Last Updated on February 1, 2023
Our Top Tips For Saving Money At Disneyland
If you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to saving hundreds to thousands of dollars at Disneyland on your dream vacation. Going to Disneyland on a budget is possible! In fact, on our last Disney trip as a family of six, we saved over $5,000 on our Disney vacation!
Disneyland is a magical place, but it can also be an expensive one. If you’re looking to save money while still enjoying all the fun and excitement that Disneyland has to offer, then read on!
There are ways to save money that won’t hinder your enjoyment or experiences. The key to having a great time while traveling is to plan ahead and know what you can expect. This way, you won’t have to spend your trip stressing about money.
We’ve visited the parks for ten years as our family grew, and we know how to have maximum fun while saving money. Use these tips to avoid overspending on your next Disney vacation.
In this blog post, we will share our top tips for staying on budget while at Disneyland and California Adventure. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you keep your spending in check. So read on and start planning your next trip to Disneyland – on a budget!
Table Of Contents
- Our Top Tips For Saving Money At Disneyland
- Travel During The Off-Season
- Stay Off-Property
- Prioritize Where You Spend Your Money
- Genie +
- Purchase Disney Costumes And Clothing Before Entering The Park
- Forego The Park Hopper
- Purchase Multi-Day Tickets
- Carry Reusable Water Bottles And Drinks
- Pack Your Own Food
- Set A Budget For Snacks And Souvenirs
- Send Friends And Family A Postcard
- Find Free Ways To Enjoy The Magic
- Share Snacks And Meals
- Bring Your Own Stroller
- Save On Parking
- Use Credit Card Rewards
Travel During The Off-Season
One of the best ways to save money at Disneyland is to travel during the off-season. The prices for everything – from hotels and airfare to tickets and dining – are significantly cheaper during this time. Plus, you’ll avoid the crowds and enjoy shorter wait times for rides and attractions.
Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is convenient, but it’s also one of the most expensive ways to do it. If you’re looking to save some serious cash, consider staying at a nearby hotel or motel. You can still enjoy all the benefits of being close to the park, without having to pay Disneyland prices. There are endless options within a short walking distance from Disneyland and California Adventure. If you’re spending all day in the parks anyway, a clean and comfortable place to rest your head is really all you need!
On our last Disneyland adventure, we stayed at the Sheraton Anaheim Park hotel and we did not feel like we missed a thing! The rooms were simple and clean; we felt good sleeping there. We also had a balcony that overlooked the pool and a gorgeous city view. The pool had oversized games and a hammock to relax beneath the palm trees. It was exactly what we needed for a mid-day break, or after a long day at Disney!
Prioritize Where You Spend Your Money
It is a good idea to have an idea of what you want to splurge on before entering the park. For us, a Dole Whip — or five — is always worth it.
Another good splurge is Genie+. You’ll have your photo pass included, and it helps guide you to areas and rides that have smaller waits. This is also where you can reserve Lightening Lane access for high-demand rides, so you do not have to wait in long lines.
We love the ease of having the Disney Photographers there to take photos of us. It takes the hassle out of trying to get family photos with all of us in them.
Even if you do not go all in for Genie+ (everyone in your group has to have it for it to work for your group to ride together using the lightening lane, and that will get PRICY), it is still worth it for one person to get it, if only for the PhotoPass photos.
The PhotoPass includes photos on rides, characters (where a photographer is present), and those iconic spots around the park, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
For one day, the photo pass is $25, but without the Genie+ photos is $14.99 each. If you would like a lot of photos, the Genie+ PhotoPass plan is the way to go!
Don’t forget to ask for a Magic Shot or two!
Purchase Disney Costumes And Clothing Before Entering The Park
If your kids are anything like ours, they will want to dress up as their favorite Disney characters and wear their costumes all day long.
You can save a lot of money by purchasing these items ahead of time from retailers like Amazon or Walmart.
On our last Disneyland trip, all the costumes were purchased from Amazon. When we arrived in California, we made sure to stop at a nearby Walmart to grab some cute Disney clothing.
Forego The Park Hopper
Stick to one park per day to avoid spending money on the Park Hopper option. There’s plenty in each park to keep you satisfied and busy for the entire day. You can always come back another day!
Purchase Multi-Day Tickets
If you’re planning on spending more than one day at Disneyland, then purchase multi-day tickets. The more days you spend in the park, the less you’ll pay per day. This is a great way to save money if you’re planning on staying for an extended period of time.
Disney moved to dynamic pricing for single-day tickets, with costs varying depending on the forecasted crowds. You can expect some weekdays to be lower priced, while the weekend, school breaks, or holidays will be the most expensive.
However, if you get a multiple-day pass, you are not subject to variable pricing, regardless of when you decide to visit.
Also, a multiday ticket also brings down the price of adding the park hopper. With California Adventure right there beside Disney (just STEPS away from the entrance to Disneyland, just across the esplanade, actually!), park-hopping at Disneyland is SO easy. It is only $60 to add park hopping to a five-day ticket, or $65 to add park hopping to a 1-day ticket.
Carry Reusable Water Bottles And Drinks
One of the best ways to save money at Disneyland is to bring your own water bottle and fill it up at the water fountains inside the park. This will save you a ton of money, especially if you have a family. You can also bring along some other drinks like Gatorade or soda to keep in your backpack.
If you forget to bring your own water bottle, don’t worry, there are plenty of places to buy water bottles inside the park. Just be sure to ask for a cup of ice water instead of buying a bottle of water. You can get free cups of iced water at most quick-service restaurants inside Disneyland.
If you don’t want to carry it around with you all day, grab a locker for $10. It is still cheaper than what you would spend on meals without bringing food into the park!
Pack Your Own Food
One of the biggest expenses at Disneyland is food. If you’re on a budget, then packing your own food is a great way to save money. There are plenty of places to eat inside Disneyland, but they can be expensive. While it does take a bit more coordination and effort, if you’re looking to save money, then pack your own snacks and meals.
We like to bring our own snacks and meals into the park and then be selective of what meals and treats we get within Disneyland Park.
There are a few Walmarts a quick drive from Disneyland, so when we arrive in California we first go to Walmart to buy what we need to prepare our meals. With so many Disney snack options available, like individual Mickey container-shaped fruit and veggie snacks, and mickey shaped Goldfish, there are plenty of ways to help the kids not feel like they are missing out — at all!
If you are car-less on your vacation, another method to cut costs on food while traveling is to get groceries delivered directly to your hotel room. Oftentimes, accommodations have mini-fridges and microwaves that come in handy for stocking up on drinks, snacks, and quick-to-heat meals. If your room has a full-sized kitchen, you can save money by cooking some meals “at home” instead of eating out.
Set A Budget For Snacks And Souvenirs
This is probably the hardest tip to follow when you’re at Disneyland, but it’s important to set a budget for snacks and souvenirs. It’s so easy to spend a lot of money on food and souvenirs when you’re at Disneyland, but if you’re on a budget then it’s important to be mindful of your spending.
A great way to save money on souvenirs is to purchase them ahead of time from Amazon or Walmart. You can also find some great deals on Disneyland souvenirs after the holidays when stores are trying to clear out their inventory.
There are also souvenir shops all around Disneyland. If you have a short walk to the park, you can easily pass a dozen. Some are overpriced, and some are fairly budget-friendly, and cheaper than shopping in the park. Take a peek inside a few and find one that suits what you are looking for!
Send Friends And Family A Postcard
The mailboxes on Main Street are real. There was a time when you could purchase stamps inside the park. Today, you can still mail a postcard and send some Disney magic home, but you have to be prepared. On your way to the park, pick up some stamps and postcards. After some adventure in the parks, you’re ready to write about the magic and mail it off with some pixie dust. It is a heartfelt way to let your friends and family know that you were thinking of them from the Happiest Place On Earth, without shelling out a fortune. This costs only the stamps and postcards; you could make several people happy for only $20.
Find Free Ways To Enjoy The Magic
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the magic of Disneyland. There are plenty of free things to do inside the park. You can watch the parades, meet the characters, and explore the parks. There is so much to see and do at Disneyland, and most of it is free, with admission.
You can get a free bread sample at Boudin Bakery, ask for a free celebration button to wear proudly, or get a free magical sparkle from a Fairy’s Godmother apprentice at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
If you’re really trying to save money at Disneyland, then one way to do that is to share your meals and snacks with others in your party. This can be a great way to save money, especially if you have a large group. Just be sure that everyone is okay with sharing their food before you start.
In some instances, you can buy a bigger version, and it is cheaper than everyone getting their own individual one. For example, we like to get a big Mickey head Rice Krispie instead of all getting an individual size.
It really is a win-win. Everyone gets to sample extra Disney treats because of sharing, and the savings of sharing really do add up!
Bring Your Own Stroller
If you have small children, then it is definitely worth it to bring your own stroller. This will save you a lot of money because renting a stroller at Disneyland can be quite expensive. You can easily find a cheap stroller on Amazon or Walmart that will work just fine for your trip to Disneyland.
Disneyland strollers do not look comfortable at all, especially not when compared to a stroller from home. Your child(ren) are used to their stroller too, making nap time more comfortable if you are at the park all day long.
Plus, you can roll a sleeping child back to the hotel room if you have your own stroller, too. If you rent a stroller at Disneyland, the stroller cannot leave the Disney Parks and Downtown Disney boundary.
We like to mark our stroller in some way so that we can easily find it. Disney employees also shuffle strollers around a bit as need be, so it may not be in the exact spot you left it, making it even more important to be able to quickly identify which is yours in the sea of strollers!
Save On Parking
If you are driving to Disneyland, there are a few ways that you can save on parking. You can park off-site and take the shuttle bus into the park. There are several hotels near Disneyland that offer this service for a fee. This is usually cheaper than parking at the Disneyland Resort.
If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, then you can take advantage of the free parking that is offered to guests. You can also use this if you have an annual pass. Just be sure to show your room key or annual pass when you enter the parking lot.
We like to stay at a hotel that is within walking distance of the park, so the fees for parking at Disneyland are never even a concern!
Use Credit Card Rewards
If you have a credit card with rewards, then you can use those rewards to save money on your trip to Disneyland. You can use the points or cash back towards your travel expenses, like airfare or hotels.
You can also use the points to pay for your Disneyland tickets, though we prefer to use our points for airfare and hotels because the value is so much higher for us.
On our last Disneyland trip in October 2022 for our family of six, using credit card points for our airfare (including free checked baggage) and hotel, contributed to us saving over $5,000. You’re spending the money on the credit card anyways, so why not use a credit card that will give you additional value?
Now that you know some of our top tips for saving money at Disneyland, start planning your next trip! And be sure to share this blog post with anyone who might be planning a trip to Disneyland – on a budget!
Do you have any tips for saving money at Disneyland? Share them with us in the comments below!
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