(Ventura County, Ca) It’s the happiest place on earth… but your wallet may not feel the same. Disney Parks offers family fun and memories but how can you enjoy your time there without breaking the bank? Here are our favorite tips on doing Disneyland on a budget.
Disney manages a mostly fraud-proof system for their ticket sales. They take a photo of you for your ticket, and they really do check it every time you scan in. Disney makes sure that every person in their parks has paid their fair share.
While cheap Disneyland tickets exist, the discount isn’t huge. For a 1-day visit, tickets on a per person basis range from $100 and more depending on the day (value, regular, peak). If you go for multiple days, the per day rate can drop substantially. The best ways to save are the following:
1. Check Out the Anaheim Convention Schedule Before Your Book.
The Anaheim Convention Center is the biggest convention center on the West Coast and when large conferences are in town, the hotel room rates sky rocket. Check out their calendar here.
2. Getting Disneyland discount tickets from an approved retailer
Disneyland does not directly offer discount tickets on their website. However, there are approved retailers who partner with Disney to offer low prices on tickets. These can provide as much as $20 off per ticket.
3. Get a Disney Gift Card at a discounted rate
These do exist and they are great for all things at Disney including tickets, food, souvenirs, and more. Also check out any retailers that sell Disney gift cards and see if they are offering discounts.
4. Try to plan a trip in the off season or on a “Value” day
While this may be difficult on schedules, it can save you quite a bit. Depending on when you decide to go, the price will be affected. Values days are mostly during the week. If you can afford to skip a day or two at work, the may be a fit for your vacation budget.
5. Check Out any Online, Radio or Other Contest offering Disney Tickets as the Prize
Pure. Marketing. Genius. Many companies know that Disney tickets are expensive and to their credit offer up tickets as prizes for those “tuning in at 5pm” or those that enter into some activity qualifying them for the drawing. Look to see what contest or drawing may be available to you right now.
6. Buy a “Disneyland Vacation Package”
During the off season, a Disneyland Vacation Package is often the best way to book a trip to Disneyland. Within the package you save money on your hotel, Disneyland tickets, and you will receive exclusive bonuses. There are more options and things to consider when purchasing a package, but it can save you a lot of money.
Buying tickets is not your only expense. Food, lodging, and souvenirs are also big portions of the expense. Here’s how to keep as many coins as possible in your own pocket.
Plan Your Day at the Park Before You Go & Check the Weather
Checking the weather and planning ahead are critical to having fun on a budget. This allows you to bring the proper attire and accessories like sunscreen, rain ponchos, costumes, pins, and other items that are not cheap, can drain cash, and cost substantially more at the parks. You can call Disney’s main number and get assistance planning your day’s activities so that by the time you get there you have a pretty good idea of where you will go and what you may want to bring with you.
Saving on Souvenirs
The best way to save is to purchase these online before your trip or even purchasing items at local discount stores. You can very easily purchase some great Disneyland souvenirs at a lower price. Paying the premium on a character autograph book in the parks is a waste when it is easy to purchase one at a discount online. For the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disney princess makeover experience, you can bring your own dress. Some stores offer discounted Disney attire as well, which can be great as mementos for the trip at a much cheaper price than the $45 T-shirt at the park. If you plan to trade pins while you are in the parks, you should purchase pins in bulk online before arriving at the parks. There are also Disney PhotoPass photographers stationed throughout the park waiting to take your photo on their camera. These photographers can take a photo with your camera.
Saving on Food
Disney allows you to bring in food and drink as long as it is not in a glass container or alcohol. Since eating at a park is expensive, start by having your breakfast outside the park. Also, bring waters and drink packets along with granola bars for snacks. Disneyland Character Dining is a fun piece of any Disneyland vacation. When you pre-purchase your Disneyland Character Dining vouchers, you will save about 10% off of the set price for Disneyland Character dining. Packing a lunch is also a way to save. You can bring a larger cooler and utilize Disneyland’s picnic area in the esplanade. You can rent a medium locker for $12 for the entire day. If you would like to eat at the parks, certain restaurants and food items can also be more affordable than others. The Disney website lists all of its restaurant options but you can also call their main number to get assistance.
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