Disneyland offers quite a few options for tickets, but if you're not super familiar with the parks it may be difficult to decide which ones are the best ones for you and your family. Obviously you don't want to overspend, but you also want to make sure that you're giving everything enough time and providing you and your family enough options to make everything work. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider to help you choose which tickets will be perfect for you. (UPDATED 14 Dec 2017)
- HOW LONG IS THE TRIP? - Disneyland offers anywhere from 1- to 5-Day tickets which do not need to be used on consecutive dates. Consider how many days you want to devote to the Disneyland Resort during your stay and keep in mind that the cost per day of the tickets drops dramatically the more days you buy. I generally recommend at least a 3-Day ticket to ensure you have time for it all, but your plans may call for something else.
- WHAT ELSE ARE YOU PLANNING? - Say you're going to be in California for a week and plan on several activities during that time, such as the beach, Sea World, Knott's Berry Farm, Hollywood, a ball game, etc. Then how much attention do you want to give Disneyland? If it's just a small part of a much bigger overall vacation, then maybe you want just a 1- or 2-Day ticket. You may also want to consider a Park Hopper to maximize your time in the parks. Keep in mind, though, that any Disney Park tends to require more time to appreciate than other theme parks.
- WHERE ARE YOU TRAVELING FROM? - If you're coming from only a few hours away, you may only need tickets for a couple of days because it's fairly easy to make the trip down to Anaheim. On the other hand, if you're traveling a greater distance then you'll want to maximize your time and spend more days in the parks since you can't make it down very often.
CONSIDER THE PROS & CONS OF EACH OPTION - Each ticket Disneyland offers is geared towards a specific type of vacation so consider what each can offer and the drawbacks:
- 1-Day Tickets - These are perfect for short trips or people who don't need to travel more than a couple of hours to visit the park. You will not get everything done regardless how much you try. They are the most expensive per day and are the only tickets whose price varies according to the time of year you visit peaking at around $120. I don't recommend them.
- 2- or 3-Day Tickets - These are great if you want to visit a couple of other big Southern California attractions during the week or want to save a bit of money. This is generally enough time to get most, if not everything, done in the parks but still requires a bit of planning. The cost per day is reasonable, but you may still feel overcharged. You do, though, get a Magic Morning with a 3-Day ticket which grants you admission to Disneyland Park one hour early on select days. I would recommend these tickets.
- 4- or 5-Day Tickets - Choose these if you want your trip to be primarily at Disneyland. You certainly will accomplish everything you want and have time for some relaxing options, too, like pools, the beach or a ball game. It's more money in total, but the cost per day is the most reasonable. Plus a Magic Morning in included with both 4- and 5-Day passes. This is my preferred option.
- 1 Park per Day Tickets - This is the most basic option for any Disneyland Resort ticket. It's exactly what it says: you get admission to just one park per day of your visit depending one whichever you visited first. These save you a bit of money per day and can be an okay option for 3-Day tickets or longer, but I don't recommend it. It severely limits your options and can make you feel stuck, particularly in California Adventure. However, if you're only wanting to visit Disneyland Park then this could be a feasible option.
- Park Hoppers - Unlike the 1 Park per Day option, Park Hoppers grant admission to both parks every day so you can go between them whenever you want. The parks are very close together so this gives you more options of what you can do in a single day. The only down side is the extra cost, but I think it's worth it. I highly recommend them and would not purchase a 1- or 2-Day ticket without the Park Hopper option. It just doesn't make sense to me.
- ARE YOU INTERESTED IN PHOTOPASS? - If you're interested in using PhotoPass to document your trip, then you have to consider the different options. You can purchase a weeklong PhotoPass for one larger fee or you can choose to go day by day with the MaxPass which will also allow you to utilize digital FastPasses. If you choose that route, then you need to be aware that each person in your party must have the MaxPass in order to use the digital FastPasses. These are prices you can pay either as part of your ticket price or add later if you change your mind. Make sure you think through everything before you commit.
These are just a few considerations when you're making your plans, but I would encourage you to not make money the primary factor in choosing tickets. It's a huge factor, believe me, but choosing to spend just a little bit more can make a big difference for your family. Click here to view current prices for ticket prices, but note that they tend to change annually.
If you want to save some money on your whole southern California vacation, try our preferred travel partner Get Away Today. They offer great personal service and deals on tickets all over SoCal but they specialize in the Disneyland Resort. I've loved working with them and you will, too!
Whatever you choose, you will have a magical time, even if just one day! Still have questions? Ask us and we'll be happy to help! Happy planning!