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We all know that going to Disneyland is not cheap. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save money on a Disneyland vacation to make it more attainable. After all, saving money on Disneyland is the entire reason I started this blog- to share my save money on Disney tips.
Now over the years, those tips have changed, and it has gotten harder and harder to go to Disneyland for as cheap as I used to (which I mentioned in this post about why we are skipping Disneyland this year). Never fear though, there are still plenty of ways to save, and while it might not make it a cheap vacation, it will definitely help you get to the happiest place on earth a little faster.
Today I am going to share with you the 5 best ways to save money on a Disneyland vacation. And guess what, almost all of these are something anybody can do. So check it out.
- Pack in your own food. I talked about it in my 23 MORE Must Read Disneyland Tips post that you CAN bring a small cooler into the park with food in it. Bringing in even one meal of sandwiches and chips will save you at least $5/person off the cheapest meals in the park. To save even more, we like to take a big cooler and rent a locker in the picnic area of Disneyland (one of my original tips on saving money at Disneyland 4 years ago). A medium locker in the picnic area costs $12/day and can fit a good size cooler, extra bag with dry foods, plates, etc and even hold your sweatshirts until you need them. It would cost more than that to feed just Mike and I a meal of hotdogs, chips, and not even a drink so if we eat even one meal with our whole family out here it is a savings. If you don’t want to rent a locker, you can take a small, soft sided cooler into the park. If you thought all coolers were banned, they aren’t! Just ones over a certain size.
- Stay a little further away from the parks. There are a lot of great options of hotels near Disneyland park (even within walking distance). I should know. I just did an entire post listing the ones that can accommodate large families. That said, even the two star hotels near the park can be pretty spendy for some families. I find that broadening my search, and staying farther away can save us a ton. My family often stays at the Radisson in Buena Park. The hotel is nicer than many closer to the park, but is much cheaper. They also offer a free shuttle if you want. Usually we find the savings more than enough to be comfortable paying the daily parking fee though.
- Get Away Today. No, I don’t mean, leave today for your vacation, or even booking a last minute vacation. I am talking about our friends at Get Away Today. They almost always have discounted tickets or package deals that will be Disney’s prices. They can also add on some extras for you. You can book with them by visiting their site here. (I am an affiliate of Get Away Today, which means I do earn money if you book through my link- but even if I wasn’t, I think they are a great way to save.)
- Target Red Cards. This is probably one of the best ways to save on Disney that only probably half of the Disney fans out there know about. If you have a Target Red Card (and they have a debit card version you hook up to your bank account- so we aren’t talking credit cards) then you can save 5% on your spending money, and even tickets if purchased through Disney. How? Well, Target classifies their Disney Gift Cards as “entertainment cards” and still allows the 5% discount to be applied to them. So before you head to Disneyland, go to Target and get your Disney Gift Cards to use as spending money and save 5%. If you don’t want to carry a bunch of gift cards around, simply go to DisneyGiftCard.com and you can combine up to $1000 worth of gift cards on to one card. Now you can just use the gift cards to purchase everything and save 5% on everything you purchase at Disneyland automatically.
- Fly versus drive. Okay, I know I mention this a lot, but seriously think about what your time is worth to you? Driving, for a family especially, is often times more cost effective than flying. And to be honest, I feel like most families in the western states do tend to drive to Disneyland a lot more than fly, but it is still worth mentioning. For our family, we can drive to and from Disneyland for just about the same price of one person flying round trip. On top of that, we do not need to rent a car while we are down there if we want to go do other things (yes, we do other things besides visit Disneyland while down there). Yes, the drive down takes us 17 hours (that is with stops), but it isn’t bad. We take turns driving and drive overnight. To us, it is worth it to be able to go on vacation more by driving. This may not be true for you and you may find that flying is worth the extra cost. But this post is all about the best ways to save money, and this can really save you the big bucks.
We have lots of other ways we save money on our Disneyland vacations, but these are the ones that tend to save us the most money. What do you do to save money on your Disney vacations? Leave a comment sharing your tips below.