If your wallet's tight, don't think that means your family Disney trip has to be pushed back. Although there are a lot of dollar signs to consider at Disneyland there are a few things you can do to save those extra bucks on your vacation and make it a little more doable. Try these simple ideas out and move up your vacation plans a month or two!
- Buy your tickets early - One mistake many people make is waiting to purchase their tickets at the ticket booths in the DLR Entrance Plaza. If you keep an eye out early on you can typically find deals either online at Disneyland's website or with a local travel agency (Get Away Today in Utah, for instance). Depending on the size of your party these deals could save you hundreds!
- Discover Disney Good Neighbor Hotels - I love DLR Hotels, but Disneyland doesn't have enough space to have economy hotel options like WDW does, so instead they partner with surrounding hotels and designate certain ones as "Good Neighbor Hotels". They're significantly cheaper, typically, and some can even offer you room & ticket package deals plus a shuttle service to the Entrance Plaza for a small additional fee. Plus, unlike DLR Hotels, most Good Neighbor Hotels offer continental breakfasts.
- Have some meals off-property - Don't fall into the trap that every meal must be purchased in the park. Certain restaurants in Downtown Disney and many just across from the resort entrance are much cheaper. The quality may be a bit lower than Disney standards, but it's still good food.
- Pack some snacks - Disney does allow food to be brought into the parks so take advantage of that. If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, start off your day there, bring some snacks as a lunch in the park and just purchase dinner.
- Make friends in high places - When all else fails, look for the right type of friends. If you know anyone who has or currently works for Disney they can probably get you free or discounted tickets. Otherwise, consider traveling with Annual Passholders and/or Disney Vacation Club members because they get some pretty awesome discounts. I always try to pass off my AP discounts to my friends and invite them to stay with us at DVC villas at the Grand Californian. Is it mooching? Probably. Can it save you a lot? Absolutely.
These are just five very simple suggestions to making your dollar go further on a Disneyland Resort Vacation, but there are tons more. Please share any of your personal favourites!