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Disneyland can be expensive! There’s really no sugar coating it. By the time you pay for flights, park tickets and a hotel, you’ve probably spent a large chunk of change! Hopefully you saved some money by buying discount park tickets. Don’t stress about overspending while you’re at Disneyland. There are lots of ways to save money inside the parks! I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you that will help make saving money at Disneyland easy. If you’re looking for ways to save money for your upcoming Disney vacation, I’ve got lots of ideas here.
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Today I’m talking about ways you can save money while you’re inside the Disney parks! Visiting a Disney park is expensive and these tips will help you keep spending down during your visit. I also talk about my favorite Disney trip tradition: Tinker Bell!
Discount Disneyland Tickets: https://www.getawaytoday.com/tickets/disneyland-resort/?referrerid=7842
What to Pack for the parks: https://mixinsomemagic.com/2021/04/25/disney-park-bag-essentials-list/
Complete Planning Guide to Disneyland: https://mixinsomemagic.com/complete-disneyland-planning-guide/
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In This Post
Visit during the off season
You can save lots of money on hotels and park tickets if you visit during the off season. Disneyland and nearby hotels raise their prices during the busiest times of the year. Airline tickets are usually more expensive as well. So, if you’re able, travel during the off season! January or February are our favorite off season times to visit.
Buy discount tickets
You don’t have to pay full price for your park tickets! We always book our tickets through getawaytoday. They often have great sales like “adults at kids prices” or “buy 4 days get the 5th day free”. They also have great deals on hotels. If you book tickets and hotel through them, you can save $10 using my code MSM10. Read more about why I love them so much here.
Eat breakfast at your hotel
Eating in the parks is expensive! Skipping breakfast in the parks is one of my favorite was of saving money at Disneyland. You can save lots of money by eating breakfast before you arrive at the parks. Many hotels have breakfast options included. If our hotel is not serving breakfast, I pack simple things like muffins, granola bars, go gurts, apple sauce, etc. If I’m not able to pack breakfast, I’ll Uber to the nearby target and buy a few things. Right across from Disneyland is a McDonalds. We stop by here sometimes. Keep in mind, this Mcdonalds has higher prices than your Mcdonalds at home. Eating breakfast before you arrive at the parks not only saves money it saves time! While everyone else is on the hunt for breakfast as soon as the parks open, you can be off enjoying the rides!
Bring your own stroller
Your small children are going to need a stroller. You can rent strollers, but it will cost you about $18 a day for a single stroller and $36 a day for a double stroller. That adds up quickly! Especially if you’re spending multiple days in the park. Plus, if you have your own stroller you can use it to push your kids and all your stuff right to your hotel or car and not have to unload everything/everybody when you leave the parks.
Bring your own costumes
If your kids like to dress up, bring your own costumes from home! Meeting the princesses or the avengers? It’s more fun if you’re dressed the part! Costumes at Disneyland are pricey! You can find much cheaper options on Amazon or locally. Or, bring one that you already have. Your kids will appreciate it and so will your wallet.
Bring snacks from home
Walking around Disneyland works up an appetite! You’re going to need something to hold you over in between meals. Disney has lots of delicious snacking options, but they come with a heavy price tag. You can save lots of money by brining your own snacks. We bring crackers, chips, beef jerky, apple sauce, granola bars, candy(no chocolate) and licorice. Make sure you pack things that are non perishable unless you have a way to keep them cool.
Bring your own water bottles
You can buy bottles of water at Disneyland, but it will cost you! We usually bring our own disposable water bottles. We like to freeze them in the hotel before our Disney day so they stay nice and cold. You can refill them at water bottle refilling stations or drinking fountains throughout the parks. You can also bring nice water bottles from home. These ones are my favorite for Disneyland! All the quick service restaurants offer free cups of ice water. We’ll often use these to refill our water bottles.
Bring your own autograph books
If you’re planning on collecting autographs from the characters, you can save lots of money by brining your own autograph books from home. We like to make our own. We’ll just buy a note book and decorate it with some Disney stickers. Amazon also has some fun ones here. Tip: bring a sharpie or a thicker marker for the characters to sign with. It’s easier for them to hold something a little larger!
Split meals or order off the kids menu
Meals at Disneyland are often large. We can get away with buying a few meals and splitting them between our family. You can also save a bit of money by ordering off the kids menu. The kids menu often has generous portions and is plenty for many adults.
Skip the soda or bring it in
I love soda. I’m in a relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper. I guess you could say it’s pretty serious:) I hate buying soda in the parks though! It’s so expensive! I bring my own from home or go without. If we skip soda with our meals it saves our family of 6 $15! I don’t like skipping soda, so I make sure to pack in my own. Plus, Disneyland’s only diet soda option is Diet Coke. It’s not my favorite. Saving money at Disneyland by bringing soda can be such a money saver!
Pack a lunch
This is probably our biggest way of saving money at Disneyland. A quick service meal for our family of 6 costs around $100. That’s a lot. So, we opt to only eat one meal in the parks on most visits. We have an amazing cooler backpack that we load up with our lunch and we’re good to go! You can take back packs on every ride at Disneyland, so it’s never a problem. We pack sandwiches, string cheese, chips, fruit and treats. When it’s time to eat we find a quiet corner, spread out our pocket blanket and we’re good to go! This is also a time saver. No waiting in line to order our lunch or walking all around the parks trying to find something we want to eat!
Buy a refillable popcorn bucket
Buy a refillable popcorn bucket on the your first day in the parks. You can get refills for a steal the rest of your trip. It’s the perfect snack. Plus, Disney popcorn is maybe one of the best things to eat in the whole wide world!
Don’t park hop
Park hopper tickets are quite a bit more expensive than one park per day tickets. When we are at Disneyland on family vacations, we don’t park hop. It’s just too expensive. There’s plenty to keep us busy for a full day in each park! We spend the day enjoying everything that park has to offer.
Maxpass is the digital version of the Fastpass at Disneyland. I’ve got lots of info about it here. Maxpass is great and incredibly convenient. I love it, but it’s not necessary to have a great day at Disneyland. Skipping out on Maxpass and utilizing the regular(free) Fastpass system will save you tons of money.
Skip sit down dining
I love a good sit down restaurant at Disneyland, but they can be budget busters! The sit down restaurants are significantly more expensive than the quick service options. So, skipping out(or minimizing) meals at sit down restaurants will help you save money.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather
Check the weather before your trip! Being prepared for the kind of weather you’ll be dealing with can save you bunches of money! You don’t want to be stuck buying expensive Disney ponchos because it’s raining all day. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. You can find my rainy day tips here. I always bring an umbrella for rain and for blocking sun!
Have a well packed park bag
Be thoughtful about what you bring to the parks. Try to think about the things you’ll need so that you have them on hand. I’ve got a whole post of everything I bring to the parks. Being prepared is important to me. I’ve thought of it all, so you don’t have to. Find my essential park bag list here.
Set a limit on souvenier spending
Before you arrive at Disneyland, set a souvenir spending limit. This is so helpful when you’re focused on saving money at Disneyland. This will help keeps kids(and adults) spending in check! When my kids were little, we would not let them spend their souvenir money until the last day of the trip. We did this because they would impulsively want to to spend all their souvenir money on the first day of the trip! Then, they’d be sad when they came across something they wanted more later in the vacation and were out of spending money.
Pre buy souveniers
We always pre purchase some of our own souvenirs. We bring our own Disney shirts, glow sticks and bubbles. It’s great to pull these things out in long lines or while we’re waiting for a parade or fireworks. They cost a pretty penny in the parks, but I just buy ours at the dollar store before our trip.
I also add some extra magic with a tradition we call “Tinker Bell”. When our kids were little we started this tradition and we still do it today! If the kids are good during the day while we’re waiting in line, Tinker Bell will come to visit while the kids are sleeping. She brings them a little Disney themed souvenir like a puzzle, shirt, plushy, coloring books, small treats and toys. Our kids love this! It helps them stay happy in line, but it also helps them with their souvenir spending. They knew Tinker Bell would be bringing them something that night and that helped them with the “gimmies” in the park. It also made it easier for them to wait to spend their souvenir money because they knew they’d be getting something that night while they are sleeping. I love the extra magic this brought to our vacation!
Saving money at Disneyland is possible! I hope these ideas have been helpful for you. Need more help with your Disneyland planning? I’ve got a complete Disneyland planning guide here.