Disneyland© Resort in California is a truly magical place and a bucket list destination for many. It is possible to buy discount Disneyland tickets to save money for the excellent character dining, famous desserts, and souvenirs. It’s important to follow some general guidelines to avoid scams.
Note: Disneyland Resort announced a MAJOR price increase on January 6, 2019. While supplies last, you can still buy tickets at 2018 pricing through aRes Travel (more details below).
Initial Decisions to Make
Several decisions are necessary to make before buying Disneyland tickets.
How many days will you need a ticket? Disneyland Resort is home to two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. While it’s possible to see both theme parks in one day, it’s rushed. A minimum of two days will allow for a better experience.
Should you buy Park Hopper© tickets? The park entrances are right next to each other, so it doesn’t take long to walk from one to the other. Whether you opt for Park Hopper tickets depends on what suits your traveling companions best. Typically, for more extended visits Park Hopper provide much-needed flexibility and allow people to re-ride favorite rides on a whim. If you do buy a one-park ticket and decide to upgrade it, you can do this at the park. Park Hopper tickets do not need to be used on consecutive days, but they do need to be used within 13 days of first use (be sure to read all terms and conditions).
Where to buy discount Disneyland tickets? I’ve detailed reliable methods for buying discounted tickets for Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park below.
Important Disneyland Tickets Purchasing Tips
Buy ONLY from a Disneyland Authorized Ticket Seller
One of the most important things when buying Disneyland tickets is this. Buy only from a Disneyland Authorized Ticket Seller. Tickets to “The Happiest Place on Earth” are an investment and like many high-value goods, they can be subject to counterfeiting. Do not ever buy a partially used pass or “rent” a pass.
Read All Terms and Conditions
Read all terms and conditions before purchasing Disneyland tickets. Be sure that they do not expire before your visit. Check refund and transfer policies. And most importantly, check how you’ll receive the tickets. For example, will you need to pick them up at the ticket booth, can you print and go or will they be snail mailed?
If It’s Too Good to Be True…
It probably is. Steep discounts on authentic Disneyland Resort tickets do not exist, especially on one-day passes.
There are various parking options offered for guests visiting the Disneyland Resort(s), all detailed on the Disneyland website. At the time of this writing, the fee for self-parking a standard car for the day is $25, and preferred parking (closer to the elevators and escalators) for a standard car is $40. Upgrade pre-purchased parking for an extra $15.
1-Day Passes Are Almost Never Discounted
1-day Disneyland tickets are rarely discounted so usually the best bet for a one-day ticket is to buy directly from Disneyland Resort. (Teachers, students, military and a few other groups can be eligible for discount 1-day passes through various associations.)
Kids Under the Age of 3 Are Free
You do not need to purchase a ticket for children under 3. Children ages 3-9 need a child ticket while ages 10 and older require an adult ticket.
Magic Morning is a significant benefit usually added to 3-Day, 4-Day or 5-Day Tickets. Magic Morning allows ticket holders entry to Disneyland Park one hour before it opens to the general public. Current Magic Morning days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday but please check the calendar for details.
1. aRes Travel (Top Pick)
aRes Travel is a San Diego based, Disneyland Authorized Ticket Seller. While supplies last, they are selling 2019 Disneyland tickets at 2018 prices. I don’t expect this opportunity to last more than a few days so please take advantage of it ASAP.
All 3, 4 or 5-day tickets purchased through them include one-day access to the Magic Morning. aRes Travel is also known for excellent customer service as they have agents that you can call if need be. aRes Travel ticketholders go straight to the gate without a need to go to the ticket booth first.
Note that aRes Travel charges a $2 convenience fee per ticket, but you will still likely come out ahead.
The current Disneyland tickets deals are:
2. Book a Disneyland Hotel Package
It’s also possible to save even more money by bundling your hotel with discount Disneyland Resort tickets. There are many, many to choose from including the Good Neighbor Hotels that are Disney approved.
3. Disney Southern California Select Passport
For a limited time only, Southern California residents receive preferred pricing on annual passes to one or both Disneyland and Disneys California Adventure parks on select dates.
However, MANY blockout dates apply (like the majority of summer and all weekends) and vary by park.
You’ll also receive 10% off of select dining and merchandise. Prices start at $399 for ages 3+ and you can also break that up into monthly payments.
Disneyland Resort offers slight discounts of $5-$9 to AAA members on 2-Day, 3-Day, 4-Day and 5-Day tickets.
5. Military Discounts
Disneyland Resort offers several substantial, special military discounts for active and retired U.S. military personnel. The current offer is for 3-Day and 4-Day tickets.
Costco used to sell discounted Disneyland Resort theme park tickets but now only offers vacation packages.
7. Group Ticket Discounts
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park offer discounts for groups of 15 or more from qualified non-profit organizations. You’ll need to call to secure the discount.
The Disney Youth Program also offers discounts for groups of kids ages 3-22.
8. Annual Passports
Annual Passports (annual passes) to Disneyland Resort theme parks start at $369 and go up to $1,149, depending on how many days of access you’d like (some Annual Passports are subject to blockout dates). The percentage of in-park discounts on dining vary by the pass. They can be purchased in full or via monthly installments.
The Disney Southern California Select Annual Passport is a very viable option for Southern California residents who visit the park multiple times per year. It starts at $369 per person (ages 3 and older).
Special Disneyland Resort Experiences
Extra Magic Hour
If staying overnight in Anaheim on a Disney vacation, I am a big advocate of choosing a Disneyland Resort hotel.
One of the main reasons is Extra Magic Hour. Registered guests of the Disneyland Resort hotels enter Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days. This means that if you’re staying one night, you’ll get to enjoy Extra Magic Hour on the day you check-in and the day that you check out. Select rides, dining, and attractions in one park per day are open for Extra Magic Hour. I do advise checking the calendar in advance of booking a hotel so that you know which park is open early on which day.
For those looking for a VIP experience, Disneyland Resort now offers various packages that include concierge to plan park itineraries, priority ride access, reserved seating, and more.
One of the best times to visit Disneyland Resort is during the holiday season, including Halloween. Several rides including the Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise take on a Christmas or Halloween theme, special treats become available throughout the park and much more.
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