What to Do if Disneyland Tickets Are Sold Out

Park tickets don't sell out, but reservations do. Regardless of ticket type, you can't get in without a reservation.
Jennifer Calonia
By Jennifer Calonia 

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With millions of visitors planning a trip to Disneyland Park in Southern California each year, you may be wondering, “Does Disneyland sell out?” Here’s what you need to know about Disneyland tickets, park reservations and what to do if Disneyland sells out.

Do Disneyland tickets sell out?

Though Disneyland tickets themselves don’t really sell out, reservations do — and you’ll need both to get into the park.

When Disneyland Park reopened its gates after the state’s shelter-in-place pandemic mandate was lifted, it introduced a reservation system. The new policy requires an advance reservation in addition to a valid ticket to get into the park, and there are a limited number of reservations available for each day.

All visitors are subject to this requirement, including Magic Key annual passholders. The reservation requirement applies to all Disneyland tickets, regardless of whether you buy one directly from Disneyland Resorts or a third-party vendor.

If reservations sell out for your preferred date, there’s not much you can do. Ultimately, buying a ticket doesn’t always guarantee you park entry.

Although Walt Disney World in Florida recently announced that reservations will no longer be required for park access with date-based tickets starting Jan. 9, 2024, Disneyland hasn’t made a similar announcement.

How Disneyland reservations work

So if you want to visit Disneyland, how do you secure a reservation?

The easiest way is to book your reservation at the same time you purchase your ticket, which you can do if you’re buying a date-based ticket. But if you’ve already purchased your ticket or have a Magic Key pass, you’ll need to make a reservation separately.

A good resource is the reservation availability calendar, which shows park availability for each day using icons that represent Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. A limited number of reservations are available for each park on any given day, and Disney doesn’t disclose exactly how many it releases.

However, you’ll know when Disneyland reservations are sold out because the date will be grayed out and there will be a slash through it.

Reservation availability may vary depending on your ticket type, your ticket’s blackout dates (if any) and other factors.

For date-based tickets, the reservation calendar is open up to 120 days in advance, with Magic Key holders able to make reservations up to 90 days in advance. Future dates become available on a rolling basis.

How to get Disneyland reservations when sold out

Currently, there’s no waitlist process for Disneyland reservations. If your preferred reservation date is sold out, you have a few options.

  • Choose an alternate reservation date. The simplest, but probably not the most ideal, option is choosing another date that’s available for your visit. If you need to change a date-based ticket, log into your My Disneyland account to modify your dates — just make sure you check reservation availability first.  

  • Regularly check for updated availability. People sometimes cancel their reservations, freeing up spots for others, or Disneyland may release additional reservations on a specific day at its discretion. It’s worth checking reservation availability regularly to see if a spot becomes available.

  • Get a park hopper ticket. Those with a park hopper ticket or a Magic Key can make a reservation at one park and then jump to the other theme park after 11 a.m. If Disneyland Park is sold out but Disney California Adventure (DCA) isn’t, you can make a reservation for DCA and switch parks in the afternoon. Park hopping times may change, so double check on the day of your visit. 

Alternative options if you can’t get into Disneyland

Learning that your desired Disneyland reservation date is sold out can be disappointing. However, if you happen to be visiting the area, there are still plenty of other ways to spend the day.

Best of all, these options are within about 30 minutes of Disneyland Park.

  • Downtown Disney District. Even if you’re not technically inside the park, Downtown Disney can add some magic to your day. The outdoor promenade is within walking distance of Disneyland proper, on the opposite side of the esplanade. It offers retail shops, restaurants, bars, live entertainment and Disney decor throughout. 

  • Orange County Zoo. This 477-acre park features various exhibits of animals native to the area like the black bear, bald eagle and more. It also hosts multiple events throughout the week so visitors can learn more about the creatures. 

  • Fullerton Arboretum. Located on the California State University Fullerton campus, the Fullerton Arboretum is a conservatory that showcases plants from around the world. Visitors can experience the entire collection across four different biomes, and the arboretum hosts special events throughout the year.  

What to do if Disneyland tickets are sold out recapped

Disneyland tickets themselves don’t sell out often, but park reservations can fill up, leaving you without access to the park if you haven’t planned ahead.

The best way to ensure access to Disneyland is to make a reservation when buying your ticket, or as soon as you know when you’d like to visit.

If you’re unable to make a reservation, there are several alternatives you can try, including visiting on another day, buying a park hopper pass or checking out spots like the Downtown Disney District.

(Top photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)

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