By Allergy Mom Diva
As much as I love Disneyland, it can be an expensive vacation for a family, especially for those who must travel from far away to visit the Park. Transportation, hotel, park tickets, and food costs can be overwhelming for many families. Planning trips far in advance can produce the most saving opportunities, so start planning as soon as you can.
Here are some tips on how to save money on a Disneyland Resort vacation.
Diva Tip #1: Compare airfare costs at the different Southern California airports.
Southern California has a variety of airports that are all within driving distance to Disneyland. Flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are often the lowest priced, and the airport is about an hour away from the Park. Many discount airlines, such as Southwest, have direct flights to LAX from all over the country.
I have also found good deals flying into John Wayne Airport-Orange County, as well, and it is only a half hour away from Disneyland. It is much smaller than LAX so there are less flight options. Other airports in the area include Ontario International Airport, Bob Hope Airport-Burbank.
Other ways to save on airfare costs include getting on an airline’s email list to get notified of special pricing and travel on less popular days (such as the middle of the week).
Diva Tip #2: Use a shared-ride service or Uber (or similar car service)
Unless you are going to visit other places on your trip, there is no reason to rent a car. Shared-ride services like Super Shuttle offer budget-friendly transportation from the airport to your hotel. Uber or Lyft often provide even cheaper rides.
The Disneyland Resort Express bus is another option from LAX and Orange County, although the other options are generally cheaper.
For more detailed information on ground transportation and the Disneyland Express Resort bus, check out Disney Magic Diva’s article on the Disneyland Resort Express.
Diva Tip #3: Stay in an offsite hotel or house.
The hotels at the Disneyland Resort are some of my favorite places to stay, but they definitely are not budget-friendly. There are many quality, off-site hotels within walking distance to Disneyland that charge half or two-thirds less than a Disneyland Resort hotel. Many of these hotels also offer shuttle service to/from the Park(for a small fee), as well as free breakfast or other perks. Read a review of Anaheim Camelot Inn & Suites here.
If you are traveling with a large group, you may also want to explore rental houses in the area. Just keep in mind that few, if any, houses are located within walking distance to Disneyland so you will probably have to figure out transportation to the Park. There is a city bus that may be able accommodate your transportation needs.
Diva Tip #4: Bring food and refillable water bottles into Disneyland.
Food can be one of the most expensive parts of a Disneyland vacation, but there are ways to save money. Pack snacks and other food into a backpack to limit purchasing food within the Park. You can read Wishes Diva’s article about packing lunches at Disney Parks here. I like to pack special treats that we normally do not eat at home, such as homemade Mickey rice cereal treats, or other themed snacks.
All of the quick service food locations will also fill up your water bottles for free, so make sure to bring your reusable water bottles.
Diva Tip #5: Get groceries delivered to your hotel.
Nowadays, almost everything can be delivered to you and that includes groceries! Von’s grocery store will deliver to your hotel. In addition, Amazon Prime members can order items on their vacations. Eating cereal in the morning, making sandwiches for lunch, and putting together snacks for the Park will all cut costs. Pixie Dusted Diva discussed shipping using Amazon Prime and Prime Pantry here. Amazon Prime Now is also available near Disneyland.
Diva Tip #6: Eat in restaurants outside of the Park.
There are many family-friendly restaurants that surround Disneyland and often offer more affordable options for meals. Use Yelp or your phone to find restaurants close to your hotel.
Diva Tip #7: Buy souvenirs ahead of time.
Disney outfits, princess dolls, and other toys are tantalizing to the kids. Instead of splurging on these items in the Park, buy souvenirs ahead of time! Amazon, Dollar Stores, and local stores often have Disney-themed gifts for a fraction of the cost.
Pack (and hide!) the souvenirs in your suitcase and surprise your child with them while you are on vacation. It won’t matter to them where the gifts came from. Keep in mind that bubbles and glow-in-the dark items seem to be very popular purchases at Disneyland!
For information on finding free souvenirs at Disneyland, read Pin Trading Diva’s article.
Here are a few other budget-saving tips you may want to explore further:
- Get a Disney Visa credit card to earn reward dollars that can be used in Disneyland.
- Discounts are often available to those in the military, as well as those traveling in large groups with non-profit organizations or youth groups.
- Use your Target red card to purchase Disney gifts cards and save 5%.
- Read Passholder Diva’s 7 Travel Hacks that Will Save You Money here
Have I forgotten anything? Let me know! Also, if you need help planning your next Disneyland vacation, get FREE help from Patricia at All for Dreams Travel.