Beware Disneyland Ticket Scams
By Andy Herndon
As I am getting ready for my Disneyland/ D23 Expo trip this week I have had several people ask me about getting Disneyland tickets and such from garage sale pages and craigslist. This is the first time in 4 years I will be going with a Disneyland Annual Pass (I had to buy a hopper pass), so I thought this post was timely. There are so many scams out there and people who want to take your hard earned money and ruin your vacation. So here is an updated post on getting your tickets to Disneyland without getting ripped off!
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true… IT IS!!!
In all your planning, it is easy to get excited to find deals online. There are many reputable third party companies that sell Disneyland tickets. If you are ever unsure of a company or travel agency you should always confirm their legitimacy. If there is doubt, call Disneyland customer service, don’t chance it.
There are three main scams you want to watch out for when planning your Disneyland trip. I’m sure there are others but these seem to be the most prevalent.
The Fake Travel Agent
The first scam is the fake travel agent. Any travel agent you use should be reputable and licensed by the appropriate government agencies if that applies.
The scam goes like this… A travel agent will say they will book your entire trip, hopper passes and all, take your money and then disappear. This scam isn’t Disney park exclusive, but in all vacation planning. However, because Disney trips usually involve a bit more money due to the purchase of the park passes, scams involving Disney Parks tend to be more prevalent.
Generally, the travel agent will look legit, maybe even have a website, but do not be fooled. Websites can be taken up and down in a moments notice. The travel agent will offer a great price on a package deal for your trip. You will generally pay them online or wire them money, receive an official looking confirmation, only to find out that the airline doesn’t have you booked for your flight, the hotel doesn’t have your registration, and the hopper passes you have are no good or never arrive in the mail as promised.
When booking any trip, make sure you use a reputable travel agent or website. If you are unsure, check with the Better Business Bureau, or even call Disneyland to see if this person or website is authorized to book your trip. You can also book everything yourself or use sites like getawaytoday.com.
The Leftover Hopper Pass
Many people will go on craigslist and see listings for someone who has bought a 5 day hopper pass for Disneyland, but has only used two or three days and is selling the remainder of their pass at a discounted rate. This ploy worked for many a year, but it is against Disneyland policy. All Disney park passes are non-transferable and always have been. The issue now is that because many people have been pulling this scam, resulting in Disneyland losing thousands of dollars, Disneyland now requires anyone with a multiday hopper pass to have their picture taken and if there is any questions about the legitimacy of your pass they will ask you to present your identification. Thus, if you buy into this, the cast members will not let you into the park as a picture of someone else will pop up on their screen. It may sound tempting and the person selling it may tell you it’s okay, but just don’t do it.
The Fake Hopper Pass
This is the most common of all the Disneyland scams. Generally, people who are scammed this way will see a local listing on Craigslist from someone saying they had a Disneyland trip planned but had to cancel due to family illness or some other legitimate sounding reason and now need to sell their hopper passes for cash to visit their ailing family member or some other sad story. The passes may be a bit cheaper than they would be if you bought them from Disneyland, usually the seller will say they discounted them so they would sell more quickly. They will usually meet you in public and insist on you paying cash. When you purchase these hopper passes they are usually printouts, which is a common way to get your hopper pass when you buy them online.
The scam is that these hopper passes are copies of used hopper passes and are no longer valid. Last year USA Today reported a family who had fallen into this scam and didn’t realize this until they had arrived in Anaheim, checked into their hotel and were at the front gate only to find the passes invalid. Our recommendation is to not buy Disneyland passes from anywhere but an authorized seller (i.e. getawaytoday.com, Safeway/Vons, Disneyland.com ).
If you really do want to take your chances, before buying, call Disney parks customer service at 407-566-4985 and enter option 5 where you will be prompted to enter the serial number of the hopper passes, but even then we do not recommend buying hopper passes from those who are unauthorized to do so. Passes are labeled as non transferable.
Of course you don’t want to waste your money and ruin you Disneyland vacation for your family. Be smart, don’t take chances, check references and do your homework. A good rule of thumb is if it’s too good to be true…it probably is.