May 24, 2012
Finding Disneyland Deals
At some point in your married life, you’ll more than likely be taking a trip to Disneyland. Hopefully, sooner rather than later. The Dating Divas are big fans of Disneyland because, well, it is a truly magical place after all! The only downside can be the expense. So we’ve gathered up our collective knowledge from our own trips to the “place where dreams come true” so that you can save a penny or two… or a LOT of pennies, as the case may be.
Travel & Hotels
- Cheaptickets.com – We purchased plane tickets, a rental van, and 2 hotel rooms at the Marriott Residence Inn for 8 days for 4 adults and 2 children for $3000… so $500 per person. It was a crazy good deal!
- Plan to go in the off-season. Flights/hotels are so much cheaper, and the parks aren’t nearly as packed! We went in October and the majority of the rides we walked right on — no waiting!
- Pick a hotel that is close enough to take kids back for naps if necessary. It will save everyone’s sanity!
- We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn (full kitchens, continental breakfast buffet, swimming pool, etc), which was a few blocks away. So we purchased a shuttle pass that picked us up from our hotel and took us to the front gate at Disneyland. It was SO worth the money. Shuttles come around about every 30 minutes, so you aren’t waiting very long.
- We purchased a Costco bundle package for tickets: $300 per adult and $200 per child took us to 3 days at Disneyland/California Adventure, 1 day at San Diego Zoo or Zoo Wild, 1 day at Universal Studios and 1 day at Sea World.
- If you know anyone that lives in Southern California, they can actually purchase tickets for you at a cheaper rate because they are Southern California residents… so be sure to ask around!
- Be watching the park websites for any deals they may be running during the time you will be there. Sometimes they run specials like, “purchase one adult ticket and get one child ticket for free.”
- We purchased all of our food for the week at Costco the day we arrived. We packed a lunch everyday and made our dinner every night in our room (our hotel suite had a full kitchen).
- We had the continental breakfast (which was delicious!) every morning to save on cash.
- If you decide to eat in the park at one of the fun restaurants, you may have to do reserved seating ahead of time. Restaurants like “The Pirates of The Caribbean” Blue Bayou do require you to reserve your table in advance.
- We had dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe in Downtown Disney, which was such a cool experience for the kids! We only planned to eat at one restaurant during our Disneyland part of the trip to save on money, so we chose wisely! We also chose a night when all kids meals were free.
Swag and Gifts
- I went to the Dollar Store and purchased a backpack full of toys and activities (all Disney themed) then filled my boys backpacks with the loot. They took these on the plane and in the car during our traveling to keep them entertained. You could even buy them their own Disney Backpack to carry around with them. OR Go to the Disney store outlet and stock up on Disney items before you go to the park, so when your kids are begging you to buy everything for them you will secretly have your own (much less expensive) stash of souvenirs to give them.
- I purchased Disney T-Shirts from Walmart for $5-$7. I put my kids in matching shirts each day so that it was easy to keep track of them in the masses of people. You can also get Disney apparel at other stores, like Old Navy. Either way, try to purchase it before you go to the park. It’s a fraction of the price.
- I had my kids do stuff around the house for the few months before we went to earn their own spending money. They each ended up with around $50, then we gave them each $20 when we got there. We didn’t do any shopping until our last day, but whenever you do your shopping, you can have the newsstand at the front of the park hold all your loot for free until you leave the park. That way you don’t have to worry about carting it around all day. SO cool!
- Since we flew, we purchased a $15 stroller at Target (it was WAY cheaper than renting one every day) to push around our cooler for lunch (so we could also have snacks on hand for our kids) and then when my 5 year old got too tired to walk, we put him in the stroller to ride around. My husband packed around a camel back with us so we always had water — this was something he could wear on all the rides, too.
- Get a map before you get to the park to map out your day. Then prioritize! Decide what is the most important to you (Character Dining, souvenirs, food, etc.) then spend your money accordingly.
- There is so much to do at each park and so many things you just don’t want to miss! So we recommend spending one full day at each park to save time hopping back and forth to both. That way you’ll get to enjoy all there is to offer. Also, decide ahead of time what shows/parades you want to see which nights, so you can plan where you’ll need to be in plenty of time to see those.
- There is an app you can get for your iphone that will tell you the wait times of all the rides up to date. This will help you to plan out what rides to hit when, so you’re not spending a large portion of precious time standing in line.
- If you have young children going with you, take advantage of the FastPass service! (This is where one adult can hang out with the baby, while the other adult goes on the ride. Then the adult that waited with the baby can jump to the front of the line as soon as the other parent returns.) That way no one misses out and you’re not waiting twice to ride the same ride!
- There is a Disneyland Baby Care Center at the end of Mainstreet on the right hand side. (Before the little restaurant/next to the ‘cast entrance’). It has CLEAN baby changing stations, high chairs, a private nursing area with rocking chairs, small toilets, and even baby food/formula/infant medicine you can purchase if you forgot some. It’s quiet in there and when your child needs a break to be fed or changed or just to calm down, this is the place! We seriously LOVED it!!
There you have it! We hope that you and your family have the most amazing, magical trip to Disneyland ever! Have tips of your own? Be sure to spill all those fabulous details in the comments below!
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