When planning your trip to Disneyland, one of the most significant factors that will affect your vacation is your budget. Let’s face it, Disney is expensive! The prices for even a bottle of water can be quite mind-blowing. But don’t let that intimidate you or stop you from taking your family on a memory-making Disney vacation of a lifetime!
Despite what your budget is set at, there are many ways you can save money on your trip and still have a magical vacation with your family. Here are some great ways you can save money while visiting the Happiest Place on Earth!
Tip #1 on how to save money at Disney: Plan ahead
Sorry to spring this on your first tip, but it’s extremely important! One of the best ways to save money on your Disneyland vacation is to set a budget for yourself ahead of time and plan where you are willing to spend more money.
If dining is number one to you, maybe stay at a lower-budget resort and plan a fine dining experience. Are the attractions why you are visiting Disneyland? Spend extra on the Lightning Lanes and Disney+, but bring your lunch, so you don’t have to spend the extra money on dining prices.
Let your kids know what your budget is ahead of time. This way, they are not asking for things that are not in the budget, and you are not having to explain what they can and cannot have throughout the day. Let them be a part of the planning and ask them what their interests are so you can plan activities the little ones in the family want to do also.
Tip #2 on how to save money at Disney: Bring food & snacks
It’s a known fact that the prices of food at Disneyland are sky-high. Save some cash and bring your own food along! And if you feel guilty about it, don’t! Disneyland doesn’t gatekeep like a lot of restaurants do. They actually allow guests to bring food to their parks, so you can bring your lunch and some healthy snacks along to keep the kids filled up for their fun day at the Park!
Pro Mom/Dad move: You can even have fun with it and pack your kids’ favorite Disney-themed snacks!
Before you go, pick a spot to have a picnic. A good area is the Picnic Area, located just outside the Main Entrance to Disneyland. They offer tables, chairs, and umbrellas, perfect for a picnic lunch with the family!
Tip #3 on how to save money at Disney: Travel in off-peak seasons
To save a large amount of money on your Disneyland vacation, travel during off-season days. You can expect to pay more for tickets, hotel rooms, flights, and more during peak season. Most families travel to Disney when schools are out and on weekends. You can expect to pay hefty prices if you are traveling during those times, and crowds are high for attractions.
Traveling off-season and during weekdays allows you to get some great discounts while avoiding the crowds and having a better chance at getting those highly sought-after reservations!
Tip #4 on how to save money at Disney: Use the Disney Premier Visa card
Make sure you check out the Disney Premier Visa Card. This credit card has great perks for Disney lovers and you can enjoy numerous benefits when visiting Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Parks. Here are some of the perks you can earn while using this card:
- Earn 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on card purchases at select locations
- Redeem Rewards Dollars on Disney vacations
- Special Vacation Financing when planning select Disney vacations
- 10% off merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select Disney locations
- 10% off select dining at Disneyland
These savings can add up a great deal on each and every trip.
Tip #5 on how to save money at Disney: Buy souvenirs ahead of time
One great way to save money at the Park is by buying your souvenirs ahead of time! Head to Amazon or Target and pick out a toy that is your child’s favorite character, then give it to them the morning before they head to Disneyland!
You can buy toys you can typically find in the Park, such as bubble toys, Mickey Ears, and stuffed animals that they can play with while waiting in line! This saves you money and time looking for toys in the store at the Theme Parks.
Tip #6 on how to save money at Disney: Buy Disney gift cards at Target
Head over to Target and use your Red Card to buy Disney Gift Cards for your vacation. Target Red Card customers save 5% on Disney Gift Cards! You can purchase gift cards with smaller amounts on them at a time and set them aside, so you have extra money on your trip!
If you have older kids, buy them a Disney Gift Card and let them know this is their set spending money for the trip. This gives them a chance to buy what they want and teaches them a great lesson on budgeting! You can use Disney Gift Cards for everything at Disneyland, from dining to tickets to Disney Resorts and more!
Tip #7 on how to save money at Disney: Buy a multi-day ticket
If you plan to visit Disneyland for more than one day, purchase the Multi-Day Park Ticket! The Single Day Tickets are more expensive per visit, and you can find great discounts on Multi-Day Tickets, especially during off-season times.
The more days you purchase, the more significant your savings will be, so decide ahead of time how many days you will be at the Park and buy the Multi-Day tickets for the number of days you are heading to the Park to save the most money.
Tip #8 on how to save money at Disney: Opt for one park a day
If you stay multiple days and want to visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Theme Parks, buy the Multi-Day Tickets instead of the Park Hopper. The Park Hopper can get you into both Theme Parks on the same day, but you will be paying for the Park Hopper in addition to the Theme Park Tickets. Spend the time you’re at Disney having a full day at each Park, exploring everything each Park has to offer and not having to rush at one Park to visit the next.
Tip #9 on how to save money at Disney: Choose a non-Disney resort with a kitchen
Saving money on food can literally save you hundreds of dollars on your Disneyland vacation! Staying at a Non-Disney Resort can also save you hundreds of dollars a night. You’ll be able to cook meals in them.
There are many resorts close to Disneyland that are more like condos, where you can book a room with bedrooms and a full kitchen. This way, you can have a home away from home, and your little ones can get great sleep on your trip! Check out a website with great deals on hotels, and pick one that is right for your family.
Tip #10 on how to save money at Disney: Choose Paradise Pier when staying at a Disney resort
If you choose to stay at a Disney Resort while visiting the Theme Parks, opt to stay at Paradise Pier Hotel. This Disney Resort is the cheapest option Disneyland offers and is still an excellent option while visiting Disneyland! You can save $200-400 a night by choosing Paradise Pier Hotel instead of Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. This Resort offers many amenities such as:
- Rooftop pools with waterslides
- Large beach-themed rooms
- Close to Disney Theme Parks and Downtown Disney District
- Firework viewing areas
- Dining experiences
- Fitness centers
Although this resort costs less than the other Resorts at Disneyland, you will still have all the perks of staying at a Disney resort!
There are many ways to save money on your Disneyland vacation! If you plan ahead and set a budget for yourself on what you are willing to spend money on, you can get exactly what you want on your dream vacation! Even if you are on a budget, Disneyland is a magical place that your whole family will love!
Do you have any money-saving tips you would add to our list? Let us know how you budget when you are visiting the happiest place on earth!