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All You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

One of the major expenses of your Disneyland vacation is your Park entrance ticket. Disneyland tickets are paper (no Walt Disney World MagicBands here!) and they are also your “ticket” so-to-speak for grabbing FASTPASS throughout your vacation. Naturally, with something so important there’s a lot to learn.

Here’s the scoop on what you need to know about Disneyland tickets!

All You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets

My number one tip on buying Disneyland tickets is….

Don’t wait to buy your park tickets when you get to the park.

Seriously.

You are able to buy park tickets on the Disneyland website. You can buy them from travel agencies, AAA, credit union or at Costco. You can buy them at the Disney Store in the mall. Some of the Anaheim Good Neighbor hotels sell them. You can even buy them at Southern California grocery stores. I recommend purchasing online through Park Savers (affiliate link) because they are an authorized seller of discounted tickets.

Do not buy tickets at Disneyland…that is, unless you like to stand in line for 30+ minutes when you could be getting into the park. Or if you like paying full price instead of getting a possible discount by doing a little shopping around!

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

Lined up in the morning at the box office…when they could be in the Park!

If you buy your tickets elsewhere, you can go directly to the front gate and they will trade your ticket in whatever form it is (it might look like a plain print-out or like a plastic gift card) for an official park ticket right then and there.

Who doesn’t need a ticket?

If your child is under three years old, their admission is free!

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

Kids under three don’t need a Park ticket.

What’s a Park Hopper?

A Disneyland ticket with a Park Hopper option allows guests to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park on the same day. “Hopping” between Parks is generally quick (they are just across a short esplanade from each other) though entry to Disneyland can sometimes take longer on busy days.

Park Hoppers do add a bit more cost to your ticket price. If you are staying for only 1 or 2 days, I would highly recommend a Park Hopper option. This way you’ll be able to make the best use of your mornings by hitting popular rides, grabbing FASTPASS and going back and forth between the Parks. If you are staying for 3+ days, I would purchase non-Park Hoppers because you’ll be able to spend more time exploring each Park thoroughly by staying in one each day. You’ll also get a better rate on 3+ day tickets.

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

Standing in the esplanade between the two Parks (yep, very pregnant!)

How Do I Get the Best Rates on Tickets?

Generally the more in-park days you purchase upfront, the better discount you’ll be getting. Consider one of the Annual Passports if you plan on going back at any point during the year or if your vacation is going to be longer. If you purchase a Signature pass, you’ll have no blackout dates, receive free parking, food discounts and some retail shop discounts as well.

I highly recommend purchasing tickets from Park Savers (affiliate link) online as they are an authorized seller of discount tickets for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND . They also offer the SoCal City Pass which includes tickets to Disneyland as well as other Southern California attractions and you’ll save buying the set versus buying individual tickets for each park.

Park Savers logo

Stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels and book one of their travel packages, which can include park tickets at a discounted rate. Of course, staying at a Disneyland resort hotel is going to cost more than an off-site hotel. Park Savers also offers discounted vacation packages, so I’d definitely request a quote from them first!

If you are a Southern California resident you often have the advantage of receiving discounted prices on short visit tickets during certain times of the year. You’ll need proof of residence upon entry to the Park. Military, teachers and some other professionals may receive discounts through your employer.

Keep in mind that a 1-day ticket price has seasonal pricing based on when the Park crowds are “peak” (more expensive ticket), “regular” or “value”(less expensive ticket). You’ll pay more to visit on the weekends and holiday seasons. Unless you are very tight on time and only have one day, you should definitely avoid the 1-day ticket.

How Do I Use My Ticket for a FASTPASS?

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

First I should answer, “What’s a FASTPASS?”

FASTPASS is a way for you to get a “reservation” in a shorter line for a particular ride. FASTPASS is free so there’s no reason not to try it! Each of the following attractions have a FASTPASS Distribution Area where you will scan in your park ticket and in return be given a special FASTPASS “return” ticket. This will have a window of time printed on it for you to come back to the attraction and be able to take a “short-cut” by using the designated FASTPASS line instead of standing in the regular line-up.

There are a few tips and rules about using FASTPASS

always use FASTPASS whenever possible. Of course there are days you won’t need to use it, like if the park isn’t terribly crowded. There are even days when Disneyland won’t offer the FASTPASS because the lines are short enough already.

However there are certain rides I absolutely will not wait in the regular line-up and will only use FASTPASS for. Radiator Springs Racers is one ride that you should grab a FASTPASS for first thing in the morning. Anything new, like the show Frozen – Live at the Hyperion will have a long wait in stand-by so nabbing a FASTPASS if you want to see it is imperative.

When you approach the FASTPASS Distribution Area for a particular ride, pay note to the time frame that you will be asked to return. If the Park is really crowded your return time might be a few hours out. There is even a chance that FASTPASS will not be available on extremely busy days because they will be “filled up” very early in the day. This happened to us for Soarin’ last time we visited on a busy weekend. It was about noon and the FASTPASS times weren’t available until after 6pm!

Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and Where NOT to buy them!

Get your FASTPASS early for Radiator Springs Racers!

Each person in your party will need their own FASTPASS. This means you’ll have to individually scan in each person’s ticket so they will each get a FASTPASS.

The best use of FASTPASS is to have a game plan of things to do until the FASTPASS time is ready. For instance, the Autopia line is always long and I always get a FASTPASS for this. You’ll have about 40 minutes to wait until your FASTPASS is valid so you could ride the Disneyland Railroad all the way around the Park, go on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, watch the Star Wars show that’s close by or go inside the Star Wars Launch Bay for a while. The point is to do something else while you are waiting for your FASTPASS time to come up. Make the best use of your time and find something else in that area to occupy you until your FASTPASS time is ready!

Annual Passport

If you decide mid-vacation that you’d like to upgrade to an Annual Passport, you can apply the amount that you paid for the ticket (so long as it hasn’t expired) to the cost for the Annual Passport. If you buy the AP, consider which pass makes the best sense for you and your family. Different AP have certain blockout dates so check the calendar before deciding which one is best for you.

Keep in mind that you can mix and match AP within your family to get the best deal that works for you. When I had AP, my boys had the SoCal Passport and I had the Premium (now called Signature). This meant that I could get free parking and a discount on food and some merchandise. There was no reason for the kids to have the Premium because they would never be at the park without me and I would be making all the purchases, so I was the only one who needed to have the higher costing AP with the best discounts.

Annual Passports have a monthly payment option (after an initial down payment) so you can take the year to pay the price of the Passport off.

All You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets

My husband having his photo taken upon entering the park for the first time with our multi-day Park Hopper ticket.

What NOT to Do When Buying or Using Tickets?

  • Don’t buy tickets on Craigslist or on Ebay. You have no way of looking at the tickets and knowing if they are valid or legal.
  • Don’t buy tickets from anyone selling them outside the Park. Buy only from an authorized dealer.
  • Don’t buy anyone else’s multi-day ticket from them. You have no way of knowing how many days are still valid on that ticket! Also your photo will be taken the first time you use your multi-day ticket and verified each time you enter.
  • Don’t lose your ticket!
All You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets

Take a photo of the backside of your ticket in case it gets lost.

Your park ticket will allow you entrance in and out of the park for the day and also use for FASTPASS so don’t lose your ticket! I recommend that you take a photograph of the backside of your ticket as soon as you have it to capture the bar code/date stamp. You’ll be able to get a replacement at Guest Relations should your ticket go missing (make sure everyone in your group and all the tickets that were purchased are with you).

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A Spur of the Moment Disneyland Weekend – Trip Report

Bandleader Mickey at Disneyland!

Mornin’ Mickey!

I run a tight ship when it comes to my Disneyland vacations but well, sometimes life gets in the way and things don’t always go on schedule. It’s best to be flexible! Turns out that pretty much any day spent at Disney is a magical day, no matter how you slice it!

We got up up just after 6am to get ready for the drive. Fortunately we’d packed up mostly the night before so after a quick breakfast we were in the car and on our way. We did have to pick up the stroller from Grandma’s house and fill up the gas tank which added time to my already 20 minutes late time schedule! We live in San Diego, around 90 minutes drive from Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort. This day however would prove to be about 2 hours though, since we ran into a bit of traffic on the way up. The Santa Ana winds that blow in from the desert were warming up the air, which was nice (it was near 80 degrees on this January day!) However we were also getting the crazy fast winds that blow dust and tumbleweeds across the freeway!

About an hour into the drive it dawned on us that we’d forgotten our preschooler’s shoes at home! Ugh…so, after a quick side trip to Target for new kicks, we were soon pulling into the Woody parking lot. To be totally honest, I had no idea that there was a Disney resort parking lot in this area. I knew about the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and had parked at one of the other “off-site” lots but didn’t realize that there was this lot until we passed it on the way to the Target. Parking was so much easier here than at the Parking Structure! We simply boarded one of the Toy Story buses that drove a few miles down the road and dropped us off right in front of the esplanade. There was no waiting for the trams and no long walks, I loved it!

Taking the Disneyland shuttle from "off-site" parking lots

We picked up my daughter’s Disability Access Service (DAS) card at Guest Services and found out that the system has changed even since our recent visit in October. I’ve outlined the system here. Guest still visit the special kiosks scattered through out the Park to receive their designated return time for a particular attraction. However now instead of receiving a small paper log with a return time, guests are now instructed to turn over their Park tickets at the return/Fastpass line of each ride.

New Disability Access Service (DAS)

Cast Members have scanners which scan each ticket and a photo pops up on their screen with the number of people in the party and the designated return time for verification. My daughter wasn’t cooperating that morning and refused to pose for the photo inside City Hall but the Cast Member was kind enough to take a photo of a photo from my husband’s camera phone so there would be an image for the scanner. The new update to the system worked out nicely and the process was much quicker without the Cast Members having to log rides and times on a piece of paper!

New scanners at Disneyland for the Disability Access Service

After receiving the DAS, my daughter was moody and upset and didn’t want to ride anything at first. I took the boys on the King Arthur Carrousel so my husband could get her relaxed and acclimated to the Park atmosphere.

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The entrance bridge through Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently closed, presumably in preparation for the big Diamond Celebration, Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Snow White’s Grotto and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through are also currently off exhibit.

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After a snack and a rest in the shade, Alonna was ready to join us for a ride. We kick started the day with a bang…Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Dillon just turned three only two months ago, but at 40″ high we were ready to have him try a few of the Disneyland coasters. He’d wet his feet on a few of the coasters at Legoland a few weeks ago but we weren’t sure how well these more “high speed adventures” would go over! We needn’t be worried…while he’d  scream throughout the rides and grip onto the bars tightly, afterwards he was all smiles and excitement. He kept saying, “That was AWESOME!” And so we marched on!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disneyland CA

After riding a few more favorites, we made our way across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure Park. As Disney Chase Visa members, we receive a personal Character meet n’ greet and a free 5″ x 7″ photo! We met up with Minnie, who was greeted warmly with a big hug from Dillon like they were old pals!

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In the same area (Hollywoodland), FROZEN FUN is currently taking place! It’s a highly popular (and highly populated!) new area that features a meet n’ greet with Anna and/or Elsa, a sing-a-long theater show, real snow play, specialty foods and snacks, shopping (naturally) and warm hugs from Olaf himself. My kids love the movie but none wanted to participate in the activities since it was quite busy in this area. They were anxious to get on more rides, so we drove ourselves over to Carsland!

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It was my son’s first time riding the Radiator Springs Racers and he was so excited! At each ride that had a 40″ height requirement, Dillon was checked several times through the ride (first at the entrance and then again, usually half-way through the line). This is such a wonderful ride, we were so glad he was able to join us on it this time. And he, of course, loved it! More, “This is AWESOME!!” greeted us through the exit line!

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We took a spin on Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree before jogging through the underpass and onto the Pacific Wharf for lunch.

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I’d not eaten at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill before and it did not disappoint. Large portions that we shared between the five of us, vibrant flavors and we were accompanied by the darling Mariachi Divas. My husband loved the spicy pasilla-tomatillo sauce that came with the tamales. My Hacienda chicken Caesar salad with pepita dressing was enormous and really hit the spot! Total bill for this meal was $35 and it fed all five of us (we didn’t purchase drinks but brought in Gatorade and water bottles). You receive 10% with your Disney Chase Visa or Disney Redemption Card from the Disney Chase Visa program.

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One of my favorite parts of a Disney day is the Character interaction. We happened upon Donald alongside Paradise Pier looking so dapper in his nautical get-up! He was delighted to see himself not only on my son’s t-shirt but featured on his hat too! Donald even tried to put the hat on and danced about a bit, to the joy of my son.

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The big kids went with Dad on California Screamin’ while Dillon and I watched the riders whizzing by! A spin on King Triton’s Carousel, Toy Story Mania and the Jumpin’ Jellyfish followed.

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We hit up Bug’s Land and then headed back over to Disneyland Park for ice creams and more adventure. While in line for waffle cones, nap time happened and Dillon missed the special treat. It’s okay, we splurged and got ice cream again after dinner too!

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The little guy woke up ready for more! We rode Star Tours as well as Space Mountain! I wasn’t sure how he’d like being in the dark with all that spinning but he did great and again, it was “AWESOME!”

As evening came we headed for our favorite dinner spot, the French Market in New Orleans Square. We ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, veggies and a roll, the grilled chicken with double-veggies and a roll and a bread bowl overflowing with steaming hot corn chowder. Again, we received 10% off for being Disney Chase Visa card holders and the total bill was $35. It was all so delicious (but too dark for photos at this point).

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My eldest son, who suffers from occasional migraine headaches was starting to develop one, so after dinner we stopped off at First Aid for children’s acetaminophen and an ice pack. We took things easy for a bit, allowing the medication to work and walked slowly over to It’s a Small World, which was still decorated for the holidays. Somewhat odd, it being a month since Christmas to still have the holiday overlay but I believe it comes down this week. We hummed along to “Jingle Shells” with the mermaids all the same!

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While using the restroom, we happened upon the beginning of Mickey and the Magical Map, a newer show that I’d not yet seen. The show had just begun and Cast Members had already roped off the entrances. I’m not sure what my husband said to him but we were escorted through the ropes and down into a special area with padded bench seats and an amazing view! So bright and fun with wonderful dancing and costumes. And the live singing was fantastic, we absolutely loved this show!

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Earlier in the day I’d picked up Fastpass tickets for the 8:45 Fantasmic! show. With the new viewing areas we were going to be able to stand in specific sections to watch the show. Unfortunately the crazy wild Santa Ana winds that had been plaguing us all day reared up again and the show was “delayed”. With my son still not feeling well, we decided to call it a night and beat the crowds by leaving a bit early. Within ten minutes we were boarded on the bus to take us back to the truck. I have the feeling the Fantastic! show as well as the fireworks display must have been fully cancelled because the winds never did die down.

In any case, even with the abbreviated evening, we still had a magical day. So much fun being able to ride so many things with my preschooler for the first time. It was nice not to have to wait at the stroller with him too. It will definitely be a new phase in our Disney vacations from now on, with all of us being able to ride together! Even though our day didn’t go exactly as planned, it paid to be flexible and we still had a wonderful Disney day!

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As a blogger, I received two complimentary 1 day Park Hopper passes from Disney; all thoughts and views are my own.

Take a Tour of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Take a Tour of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Set inside Disney California Adventure Park, the 12-acre Cars Land will completely immerse you in the town of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars! You will have a hard time believing that this mini-Route 66 hasn’t existed for centuries; the road is appropriately cracked, the road signs rusty and the buildings careworn. And at the end of the road in Cars Land is a stunning mountain range you’ll have to see to believe!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

You could take all day in Cars Land just appreciating the atmosphere. There are so many fantastic details, I captured a few on our last few trips. And when you’re done “oohing” and “ahhing” at all the beautiful rustic details, it’s time for rides!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Take a high-speed race through the Ornament Valley on Radiator Springs Racers. This ride is the highlight of Cars Land and consistently has a lengthy wait. I definitely recommend that Guests get to the Park early (30 minutes before opening, in fact) to acquire your FastPass for this ride. The FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers is just outside the entrance to “a bug’s land”.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

If its food you’re after, Flo’s V8 Café is a quick-service restaurant serving up hearty roadside classics. Cozy Cone Motel offers snacks in cones, naturally! You can usually meet Mater or Lightning McQueen in front of the Motel. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers can take your picture with them.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Cars Land has some fantastic details that you’ll miss if you race past them. At the end of the road you can take a photo op with Stanley, the “founder” of Radiator Springs.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Look closely around you and you are sure to find cool surprises all around, like this adorable bed of “flowers”.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Cruise back in the evening when Cars Land lights up the night! You can take a stroll down Route 66 under the glow of neon lights. Souvenirs and snacks are sold inside some of the other buildings from the movie.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

There are two other rides in Cars Land, or at least there will be two when refurbishment is completed.

Luigi’s Flying Tires has been deflated. This ride is currently being reimagined into something new. Guests used to be able to steer their own giant tire above a cushion of air. I’d never been on this one as my toddler was not tall enough but had watched my husband and two older kids ride it several times. It wasn’t one of their favorites and according to my ten-year old son, “It’s too much work!” I’m looking forward to seeing what new ride develops.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

The square-dancing tractors in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will spin you silly! This was my toddler’s favorite ride on our last trip. Larry the Cable Guy (voice of Mater) sings along with Billy Hill and the Hillbillies on several tracks that play during the ride. I love the down-home hoe-down!

I think you’ll love Cars Land as much as we do! Make sure to take a pause on Route 66 for a shot of your family by one of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers before you high-tail it out of town!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park


Have you taken the trek to Cars Land yet? Share your memories in the comments! 

You’ll want to get into the Park at soon as possible in the morning. I recommend purchasing your ticket online through Park Savers (affiliate link). You’ll save time at the gate and also a few dollars off the cost.

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