Multi-day pass rentals headache for Disneyland

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An increasing number of tourists are finding a way to save $40 or more on day passes to California's Disney theme parks by "renting" one day of a multi-day park hopper pass _ and the practice is giving Disneyland a run for its money.

At least seven unofficial ticket agencies located around Disneyland will "rent" one day of the multi-day passes for $80 to $99 per day person, a significant savings from the $125 price tag for tickets to attend Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Police say there's nothing illegal about unofficial ticket agencies renting out multiday passes by the day, but Disney forbids ticket transfers and will confiscate the passes if they discover them, The Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/SKGcxq) reported Wednesday.

Within the year, Anaheim parks plan to put in new technology that could resolve the issue, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. She declined to elaborate.

"Ticket `renting' is in violation of our policy, which clearly states that tickets must be used by the same person on any and all days," Brown said. "So that our guests are not taken advantage of, we strongly advise that they only purchase tickets at Disneyland Resort, at our hotels or through an authorized seller to ensure that tickets are valid."

The unofficial ticket agencies buy the multi-day passes from Disneyland or an authorized vendor and then rent them by the day to tourists. At the end of the day, the tourist returns the multi-day pass and the agency rents it out to another tourist for each day of its five-day valid period.

A five-day, park-hopper pass is $290_ so for $58 a day, the customer can go to Disneyland and California Adventure. At the gate, the single-ticket cost is $125.

The ticket agency will rent out the five-day passes by the day, for roughly $80 to $99. The agency pockets the difference, say $110 to $205 per each five-day ticket.

Disney tickets clearly state that they are "nontransferable" and must be used by the same person on all of the days, so the theme park has trained its gates workers to be on the lookout for visitors using the rented passes.

In some cases, the agency will white out the tourist's name or provide the tourist with a card detailing how the pass was used by other visitors on previous days in case Disneyland employees question them.

Beth Holderness bought tickets at a strip mall for $80, but was caught at the gates of the Happiest Place on Earth when she was asked what time she had been there the day before. Holderness, of Arvada, Colo., replied that it was her first day and Disneyland confiscated her passes.

"I feel like a criminal, but I thought I bought legitimate tickets," she told the Register.

Craig Neil, owner of Anaheim Tickets on a side street near Disneyland, said less than 2 percent of customers have had problems.

Visitors can get refunds or new tickets, he said.

"They do check some of the tickets, but they don't check all of them," Neil said about Disney ticket takers. "Otherwise, we would not be able to stay in business."

Neil said his workers tell buyers how to avoid getting caught, handing them a business card listing when tickets were purchased, where and when they were last used. He said a family of four can save about $100.