Bring a Lunch – As long as I can remember I have always packed myself a sandwich and a snack back full of pretzel or the like and hopped aboard the Mark Twain to enjoy lunch. While what and where you eat is up to you, the idea remains the same, bring a lunch and save money. A family of 4 might spend close to $40 on one meal alone, not to mention two. So especially if you want to have a special meal, whether it be Character Dining or a romantic dinner at the Blue Bayou, or even if you are just trying to be nice to your wallet, bringing your own lunch can really save you some money. Just remember that you are going to have to carry it around with you all day or put it in a locker so might not want to pack too extravagantly. And don’t forget your water!
Buy Souvenirs Beforehand – Let’s face it, you are going to Disneyland, and unless you have amazing restraint, you are going to be buying at least one new souvenir. But if the idea of spending $30 on a t-shirt makes you want to cry, there is hope. http://www.laughingplacestore.com/ is a wonderful website with a great variety of legitimate Disney merchandise at a more reasonable price. So if you know your little munchkin is going to want some Mickey ears or a new t-shirt, stop by there and see if you can’t find what they might want. Then they can even wear their new goods to the park. Surprise them with it the morning of and let them know they get a new t-shirt or toy or whatever for the trip, if they promise not to harass you about buying something in the park. You can also sign up for emails from the online Disney Store and they will send you deals almost daily about ways to save and current deals. So if you do spot something in the park you can’t live without, remember it and watch for a deal from Disney themselves.
Watch for Deals from Disney – As hard as it might be to believe, Disney themselves offer several different discounts throughout the year. So if you keep your eyes open you might catch some. If you are lucky enough to be flexible in your vacation dates then you can plan around when they have the best deals (they currently have a 4 day 3 night park hopper tickets starting at $1477 for a family of 4). If not, you might be able to at least find little deals like breaks on dinning or saving on a hotel.
Pack Smart – I would love to know just how much money Disney makes from the people who don’t pack smart. Someone forgets a sweatshirt and they have to buy one, and although they have a great new sweatshirt you could have bought the same one at a lower price using tip 3. While you may be going to Disneyland in the dead of summer, it is still going to get a little chilly at night, so remember to bring a jacket, especially for the little ones, or you are going to have a grumpy family member or a grumpy wallet. But there are other things you might not think about. Planning on riding Splash Mountain but don’t want to walk around dripping wet all day? Those little ponchos they sell are great! But a trash bag works the same way and doesn’t cost $5 or more. If using a trash bag is just a little too tacky for you, hit up Walmart or a local convenience store and I’m sure you can find them for a dollar or less.
5. Make a Friend – Now this one is harder than most, but if you can become friends with a cast
member then you will save a bunch of money. I will never forget the one time I got into Disneyland for
free.. yes FREE… because my best friend’s cousin was a cast member. Cast members have a certain
amount of people they can sign in for a period of time and those people will get one-day park hopper
tickets for free. Now I don’t mean go out and try and make friends with everyone in the park. They
might realize that you are trying to use them and that will not end well. But if you get lucky and meet
someone outside of the park and you find out they are a cast member, you might do your best to stay
on their good side. I know this tip doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s nice to know that if you can
make friends with the right people it can really save your wallet. Of course, I recommend you maybe
buy them a nice bottle of wine as a thank you, because they do have a limited number of guest slots,
but that might be some information to keep under your hat.