Decoding Disneyland's Tiered Ticketing Structure

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Advertisement

Starting April 12, California residents who were left holding unused or partially used tickets (when the Disneyland Resort closed last March due to the global pandemic) can begin to make park reservations to visit the California theme parks once they reopen on April 30. But if you're holding onto a one-day ticket, you'll need to understand how Disney's tiered ticketing system works before you make your travel plans.

Disneyland Resort uses a seasonal flex pricing structure, with the price of one-day tickets based on a five-tier calendar. Tier 5 tickets are the most expensive, starting at $154 for a one-day, one-park ticket. The tier 1 "value season" ticket starts at $104 for a one-day, one-park adult ticket. 

This morning, Disney published a updated ticket tier calendars, showing which dates fall under which tier for the first 60 days the parks will be open. Tier 5 tickets are valid any day after April 30, and those travelers have the most flexibility in picking the dates they want to visit. Tickets purchased at the tier 2–4 pricing have far fewer available dates to choose from.

Tier 4 tickets are blocked out for the first two weeks after reopening, and also weekends and most Fridays after that. Tier 2 tickets are valid on only 6 of the first 60 days.

At this time, customers holding tier 1 tickets can't make reservations during the first 60 days of park operation at all, but Disney advises customers to check back frequently. California's guidelines for theme park operation are constanty evolving, and Disney may add ticket capacity as guidelines change or if Orange County enters the less-restrictive yellow tier of the state's COVID-19 response plan.

Disney also published a calendar for those who still hold tickets from the original three-tier system. Scroll down for more information about expiration date extentions for most ticket types.


This calendar shows available dates for tiers 5, 4 and 3. Source: Disneyland.com


This calendar shows available dates for tier 2. There are no dates currently available for tier 1 tickets. Source: Disneyland.com.


This calendar shows available dates that tickets from the three-tier system can be used. Source: Disneyland.com.

Decoding your ticket

Disney published a tutorial on how to read your one-day ticket to know what tier it is, and when it can be used. As a reminder, this structure applies only to one-day tickets, and doesn't impact multi-day tickets. Your printed or virtual ticket holds the clues. Refer to the information on Disneyland.com to see what your ticket is worth and when it can be used.

If you hold a tier 1–4 ticket and want to upgrade to a tier 5 ticket, we have good and bad news. The bad news is that you can't upgrade the ticket and use it to make a reservation on April 12. The good news is that Disney will allow you to return the ticket for a full refund of the price paid, and then sell you a new tier 5 ticket on April 15 when sales of new tickets resume.

June the 4th Be With You, Always

Disney anticipates extremely high demand for reservations on April 30, the day the theme parks reopen, and on June 4, the day The Avengers Campus debuts at Disney California Adventure. Both of these are tier 5 days, but there's good news for vacation planners who don't already hold tickets. Disney will release a portion of the available reservation slots for those two days when park reservations open to existing ticket holders on April 12, but will release a second bucket of reservation slots on April 15 for customers purchasing new tickets.

That said, due to state-mandated capacity restrictions, it will likely still be difficult to snag a reservation for those two dates—but customers waiting until April 15 to buy tickets should know they have an equitable chance.

As for the other dates, Disney will make the full inventory of reservation slots available on April 12, giving customers who paid for their tickets more than a year ago the first opportunity to pick their vacation dates. Still, we're reliably informed that there will still be reservation spots available when new ticket sales resume on April 15, if just not for every date you might want to visit.

Ticket prices

Ticket prices remain unchanged from the February 2020 increase, and the following schedule is still accurate. Note: Magic Morning is no longer offered with three-day or longer tickets.

Disneyland Resort Tickets – Prices Effective February 11, 2020

Ticket & Season Adult One-Park Adult Park Hopper Child One-Park Child Park Hopper
One Day – Tier 1 $104 $159 $98 $153
One Day – Tier 2 $114 $169 $108 $163
One Day – Tier 3 $124 $179 $117 $172
One Day – Tier 4 $139 $194 $132 $187
One Day – Tier 5 $154 $209 $146 $201
Two Day $235 $290 $220 $275
Three Day $310 $365 $290 $345
Four Day $340 $395 $320 $375
Five Day $360 $415 $340 $395

 

April 12 – Park Reservations, Phase 1

If you hold a valid theme park ticket, you can start making park reservations on Monday, April 12. Disney says the reservations system will open no earlier than 8:00 a.m. California time, so you don't need to wait up all night refreshing your browser.

You must link your tickets to your MyDisneyExperience account before you can make a theme park reservation. If you're making plans for a group, you can link all of their tickets to your account for easier management. You can book reservations booked on a rolling basis, around 60 days in advance, and can make reservations for a multi-day ticket at once if the dates you want to visit are available.

If you hold a park-hopper ticket, you will select the theme park you want to enter first. Park hopping can begin at 1:00 p.m. on the day of your visit, based on capacity.

Under current state guidelines, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can open at 25% of park capacity, but Disney can choose to open at a lower capacity, and may in fact do so for the first few weeks just to bring cast members up to speed on the new operational procedures after more than a year. This is why we recommend that customers holding tier 1 tickets check back frequently to see if dates open up for them to visit the parks.

Disney posted an update about new extensions to the expiration dates of those tickets, which should help travelers as they begin to plan their return to Anaheim. It's easy to get bogged down in the fine print, so you need to know what type of ticket you hold and when it expires.

Single-day tickets

Unused non-promotional single day tickets that expire on December 30, 2020 or March 31, 2021 will have the expiration date extended to December 16, 2021. Wholly unused, non-promotional multi-day tickets that expire on January 12, 2021 or April 13, 2021 will have the expiration date extended to December 16, 2021, and the ticket will expire 13 days after first use or on December 16, 2021, whichever occurs first.

Unused non-promotional single day tickets that expire on December 30, 2021 or March 31, 2022 will have the expiration date extended to December 30, 2022. Wholly unused, non-promotional multi-day tickets that expire on January 12, 2022 or April 13, 2022 will have the expiration date extended to January 12, 2023, and the ticket will expire 13 days after first use or on January 12, 2023, whichever occurs first.

Multi-day tickets Guests with multi-day tickets who used their first visit between February 28, 2020 and March 13, 2020 but did not reach their ticket’s maximum number of uses, will have the 13-day expiration period of their ticket extended to December 30, 2022.
Southern California Resident Ticket If you purchased a promotional Southern California Resident Ticket, the expiration date will be extended through December 16, 2021. Tickets may be used on non-consecutive days. If the theme parks have reopened, blockout days of March 26-April 11, 2021; July 4, 2021; and November 20-27, 2021 will apply.

 

There are also extensions for the promotional Child Ticket, Canadian Resident ticket, Australia/New Zealand Resident ticket and the 2020 Military Salute ticket. Visit the Disneyland website for full details.

April 15 – New Ticket Sales; Park Reservations, Phase 2; Hotel Reservations

Thursday, April 15 is the day that tickets go on sale to all California residents, and is also the first day you can make hotel reservations at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

In fact, that's the exact order you should make your plans—get your tickets and make your park reservation before you book a hotel room. You must have a valid ticket and theme park reservation to enter the parks; having just a hotel reservation won't get you in.

Visitors can also purchase tickets from third-party sellers, like Good Neighbor Hotel or an authorized travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today, but you must still make a park reservation before visiting.


Reservations for restaurants and activities like Savi's Workshop will open on April 22. MousePlanet file photo.

April 22 – Dining and Activity Reservations

Visitors with theme park reservations can start booking dining and activities on Thursday, April 22. These experiences can be booked on a rolling basis, around 60 days in advance. In the case of Savi's Workshop and Droid Depot, expect a modified experience in compliance with state and local guidelines.

Residency Restrictions

At press time, admission is still limited to California residents due to a travel advisory from the California Department of Public Health. This may change in the future, but for now assume that Aunt Alice can't come from Arizona to join you on Main Street, U.S.A. just yet.

The state will also require Disney to obtain "an attestation that when visiting the park, the guest’s party size will not contain more than three households and the guest, and all members of the guest’s party will be in-state visitors," and to collect the ticket purchaser's name and phone number for possible future contact tracing.