Tickets, hard tickets or app?

this may be a silly question, but we’ll see…preparing for our July trip. Last visit was 2016. If I remember, we bought our tickets at DLH the day before we entered park. Does that sound right? Would they have given us the hard tickets there?
Even though we are planning on maxpass, do we still get hard tickets as a backup, or if we possibly don’t get maxpass on a specific day? or is it all through the app now? Any reason not to just buy tickets on the app?
Any insight on how it is set up now would be great, I may have a few followup hypotheticals to be sure I get it all.

I just got back from our first trip out there and I was also confused by this. I went ahead and bought tickets online for our trip because they are running that awesome ticket special right now. I was given a confirmation number when I purchased them. I kind of panicked because I didn’t get an email or anything and when I logged into the my Disneyland account online they were not showing up. However, I called the help line and she informed me that they only show up on the Disneyland App. I logged in there and they were in there.
We had 4 day park hoppers and on our first time into the parks, they scanned the bar code from the app at the gate. When they scanned the bar code they then took my picture to link to the ticket and gave me a paper ticket. This is what we used every time we entered the park.
We also got MaxPass every day and this was all still done on the app even though we had paper tickets. I did notice that the lines at the ticket windows always seemed to be pretty long. I would save yourself some time and go ahead and buy them online.
I hope that answered some questions!

Your recollection of getting tickets from your hotel is probably accurate and I’m fairly certain (but not 100%) that you could still purchase tickets from the hotel desk the day before.

However, having it all digital is very convenient and whenever we’ve had the need of a ticket we’ve purchased online (to be able to use gift cards- the app doesn’t have the functionality to pay with a gift cards). Then afterwards, the tickets will show as linked to my account on the Disneyland app. And then as already answered, no matter what they will give you a paper ticket the first time you enter as a backup for getting FPs.

if I get them at the hotel first, do they give the paper tickets there, so would that save a step at the turnstile? I know they’d still take our pics the first time through though.

I’m not positive, but I would guess that if anyone were to have physical paper tickets, it would be the on-site hotel desks. I do know for sure that the Good Neighbor hotels have paper tickets so I can’t see why the on-site hotel desks wouldn’t.