Tips on how to go to Disneyland on a budget. When to go, transportation, hotels near Disneyland, how to save money on food, souvenirs and more.
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If you can’t tell by my blog, I LOVE Disney! Although I love it, I do realize that Disney is expensive. Really expensive. Growing up, my family would visit Disneyland at least once a year and I have continued that tradition with my kids. Sometimes we even go more than once a year. Having a budget conscious husband and having an extreme love for all things Disney can be kind of tricky. But, I assure you, it is possible. Below you’ll find some tips on how to go to Disneyland on a Budget.
1. When to Go
The first thing you’ll want to decide is when you want to go to Disneyland. Depending on when you decide to go, the price will be affected. I recommend going to Disneyland during the off-season: January, February, the beginning of March, the end of April, beginning of May, the end of August, September, the beginning of November, and the beginning of December. Hotel prices and gas prices will generally be lower during these times as well.
The next thing you will want to consider is how you will get to Disneyland. Drive or fly? The cost effectiveness of each will depend on how far you will be traveling, how many people are in your party and the price of gas. For me, living in Utah with a family of five, it is generally cheaper to drive. But, just because driving might seem cheaper, make sure you factor in the cost of meals, hotels, if you’re splitting up your drive, gas prices, and hotel parking prices. A lot of hotels close to Disneyland charge for parking.
Flying has a lot of things to consider as well. You might be able to find a super cheap flight, but most airlines will charge a fee for a checking bag, and some even charge you for your carry-on. Ridiculous, I know. You’ll also need to think about transportation once you arrive. Will you rent a car, use Uber or take a shuttle to your hotel? How will you get to and from Disneyland once at your hotel? An advantage of flying is time. Generally you will save time when flying so that is something to consider as well.
If done right, one way to save money on flights is to apply for a credit card offered by an airline. With a lot of these credit cards you will earn points or miles that can apply toward the cost of your flight and might be able to save you some money. If you do choose to fly, check out the transportation options available from Get Away Today, my favorite company to book Disneyland vacations through. They have discounted rates on shuttles, to and from many Southern California airports, as well as shuttles to Universal Studios and more!
3. Where to Stay
Deciding where to stay on your Disneyland vacation will also impact your budget. The Disneyland Resort Hotels are always an option, but to me are more of a splurge. There are many Disneyland Good Neighbor hotels located close to the parks that have high ratings and are very affordable.
Some things to consider when choosing your hotel:
- Party size and room size. If you have more than 4 people in your party, you’ll want to check and see which hotels have rooms that will accommodate a larger group.
- Proximity to Disneyland. If the hotel is close enough, you might be able to walk to Disneyland and save money on parking. The Anaheim Resort Transit is another way to potentially save money. It is a shuttle service that offers transportation to Disneyland for many hotels in the area for a small fee. Many hotels may offer their own shuttles as well.
- Free meals offered. There are a lot of hotels that provide a free breakfast, kids eat free deals and even free dinner! This can definitely help you stay on budget when traveling to Disneyland.
I also recommend checking out hotel packages available through Get Away Today. You can book Disneyland Resort Hotels as well as Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels through them. There are also many hotel deals available only through Get Away Today, like 3rd or 4th night free and reduced parking fees. When I was planning my upcoming vacation to Southern California, I checked prices on my hotel’s website and compared the price for the same hotel from Get Away Today. The price from Get Away Today was nearly $200 less for my entire stay!
Get Away Today has provided an awesome coupon for my readers. Visit their website, book a 2 Night or longer Southern California Vacation Package, use the code MommyMouse at checkout, and save $10! That should hopefully help you with your Disneyland budget.
4. Save on Food
The cost of food and dining can be a big part of your Disneyland budget. But there are some ways to save money.
- Choose a hotel that offers free breakfast.
- Buy groceries at a near by store and pack a lunch. Disneyland does allow you to bring your own food into the parks, within reason. Just be aware that hard sided coolers are not permitted inside Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.
- Decide on a few fun Disneyland snacks and treats that can be shared by the whole family. Check out some of my favorites here.
- Share meals. Most portion sizes at Disneyland are really big and can easily be shared.
- Have snacks delivered to your hotel. Find out how to do this here.
- Go outside the parks. There are quite a few restaurants located in Downtown Disney and across the street that are less expensive than trying to eat inside the parks. Do some research ahead of time and see which ones have coupons or free kids meals.
5. Ticket Savings
There aren’t a lot of Disneyland ticket savings available out there, but they can be found if you know where to look. With tickets to Disneyland, the more days you go, the cheaper the tickets become, per day. That is something to consider when you’re planning your vacation. One way to save money is to decide whether or not you want to purchase a Park Hopper Ticket. With a Park Hopper Ticket, you can go between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as many times as you want throughout the day. You can save a little bit of money by choosing the 1-Park Per Day Ticket, but it depends on what your priorities are. For me, if I’m at Disneyland for 3 days or less, I will usually get the Park Hopper. It’s also nice because Disney California Adventure usually closes first, so you can head over to Disneyland for an hour or two to end your day.
Regardless of which ticket you and your family decide on, I have found that Get Away Today can always save you money on your tickets. They always have special deals and sales available to their customers that make the price of a ticket to Disneyland cheaper than the gate prices.
6. Save on Souvenirs
Part of the fun of visiting Disneyland is being able to bring a little piece of the parks home with you. Just ask my kids! Souvenir shopping can be fun, but the cost can get out of hand quickly. I always give my kids a small budget that they can use to spend on a toy or souvenir. This method has another advantage as well. It teaches them money management skills! Win, win. There are also many stores around Disneyland, like Target, where you can buy discounted souvenirs. You can buy a few small things ahead of time on Amazon or watch for sales at DisneyStore.com.
7. Outside Disney Savings
If I’m traveling all the way to southern California, I usually like to combine the trip with a visit to San Diego. One of the cool things about traveling south to San Diego in October, is that kids are free to many attractions. My family is actually going to take advantage of this next week! Kids get in free to places like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, the U.S.S. Midway, Sea World and so much more! This is something to keep in mind if you want to add some more fun to your Disneyland vacation, while still sticking to your budget.
I hope that you can use some of these tips to help you stick to your Disneyland budget. You can find more Disneyland tips here. Make sure you pin this post so you will have it when you’re ready to plan your vacation!