How to Get Free Disney Tickets

Free Disney tickets aren't easy to come by. Be wary of anyone offering a deal that seems suspect.
Jennifer Calonia
By Jennifer Calonia 
Published

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When you're making plans to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, your heart might sing its favorite Disney tune. But your trip can quickly become costly. With park admission starting at $83 to $109 for a one-day, one-park ticket, some people will look for creative ways to get Disney tickets.

If you want to get in without paying the standard cost of admission, here is how to get free tickets to Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

Ways to get free (or almost free) tickets to Disneyland or Walt Disney World

Although there are workarounds that can help you get Walt Disney World or Disneyland tickets for free, they’re typically time-consuming or might require upfront spending. Still, if you’re willing to go through the hoops, here are a couple of legitimate options.

1. Become a planDisney panel member

The planDisney panel (formerly the Disney Parks Moms Panel) is an online FAQ resource board operated by Disney. Each year, people can apply to become panelists who are responsible for crafting personalized answers to submitted questions.

Panelists are selected for their expertise in various areas of Disney vacation destinations.

In exchange for being a planDisney panelist, you and up to three family members get free Disney tickets, based on your area of expertise. For example, if you specialize in Disneyland Resort, you’ll receive free admission to Disneyland.

Before applying, you must meet the program’s eligibility requirements, some of which include at least one recent visit to your chosen specialty, fulfilling a quota for answering questions and being available to attend training sessions.

2. Earn credit card bonus rewards

Technically, getting Disney tickets through credit card rewards isn’t entirely free. In fact, it often takes a considerable amount of spending on your card. Additionally, there isn’t always a direct way to go about it.

Here’s how this strategy works — and it could be particularly useful if you’re in the market for a new credit card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

If you have a large, non-Disney park purchase coming up or use your credit card for everyday spending anyway, you might as well leverage that spending into a bonus rewards promotion to cover park admission.

Some rewards travel cards offer sign-up or welcome rewards bonuses for new cardholders. Take the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for example: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

This bonus allotment might be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on the program.

There’s rarely a direct way to redeem these credit card rewards in exchange for a Disney admission ticket. Instead, some programs let you apply your rewards toward a purchase on your card or as a statement credit. This means you’ll need to purchase your ticket out-of-pocket, then cover the cost afterward by redeeming your rewards for that expense.

Discontinued programs that no longer offer free admission to Disney

In past years, Disney offered other ways for visitors to access the parks free of charge. These programs, however, are no longer available.

Complimentary media tickets

Once upon a time, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort offered members of the media, including reporters, free admission to Disney theme parks.

For example, verified working media members could request up to two, complementary one-day Park Hopper tickets at least two weeks in advance. The policy restricted this perk to once every 12 months and had blackout dates.

As long as you passed Disney’s review and held a full-time qualifying position at a news or editorial publication, you might have been able to secure free tickets.

However, Walt Disney World’s policy changed in 2020. Due to the pandemic, Disney instituted new safety and limited admission protocols for its phased reopening. Its complimentary media tickets were discontinued, effective July 11, 2020. Disneyland Resort followed suit, and no longer offers working media a chance to request free admission.

Free birthday admission

Some visitors believe they can get into Disney theme parks for free on their birthday. However, this isn’t a program that’s available today.

Back in 2009, though, such admission was part of Disney’s “What Will You Celebrate” promotion. During that year, visitors who wanted free Disneyland or Disney World tickets could get complimentary access to the park for a special occasion. Among the list of qualified occasions under the promotion was birthdays. The promotion ended on Dec. 31, 2009.

But visitors who pay for an admission ticket can receive a complimentary birthday-themed button at the parks. To find out more, visit guest services or talk with a Cast Member at a retail shop inside the park.

The bottom line

There are limited ways to get free tickets to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, but with some workarounds and time, having your admission subsidized is possible.

Just remember that with Disney parks being a sought-after destination, be vigilant about avoiding scams. If an offer for free tickets to Disney sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

Frequently asked questions

Getting into Disneyland for free isn’t impossible, but it might take some work. Disney doesn’t offer complimentary tickets to the general public so you might need to go through a third party to acquire free admission.

No. Disneyland and Walt Disney World no longer offer free admission on visitors’ birthdays. “What Will You Celebrate” was a temporary promotion in 2009 that allowed free admission to celebrate a special occasion, including birthdays.

Per Disneyland’s admission policy, only children ages 2 and younger can enter the park without an admission ticket. Children, ages 2 and under also don’t require an admission ticket for Walt Disney World theme parks.

(Top photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)


How to maximize your rewards

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Cards for Disney from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-10x

Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

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Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

on Chase's website

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
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30,000

Limited-time offer: Earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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