Is this Disneyland upgrade worth it? - The Happiest Blog on Earth

Is this Disneyland upgrade worth it?

Disneyland upgrades—is it worth the cost? We’re talking ticket upgrades like hopper passes, Disney Genie+, reserved viewing locations and so much more. Keep reading for what’s worth your pretty penny and what’s not when doing a Disneyland vacation.Disneyland upgrades

Disneyland Ticket Upgrades

Disneyland tickets are often the first point of confusion when booking a Disneyland Resort vacation with many people asking, “Should I get a park hopper ticket for Disneyland?” or “Should I upgrade my ticket for more days at Disneyland?” These are loaded questions and we want to help break it down for you. 


Joy Pixar Pier Ticket


The most basic ticket you can get at Disneyland Resort is a one day, one park ticket. I explain here in detail about why one day tickets are the worst value and will cost you the most per day, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend. 

Should I upgrade my ticket for more days at Disneyland?

Yes, you should upgrade your ticket for more days at Disneyland because the cost per day goes down dramatically with each day you add. Here’s the math on Disneyland tickets.



One day tickets are by far the most expensive option. You could be paying up to $199 for a one day park hopper ticket. It only makes sense to go for two days instead and pay only $223 with our discount ticket partner. Again, that’s just $24 more for an extra day at Disneyland. 

Think there won’t be enough to do at Disneyland over 3 or 5 days? Think again! I’ve listed some of my must-do Disneyland items here and I bet you’ll have trouble fitting it all in.

Is a Disneyland Park Hopper worth it?

A Disneyland Park hopper isn’t always worth it. But one thing to remember is the upgrade fee is $60 for one day or $65 for more than one day—that’s for the entire duration of your trip, not a per day cost. 


Yes, you should upgrade to a Disneyland Park Hopper ticket because:

  • Going 3 or more days? The flexibility to hit rides and attractions at both parks is ideal.
  • Park hopping is easy; Disneyland and California Adventure Park are just steps away from each other. 
  • When FASTPASSES run out at one park (more on FASTPASS and MaxPass soon!) but there are more at the other park.
  • When one park is super crowded, so you hop over to the other for a break.
  • When they only sell your favorite food, souvenir, etc. at the other park. 
  • Maximize late nights, Disneyland is open later than California Adventure.

No, you should not upgrade to a Disneyland Park Hopper ticket because:

  • Trying to do it all in one day? Don’t stress over hitting 2 parks in one day, stick to one and get a Disneyland Plan print out to accomplish your favorites
  • This is your first visit to Disneyland Resort, so you might want to stick to one park per day.
  • You have little ones who can’t walk as much and you’d rather focus on one park at a time.
  • You’re very budget conscious and want to save the money.

Can I upgrade my Disneyland ticket during my trip?

Yes, you can upgrade your Disneyland ticket during your trip. Maybe you have a 2 day ticket, but you decided to go an extra day. Or maybe you decided not to park hop, but are now seeing the convenience a park hopper offers.

Disneyland after rain


Here’s the skinny on upgrading a park ticket during your vacation:

  1. Visit any ticket booth in the esplanade, the area between Disneyland and California Adventure before closing on the last day your ticket is valid.
  2. The paid value of your ticket will be applied and you only pay the difference. 
  3. Use your Magic Morning before upgrading! Why? Magic Mornings are only for advance purchase tickets, when you upgrade you’re essentially buying a new ticket which no longer includes Magic Morning. 

Want to upgrade to an Annual Pass? Keep reading for more details. 

Is a Disneyland Annual Pass worth it?

Yes, a Disneyland Annual Pass is worth it if you plan to visit Disneyland Resort multiple days throughout the year.

Disneyland autograph tips

Southern California residents (with valid ID) qualify for Annual Passes beginning at around $400 (monthly payments available and blackouts apply). Non-residents can purchase Annual Passes beginning at around $600 (some blackouts may apply). In addition to entrance fees being covered, Annual Passholders also get discounts on dining and merchandise. 

  • If you choose a Southern California Select Passport, you’d only need to visit the resort about 4 times for the pass to pay for itself. 
  • If you choose a Disney Flex Pass, you’d only need to visit the resort about 5 times for the pass to pay for itself. 
  • If you choose a Disney Deluxe Passport, you’d only need to visit the resort about 7 times for the pass to pay for itself. 
  • If you choose Disney Signature Plus Passport (no blackouts, parking included, Disney MaxPass included), you’d only need to visit the resort about 10 times for the pass to pay for itself (accounting for parking and MaxPass). 

You can upgrade your Disneyland Park ticket during your vacation by following these steps:

  1. Visit any ticket booth in the esplanade, the area between Disneyland and California Adventure before closing on the last day your ticket is valid.
  2. The paid value of your ticket will be applied to your Annual Pass and you only pay the difference. 
  3. Use your Magic Morning before upgrading! Why? Magic Mornings are only for advance purchase tickets and Annual Passes do not include Magic Morning.

Disneyland Upgrade | Disney MaxPass

Let’s clear up a couple things first. FASTPASS and MaxPass offer you access to the same shorter lines at Disneyland Resort. One is paid, one is free. Let’s dive in!


Disney MaxPass FASTPASS

Is Disneyland FASTPASS worth it?

Yes, Disneyland FASTPASS is worth it because it’s totally free! This “front of the line” pass has been around for years. I explain exactly how the free FASTPASS system works here. You should use this system, at the very least, when visiting Disneyland Resort. 

Is Disneyland’s MaxPass worth the price? 

Yes, Disneyland MaxPass is worth the price and upgraded fee for the convenience alone. There may be times when it’s not the smartest purchase for your entire group, but I break down all the details on Disney MaxPass right here, including who should buy

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters seats

Disneyland Upgrade | PhotoPass

Did you know there are tons of Disneyland PhotoPass photographers ready to snap your family picture when you’re at Disneyland? I love stopping for group photos because everyone knows who would be left out . . . Mom or Dad usually gets the bench to snap the pics and you end up at home after a fabulous trip looking for one picture of everyone together. 

PhotoPass Disneyland

Is Disneyland PhotoPass worth the price?

PhotoPass alone? No way, totally not worth it. It’s because the price is crazy high and guess what—you can get FREE PhotoPass pictures when you purchase Disney MaxPass! Just another fabulous perk of this paid FASTPASS upgrade. I’ve covered all the top Disneyland PhotoPass spots here, plus I explain how you get it for free with MaxPass.

What is MaxPass

Looking for more professional quality photos? A&C Photography is my go-to Disneyland family photographer. Read about my experience with A&C Photography at Disneyland Resort and get a bonus discount here

Disneyland Upgrade | Magic Morning

There are two early entry upgrades at Disneyland Resort and because their names are so similar, they confuse many people. But what you need to know is these upgrades are FREE so they are totally worth losing a little sleep over. Let me explain. 


California Adventure gates

Is Disneyland’s Magic Morning worth it?

Yes! Magic Morning at Disneyland Park is free with your 3 day or more park ticket, so use it! I’ve explained all the details on making the most of your Magic Morning time at Disneyland Park here. It’s before Disneyland opens to the public on select days so here’s two rules you must know:

  1. Go to Disneyland on the right day (currently Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
  2. Arrive 45 minutes prior to Magic Morning, don’t wait until the last minute or it won’t be worth your time. 

If you have access to Extra Magic Hour, that is different from Extra Magic Hour and is only given to guests of Disney Hotels. But it is still totally worth it! On top of getting early entry to Disneyland, you also can use it for entry to California Adventure Park-score!


Cars Land empty

Disneyland Upgrade | Character Dining & More

Now that you’re inside the parks and have paid for the basics like tickets and hotels, what upgrades are worth it? The main upgrades many guests come in contact with are the following options. 

Is Disneyland Character Dining worth it? 

Character dining upgrades are when you pay a premium price for a meal that comes with one on one time with select groups of Disney characters. Yes, you can meet most of them for free inside the parks, but it could take you all day to track them down. I think Disneyland character dining is worth it for a splurge a time or two, or for a special occasion. 


Mickey Mouse Storytellers Cafe Breakfast family


You can make it even more affordable if you go to one that is outside the park like on your arrival or departure day. It really helps you extend that Disneyland vacation vibe. 

Is Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique worth it? 

This is one I have never tried myself. My youngest, the only one who meets the age requirements isn’t super into dress up, so it was never anything we decided was worth it to us. However, I have readers who absolutely loved their experience at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique outlined here


Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Are shows and fireworks reserved spots worth it? 

There are a variety of shows, parades and fireworks that offer reserved viewing. Most come with a meal you eat beforehand, at various locations and then return to your often front row spots when the show begins. I’ve outlined how you can get these reserved space here for the following shows and parades:

Are Disneyland Guided Tour Upgrades worth it? 

Totally worth it for adults, mostly. Kids won’t want to do all the walking and structured tour-guide stuff associated with guided tours like Walk in Walt’s Footsteps. I absolutely loved my tour and even keep in touch with my amazing tour guide. We’ve even met up on occasion outside of her working hours. I would do Walk in Walt’s Footsteps again in a heartbeat and plan to take my oldest for a special treat one day. 


Walk in Walt's Footsteps check in sign

Are Halloween Parties and After Hour events worth it? 

The best thing ever was when I completely surprised my family (even though I say don’t do that lol!), including my husband with flights and tickets to the Disneyland Halloween Party. I even scheduled work off for my husband behind his back. It did cause me major anxiety keeping a full on vacation secret from him, but man it was worth it. 

Oogie Boogie Bash costumes share a coke

People go all-out on costumes for this after hours event. Since I needed costumes I could pack while being undercover, we were Share a Coke bottles, the ones with special labels you can only find at Disney Parks! Oogie Boogie Bash is a must-do upgrade and we plan to make it a family tradition. 

Other after-hours events take place throughout the year, like After Dark events and more. Which one has been your favorite?

I want to hear from you—what Disneyland upgrades are totally worth it? What is a must-have and what is a must-do maybe once or twice? Anything you’d definitely skip and never do again?

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