I’m a bit of a nervous traveler. I like to know about things – little details – ahead of time so I don’t look like a fool in front of people who know what they’re doing.
No one else probably cares what I do (they don’t think I’m a fool), but it’s just the way I am.
So if you’re like me, here is what I documented about how to get into the Disneyland park.
Please Note: I wrote this before Disneyland was shut down by the Coronavirus Pandemic. I haven’t been back since it re-opened so I don’t know what aspects of entering Disneyland have changed. Please check their site for updated information.
Table of Contents
How do I get in to the Disneyland park?
When you get off the bus or shuttle at Disneyland you’re dropped off at a large paved bus loop. Or if you walk from your hotel that is east of Disneyland, you’ll also walk through this same bus loop.
In the picture above I have circled where the bus loop is in relation to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure park.
You have to walk west toward the park (and away from the Denny’s and Captain Kidd’s restaurant you’ll notice are across the street of South Harbor Boulevard). The above picture is one I took of me walking west toward the security checkpoint. You can see a bus in the bus loop to the right.
(Basically you just follow the herd of people heading towards Disneyland.)
Going through Security to get in to Disneyland
When you first approach Disneyland you’ll see a row of lanes with a green roof. (Picture below.)
This is security. There are separate lanes for people without bags, and those with bags. So just look overhead at the signage and it’s easy to hop in the right lane.
Be prepared for them to look through your bags and have everything out of your pockets because you will have to walk through a metal detector.
Once past the security stalls you’ll see a wide open paved pavilion…I believe they call it the Esplanade.
The above photo is a panoramic shot I took while standing in the Esplanade – the open area between Disneyland California Adventure Park (entrance is on the left when you enter the Esplanade) and Disneyland Park (entrance is to the right).
If you are unsure about the difference between Disneyland and California Adventure Park, don’t worry, you’re not alone. So I wrote a quick article about it that you can get to by clicking here.
Getting your Tickets to Disneyland
There is a ticket booth in this pavilion called the Disneyland Resort Main Entrance ticket booth.
But when I read some of the fine print on the Disney website dedicated to buying tickets it sounds like there are some limitations to buying tickets here. Such as no “Magic Mornings” are included, and the current Deal for Canadian citizens who buy multiple day passes isn’t available at the main ticket booth either.
So I suggest you buy your tickets ahead of time.
For information on how to buy Disneyland tickets, click here.
I stayed at the Motel 6 Maingate (about a 15-20 minute walk from Disneyland) and they sold me the tickets to the theme park right there. And it was the same price as advertised on the Disney website.
If you’re going to Disneyland check out these 41 awesome Disney tshirts for your trip.
Entering either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park
You’ve passed security and you already have your ticket now you get to go into one of the theme parks.
If you bought a “Park Hopper” pass then it doesn’t matter which one you go into first.
You could go into Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park first.
If you already have a ticket, and you’ve just past security then turn left to go to the Disney California Adventure Park, or turn right to the main entrance for Disneyland Park.
I personally chose to go to Disneyland Park first, but it is up to you. The pictures you’ll see below are of my entrance into Disneyland Park.
When you approach the main entrance to the parks you’ll see lots of Ticket stalls with “Entrance” written above them. The text size of “Entrance” isn’t terribly large but it is there (see picture below).
Stand in line for one of the stalls that has Entrance written above it.
You’ll see in the photo below I went during Halloween season at Disneyland. If you zoom in on the pictures you’ll see there are entrances to the park below each of the Disney characters’ pumpkin heads.
You’ll hand your ticket to the attendant.
My ticket at this point was just a piece of paper that the Motel 6 had printed off for me. It had a bar code in on it.
I handed this piece of paper to the attendant and she scanned the bar code.
Then she asked to take a picture of me.
She took my picture because Disneyland tickets are non-transferable.
Then she handed me a small paper ticket. Think almost raffle ticket sized…it was small.
I kept it in my wallet for safe keeping.
Because this small ticket is that what I needed to show at the entrance to the parks so I could take advantage of my “Park Hopper” ticket.
After I received this small ticket (shown above), I passed through a turnstile and I entered Disneyland Park.
I passed under a covered passageway that had cool ride posters on the wall. (Picture below)
When you pass through the covered passageway you’ll see “Main Street U.S.A.” section of Disneyland Park.
When I was there the Park opened at 8AM but we were allowed to go into Main Street U.S.A. section of the park before 8AM.
Which is great because I headed toward “AdventureLand” and waiting for the gates to open up so I could be one of the first people on the Indiana Jones ride.
If you’re curious on how to use a Park Hopper ticket check out this section below.
How to Park Hop between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park
When you are ready to check out Disney California Adventure – and you have a Park Hopper ticket – you can easily “hop” from one park to the other and back as many times as you like.
You exit Disneyland the same way you came in.
You gotta go back through Main Street U.S.A. and there are marked “Exit” stalls near the main entrance.
Make sure you have your Park Hopper ticket with you. For instance, don’t leave it in a locker if you rented one.
You walk through the Exit stall and out into the Esplanade.
Walk across the paved Esplanade and head straight across to the entrance to Disney California Adventure.
The procedure is the same here. But this time you’ll already have your little paper ticket with you (mine was in my wallet).
You go to an Entrance stall and hand your Park Hopper ticket to the attendant at California Adventure Park.
They will scan it, and then look at their device to see your picture. They’ll do a quick visual check to make sure you are the correct ticket holder. Then you’ll pass through a turnstile and then you’re inside Disney California Adventure.
I’m sorry I didn’t take a good picture of the entrance to California Adventure park, but if you check out the panoramic style picture I took while standing in the Esplanade (higher up in this article), you’ll see the entrance to that park on the left.
Below are some colorful drawings that greet you just inside the entrance to Disney California Adventure Park.
The process can be repeated in either direction.
Example, I went back to Disneyland Park after spending a couple hours in Disney California Adventure Park.
I just exited out through the main entrance of the California Adventure Park, walked across the Esplanade to the main entrance of the Disneyland Park, showed the attendant my ticket, and I re-entered Disneyland Park.
Here is my explanation of the difference between Disneyland and California Adventure.
I was a little bit nervous about how to get into Disneyland. I wondered if it would be quite the process…but it wasn’t.
It was straight-forward.
And one thing I discovered about Disneyland, is that the people that work there genuinely seem happy and willing to help you.
So if you’re ever in doubt about something, just ask them.
I hope my written explanation of how to get into Disneyland, and how to use a Park Hopper ticket helped you.
If there is something I’ve left out, or something you’re curious about, please comment below and I’ll try my best to help you.
I’m not a Disneyland expert by any means, I’ve only been there once so far, but I know the questions that a newbie has about Disneyland – because that was me last week!!!
Are you planning a trip to Disneyland or another Disney park? Check out…
- How to Save Money at Disneyland [tips and ideas]
- List of 41 Awesome Disney Shirts for your next Disney vacation
- Can you bring a water bottle into Disneyland? [answered and more…]
- How to go from Disneyland to Angels stadium (using transit)
- Going to Disneyland by yourself? – check out my article on Disneyland single rider passes
- Is there wifi at Disneyland? (answered and I show you the best Disneyland wifi spots)