Free Disneyland Tickets – Do They Really Exist?
Lately there have been more than a few news stories about poor families being scammed out of their hard earned money by fraudsters trying to pass off discounted or even free Disneyland tickets. All we can say is don’t fall for the okie doke! Just recently it was reported by NBC Southern California that a man passed himself off as Stephen Disney and gave a college student passes to raffle off for a non-profit organization. When the winner of the raffle arrived to Disneyland to use the passes, they were informed that they had never been activated. Sadly this is becoming more common as families look to save money but still have fun.
Everyone wants to save money but when it comes to purchasing Disneyland Resort Tickets you may want to think twice about a deal that sounds too good to be true. There are countless stories of families buying what they believe to be valid Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets, only to find out later that they were either stolen or fraudulent copies. This happens more than you may think but with a little due diligence you can save yourself and your kids the heartbreak of being turned away at the gate. Here is a list of a some of the scams you will find out there:
The Craigslist/Ebay Scam
Craigslist is a great place to find furniture or used exercise equipment, but not a great place to buy Disneyland Resort Tickets. Scammers usually steal Park Hopper Tickets from places like Costco or grocery stores like Vons. They will place ads on Craigslist or respond to ads placed by people seeking tickets. They will advertise prices like $100 for a 2-Day Park Hopper Ticket which normally sells for $220 at the gate. Money and Park Hopper Tickets exchange hands and you head off to the resort to start you vacation. When you arrive to the gate to have your ticket scanned you will be informed that your tickets are invalid. This is because stolen tickets have to be activated and this only happens if they are purchased legitimately from retail stores that sell them.
It’s similar to Gift Card scams you see during the holidays. Our advice is DON’T buy tickets from Craigslist. There are many other ways to save money on tickets which don’t involve buying on Craigslist. The savings may not be 1/2 off like you will see advertised on Craigslist, but at least you won’t have fake Disneyland tickets, and nobody will be disappointed when you arrive to the resort. Even though we talked mainly about Craigslist the same applies to Ebay or any other online venue where ticket prices sound too good to be true!
The Free Disneyland Tickets Scam
This is another urban legend on Facebook or via email alerting you that you can receive free Disneyland tickets if you join a Facebook page and invite friends to do the same. They claim that the more friends you invite the more tickets you can get for Free. Ultimately when you go to collect on your “Free” tickets you will be surprised to find out that you have to sign up for and complete 13 “reward” offers and refer 3 of your friends to do the same to collect your tickets. These reward offers range from signing up for credit card offers to competing trials for services that you will probably never use or need. There are no “Free” Disneyland tickets that we’ve ever found so as the old saying goes “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Renting Disney Tickets
This one is tricky because you will find mixed reviews from guests who’ve successfully rented Park Hopper Tickets from local brokers in Anaheim and some who were not so successful. Here is how it works:
1. The broker buys the ticket from Disneyland or an authorized seller.
2. The broker “rents” the ticket to you at a discounted rate compared to a regular single-day ticket.
3. The broker writes your name on the ticket with erasable ink and tells what to say to the cast member at the entrance gate.
4. At the end of your day you return the Park Hopper Ticket to the broker and that’s it.
Sounds good right? It’s not illegal for these brokers to rent tickets but Disney’s policy on tickets is they are nontransferable. Each ticket must be used by the same person on all days. You may save some money but consider these things:
You don’t want to stress out about getting caught every time your ticket is scanned. If you don’t have your story straight your tickets will be confiscated on the spot. Cast members are trained to spot if the tickets have been previously used and to ask you what time you came to the resort the day before (if you rented day 2 on a 3-day Park Hopper for example). If you say that this was your first day….Busted! It has also been reported that Cast Members are now taking digital photographs of guests with multi-day passes and checking them against the passes to ensure the photo matches.
If you get caught you will need to be prepared to pay the full retail value for your tickets which can be an expensive proposition considering you just paid to rent your Park Hopper tickets from the broker. If you’re lucky the broker may refund your money but don’t count on it! Thankfully now that Disneyland is implementing the photo policy, most of these brokers are slowly going out of business.
These are just some of the main ways that criminals are looking to part you from your hard earned money. Bottom line…Save a little more and buy from legitimate sources! It’s certainly unfortunate that criminals and scammers have no heart, but we as consumers must do our due diligence before taking their word for it. We hope that you’ve found this post before you’ve decided to purchase!
Until next time…
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