Did someone mention Disneyland?
I often get asked, as a Disney expert, what is the cheapest way to buy park tickets (aka passes). Let me start by saying any heavily discounted Disney ticket is probably a scam. Disney don’t discount, and there is no way to tell if the “cheap pass” you have purchased has been used. I strongly recommend you buy your pass from a reputable vendor such as your travel agent or at the Disney resort ticket booth and not through an online auction site such as Trademe or Ebay.
The best value for money pass you can get as a New Zealander is from a local travel agent, my local House of Travel sells them and I’m pretty sure other travel agencies also do. Its not heavily advertised and is a 10-day ticket. It costs approximately $NZ390 for adults and $NZ365 for kids (3-9). My understanding is similar tickets are available in Australia and some other countries, such as the UK have similar options available to residents. Also note that this is a “park hopper” ticket which means you can go back and forth between the main Disneyland park and California Adventure park on the same day.
In comparison, should you happen to wait until you get to the Disneyland gates to purchase, a 5-day ticket at the gate is $US260/NZ310 (one park per day with no hopping). They currently don’t offer anything more than a 5 day ticket unless you decide to go with an annual pass which is significantly more expensive.
If you think the prices above are too expensive, then you simply have no choice but to go for less days – but the price per day is then much higher for example, a 2 day non-hopper is $US170.
Another option, depending on your plans is the Southern California CityPass. If you intend to go to Universal and SeaWorld on your trip then it might be worth exploring this as an option.
It really comes down to how much Disney you want (or need) in your holiday.
The Disneyland Resort consists of two theme parks – the original Disneyland Park and California Adventure (which includes the newly opened Cars Land), 3 days would really be a minimum IMO.
While 10 days sounds like a lot of Disney, depending on your travelling group and the time of year, it maybe a really good decision. It allows you to take it easy and see it all. Nothing worse than spending hours in long lines in hot weather – it could ruin your holiday.
With a 10 day pass, you could just go in the morning when its typically quieter and shorter lines, then leave by lunchtime and swim, shop and go to the beach in the afternoon. Pop back for fireworks or an evening show and a bite to eat.
A handy hint about tickets, once you have your pass in hand, photograph the back of them. In the event you lose them, they can replace if you have serial/barcode info, else if you lose it, you are out of luck.
One final tip, if you hate standing in queues as much as I do, a subscription to TouringPlans.com might be the best $US7.95 you spend on your trip. I’m in no way affiliated with the site but I’m a very satisfied customer! Lets face it, your trip will cost thousands so if you can avoid standing in a few long lines, it will be money very well spent.