Saving on tickets is one way to make a Disney vacation more affordable; Disneyland admission discounts are offered almost year round. If you simply walk up to the ticket gate, you will pay full price for your ticket. A little advanced planning can save you a lot of money on your vacation — sometimes hundreds of dollars, so it is worth it to take the time and learn about the different ways you can save.
Package deals: Consider booking a Disneyland vacation package instead of purchasing your tickets and room separately. You can usually save money on a package that combines both a Disneyland resort room and tickets for every member of your travel party. Special packages are offered throughout the year, particularly during the slower months in the fall and winter. You can find out about package deal offerings by visiting the Disneyland website or watching for television commercials or print media ads promoting Disney deals.
Order a free DVD: Sign up for the Disneyland vacation planning dvd and for the main Disney website. By providing your contact info, you give Disney a way to contact you with special promotions. Expect to see some discount codes and offerings in both your mailbox and home and in your email box once you register with Disney.
Buy multi-day tickets: If you buy a ticket each morning, you’ll pay the full price each day. Buy a two, three or four (or more) day ticket and your cost per day will drop dramatically. You don’t have to spend all of the days of your trip in Disneyland, you can get tickets for Disney’s California Adventure as well.
Buy an annual pass: It seems counterintuitive, but spending the money on an annual pass is a worthwhile way to save money on Disneyland tickets. Even though the annual pass is more expensive than a seven day pass, it will save you money if you intend to return to Disneyland in the same calendar year.
If you live close enough to Disneyland to drive there, you may be able to capitilize on your ticket investment by making a few short, quick trips throughout the year. Once you pay for the annual pass, you won’t have to pay for park admission again. Annual passholders are usually offered great resort room discounts as well–expect to save up to 40% on your room if you have an annual pass.
Even if you don’t live close enough to Disneyland to travel there for impromptu trips, you can still save money by choosing an annual pass. Buy the annual pass, then enjoy your time in the theme parks. The following year, return to Disneyland just before your passes expire–you’ll be able to get two vacations out of the same tickets, effectively saving 50% on your admission.
Get a resident pass: If you live in California, you can buy a local resident annual pass for a steep discount. This ticket option offers a substantial discount on Disneyland tickets, but some dates may be subject to blackout, meaning the pass will not be valid for admission. Most blackout dates are very crowded time in Disneyland, so you may not be missing out on anything but long lines and crowds.
If you don’t want to buy an annual resident’s pass, keep an eye on the Disneyland website for deals for locals. Some 2011 offerings include special rates for two day tickets, allowing you to visit both Disneyland and California Adventure for one low price.
Check for employment based specials: Disneyland admission discounts are offered at various times of year for different professions. If you are a member of the U.S. military, you may be able to save on your room and your tickets at Disneyland. Be sure to inquire about military discounts when you call to book your trip. Teachers and other service professionals are also offered discounts at different times of the year.
Volunteer your time: Disney occasionally offers discounted or free admission for volunteers. You can serve in your own community, then claim a free park admission ticket when you visit Disneyland via the “Give a Day, Get a Day” promotion, which began in 2010. Check for volunteer-based discounts when you are planning your vacation and save.
Celebrate your birthday: You’ll really have something to celebrate when you visit Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure on your birthday–free park admission. Let the person taking your vacation reservation know you are celebrating a birthday during the trip, and check to see if the birthday promotion is being offered at the time of your trip. As of 2011, this was a valid discount offering.
No matter how you decide to save on your Disneyland tickets, always purchase directly from Disney or from an authorized travel agent. There are a select few ticket re-sellers that are authorized by Disney, and offer discounts as well.
Never purchase your Disneyland tickets from an unauthorized seller. Some tickets offered for sale in venues like Craigslist and eBay are either fraudulent or unusable. When you use a multi-day Disneyland ticket for the first time, your finger is scanned at the ticket booth. You will have to use the same ticket each time for admission, and only the person with the matching fingerprint can use the ticket–so buying someone’s used ticket won’t get you admitted to the park.
If you purchase tickets second-hand or from someone who has days “left over”, Disneyland will not replace your useless ticket with a new one. You will have to purchase a valid ticket for park admission. No matter how great a deal seems to be–and some look very tempting indeed, the only way to get Disneyland admission discounts is to play by the rules and buy from authorized sellers.