The kids have been begging for it, and you’ve decided that 2019 is the year the family will finally visit Disneyland.
Before you get to the happiest place on earth, you’ll need to pay for the trip. And it won’t come cheap; for a single-day regular price pass at California’s Disneyland, you’ll need to pony up $117 – each. For a family of four, paying $468 on top of airfare, hotels, and meals just for one day at the park can make the trip impossible.
But the good news is, there are ways to cut down the overall cost of your Disney vacation. Figuring out how to save money at Disneyland can help keep your spending down when you’re there, and planning out smart travel dates will help reduce your total trip costs. After all, every child – of any age – deserves a trip to visit the magic of Disney, and there are ways to make your dream a reality.
These tips for saving money at Disneyland will help you plan a trip that the whole family will love, without requiring you to go into debt or blow your entire savings. As with any vacation, remember that the more you plan and compare costs, the more significant your overall savings will be.
1. Choose Off-Peak Dates
Disneyland works on a tiered ticketing system, where you’ll spend less on Value days and more on Peak days compared to the Regular day price. Value day prices start at $97 per ticket, Regular prices start at $117 per ticket, and Peak pricing starts at $135 per ticket. For savings of nearly $40, choose a Value day over a Peak day, and when you look at the ticketing calendar you’ll be surprised to find that Value and Peak days may be right next to each other.
Given that Disneyland is located in Orange County, CA, a year-round travel destination, you’ll want to get strategic with your travel planning. Skip holidays, and look for dates in the fall, winter, and spring, when schools aren’t out. With lower crowds, you’ll find more options for how to save money at Disneyland.
2. Travel When The Kids Are Younger
Did you know that children under three can visit Disneyland at no additional cost? Planning these trips when your children are younger can help you save on everything from hotel breakfasts to admission fees. Children under the age of 10 also receive a discount; a single-day ticket for ages three to nine comes in at $110, a $7 savings from the adult ticket.
One of the other crucial tips for saving money at Disneyland when traveling with small children is to bring your own stroller. While you can rent one at the park, these cost $15 each day, and you can’t remove the stroller from the parks. Save some extra money and make your life easier by skipping the rental and bringing your own.
3. Stay At A Vacation Rental
It’s appealing to purchase a package including Disney accommodation for your vacation, but you’ll likely be able to save more by looking into vacation rentals close to the park. According to VRBO, Anaheim rentals start at under $100 a night for a family of four. That’s significant savings compared to a Disneyland Resort Hotel, where the cheapest option starts at $269 per night.
For even more savings on your accommodations, consider waiting to book a vacation rental until your trip is around two weeks away. At that point, owners who still have their properties available may be willing to give you a discount.
4. Make Your Own Food
Another benefit of staying at a vacation rental instead of a hotel is that you can cook your meals. You’ll save money on eating out at restaurants for three meals a day, and with a kitchen, you’ll always have snacks and refreshments on hand to keep the family happy.
This also leads into one of the best tips for saving money at Disneyland: you can bring in your own food! So long as your items comply with Disneyland’s Park Rules, you can make lunch and snacks to enjoy during the day, skipping the higher-priced options.
5. Carry Water Bottles
You’ll need to stay hydrated during a long day in the Southern California sun, so bring your own refillable water bottles to avoid paying for bottled water. Look for water fountains to fill up, and you can even bring Gatorade or juice packets to add for kids.
6. Stay More, Save More
Tips for saving money at Disneyland when planning a family getaway? Consider a longer stay to save on the price of admission – significantly. While a one-day Regular ticket costs $117 per day, a 5-day ticket costs only $64 per day. It’s not cheap, but it’s a good idea to think about taking one longer trip every couple of years instead of smaller ones more often when it comes to experiences like Disneyland.
7. Maximize One Visit
The alternative to staying longer to save money at Disneyland is to maximize your single-day ticket. Plan out the attractions everyone wants to see and keep your theme park visit to one day. You can spend the rest of your time enjoying a hotel pool or visiting other lower-cost entertainment options nearby.
8. Get There Early
To get the most out of your time at Disneyland, you don’t want to spend it waiting in line. Try and get to the park before opening hours, so you’re some of the first ones to enjoy it, and target those popular rides that get busy later in the day. Give yourself a plan based on a park map, so you don’t waste any time looking for directions in those first hours.
9. Anticipate Your Splurges
When it comes to how to save money at Disneyland, get a head start on savings by getting as much information as you can about the temptations that will be along the way and try to head them off. Souvenirs, photos, and treats can quickly devour your vacation budget. Instead, make a plan to anticipate some of the more significant costs of your trip. If you know you’ll want a turkey leg instead of a homemade turkey sandwich, prepare for that. If you’re going to want to take the family out for dinner, estimate those costs and consider them in your overall trip budget.
Talk to the family about what they want, and let kids know a number that they have to spend on souvenirs and extras. If that’s $25 for the week, help them practice their money management by budgeting for what they really want.
10. Let Friends And Family Know You’re Saving For A Disneyland Trip
Start saving money at Disneyland before your trip even starts by asking for Disney gift cards for children’s gifts throughout the year. You’ll be accumulating ways to save, and your children will be able to use those gift cards for an experience they’ll never forget. Again, this is an excellent chance to talk to kids about money and the importance of saving and budgeting before a big expense.
11. Bring Your Own Costumes
Shopping in the park is expensive, so make your own princess gowns and character costumes at home, or shop for some ahead of time at a discount price. With simple materials like lace, tulle, and sequins, you can fashion a one-of-a-kind costume that saves you money on your total trip costs.
While there are several tips for saving money at Disneyland, the best way to save money on your trip is to plan ahead. Traveling to Disneyland on a budget is the number one way to save money, and you won’t be sacrificing any enjoyment. Prepare for your trip well in advance to get the best deals on ticketing and accommodations, and then get ready for family fun, the Disney way.