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It may seem early to start thinking about your vacation plans for next year, but if you are a
cheapskate thrifty traveler like me, you probably know that this is actually the perfect time to start thinking about your 2018 vacation. Planning ahead can help you get your vacation for a much better price.
If you are wanting to head to Disneyland next year, I have some tips to help you go to Disneyland for cheap. Now, before we get to those tips, let’s talk a moment about cheap… Cheap is an opinion. One man’s cheap is another man’s expensive. And let me tell you, Disneyland vacations have been getting more and more expensive each year. That said, there are ways you can save a LARGE amount on your Disneyland vacation if you start planning it now. It will still cost you money, but comparing it to other Disneyland vacation prices, you will be sitting pretty.
Our family took a full year off from Disney, and it really made us want to go to Disneyland even more. So now we are going several times this year (and even bought annual passes). But to go this often, we need to save as much money as possible to go more often. So today I am going to share some of my best save money strategies. (Scroll down for the tips)
Tips for going to Disneyland For Cheap
- Get a Target Red Card NOW! I love Target! I really do, but that is not the reason I am saying to get a Red Card. The reason you need to get one is because you save 5% on all purchases with a Target Red Card. This does not include gift cards- but IT DOES include Entertainment Cards- which includes Disney “Gift” Cards.You can go into Target and buy $100 in Disney Gift Cards and only pay $95. Disney Gift Cards can then be used for everything from tickets into the park, to souvenirs, to food inside the park. It is basically like saving 5% on a big part of your vacation. If you are like us and choose not to use credit cards, don’t worry, you can get a Target Red Card that is a debit card and tied to your bank account. You still save the 5%.
- Make your vacation part of your holiday gifts. Instead of buying a ton of toys for your kids, buy them Disney gift cards (using the trick above) or Disney clothing for the trip. Maybe luggage if you need it. You can also make the trip the present- just make sure they have some fun things to open on the holiday if you won’t be going for a while.Take the money you would normally spend on Christmas or other holidays and put it towards vacation. Technically no, it does not make your vacation cheaper, but it does save you money on gifts that gets put towards your trip. Also, if people ask what your family would like for Christmas, hint that your family is trying to do experience gifts and is saving for Disneyland.
- Book your hotel now! I know it sounds ridiculous. Here we are, only a little more than halfway through this year, and I am telling you to book your hotel for a vacation next year right now. But if you want to go to Disneyland for cheap, this is the perfect time to do it. Normally 3* hotels in the Disneyland area run around $200/night or more during Spring Break. booking now can cut those prices down by 25% or more. Worried you might need to cancel? Simply choose a booking option that does not require advance payment and set a reminder on your phone for a week before the cancellation window closes.
- Book through pay before you know sites. For even more savings, if you are willing to give up some control, try booking through a site like Hotwire or Priceline using their options that don’t tell you the hotel name until after you book. Doing this now would take a 3.5* hotel down to around $100 night. That is probably 50% off what you would normally pay. Most hotels give you enough clues in the description to narrow down what hotel you are getting to a few hotels.You can also use sites like Better Bidding to help you even more in figuring out what hotel you are getting. Just check both these sites and sites you know the hotel before you book and make sure you see the “booking total” on both because sometimes the fees on these sites make it almost the same price as booking through a “know before you book” site. If you do find a good deal, just be sure to also purchase the travel insurance in case something comes up that you need to cancel.
- Purchase tickets before the end of the calendar year. Again, here I am telling you to make a purchase before the end of this calendar year. Why? Well, if you follow Disney blogs and facebook pages you probably know. Price increases. Every year Disney increases prices. It happens at a different time every year, but usually in the Spring. It used to happen in May or June, then it happened in March and in 2017 it happened in FEBRUARY! We never really know when the price increase will happen, and usually it happens with very short to no notice (although public speculation is usually rampant within a few weeks of the increase).But here is the good thing, usually when the price increases, they allow you to purchase tickets that are good not only for that year, but the following year. Example, If you purchased a ticket in February 2017 (before the price increase) it was good until the end of 2017. However, the day the price increased, tickets were now good until December 31, 2018 (for first use). So even if you purchased it June 1, 2017, it was good through 2018. So what does this mean? You can purchase your tickets THIS YEAR, any time after the spring price increase, and still use your tickets anytime in the next year even if the ticket prices go up again. Just check the “tickets good until” date when purchasing your tickets to make sure you are getting some good until the end of next year.
TIP: You can purchase your tickets on LAYAWAY! Check out our tip about Get Away Today below. Even if you don’t book a full package, you can do a layaway plan on just tickets!
- Shop summer clearance for clothes. If you are going to need new shorts, swimsuits, or anything else for your vacation, and you plan on taking it before next fall, start shopping now for those items. Summer clearance is here and you can get some awesome deals (I just scored swimsuits for all my kids for $1 each a few weeks ago). Disneyland weather can be nice all year round, so it is a great idea to take shorts/swim wear no matter what time of year you plan on going.
- Watch for flight sales. If you plan on flying to Disneyland, knowing you will be going ahead of time is awesome because you can start watching for airline sales way in advance. You might luck out and catch a great deal on an airline. It also gives you time to compare flying and driving and decide which one is really the best option for your family. (Hint: Driving is usually cheaper if you have more than 2 people going)
- Take longer to pay. Okay, so let’s say all these tips sound great but there is one problem- a lot of them require money NOW, and you only have a certain amount each month to put aside for vacation. Well, our friends at Get Away Today are the perfect option for you. They let you book your next year vacation (with some great deals) for only $125 down. You then just make monthly payments until it is paid in full. They have a great list of hotels they can book you with, from Disneyland Resort hotels, to good neighbor hotels, and even some that Disney does not book packages with. They help you get to Disneyland for cheap, but make it so you don’t have to pay for everything right now. Also, once you book through them and pay your down payment, you have locked in your price (unless you change your vacation plans). That means you don’t have to worry about ticket price increases, hotel price increases, or anything like that. You can book your 2018 vacation by clicking the button below, or by CLICKING HERE.
And guess what I recently learned…you can do a layaway plan on JUST TICKETS!!!! That is awesome because now you can save on the tickets, do a layaway plan, but still utilize some of the other money saving tips (like Hotwire Hotrates) if you prefer. Not as easy as booking it all through Get Away Today, but can save you some major bucks!
Packages for the next year are usually released in mid-July.
USE CODE FAM2017 to save an additional $20 on your vacation package if you book by October 27, 2017. After that date, you may use code LOCL to save an additional $10
Once you have booked your vacation, be sure to check out some of our popular Disneyland posts. If this is your first trip to Disneyland (or you haven’t been for a few years) we strongly suggest trying out our Disneyland 101 Series.