Seven Tips for Lower Disneyland Ticket Prices
How to Get Cheap Disney Tickets
The terms of time and money, buying Disneyland® e-tickets online is the best way to locate the cheap discounted tickets to both Disneyland and California Adventure Parks. Do not purchase your tickets at the ticket booth since you will end up waiting in line and will not receive the benefit of online savings.
Your tickets are delivered to you within minutes by email or you can pay an extra fee to have them mailed to you if you don’t have access to a printer. After you purchase your tickets, you will receive a PDF that you open with Adobe Reader to print out. You should have one ticket printed out for each guest for park entry.
When you enter the theme park, bypass the ticket booths and go directly to the entrance. Hand your 8 ½ x 11 printed e-ticket to the cast member and you’ll get a new ticket stub good for the duration which was purchased.
If you purchased an Annual Passport, take the ticket stub to Main Street Bank (to your right just as you enter Main Street). You will get your picture taken and provided with a credit card-size passport good for both parks.
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Discounted Savings with Annual Passports
Your largest discount in Disneyland tickets comes purchasing an Annual Passport. The passport gives you from 170 – 365 days of unblocked access. Obviously to take advantage of the discount, you need to reside near the park. Even though we live more than 70 miles away from Disneyland – a short two-hour drive in LA traffic – we take advantage of our Annual Passports by staying at one of the hotels near Disneyland.
Besides giving you Park Hopper access to Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks, you receive 10% dining discounts at select resort restaurants; special rates at hotels at the Disneyland Resort; and, benefits at Downtown Disney.
- The Premium Passport, with no blocked out dates, gives you free parking at the Mickey & Friends parking structure. But you should upgrade one passport with a parking pass if you purchase one of the other three passports.
- The Southern California Select Annual Passport gives you 170 days of admission to both parks; however, summer and weekends are blocked out.
- The Southern California Annual Passport gives you 215 days of admission with similar blocked out dates as the Select Passport; except that the majority of Sundays are open for admission. (This is the Passport we purchased.)
- The Deluxe Annual Passport gives you 315 days of enjoyment but the summer and most weekends are not blocked out. The Christmas holiday from 12/24 – 1/1 is blocked out.
- The Premier Passport has all the advantages of the Premium, but it allows 365 day entry to Disney World and all associated parks in Orlando, FL. Currently you can only purchase the Premier pass in person at the parks and runs about $1,000.
The Cash Value Trick
One of the biggest secrets that no one tells you is that your ticket has redemption value which can be applied to purchasing passports. (Note: this trick does not work if you have a complementary pass since it has no cash value.) This is how it works:
Because we had some complementary passes, we let our passports expire. But in October 2013, we were down to our last pass and had to purchase a single ticket. I asked if we could apply our comp towards the renewal of our Passport. The Cast Member in the ticket booth said we could only use tickets which are purchased and used for that day.
You simply return to the ticket booth or guest services to renew or buy your passport.
Here's the kicker: while waiting in the Haunted Mansion ride, I picked up a dozen or so discarded tickets -- which by the way work great for extra Fast Passes -- that have cash value. A single discarded ticket saved us some big bucks on the renewal.
Free Disneyland Tickets
Signup for the birthday club and attend Disneyland for free on your birthday. You need to bring proof of your birth date such as a driver’s license. Disney will give you a nice medallion to wear with your name on it and everyone will wish you “happy birthday!”
(Note: I haven't used this trick in a while, but regardless you still get a cool name tag.)
Disneyland Deep Discounts Multi-Day Hopper Tickets
Single day tickets must be purchased at the ticket booth but you should always purchase Park Hopper Tickets so you can enter both parks on the same day. You can also purchase 2-6 day hopper tickets which allow you to attend within a two-week period after first use. The multi-day hopper tickets are good for non-area residents spending a vacation in Los Angeles. The two week window is very flexible so you can visit other attractions in the greater Los Angeles area.
Sometimes these passes are listed on eBay. What happens is that a scalper will purchase a 6 day pass and will auction a set of tickets to the highest bidder. You have to pick up the tickets at a nearby local business that morning and return the tickets that night. The scalper requests a Drivers License or cell phone as collateral so that you will return the tickets that so that he can give them to the next person the following day. There is no guarantee that Disneyland will accept the reuse of the ticket. Look for auctions that don't have the scalping smell and you should be just fine.
Besides eBay, you can try Craigslist for Disneyland Tickets. Some people receive complimentary tickets that either don't have the time to attend the park or just want to sell them for a little extra money. Again, be wary of scalpers especially if they want to take possession of your Drivers License.
Special Package Deals
Disneyland usually offers summer deals while the schools are out during summer vacation. This may be a good option for you and your children. The 4th of July is normally the only day that is blocked out. The “City Pass” ticket allows you to enter Disneyland and other theme parks such as Universal Studios.
AAA Discount Disney Tickets
Are you a member of the Auto Club of Southern California or AAA? Sorry, you currently cannot buy tickets through them. However you can get a discounted vacation package when booking through their local travel agent.
Discount Disney Tickets at Costco
While AAA doesn't provide you a deal on ticket prices, Costco does! Currently you can pick up a 4-day park hopper pass for $199.99. It comes with a $50 Disney Gift Card so the net cost is only $149.99. This is one of the better deals you can find online. However, you need be a Costco member.
Disney Gift Cards can be used buy Disney theme park tickets, merchandise, food, parking, vacation
packages, hotel stays. Thus it is good as cash since you'll probably end up spending $50 per person on food and souvenirs.
Be Aware of Scalpers
Disneyland has put a stop to scalpers reselling multi-day passes by enforcing a new photo policy for these types of tickets. When the ticket is first used, your photo is taken and remains on file until the pass expires. Cast Members check your photo associated with the ticket and your face doesn't match, you cannot enter the park.
Prior to this new policy, scalpers would resell the multi-day passes to guests at a fraction of the cost. You had to leave a security deposit to encourage you to return the pass at the end of the day so the scalper could resell it to another guest.
eBay, Craigslist and other auction sites were common places to locate these types of sales, but they are rare. Don't buy a resold ticket, because you will lose your money when Disneyland prohibits your entry. Look for safer unused tickets.
It appears that Disneyland raises gate prices every year in late May or early June. You can take advantage of this fact by purchasing gift cards that are sold in grocery stores. Plan ahead for next near by getting them early in April. The cards expire at the end of the year so by planning ahead, you're going to save at least $10 per card.
The cards also have the old price printed on them, so the grocer will have to honor the price even though the prices are higher.