Every kid dreams of going to Disneyland and almost every parent wants to fulfill that dream for their child. Many people hesitate, knowing that a few days in Disneyland can quickly become very expensive. With some clever planning and a little discipline, a trip down to Anaheim to Visit Mickey Mouse doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We were able to save close to $1,500 by implementing a few simple tricks that any family can manage.
Our trip was short, 5 days, 4 nights to be exact. The focus of our trip was to enjoy Disneyland and take-in as much as possible at both Disneyland and California Adventure Park. When you only have a few days you really need to focus on the attractions that appeal to you (and your group) the most.
We decided to tackle the newer attractions, like Star Tours and the Star Wars Launch bay. We were rewarded with a very short wait to see Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Part of the magic that makes Disneyland special is the experience of the classic attractions, like Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn, as well as a visit with the Disney characters. When time is limited, it’s very important to plan your visit and hit the most popular attractions early in the morning, before the crowds show up. It’s also important to utilize the FASTPASS option. There are several websites on the internet that will give you some great tips on making the most of your Disneyland visit. You should look into them and try to utilize as many tips as you can to get the best value. We also used the Disney app, it is an interactive map of both theme parks and gives fairly accurate wait times for rides. Without further adieu, here are the steps we took to save close to $1,500 on our Disneyland vacation.
Here are 5 really important tips you can implement to save $1,500 or more!
- Our airline tickets were purchased during a seat sale, about 3 months in advance. We used skyscanner to determine which week would be the most economical. The search function allows you to set the search over a period of a month. Searching for discounted flights is much more effective when you’re able to view an entire month at a time. We were able to determine that if we cut our trip short by 1 day, we could save approximately $100 per person per airline ticket. We decided to return home on Saturday afternoon, instead of the more popular Sunday to save a total of $400.
- Most airlines now charge $25 for each checked bag. With some clever planning we were able to avoid this fee. We each took a carry-on bag with all the items needed for 5 days. This saved an additional $100.
- Rather than stay inside the park at one of the Disneyland resorts we decided to stay at an all-suite hotel with a kitchenette. This particular property is within walking distance, about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile from the park gates). Visiting Anaheim during the off-season meant rates were affordable. Our accommodation was under $125 per night, including taxes. Typically accommodation prices will run an average of $250 per night for a modest accommodation outside of the park gates during the busier season. We were able to save about $500 for the length of our stay by going during the off-season period.
- We saved money each morning by enjoying breakfast in our room. In addition, we packed some snacks to take into the park with us. There are several small grocery stores in the vicinity making it very easy to buy a few breakfast type foods. Although the Disneyland website states that outside food is not permitted into the theme park, they did not remove it nor did they question us. In fact, several locals told us that they (Disneyland) were allowing park visitors to bring in outside food, as long as the food was NOT in a glass container. I calculated the average cost of each meal, per person was about $15. This included taxes and tip if applicable. Packing our own snacks and having breakfast in the room saved us a total of about $180.
- Instead of renting a car or taking a taxi we used ride-sharing*. We spent about $105 over 5 days utilizing Lyft and Uber. This includes the trips to and from the airport and trips to the Disneyland gates from our hotel. If we walked we could have saved more, but we had some weary “legs” by the end of the day. Renting a car would have cost upwards of $400 when you factor in taxes and insurance. As well, we would have had to purchase gas for the vehicle. Utilizing ride-sharing saved us about $300!
Our savings, in summary;
$400 Airline ticket savings
$100 Carry-on instead of checked-in baggage savings
$500 Accommodation savings, going during low season
$180 Enjoyed breakfast in the room, brought our own water & snacks to the park.
$300 Utilized ride-share, Lyft or Uber instead of a rental car
$1,480 Total savings (with 1.35 exchange $1,096 USD)
*money-saving tip: We signed up for Lyft and set up our accounts prior to leaving home. When you first sign on with Lyft you receive $10 in ride credits. You can double dip by referring your traveling partner. When you do that your partner will receive a discount (up to $20) in free ride credits and you receive another discount for the referral. BONUS!
Please note we do not receive any compensation from any business or website mentioned in this post. All references are based on our honest experience while in Anaheim.