The cost to go to Disneyland can vary quite a bit, but if you’re planning a trip to one of the happiest places on earth, it’s a good idea to have a rough budget in mind. The nice thing about Disneyland is that it’s smaller than Disney World, so navigating the parks is much easier. Disneyland is also just an hour away from Los Angeles, so many people visit the parks as a day trip when they’re in California.
In case you didn’t know, Disneyland has two theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. You don’t need more than two days at the park, so I’m basing my Disneyland cost on that assumption for this guide. That’s quite the contrast compared to my how much does it cost to go to Disney World article, where I assume people are spending four days at Disney and a week total in Orlando.
So how much does it cost to go to Disneyland? In this article, I’ll cover everything from attraction tickets to Disneyland parking costs. Just be aware that for the purpose of this guide, I’m going to assume two travellers.
|Airfare||$900 ($450 X 2)|
|Car rental, gas, parking||$250|
|Disneyland tickets||$600 (2 X 2-day tickets)|
|Food and drink||$200|
The above estimate is based on US dollars. If you want to know what it costs in your local currency, use XE.com for the conversion.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, and it comes with airport lounge access.
I’ve estimated $900 for flights which work out to $450 each. Admittedly, if you’re flying from within the U.S., that’s going to seem very expensive, but I’m using just a rough number here. If you’re flying from eastern Canada, $450 would be pretty standard. If you’re coming from outside of North America, you’ll likely end up spending more than $600 a ticket.
If you can, fly into John Wayne Airport, located in Santa Ana. This will put you much closer to Disneyland/Anaheim. In addition, many discount carriers fly here, such as Southwest, Alaska, Frontier and Spirit. Your flight costs could easily drop by $100 per person by choosing John Wayne airport over LAX.
The odds are that you’re coming to Disneyland as part of a bigger trip, so I wouldn’t obsess over the cost of flights. They are what they are, and you can’t do much about them. As mentioned above, credit cards are a great way to offset your costs.
Car rental, gas & parking
If you’re coming to California, you may or may not need a rental car. Disneyland is located in Anaheim, which is an hour from Los Angeles or about 25 mins from John Wayne airport. Car rental prices have increased since the pandemic, so it might be more than expected. That said, economy sedan cars are quite affordable, but if you want a bigger or nicer vehicle, you’ll obviously pay more.
I estimate you’ll need to spend about $125 daily for your car rental, gas and Disneyland parking. Since you’ll be here for two days, that’s $250 you need to budget. You can probably save $20-25 a day if you go for a basic vehicle.
For reference, Disneyland parking cost is $25 per day. I’ve factored that amount into my estimate. If you’re staying on-site, you’ll obviously not have to pay for parking.
If you stay within walking distance of the parks, you won’t need to pay for Disneyland parking, but your hotel will charge you around $30 a day for parking. If you don’t get a rental car, you’ll need to factor in transportation charges to/from the airport.
When estimating your Disneyland cost, you must consider whether you want to stay on-site or off-site. Disney-owned hotels have themes, so a Disney purist will insist on staying at one, but I don’t think there’s less of an experience if you stay somewhere else. Disneyland on-site hotels are typically more expensive, so that’s something to consider. That said, staying on-site does get you early access to the theme parks on select days, which may be worth the price premium for some people.
I think you’re better off staying at a hotel off-site since you get way more options, and you can easily find a hotel that fits your budget. Speaking of budget, I’ve estimated $250 per night for your hotels, so that’s $500 total for your two-day trip to Disneyland. You can spend less than that, or you could spend more. Not sure about where to stay? Here are some recommendations:
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, which gives you up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels, which could easily have a value of over $500.
Disneyland ticket prices
Disneyland has two theme parks Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Most people will do both parks but if your time is limited, just pick one. What annoys many people is that Disney uses dynamic pricing so the days where there’s more anticipated demand, tickets cost more. Here are the Disneyland ticket prices.
- 1 day – From $104 per person
- 2 days – From $143 per day, per person
- 3 days – From $120 per day, per person
- Park hopper ticket option for 1 day ($65 add on)
At first glance, those prices may appear reasonable, but Disneyland uses dynamic pricing. That means more popular days will cost more. In other words, you should budget closer to $150 per day, per person for theme park tickets.
Child tickets (ages 3-9) cost a little less. If you want to take things at a leisurely pace, you should just buy the 2-day tickets. That’ll give you to one park, each day. Now, if your time is limited, you may want to consider the park hopper ticket option, which is cheaper than two regular tickets.
If you’re interested in one of Disney’s special events, such as Villains Night, Oogie Boogie Bash or Star Wars Night, that’s a separate ticket will cost you another $100+
During the low season (and even sometimes the high season), you could easily finish both parks in a single day. You wouldn’t get on every single ride, but it would allow you to go on a few at each one and see all the different lands.
Whatever ticket you choose is really up to you.
Disney Genie is one of the most complicated for visitors to Disneyland. The basic version of Disney Genie is free. Think of it as an itinerary planner. You put in what you want to do, and Disney will recommend you an itinerary.
Genie+ is an add on that costs $20 per person. When upgrading, Genie+ will allow you to reserve your spot in a virtual line. This is convenient since you can maximize your time in the parks. That said, you can only make a reservation once every two hours, or when you’ve completed your previous reservation. In addition, you get Disney PhotoPass included when purchasing Genie+. That’s where any photos taken by Disney photographers will be sent right to your app and can be downloaded for free.
To further complicate things, when you have Genie+, you can purchase individual lighting lanes for the top rides such as Rise of the Resistance and Radiator Springs Racers. To purchase these rides, you have to pay an additional $15 – $25 per ride.
While Genie+ is optional, I do recommend it, so that’s an additional $40 you need to budget. Paying for individual lightning lanes could be worth it, so you might need to budget even more. That said, note that some of the more popular rides, such as Radiator Springs Racers have a single-riders line. If you don’t mind splitting up your group, you can save big.
Food and drink
Since this is Disneyland, you can expect to spend a small fortune on food. You’re probably looking at the $15-30 range for each meal. Most people will eat one meal in the park and have snacks. They’ll also have one meal off-site. Generally, budgeting $200 for two people over two days is a good idea.
I know that sounds crazy, but you’re in a theme park, and that’s the price that needs to be paid. On a positive note, Disneyland allows you to bring your own food and drink. That means you could technically spend much less on food.
Although I’ve budgeted $200 for additional costs for your Disneyland cost budget, you may or may not spend anywhere near that amount. Souvenirs in Disneyland aren’t cheap, but if you’re only buying one or two things, it likely won’t matter. I personally haven’t spent more than $50 on souvenirs during any of my Disneyland trips, yet I see people at the cash register spending hundreds of dollars every time.
So how much does it cost to go to Disneyland? Based on my estimates, it’ll cost you US$2,690, but this is only for the two days you’ll be at the park and your flights. You’ll likely be spending much more as Disneyland will only be a small part of your trip. For more inspiration, check out my guides on New York, Japan, Europe, Bali, Italy and Hawaii.