Just uttering the word Disneyland can insight a little cringe at the thought of how much money it can cost to go there. Yes, it’s true, the “Happiest Place On Earth” costs a lot of money! For good reason. It’s safe, clean, it has tons of rides, shows and activities for the whole family! Plus, it’s loaded from top to bottom with pixie dust (magic). Families can spend thousands loading up on all of the extras, or you can manage to do it at a discount and still have a blast!
Here are my recommendations for doing Disneyland on a budget:
The Spring SALE! You can go to Disneyland for only $70 per day, for a 3 day, 1 park per day pass. With this special ticket, you can also add on the Max Pass for only $10 per ticket per day! This three day, 1 park per day pass, including the daily Max Pass cost only $240 each! That is a savings of up to $105 each. You can purchase this through the Disneyland App or buy your tickets at the park when you arrive. This limited-time, special ticket offer goes from January 7, 2019-May 23, 2019 (some blockout dates apply so check the website). If you purchase through the website or app, one magic (early) morning is included, but if you purchase on site you will not get that magic morning.
Bring in your own snacks and drinks! We come into the park loaded up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers, fruit, granola bars, trail mix and waters. We bring backpacks and also use the storage under the stroller for these items. This will not only save money, but will also save you time. We ate snacks while waiting in line for rides or waiting for a show to start. If you were to stop and buy a snack every time you are hungry, this will add up to hundreds of dollars a day!
Search for the best hotel rates online. We found a nice hotel that offers a free shuttle to and from Disneyland for less than $100 per night. It was nothing fancy, but it was clean, comfortable and safe. It also had a mini fridge and coffee maker. Honestly, when you are at Disneyland you don’t spend much time in your room anyways. Our daughter fell asleep each night in her stroller at the park. We literally just showered and slept at the hotel because we wanted to spend as much time as possible at Disneyland. Our entire bill for 4 nights at the hotel, including tax and fees was less than $450!
Take advantage of everything that is included with your ticket! -With the Max Pass, all professional photos and ride photos will be available for you to download for free. Take the time to stop a photographer when you see one to ask if they will take your picture. For something extra special, ask them if they will do a “magic” photo for you (also included with the Max Pass). -Why pay for a character breakfast when you can meet them for free (included with the cost of your ticket, of course)? The Disneyland app will tell you which characters are where and at what time, but in all honesty, we ran into so many of them! We met and took photos with most of the princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, etc. all for free! We went to the Royal Hall in Fantasyland first thing in the morning and didn’t have to wait to see any of the princesses. Our daughter got to spend time with each one of them, talking, signing an autograph book and taking photos. It was a highlight of our trip. -Amazing shows! Wow, these shows are top notch. We did Disney Jr. Dance Party, Turtle Talk with Crush, Frozen Live at the Hyperion Theater, Tangled at the Royal Hall, Mickey’s Magical Map (our daughter’s favorite), and the nighttime light and fireworks show called Mickey’s Magic Mix. These were all so much fun and all FREE with our admission.
Eat when you are hungry and check out menus on the app. We didn’t book any dining reservations and I’m glad that we didn’t. The sit down restaurants are pricey! For the same amount and quality of food, you can get something from a cafeteria-style or walk up and order restaurant (no reservations required) for much less. We liked the French Market because they had a great selection and offered live music. In California Adventure, we ate fish tacos at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill while enjoying the lights from Pixar Pier. You don’t have to spend a fortune on food to get a good meal.
Bring your own light up toys and Disney goods! Stock up on glow in the dark necklaces, magic wands, Disney coloring books, etc. from the Dollar Store. These “special” items can cost a ridiculous amount of money while you are in the park, so getting them ahead of time will save you a ton of money. Also, buy your Disney wear ahead of time. We found great deals on Disney themed clothes for the whole family at Gap and Target. This way, you feel like you are part of the magic and you don’t feel the need to buy any over priced Mickey shirts while you are in the parks.
Don’t let the thought of how expensive Disneyland can be deter you from booking your next vacation. There are so many ways to save money, without missing out on anything.
You will have a magical time and still have money left in your wallet when you return home.