Between dining, souvenirs, hotels, and transportation, the cost of a Disneyland trip can add up quickly. However, there are several easy ways to ease expenses during your vacation that can easily be overlooked. We will take you through six ways by category that you can save money during your next trip to Disneyland!
- A big place you can easily save money is on multi-day Disneyland tickets. While there are no discounts on single day tickets to Disneyland there are a couple of great ways to find muti-day discount Disneyland tickets. Discounts can be found from a variety of sources including third party re-sellers, AAA, Costco Travel (occasionally sells Disneyland tickets), and more. Avoid buying on Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace as they can be scams or tickets you won’t be able to use.
- To save on dining: share meals, order kids size portions, or bring your own food to the park. Dining is a part of your Disneyland vacation that can end up costing quite a bit of money if you’re not cautious, but there are many ways to save in this area, especially if you know you are a light eater. Disneyland often offers large portion sizes that you can easily split with another person, or if you prefer a kids size portion for a lower price, you can opt for that instead at any Quick Service restaurant.
Alternatively, if you’d like to avoid spending money on Disneyland food, you can bring your own food to the park as long as it does not require heating or refrigeration and does not come in a glass container or cooler containing loose ice. A meal like a sandwich, or some smaller snacks, work great for a day at the park.
- To save on souvenirs, buy them ahead of time for a lower price, establish a souvenir budget, and make sure you are prepared with any necessities ahead of time. You can find lots of Disney merchandise at a lower cost outside the park and bring this with you during your visit. If you do end up buying Disney souvenirs at the park, you can establish a budget and wait until the end of your trip to purchase that Disneyland souvenir you’ve been eyeing to avoid impulsively spending in the heat of the moment. Lastly, make sure you pack everything you need in your Disneyland bag so that you don’t end up needing to purchase any surprise “souvenirs” like first aid materials, a phone charger, sunscreen, etc. that are avoidable expenses.
- To save in multiple areas: visit during the off-seasons, and avoid crowded seasons and holidays. The cheapest time to visit Disneyland is during the slower, off-season times (like January-February and a few other slower months). The time of year at Disneyland will impact airfare, hotel, and ticket prices. For 1-Day tickets, Disneyland uses a tiered ticket system with each calendar day falling under a different tier, and the most expensive ticket prices cluster around the most crowded, highest-demand times of the year and the holidays.
- To save on hotels: stay at a budget-friendly offsite hotel if you are planning on spending the majority of your time at the park. While the Disneyland-owned hotels offer an immersive and magical experience, they are quite expensive, and the Good Neighbor hotels in the area surrounding Disneyland are significantly more affordable. If you know that you will be prioritizing your time in the parks and only using your hotel to sleep at the end of the day and grab breakfast in the mornings, it might be worth looking into hotels near Disneyland that are cheaper and a short walk from the park. You can put this money that you’ve saved on hotels towards other areas of your trip!
- To save on transportation: don’t rent a car during your trip to Disneyland. Parking can add up, as it costs $30 per vehicle for standard parking and $50 per vehicle for preferred parking. If you are on a longer trip, this can add up quickly over the course of several days. Additionally, unless you are planning on exploring the surrounding area and spending days using the rental car for reasons other than getting to and from the parks, it’s an unnecessary expense for Disneyland. Instead, you can utilize the ART shuttle, take an Uber, or walk if your hotel is a reasonable distance from the parks.
- To save on paid in-park services: know when to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes and when to skip them. Individual Lightning Lanes allow guests to skip the long lines on the highest-demand rides for an additional fee per person with a limit of two attractions per day. Lightning Lane prices can fluctuate depending on how busy the season is, but they usually range between $15-25 per person depending on the attraction. While this may not seem like much, it can add up over several days, especially if you have a large party—for Rise of the Resistance, a party of four would cost $100 at current Individual Lightning Lane pricing for that ride. Know which attractions you can pass on Individual Lightning Lanes for and which might be worth it to help make the most of this offering.
While these tips are easy ways to save during your Disneyland vacation, there are many more ways you can make the most of your money. Be sure to check out our best Disneyland tips for more guidance on how to save during your Disneyland trip.
At Mickey Visit, we share the most important tips for planning your trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Universal, and beyond. Each week, we’ll share some of our top tips here on Laughing Place.
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