme park on any of your three remaining days from June 2 through June 14. After that, the ticket expires and any unused days will be lost.
All admissions can be purchased at the park entrance, at the Disneyland Resort hotels, from the Walt Disney Travel Sales Center, on the Disneyland website, and at most Disney stores in the western United States. One- and 2-year-olds are exempt from admission fees.
The more days of admission you buy, the lower the cost per day. For example, if you buy an adult 5-Day 1-Park ticket for $265, each day will cost $53, compared with $92 a day for a one-day pass Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. Tickets can be purchased from 1 up to 10 days and admit you to exactly one theme park per day; you can re-enter your chosen park as many times as you like on that day.
Disneyland Ticket Costs and Discounts
It's possible to obtain discounts on all multiday tickets, but only in the 1% - 7% range. One place to purchase admissions at a discount is disneyland.com, where Disney sells tickets with Magic Morning Hours. These tickets, in addition to the dollar discount, allow you to enter only Disneyland Park on select days 1 hour earlier than the general public one time during your visit. The feature is offered only on three-, four-, and five-day tickets purchased in advance of your visit.
If you purchase tickets on the Disneyland website, you can choose between hard tickets, which will be shipped to you, or e-tickets, which can be downloaded as PDF files and printed at home. An e-ticket printed from your home computer will show two bar codes. Aread, the cast member can issue your actual ticket. You can also now purchase one-day tickets through your smartphone at m.disneyland.com without needing to print anything, but these passes don't include any discounts or bonuses.
The deepest discounts we've found are from ARES Travel. ARES usually beats the Disney advance purchase price by $4 - $6 per ticket and also includes the Magic Morning feature. Guests may pick up their tickets at any main entrance window; a $2-per-ticket convenience fee applies. You can order online or call 800-434-7894.
If you plan to visit other Southern California attractions in addition to Disneyland, you might want to consider a CityPass. CityPass includes a three-day Park Hopper for Disneyland Park and DCA, including early entry to Disneyland Park for one day. Also included are one day's admission each to Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego. Costing $319 for adults and $279 for children ages 3 - 9, the pass is valid for 14 days from first use. If you plan to visit all these parks, it will save you about 25% on admissions. If you don't use all of the admissions, however, you will save little or nothing by purchasing the CityPass. The pass does not include dining or shopping discounts. Details concerning other CityPass destinations are available at citypass.com.
Military discounts are available for all Disney theme parks, usually in the 7% - 25% range. Check with your base Morale, Welfare, & Recreation office for info. Military ID may be required at the gate. Many readers report buying military tickets for friends and relatives who used them without problems.
Disneyland Resort and other area attractions sometimes offer discounted afternoon and evening tickets for convention goers. See disneyconventiontickets.com.
One-Day One-Park Ticket
This pass is good for one day's admission at your choice of Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure. As the name implies, you cannot "hop" from park to park.
Disneyland's Park Hopper Ticket Option
These are good for one, two, three, four, or five days, respectively, and allow you to visit both parks on the same day. These multiday tickets do not have to be used on consecutive days, but they do expire 13 days after their first use. The 13-day expiration is in marked contrast to similar passes sold at Walt Disney World for which you can purchase a No Expiration option. If you mistakenly bought multi-day tickets because you were not aware of the 13-day expiration, call 714-781-7290 or 714-781- 4565 and ask to be connected to Guest Communications, which has the authority to issue you a voucher for the unused days on your ticket.
Upgrading a Disneyland Ticket
Any time before a pass expires, you can apply the value of unused days toward the cost of a higher priced ticket. If you buy a four-day Park Hopper ticket, for example, and then decide you'd rather have an Annual Passport, you can apply the value of unused days on the former toward the purchase of the latter. Upgraded passes expire on the same 13-day deadline date as the original ticket; annual passes expire one year from the first usage of the original ticket. To restrict the reselling of half-used passes, Disneyland photographs every multiday pass holder upon first entry for identification purposes; be prepared to have your pass (and face) scanned shortly before passing the turnstiles.
Disneyland Annual Passes
An Annual Pass provides unlimited use of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks for one year. There are several levels of Annual Passes with various blockout dates. Passholders are not able to use their Annual Pass on these blockout dates. Parking is not included on any of the Annual Passes below Premium. A Premium Annual Pass also provides unlimited use of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, but there are no blockout dates to worry about. Annual Pass holders also get perks, including, food and merchandise discounts and seasonal offers such as room-rate discounts at Disneyland hotels.
The Annual Pass is not valid for special events, such as admission to Mickey's Halloween Party.
Disneyland Annual Pass Prices
- Southern California Select Annual Pass - $279
- Southern California Annual Pass - $359
- Deluxe Annual Pass - $499
- Premium Annual Pass - $669
Disneyland Ticket Specials for Southern California Residents
Disney offers several special admission options to Southern California residents living in ZIP codes 90000 to 93599. The Southern California Annual Pass ($359 for adults and kids age 3 and up) and the Southern California Select Annual Pass ($279 for adults and kids age 3 and up) both offer unlimited admission and park-hopping privileges to Disneyland and DCA.
These two passes have a large amount of block out dates throughout the year, including most weekends. See Disneyland's website for a list of blockout dates.
More Discounts on Disneyland Tickets
Here's a list of Disneyland admission discounts available to certain groups and individuals:
AAA / CAA
Members can buy passes for a discount of 3 - 5%. Each AAA/CAA club sets its own prices for Disneyland tickets. Buying from AAA/CAA is usually cheaper than buying from Disney, but more expensive than buying from one of the ticket wholesalers in our search engine above.
Disney Vacation Club
Members get a discount on Annual Passes.
Disneyland, Universal, SeaWorld, and other parks sometimes set up a link cited in convention materials to purchase discounted afternoon and evening admissions. See DisneyConventionTickets.com and SeaWorldGroupEvents.com.
Disney Corporate Sponsors
If you work for a Disneyland corporate sponsor, you might be eligible for discounted admissions or preferential treatment at the parks. Ask your employee-benefits office.
Military, Department of Defense, Civil Service
Active-duty and retired military, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian employees, some civil-service employees, and dependents of these groups can buy Disney multiday admissions at a 9 - 10% discount. At most military and DOD installations, the passes are available from the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office. Civil-service employees should contact their personnel office to see if they're eligible. Military personnel can buy a discounted admission for nonmilitary guests as long as the military member accompanies the nonmilitary member. If a group seeks the discount, at least half must be eligible for the military discount.
Disney Youth Education Series
Disney runs programs for K - 12 students to learn how the parks incorporate everything from performing arts to physics. The program runs every day and offers substantial ticket discounts (with substantial restrictions). Disney usually requires a 10-person minimum to attend these events, but waives the minimum on occasion. See disneyyouth.com for more information.
Where Not to Buy Disneyland Tickets
In addition to the many authorized sellers of Disney admissions, a number of bricks-and-mortar sellers exist. They buy unused days on legitimately purchased passes, then resell them as if they were newly issued.
These resellers are easy to identify: They insist that you specify exactly which dates you plan to use the ticket. They know, of course, how many days are left on the pass and when it expires. If you tell them you plan to use it tomorrow and the next two days, they'll sell you a ticket that has three days remaining and expires in three days.
Naturally, because they don't tell you this, you assume the usual 14-day expiration period from the date of first use. In the case of your tickets, however, the original purchaser triggered the 14-day expiration period. If you decide to skip a day instead of using the pass on the next three consecutive days, you'll discover to your chagrin that it has expired.
Disneyland Ticket Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I Use 2 "Days" of My Ticket to Visit 2 Parks on the Same Day Without the "Park Hop" Option? No, and we've tried. Disney's computer systems won't allow it.