My last Disneyland vacation, two years ago, was incredible. It's been in the back of my mind for the last year and a half that I should go back soon.
My sister's family flew into southern California and we drove down to meet them there. We visited the hell out of Disneyland. We went for three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and came out with quite a few stories. Here are five of them:
Counter to my own advice from 2011, I had recently heard that it had become impossible to share 5-day tickets to Disneyland. Bummer. I'd buy regular tickets for my family... but I'd try Craigslist first.
I know people get scammed on Craigslist, and Disneyland tickets seem risky to buy from a stranger. Here's why:
- The tickets are very valuable
- It is impossible to tell if they have already been used
But I also know that most people are honest, and that the risk of buying bad tickets means the pool of willing buyers is miniscule here in Sacramento. I'm 400 miles north of Disneyland.
After a couple of days of searching, I located three 2-day adult tickets being offered at $130 each. That is a savings of $40 for each ticket. The tickets, the seller explained, were a prize that his wife had won at her job, but they had been staring at them for almost a year and it didn't look like they were going to make it to Anaheim before they would expire.
I met him at his house. He anticipated my reluctance to buy from a stranger and offered an anti-scam scheme: I could photograph his driver's license and car registration, as long as I would delete the pictures after my trip.
I asked if he would drop the price for three from $390 to $300, but he would not. We settled on $350, or $116.66 each.
Why did I trust him?
- He acknowledged that I was trusting him.
- He reassured me with his personal information.
- I knew where he lived.
- The tickets looked new.
- He would not drop the price recklessly.
- I can survive losing that amount of money.
I was wary that the tickets were bad from the moment I bought them, but was happy with the potential $160 savings ($510 value - $350 price) I would enjoy. Unfortunately, my savings was short-lived. Our vacation plans changed and we decided to do three days in Disneyland instead of two days. Now I'd have to buy the third day at full value, bringing my total to just under the regular price for three-day tickets.
In any case, two weeks later we showed up at the gates of Disneyland and the Craigslist tickets worked.
After being in Disneyland for a few days, I realized that the best clue that tickets are unused was that they were flat and new looking. Now that Disneyland visitors use their admission tickets in FastPass machines throughout the day, there is no way that real used tickets would survive the day unscathed.
Look closely at the tickets above. They are dog-eared and wrinkled, the white color from the other side has offset onto the black and white side. I carried them in my wallet and fed them into a dozen different fastpass machines over the course of our trip. They are used, and you can tell. This is not to say that the tickets couldn't have been completely fabricated, that would just have been a bit harder.
My buy was successful and there was a twist! When I went to delete the seller's ID photo in my phone, I saw that he has the same birthday as me. Same day and year! What a coincidence!