This guide to Disneyland & Disney California Adventure tickets explains how to buy discounted park admission, with money-saving tips & recommended sellers of park admission and where not to buy to avoid scams. We cover potential price increases, deals at grocery stores or from AAA, and pros & cons of Park Hoppers. (Updated July 17, 2023.)
If all you want to know is the cheapest, best, and safest place to buy Disneyland tickets, our top recommendation is Get Away Today. These Disneyland tickets are delivered via email after buying and can be used right after you receive them. So no delay whatsoever. These are “tier-less tickets,” which means they can be used on any date.
This is one an authorized seller of Disneyland tickets that we recommend due to their exceptional customer service and flexibility, both of which are superior to what Disney offers directly. These low prices coupled with Get Away Today’s “Best Price Guarantee” makes them our recommended ticket seller.
All Disneyland tickets are valid for travel now through December 31, 2024. The additional upside to this if you aren’t traveling soon is that you can lock-in current prices and avoid future price increases that will likely occur later in 2023 or next year. We still recommend buying tickets sooner rather than later to safeguard against the inevitable price increases (see below).
Speaking of which, Disneyland ticket prices increased most recently in mid-October of last year. This impacted single-day and multi-day tickets, with regular and Park Hoppers all increasing. On average, prices were up by about 8-9% per ticket, with several multi-day tickets up by $35 each.
The Genie+ ticket add-on now costs $25 per day, which is up from the previous cost of $20 per day. However, Genie+ also now uses date-based pricing, and that Lightning Lane line-skipping frequently costs $30 on busier days when purchased same-day. So you can still save money with the length-of-ticket Genie+ add-on.
2023 Potential Price Increases
Disneyland normally raises ticket prices in February or October–sometimes both. As noted above, ticket prices went up last October; increases have not yet occurred in 2023. Honestly, we were somewhat surprised that an increase didn’t happen at the start of the year given the debut of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, kickoff of the Disney100 Celebration, and persistently high crowds.
If historical precedent is any indication, the odds are high of an increase in Fall 2023. If you know you’re going to go to Disneyland between now and 2024, we recommend purchasing your tickets now. Purchasing now will “future proof” against additional price increases in the next year-plus.
Prices have gone up at least once annually every year of the last decade. That was true even for the year-plus when the parks were closed–they managed to sneak in price increases shortly before closing and after reopening. With that said, pent-up demand is fizzling out and Disneyland is experiencing a slowdown as compared to the last two years. So it’s possible that Disney will hit pause on price increases. We wouldn’t bet on it, but we also wouldn’t bet against it.
If prices do go up, it’ll likely happen shortly after the start of Halloween season, likely between mid-September and early October 2023, which is the start of Disney’s new fiscal year. Halloween and Christmas seasons are the most popular times of year at Disneyland, so raising prices to coincide with those events makes the most sense.
Once you purchase tickets, you’ll need to make a theme park reservation when visiting through 2023. This is a simple and straightforward process, and both parks now typically have excellent availability as of 2023.
Nevertheless, we always recommend making reservations ASAP, as many dates will book up days or weeks in advance. That’s especially true of Fridays through Sundays, holiday weeks, and any school breaks. If you’re planning to visit for summer vacation or the weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve (to give just a handful of examples), making reservations at least 3 weeks in advance is the current best practice.
If you need more info and advice to figure out which ticket options are right for you or how many days you should spend in the parks, the rest of this post is for you. We’ve analyzed the different options before buying Disneyland tickets, and thought we’d share some of what we’ve learned beyond that in this post, starting with where to buy–and where NOT to buy–discount Disneyland tickets…
Where to Buy Discount Disneyland Tickets
As for where to buy, purchasing online in advance is best idea to save the most money. Again, we recommend Get Away Today as a safe (you’ll see why we keep emphasizing this below) option for discounted tickets. These are the same as what you’d purchase directly from Disneyland, with all of the same “features.”
Want to book a hotel in addition to park tickets? That’s perfect, as there are great deals on Disneyland ticket & hotel bundle discounts. In fact, this is where the big savings come into play. We recommend looking for hotels that offer the “4th night free” special. Currently, these are the best discounts you’ll find on a Disneyland Resort or Southern California vacation.
The hotel packages save much more than individual discounts on tickets and hotels, so it’s a great option if you need to book both. Consult our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings post for our favorite hotels in the area–we’ve stayed in and reviewed ~50 hotels near Disneyland.
For buying Disneyland tickets, another great option is Undercover Tourist. If you’re in a pinch or buying in person, Target and Sam’s Club stores can also be decent options. If you’re a REDcard holder, Target stores are a more appealing option, although the prices and availability does vary. Same goes for Sam’s Club, which is obviously membership-only.
Target and Sam’s Club stores are definitely your best in-person options, though. When comparing prices, always be sure to factor fees–some sites don’t show these until the order confirmation page. There is no sales tax charged on theme park tickets in California, so that’s not relevant.
If you’re in Southern California, there are in-person options in addition to Target and Sam’s Club, but the discounts are not as good. These include Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels in Anaheim, most of which are authorized sellers. Other options are AAA, Safeway, and Costco stores in Southern California. Note that these stores don’t always carry Disneyland tickets, and even when they do, sometimes the discounts are quite minimal.
Where NOT to Buy Disneyland Tickets
Now that you now where to buy discount Disneyland tickets, let’s cover where you should not purchase tickets. Do not buy Disneyland tickets on eBay, Craigslist, or roadside stands in and around Anaheim. Ticket “rental” or buying partially used tickets is a scam, and you will be throwing your money away.
The reason these won’t work is because Disneyland now takes your photo at the turnstiles the first time you use a ticket. Each time thereafter that you reenter the park, that photo pops up on the screen, and Cast Members verify your appearance against that photo.
Unless you have a really compelling Face/Off kind of story, you’ll be denied entry. Cast Members will not have any sympathy if you’re caught with “rental” tickets; you will have to purchase new tickets at the gate, at full price. We have heard horror stories about this; it’s not a fun way to start a vacation, and instead of “saving” $40 or so, you’ll be losing hundreds of dollars.
Another place you should not purchase Disneyland tickets is DisneyWorld.com. Remember, this guide is for Disneyland Resort, encompassing Disneyland (park) and Disney California Adventure in Southern California. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, check out our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post.
You might laugh, but guests arriving with tickets purchased for the wrong coast is a daily occurrence. While this is a problem with which they can assist you, it’s time-consuming, cumbersome, and embarrassing, so don’t make this mistake.
Next, our thoughts on how many days to do Disneyland, and which type of tickets you should purchase…
How Many Days at Disneyland?
We highly recommend spending more than a single day at Disneyland, but then again, we’re hardcore Disney dorks who spend way too much time in the parks. So your mileage may vary if you’re traveling to California and want to spend the majority of your time exploring Los Angeles, San Diego, and the beach cities.
Unfortunately, no authorized ticket sellers offer discounts on 1-day tickets. None. You’re better off purchasing those directly from Disney. There are almost no exceptions to this, so if you see somewhere advertising discounts on 1-day Disneyland tickets, it’s probably not legit. If you really only want to do a single day and you can’t be convinced otherwise, we highly recommend doing the Park Hopper tickets and bouncing between the two parks to see as much as possible.
Those on a tight budget might consider forgoing the Park Hopper option, in which case you should only do Disneyland, rather than Disney California Adventure. Keep in mind that if do that, you won’t be able to visit the awesome Cars Land, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, Incredicoaster, and more. Also know that it’s impossible to do everything in one day.
At least two days at Disneyland is where discounts start to be offered via authorized sellers. The bad news is that these discounts are still fairly minimal. You’re looking at ~$5 off per ticket at best–but every little bit of savings helps!
As with the 1-day ticket, we recommend purchasing the Park Hopper option. This allows you a day for each park, as well as the ability to bounce back and forth between the two parks during your visit. That offers some strategic advantages, including be able to book Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations in both parks.
If you’re doing 3 days or more, that’s where you’ll start finding the best discounts on Disneyland tickets. The incremental cost of each day beyond 2 is progressively lower, meaning you pay significantly less per day for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure visits that are 4 days long than you do for a single day. This huge cost difference is one of the big reasons we recommend doing a few days at Disneyland if you can. As Disney says, “the longer you play, the less you pay per day.” Cheesy, but accurate.
Cutting to the chase, this is why we recommend the average family spend 3 days at Disneyland Resort. There’s enough to do at the parks to justify a 4 day visit, especially if you go at a normal pace, take a midday break, or do table service meals. Four days is the point when the per day cost drops significantly, and with 4-day tickets, you can also not purchase the Park Hopper option to save even more money.
Of course, not everyone is going to want to spend 4 days at Disneyland. There’s a ton to do in Southern California, so you might be better suited with only 2-3 days and spending time at the beach, in Los Angeles, or other theme parks like Universal Studios Hollywood.
Lightning Lanes or Standby Lines?
As discussed above, Disneyland now offers Genie+ and the Lightning Lane line-skipping system, which replaces the formerly free FastPass. We cover everything you need to know in our Guide to Genie+ at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure & Lightning Lane FAQ.
You can either purchase Genie+ each day after entering the parks, or buy it in advance as a length-of-ticket add-on for $25 per day. While the advance purchase add-on price is static, same-day pricing of Genie+ is demand-based. It currently costs $30 on busier days or $25 on less-crowded days.
If you can afford it, we’d recommend most visitors buy Genie+ in advance and for every day of their trip to Disneyland. You will easily be able to secure Lightning Lane selections for most (if not all) popular attractions, saving several hours as compared to waiting in the standby lines. The last time we tested Genie+ at Disneyland and DCA, we were easily able to make ride reservations for 16 attractions, saving roughly over 6 hours in line.
This is not an anomaly or uncommon outcome. Genie+ is really easy to use at Disneyland Resort, and gives you a huge advantage. This is especially true when paired with Park Hopper tickets, as you can come close to maxing out the Lightning Lanes in both parks in a single day. Since there’s a no re-ride rule with Genie+, this puts Park Hoppers at a distinct advantage with the system.
With that said, Genie+ is not strictly necessary at Disneyland. You can still accomplish a lot without it and with savvy strategy, such as using our Disney Theme Park Touring Plans & Itineraries or Early Entry at Disneyland. Genie+ just enables you to ride many more attractions and get a lot more bang for your buck. In the end, we recommend using a variety of strategies to experience headliners via the Lightning Lanes and standby lines when wait times are lower!
Park Hopper v. One Park Per Day
We’ve already answered this question for single and 2-day tickets, but we also recommend the Park Hopper option for longer stays if your budget allows. The reason for this is simple: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are literally less than a football field apart. It’s easy to jump from one to the other, and we do on every single visit.
This allows you to hit Radiator Springs Racers first thing every morning of our trip, and then either continue the day at Disney California Adventure, or head over to Disneyland. As mentioned above, it also enables you to use Genie+ at both parks in a single day, instead of just at one.
If you do continue the day at Disney California Adventure, having the hopper allows you to go to Disneyland late at night for the fireworks, or to head over to Disneyland to end the day, because it’s usually open later. There’s a lot of nighttime entertainment, and it’s tough to see it all in one night.
You can also bounce back and forth between the parks, making for more efficient touring. You don’t waste time commuting between the Disneyland Resort parks like you do at Walt Disney World, so it’s really good from a strategic and ‘most bang for your buck’ perspective.
On the other hand, if you have small children who won’t stay up late or aren’t concerned about having the most efficient day possible, opting for Park Hopper might be a waste of your money. As always, there’s really no one size fits all answer. While we love the Park Hopper option and leverage it to its full advantage, others might take a more laid back approach.
Finally, some other ticket options that might be appealing to some readers, but are more ‘niche’ options…
California Grocery Store Ticket Deals
If you are reading this at the last-minute while already on vacation in California, and are just looking for quick–but not the best–savings, local grocery stores can be an option. Sometimes Safeway, Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, and Costco have discounts on tickets. We’ve actually seen some pretty good deals on tickets at our local grocery stores, but they’re sometimes for SoCal residents and other times a bit hit or miss.
As such, we do not recommend going out of your way to find one of these stores, as these tickets aren’t always available. It’s really not worth your limited vacation time for what’s potentially a wild goose chase. (We have never seen discounted Disneyland tickets at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, so don’t even bother with those.)
There are also modest savings available at AAA stores, which obviously are not grocery stores, but the AAA discount is the same idea. Note that AAA and Disney ended their partnership, so the savings there are no longer as good. More importantly, they no longer offer free parking, which was a really big deal.
In the past, Costco stores on the West Coast offered a gift card with purchase, but this has not happened for over 5 years. Basically, if you read about an excellent grocery store ticket offer, read the publication date, as all of these discounts have dried up. These grocery store discounts were available at a time when Disneyland’s attendance was much lower and they’re unlikely to return.
Whatever you do, do not just stop at a random roadside store in Anaheim or Los Angeles and buy tickets. Those are most likely scams.
CALIFORNIA RESIDENT DISCOUNTS
If you live in California and have proof of residence, there are usually discount Disneyland and Disney California Adventure ticket offers twice per year. The first is usually from early January until late May, and this discount is only available to Southern California residents. Of the two offers, this is usually the better deal.
The second is a relatively newer discount, but it’s been available each of the last 3 summer seasons and has been offered to almost all Californians. The months of this have varied, but it’s usually later in summer, through early fall (including the start of Halloween). This deal isn’t as good as the early year SoCal deal, but it’s still better than everything else on this list. If you’re a resident who is eligible for one of these two offers, you should absolutely take advantage.
Currently, the 2023 California Resident Ticket Deal for Summer & Fall is Now Available! Californians can visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks for as low as $83 per day with the purchase of a special 3-day, 1-park per day weekday ticket. Visit 3 times between now and September 28, 2023–subject to theme park reservation availability and blockouts. The really good news is that there’s a version of this ticket that’s valid on weekends, which has not always been the case with these deals!
When available, these deals can be purchased directly from Disneyland, or via Get Away Today for even greater savings. Be sure to double-check eligible ZIP codes on that page. Each Guest (age 18+) using a California Resident ticket must show proof of eligible residency for purchase and admission. A valid government-issued photo ID showing an address within a valid ZIP code is required for entry into the park.
Disneyland Magic Key Annual Passes
Even under the new Magic Key Annual Pass program, it’s still really tough to justify buying a Disneyland Annual Passport for a single trip if you live out of state. This might conflict with other information you’ve heard or read, but that’s probably outdated.
It used to be a great option to purchase an Annual Pass, but in the last 5 years, Disneyland Annual Passes have more than doubled in price. (You read that correctly.) Annual Passes are particularly attractive if you have a flexible schedule and will be in the parks more than two weeks per year.
Conversely, if you live in Northern California, Utah, Nevada, etc. and will visit Disneyland multiple times per year, the Magic Key pass might make a lot of sense. In fact, depending on when you plan to visit, you might be able to get away with the “Enchant” Magic Key, which would move the breakeven point down to only a few separate long weekend trips.
Currently, most Annual Passes are only available for renewal–there are no new sales of all the lower tier passes, only the Inspire Key AP can be purchased, and that’s the highest tier (costing $1,599!). See When Will Magic Key Annual Pass Sales Resume? for our predictions as to when you can expect to be able to purchase all new APs again in 2023.
Other SoCal Theme Parks
If you are wanting to visit other theme parks as part of your Southern California vacation, there are a ton of options. The two we recommend are Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Southern California’s big theme park addition for 2023 is Super Nintendo World. Although mischaracterized as a “Mario Theme Park” in some media reports, this is actually a small land in Universal Studios Hollywood. While lacking in size, it packs a powerful punch and we highly recommend doing a day trip to USH to experience this excellent addition.
With that said, it’s imperative that you properly plan and prepare to avoid the (massive) crowds. Wait times can get really bad at USH, but the crowds are actually easy to beat with a bit of strategizing. See our 2023 Planning Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood and our Strategy Guide for Super Nintendo World for everything you need to know. (Seriously, the crowds can be worse at USH than at Disneyland, but it’s also easier to “outsmart” them!)
Knott’s is less than 15 minutes away, and Universal Studios Hollywood is about an hour away from Disneyland. There’s also both SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California, which are both over 2 hours south of Disneyland Resort by car. (All of these times are highly-dependent upon traffic.) If you are thinking about doing any of these other parks, check out Get Away Today’s discounts and ticket bundles.
Okay, so that’s all a lot to digest. What are the key takeaways for saving money on Disneyland tickets in 2023 and 2024?
- Always buy your Disneyland tickets in advance, from an authorized third party ticket broker. Get Away Today has the best prices on Disneyland tickets. If you want to do more than just Disneyland, they also sell Universal Studios Hollywood tickets–so you can visit the new Super Nintendo World!
- If you are doing a vacation that is focused on Disneyland Resort, we recommend doing a 4-day or 5-day ticket for the most value. (Pro tip: break up your visit with a relaxing beach day in the middle.)
- If you want to a balanced vacation that allows you to do the highlights of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, but also spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California, our recommendation is the 4-Day Park Hopper Ticket to drop the per day cost of visiting Disneyland to under $100.
- Regardless of when you’re visiting Disneyland, we recommend purchasing your tickets now to lock-in current prices.
- We don’t recommend a 1-day ticket, but if you’re going to buy it, do so directly from Disney–no third parties discount this ticket.
- Magic Key Passes (AP replacement) might be a great option for Californians and those in nearby states who make a few trips per year. Anyone making one trip or even two shorter ones will not benefit from the Magic Key program.
Planning a Southern California vacation? Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!
Where do you typically purchase your Disneyland tickets? Have any questions about Disneyland tickets or places to buy them? Wondering about the latest Disneyland ticket price increase rumors? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!