The most important thing to have with you at all times during your visit to the Disneyland Resort is your park ticket. There are two main categories of ticket: a standard ticket and an annual pass.
A standard ticket is one that is good for a specific length of time (almost always 1-5 days). When you order your ticket, you can select the number of days you’d like to use your ticket for. These do not have to be concurrent days; for example, you could buy a two day ticket and use day 1 on May 2, and day 2 on May 19. But if you cross the park gates, that counts as a full day, even if you only spend an hour in the park.
Once you know how many days you’ll need for your park ticket, you’ll have to decide if you want a one-park ticket, or a hopper. A one-park ticket means that each day, you can go into Disneyland OR California Adventure, but not both. (When you buy the ticket, you don’t have to specify which park you’ll be visiting). A park hopper means you can jump back and forth as many times as you want on every day of your visit.
For full pricing on all the different kinds of tickets, visit the purchasing page here. A lot of people wait until they get to the park to buy their tickets – DON’T DO THAT! The price will be exactly the same, but you’ll have to wait in an extra line when you get there.
Once you purchase your ticket, print out the page with the barcode. Bring this paper to the park, and go directly to the gates. The cast member that checks you in will give you an official ticket. Pro tip: take a photo of the back of your ticket, in case you lose it.
Keep that ticket with you at all times; you’ll need it every time you hop parks, to get a fast pass, and to get on the Monorail from Downtown Disney. And when you get home, I’d recommend sticking your ticket in a frame alongside your vacation photos…it makes for a great souvenir!
Frequent visitors to the Disneyland Resort use a different kind of ticket, an annual pass. These tickets are like membership cards, which offer admission for most of the year (different passes have different admission dates), discounts on food and merchandise, and access to special pass holder events held throughout the year. You can purchase an annual pass online or at the resort. If you buy a ticket, go the park, and decide you want an annual pass, you can upgrade. The price of your ticket will go toward the price of whatever pass you choose.