So you want to take your family to Disneyland. You’re working hard at saving your pennies, but still feel like that vacation is a little out of your budget. I hear you! As a family who does Disney often, we generally have to cut corners and figure out ways to stretch our dollars a little further. The good news is that there are absolutely ways you can save on your Disneyland vacation! Today, I’m going to fill you in on a few of those tips!
Simple Ways to Save on Your Disneyland Vacation
1. Look into Airmiles and Travel Credit Cards
Many airlines offer these, such as Alaska Airlines and West Jet . Often when you first sign up (and are approved) you’ll receive bonus miles which will give you a free flight within North America (not overseas.) You also get a $99 companion flight once a year when another ticket has been purchased. We use these cards for the majority of our shopping which helps us rack up even more points towards more flights. Obviously getting one or two free flights makes a huge difference in the cost of a trip!
2. Travel Off Season
Your two biggest purchases, hotel and flights, will usually be cheaper if you don’t travel when everyone else is. This means avoiding summer, any major holidays and Spring Break. Be prepared for shorter Park hours and likely a couple of ride closures, but it’s worth it if it means lower crowds and cheaper fares! Disney also tends to offer ticket deals during these slower times, so keep an eye out on their website!
3. Book a hotel that offers a free breakfast
We’ve stayed at Staybridge Suites many times and will be staying there again on our upcoming trip. What we love about this place is that it offers guests a full complimentary breakfast buffet. I’m talking eggs, bacon, waffles, yogurt, fruit, drinks, etc. You can easily fill up on a meal like that before heading into the parks and save yourself some cash – especially when you’re traveling with several family members!
4. Book accommodations with a kitchen
This is another great option in regards to your accommodations. Get a place (either hotel or vrbo rental) with a kitchen or kitchenette so that you have the option of making at least one meal a day away from the parks. Vons offers free grocery delivery in the Anaheim area and you can shop online ahead of time to purchase things like bottled water and snacks to bring into the parks.
5. Skip the Park Hopper Pass
Having the option to hop between both Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park use to be a must for us, but since the expansion of the latter, we find we can dedicate full days easily to both parks. It will save you hundreds to stick with a one-park-a-day ticket and involves less running from place to place. The only time I still recommend going for the Park Hopper is if you only have one or two days to do the Parks. You may need that flexibility to maximize your entertainment.
6. Stick to Quick Service Meals.
I do love a good sit down meal and there are some delicious ones at Disneyland Resort, but if you are trying to save money this is one of the first things you should cut. There are plenty of tasty Quick Service options with comfortable seating options nearby, it just means you won’t be waited on like you would at the sit down meals. P.S – You can get free ‘ice water’ at all the Quick Service restaurants: Use it!
7. Buy What You Can Back Home
Disney shirts, autograph books, princess dresses… Many of these items can be purchased in your own town and brought to the parks for your trip. We’re lucky enough to have a Disney store at our local mall and pick up a few of these items there, but stores like Walmart and Old Navy also carry Disney clothes that can be purchased at more affordable prices. Save any souvenir purchases for items you really can’t get any where else but in the parks themselves.
8. Find Extra Ways to Save Money
Family vacations are important to us, so I do what I can to put money towards that instead of other things. We’ve never owned the latest and greatest tech gadgets, we don’t buy much in the way of clothes, we don’t make a habit of visiting costly local attractions and I work from home to both earn extra money and gain entrance to experiences we otherwise couldn’t afford. It may take you many years to work up to this trip, but before you order that pizza, ask yourself if you’d rather put that $20 in a Disney jar. It’s all about priorities, and if Disney is a priority for you you’ll find a way to save up, even if it takes 5 years.
I realize not everyone dreams of saving up for a trip to Disneyland, but if you do, I hope these budget friendly tips will make the idea a little more attainable for you! Happy traveling!