Disneyland ticket prices are going up: Here’s what you need to know about these theme park passes
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
There is one certainty when it comes to Disneyland travel: Ticket prices always go up and never go down. They recently went up again with a surprise October 2021 price increase.
Theme park tickets are often the largest part of the cost of a Disneyland holiday. It’s vital to understand all the options as you plan a trip to the “happiest place on Earth.”
Do you really need add-ons like “park hoppers” (meaning you can visit more than one park per day)? Are there ways to save on tickets that are safe and legitimate? How do tickets work in 2021 and beyond with the new Disneyland reservations system?
After visiting Disneyland regularly for the last couple of decades, I’ve purchased nearly every ticket type there is, including an annual pass (now known as a Magic Key).
Here are all the essentials you need to know about Disneyland tickets to make the right purchase for your trip.
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Disneyland ticket basics
Let’s start with the most basic option: one-day tickets into a single park at Disneyland. There are two parks at Disneyland (Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure) and these tickets will only permit admission into one of the two.
One-day tickets at the Disneyland Resort have variable pricing, with multiple price tiers depending on the day you are planning to visit. There is no price difference between the two parks. Prices for single-day, one-park-per-day tickets are as follows:
- Tier 1: $104 (£76) adult, $98 (£72) child
- Tier 2: $119 (£87) adult, $113 (£83) child
- Tier 3: $134 (£98) adult, $127 (£93) child
- Tier 4: $149 (£109) adult, $141 (£103) child
- Tier 5: $159 (£116) adult, $150 (£110) child
- Tier 6: $164 (£120) adult, TBD child (Tier 6 is a new addition coming soon)
Adults are considered anyone age 10 and over, child tickets are for ages 3 to 9, and anyone under age 3 is admitted free.
Disneyland only designates the days into tiers a few months in advance. For example, as of the date of the most recent price increase, Disneyland has only made one-day ticket pricing available until close to the end of February 2022. This date corresponds to its park reservations calendar that is released 120 days in advance.
As you might expect, peak demand periods (like weekends and holidays) are higher tier days. Historically, the least expensive Tier 1 days tend to be midweek in lower demand months and are few and far between. If you don’t know what day you want to go on a visit or think you might need to cancel and reschedule after you book, it’s safest (but also most expensive) to purchase the highest tier ticket. Upgrading later to a higher tier type is usually not possible.
If you are visiting for a longer holiday to Disneyland, multiday tickets are available as well. Per-day prices on these tickets begin to decrease the longer you stay. The most basic multiday ticket also allows admission into one park per day. So, guests with a three-day, one-park-per-day ticket could spend two days in Disneyland park and one day at Disney California Adventure, but would not be able to go to both parks in a single day.
Unlike at Walt Disney World where multiday tickets have variable pricing based upon the date of your visit, Disneyland’s multiday ticket prices are thankfully static. There are no tiers or blockout calendars like one-day ticket holders have to navigate.
Regular prices for multiday one-park-per-day tickets were, most recently:
- Two days: $255 adult, $235 child (£190 for adults, £175 for children)
- Three days: $330 adult, $310 child (£245 for adults, £230 for children)
- Four days: $360 adult, $340 child (£268 for adults, £253 for children)
- Five days: $380 adult, $360 child (£282 for adults, £266 for children)
Multiday tickets are only valid for 13 additional days after they are first used. This makes them a great option to reduce costs for out-of-towners coming for a trip of several days. But that means they are not-so-ideal for locals looking to space multiple visits out over a longer period of time.
Disneyland ticket options and add-ons
There are, of course, additional options that increase the cost of park tickets for Disneyland guests. Ones to consider adding to your tickets include:
The most basic tickets at Disneyland permit entry into a single park per day, but it’s also possible to purchase tickets with a Park Hopper option for an additional charge. As the name suggests, Park Hopper tickets allow guests to hop between Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure an unlimited number of times on a single day. Since the parks are located just steps apart from one another, park-hopping is much easier to do than it might be at Walt Disney World.
How much does the Park Hopper feature increase ticket prices? Whether you are buying a one-day ticket or a five-day ticket or anything in between, the Park Hopper option now costs a flat rate of $60 (£45) (up from $55, or £41) for both adult and child tickets. On a per-day basis, this makes the cost of park-hopping pretty expensive for shorter trips ($60, or £45 a day for just a single-day holiday), but very reasonable for longer ones ($12, or £9 a day, for a five-day trip).
Whether you need the Park Hopper option depends on your touring habits. Personally, my family likes the flexibility of being able to hop between parks if we find one park too crowded on a given day. In fact, park-hopping has been a huge part of our line-avoidance strategy at Disneyland over the years. I usually recommend Park Hopper tickets to most friends as well, perhaps with the exception of guests on a two-day trip who plan to spend a single day in each park.
In 2021 and for the foreseeable future, park-hopping comes with one additional limitation it didn’t before: a time restriction. Guests are not able to park-hop until 1 p.m. or later, subject to capacity restrictions of course. This additional limitation may not make the Park Hopper option as valuable in the short term as it once was.
Ticket add-ons discontinued for now: MaxPass, Magic Morning
Several other ticket options that were mainstays of the last several years have been discontinued for the 2021 reopening. Those include Disney MaxPass as well as Magic Morning.
Disney MaxPass was a digital version of Disneyland’s FastPass system that allowed guests to book FastPass reservations on their smartphones. Disney MaxPass has now officially been retired for good, but a new similar replacement called Disney Genie+ is coming to Disneyland very soon. Watch for a date later in fall 2021.
When Disney Genie+ is released at Disneyland, there will surely be an add-on option for park tickets at its announced $20 (£15) per ticket per day price.
Magic Morning was an additional ticket benefit that came at no extra cost with all park tickets of three days or longer that were purchased in advance. Magic Morning afforded guests a single day of early entry into Disneyland park on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Disneyland has currently suspended Magic Morning, along with another early entry option for on-property hotel guests: Extra Magic Hour. Extra Magic Hour was previously offered in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on select days.
Tickets and Disneyland’s 2021 reservation system
There is a new wrinkle in 2021 when it comes to Disneyland tickets. Having a ticket to the parks is necessary, but not sufficient, to gain park entry. Because of capacity restrictions, Disneyland now also requires guests to make advance daily reservations for the theme park they will enter first for each day.
If you purchase tickets through Disneyland directly, the reservations process is now integrated into the ticket purchasing process. If you purchase tickets elsewhere (usually to snag discounts and deals), making a reservation is a second separate step that guests complete after purchasing a ticket and loading it into their Disneyland account.
This means that before purchasing tickets in 2021, guests should always check Disneyland’s reservation availability calendar. It’s essential to make sure that the parks you want to visit are available for new reservations on the days you want to visit!
Note that there are two separate calendars with different reservation availability: one for one-park-per-day tickets and another for Park Hopper tickets. Be sure to click the tab that matches the ticket type you plan to purchase.
To be sure, the Disneyland reservation system adds a new layer of complexity and is still causing confusion for many guests many months after its release. Check out TPG’s guide to Disneyland reservations so you don’t run afoul of any of the requirements.
Disneyland ticket discounts and the best times to buy
Tickets are one of the most expensive parts of a Disneyland holiday, so naturally, guests are looking to save money any way they can. Unfortunately, super deep ticket discounts just aren’t realistic (and if you see them, they are probably fraudulent so steer clear).
Single and multiday Disneyland ticket discounts
It is possible to save some money on tickets at Disneyland, however, without too much effort. The easiest way to save is by purchasing multiday tickets through one of the legitimate ticket brokers that partner with Disneyland like Get Away Today, Undercover Tourist or aRes Travel.
These brokers regularly list tickets at least a few dollars per person below official Disney prices, and their tickets come with all of the same benefits and ease of use. Some occasionally will run additional specials like fifth-day free that reduce the price even more. Be sure to shop around because prices fluctuate regularly, and sometimes brokers have different pricing available to select partners.
Disneyland almost never discounts its one-day tickets (except for speciality tickets that would not be available to the vast majority of visitors). So, if you are just going for a single day, don’t waste your time searching for deals. The easiest way to save on single-day tickets at Disneyland is instead by buying discounted Disney gift cards and paying for the ticket purchases direct from Disney with the gift cards. If you can get a deep enough discount on gift cards, sometimes using gift cards will also beat the ticket broker multiday pricing too.
Of course, there are a number of other places to find discounts, but they rarely beat the discount ticket brokers or using discounted Disney gift cards.
If you can plan your Disneyland holiday a little more last minute, there are sometimes seasonal deals and specials that arise throughout the year worth considering.
In 2020, for example, Disneyland offered two spring ticket deals before the parks shut down in mid-March. One was a discount on kids tickets that reduced trip costs for families with several younger kids fairly significantly. The second was a Southern California resident offer on three-day tickets. These tickets were priced well below normal three-day ticket prices ($199, or £148 for one park per day and $254, or £189, for the Park Hopper version).
They also could be used over a several-month period, rather than within 13 days after first use.
Other deals during times of low attendance often will pop up unexpectedly as well. In the summer of 2019 (when the expected record attendance for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge didn’t materialise), Disneyland offered a bring-a-friend deal where annual pass holders could purchase a single-day Park Hopper ticket for several companions for just $99 (£74).
There are a few other ticket discounts to be aware of if you are within the eligible groups.
Historically, the best of these discounts are the ones available to members of the military and their spouses. These tickets can be purchased only at participating military bases (note that these tickets used to be sold at Disneyland ticket booths with proper military ID as well, but that is no longer the case in 2021). Some limited blockout dates apply. Military ticket prices at Disneyland for 2021 are:
- Three-day Park Hopper ticket: $225 (£167)
- Four-day Park Hopper ticket: $260 (£193)
In 2020, visitors from other countries, particularly Canada and Australia, could also find additional discounts and offers not available elsewhere. There was a regular Canadian deal offered at least annually, and Australians were eligible to purchase a 10-day Park Hopper, a ticket length not available to American guests.
When international visitors can again start to return to Disneyland in increasing numbers, these offerings may well come back too.
Finally, when it comes to tickets, watch out for dreaded ticket price increases. It probably goes without saying the best time to buy Disneyland tickets is right before the price increase hits. But thankfully, there is a workaround!
In the last several years, Disneyland has increased prices annually sometime between late January and early March, but the exact date is never known in advance. This latest price increase on 25 October 2021 certainly doesn’t follow traditional seasonal patterns or expectations.
Luckily, even when a price increase happens, the discount ticket brokers are allowed to sell tickets at the previous year’s prices for a short time (usually about a week or two after the announcement).
Given historical price increase trends, it’s usually smart to watch right after the new year in case the normal price increases in January or February return.
Disneyland annual passes — Now Known as Magic Keys
Last but certainly not least, annual passes are potentially another option for discounted theme park admission into Disneyland. Disneyland revamped its previously paused annual pass program in the summer of 2021, renaming the passes as Magic Keys.
Guests who plan to travel to Disneyland Resort may find a Magic Key to be a better value compared to two or more multiday tickets. Annual passes are certainly more valuable to many local Southern California residents as well.
The key (pun intended) is to do the math. Be sure to consider additional Magic Key dining, shopping and parking discounts that can add up to more savings as well.
It’s also essential to read the fine print to find out whether each pass type has blockout dates that conflict with your travelling patterns. Multiday tickets don’t have blockout dates and will give you more overall flexibility to visit any day of the year.
Finally, it’s also important to check the Magic Key reservations calendar. It has different availability and often books up more quickly than the reservations calendar for regular park tickets. If you can’t plan well in advance, a Magic Key may leave you in the lurch if the date you want to visit is already “sold out.”
Tickets are undoubtedly a major expense when it comes to Disneyland travel. With a little preplanning as well as an analysis of the extras you actually need and knowledge of available discounts, it’s certainly still possible to save a decent amount of dough.
If you’re planning a Disneyland holiday, check out these money- and time-saving tips:
- 9 things families should know before visiting Disneyland
- Where to stay at Disneyland: On- vs. off-property hotel comparisons
- Skip the lines at Disneyland: 10 line-busting tips for less waiting and more playing
- These are the best times to visit Disneyland
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
Featured photo by Leslie Harvey.
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