Every kid’s dream is to have a day at Disneyland. Many grow up watching Disney movies and have their favorite characters picked out, or, are obsessed with the princes’ collection Disney has created. Every little princess wants to meet a princess at Disneyland! Although ticket prices have gradually increased over the years, Disneyland doesn’t have to be out of reach for you and your family. Try these tips to save money at Disneyland and plan your vacation to the most magical place on Earth.
Go off Season to Save Money at Disneyland
Disneyland can be expensive during the peak times of the year. These times include the summer months including holidays such as Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. The “off” season is September through March. The winter months are relatively mild in California, but you may need a jacket or sweater at night. Holidays are especially crowded with people taking advantage of the extra time off, and this includes holidays in the off-season. Also, consider attending the park during weekdays when it is less busy and crowded.
Disneyland resorts in the park are convenient and do have their perks. However, these perks usually come with a cost and an on-site resort is just not in the budget sometimes. Off-site hotels, rentals, and motels are available all throughout the area. Disneyland, nearby San Diego city and many other sights and attractions are located within proximity and there are lots of hotels to choose from. Check savings sites like Groupon or simply call to see what specials are being offered for your stay. Booking through travel sites can also help save money at Disneyland, as often breakfast is included and sometimes a free shuttle pass, parking, and others may be included in the travel package. Travel agency websites often provide lower rates.
Take a Shuttle
Parking at Disneyland is 18 dollars per car per day. Staying off-site at a nearby hotel or motel can often lead to free parking. Many of these hotels offer shuttle services for free! The shuttle will pick you up and drop you off at Disneyland, saving you money on parking. If your hotel is in the city of Anaheim, guests can use the ART Shuttle System within the city as well to get to Disneyland. The ART has passes you can purchase that are still less expensive than paying for parking every day.
Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive in the Morning
Many hotels nearby offer free breakfast if you stay with them. Take advantage of this opportunity and eat a good meal before entering the park. Meals within the park can be a bit pricey, and you may eat lunch or dinner there, so opt to eat breakfast free at your hotel if it is offered, stop by a McDonald’s or somewhere else less expensive than Disneyland. This will also give you and your kid’s energy to start the long and exciting day at the Magic Kingdom.
Purchase Princess Dresses and other Special Attire Beforehand
During your visit, you may see hundreds of little girls dressed as princesses. It is much less expensive to purchase these at a Walmart or other store outside of the park. In Disneyland, you will pay top price for a princess’ dress. This also applies to the famous Mickey Mouse ear hats many people wear. Although the ear hats are harder to find, a quick online search can lead to your mouse-ear hat dream come true. Consider purchasing these items outside of the park before you go. You can wear them into the park for a day of fun.
Disney Gift Cards as Gifts
Do you have a birthday, holiday or other special event coming in which you will receive gifts? Consider asking for Disney gift cards instead of gifts. Disney gift cards can be used to purchase admission, food, souvenirs and other merchandise in the park. For your kid’s birthday party ask for Disney cards! This will decrease your in-park spending and will increase your souvenir or gift budget for you or your kids. These can be purchased online and several different types of stores, including grocery stores.
Allowing a budget for one item for each person in the park is a good idea, but outside the park, there are souvenirs that are just as great! Small shops along the way to Disneyland and in the surrounding area have lots of Disney character shirts, purses, accessories, hats, figurines and much more. You can find these at discounted and less high prices than in actual park itself. Purchase some souvenirs on your way out of the park to add to your savings.
“Value” Days, Coupons and More
“Value” days have been added recently, and the price depends on the days of the week you visit. These days tend to be less popular days such as Tuesdays or Wednesdays or during the middle of the month. There is a Disneyland calendar online in which you can see when they upcoming value days will be. Watch for coupons online because Disney likes to promote during its off-season to attract visitors during the slower times. Watch for Disney coupons everywhere! A Google search online, local grocery stores, chain hotels and much more have coupons and discounts available; you just have to find them.
Kids Under the Age of 3
Kids ages three and under get in free! While they may be a bit young to remember their experience, it is a good thing to keep in mind.
Pack Some Snacks and Drinks
Technically, the Disney policy states that outside food is not allowed, but that doesn’t stop people from packing some snacks and bringing at least some water. Sit-down restaurants in the park are more expensive, but the cafeteria counter-service eateries are less expensive. Not that hungry? Order a kids portion for a cheaper meal, and they usually come with a free drink. Head out of the park to a restaurant or home-cooked dinner for a budget-friendly lunch instead.
A Magical Experience
Disneyland can be expensive, but taking the time to research deals and hotels can save you a lot of money. Take the free shuttle service from an outside and nearby hotel, so you don’t have to pay for parking. Disneyland can be done on a budget! There are great souvenirs for sale outside of the park. Pick up your t-shirt there or a figurine or hat. If your hotel has free breakfast, take advantage of it and save money on food that day. Enjoy a stress-free vacation with these tips to save money at Disneyland!