Which Disneyland ticket is best for you?

Disneyland by K.
Disneyland by K. (Flickr)

Are you planning a trip to Disneyland soon? If the answer is “yes,” choosing which park admission ticket is best for you is one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make.

How many days is right for you?

If you’ve been to Disneyland before, or if you’re short on time, there are definitely ways to do both parks in one day. However, this requires that you spend your entire day at the parks. It will be undoubtedly fun, but very exhausting.

In my opinion, the perfect Disneyland trip is two days long–one day at Disneyland, and the other at California Adventure. For first-timers especially, I highly recommend spending two days at “The Happiest Place on Earth” so that you can fully experience both of the parks.

What is the Park Hopper Ticket?

The Park Hopper Ticket is essentially a ticket upgrade that will allow you to go back and forth between both parks in the same day. The upgrade is generally a good idea, as the Disneyland and California Adventure gates are right across from each other. This convenience means that you won’t waste much time traveling back and forth between the two parks. In fact, a Park Hopper Ticket combined with the Disney FASTPASS Service will actually save you a lot of time.

If you’re purchasing a 1-Day Ticket, the Park Hopper upgrade is definitely worth it. If you’re purchasing a 2-Day Ticket (or anything more), then the Park Hopper Ticket is useful but not necessary.

What is Magic Morning?

Magic Morning allows you early admission (one hour) to select attractions, stores, entertainment, and dining options. It is available with the purchase of a 3-, 4-, or 5-Day Ticket.

If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, then you have Extra Magic Hour privileges for each night of your stay. Extra Magic Hour functions the same way as Magic Morning, just under a different name.

Tips: If you plan to take advantage of early admission, be sure to get to the gate at least half an hour early to avoid lines at the entrance. And be sure to check the Magic Morning/Extra Magic Hour schedule before your trip!

What kind of group are you traveling with?

If you’re traveling as a family, I highly recommend the multiple day options. This will be more relaxing, less tiring, and will give you ample time to explore the parks.

Exception: If you’re traveling as a family with small children*, I would suggest the 1-Day Ticket and that you go to Disneyland only. Disneyland is much more suitable for young kids, whereas California Adventure generally attracts a more grown up crowd (more thrilling rides and mature themes).

* I think of small children as 5-10 years old. For children under 5, I don’t think Disneyland is worth the trip. Rides are quite limited at that age, and they also won’t remember their park experience.

Finally, how much do tickets cost?

If we look at adult pricing (ages 10+), a 1-day Ticket to the park currently costs $99, while a 2-day Ticket to the park costs $185 (or $92.50 per day). If you upgrade to a Park Hopper Ticket, it will cost an additional $56.

I also want to point out that, if you’re driving, parking will cost about $17 per day.

Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

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