Do your Mouse Ears wilt at the thought of shelling out the better part of a month’s pay to frolic in the happiest place on earth? While Disneyland has never (and will never) be a budget travel destination, it remains a steadfast must on any family vacation list. Here are a few handy cost-saving tips to help keep your wallet as happy as your kids (or kids-at-heart) on your trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Park Off Grounds
Parking at Disneyland starts at $20 per day and depending on the time of day you arrive, your lot could be a bit of a walk from the main entrance gates. Save by checking out SpotHero, where some nearby hotels offer all-day fares as low as $13. Most of the hotels are about a 15-minute walk from the main park entrance.
Bring Your Own Food
When the pang of hunger strikes from within the park gates, you’re going to be at least a half-mile from any non-Disney dining options. With that in mind, meals in the park and within the park’s vicinity are charged at a premium. Luckily, Disneyland is easygoing with its outside food and beverage policy. Save big by preparing ahead for the day with a backpack (coolers aren’t permitted) filled with snacks, juice, and sandwiches. Just be sure to leave the wine and glass containers at home (though baby food jars will pass).
Buy Merch Beforehand
Magic wands, t-shirts, hats, toys, and much more await in glittering stores and stalls throughout the park. Plan ahead by checking out Target and Walmart for Disney-official gear that's often half the price. For something a little more chic and one-of-a-kind, Etsy is a treasure trove of all things Disney. Another tip: Avoid the ridiculous cost of an autograph book in the park by creating your own with any notepad around the house.
Bring Your Own Poncho
It’s called Splash Mountain for a reason – you’re going to get splashed. Stay dry and save money by bringing your own poncho into the park. The in-park ponchos can run up to $9, while one at a local pharmacy should go for around $2 or so.
Go During The Off Season
As with any destination, you’re going to find better rates and more manageable crowds during Disneyland’s Off Season. Aim for a trip from January through March when you’ll find cheaper airfare, hotel rates, and more discounts available. Disneyland has recently shifted its pricing to encourage attendance on less-popular days.