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I am always asked if Disney’s packages are the best way to get the cheapest rate on a DISNEYLAND vacation. My answer has always been NO! Yet, inevitably, I find people saying that it is the cheapest deal they could find. SO- I did a little research.
I decided to look into a trip for October. There is a chance we might be going again, so I figured, why not price the trip. The trip was based on hotel stay dates of October 13-20th of this year, and 4 days in the park for 2 adults (since our son is still free entry). I did not factor in transportation TO California/Anaheim, because that is a unique decision for every family, and packages do not discount your air fare much, if at all if you fly, and don’t include your gas.
Now- if you are a member of AAA, or you have a travel agent, I honestly would look into any deals they may have, just in case. This post is based off of booking a package through Disney.
For the Disney Package, I chose the cheapest Good Neighbor Hotel that had the things that I wanted- a suite, fridge and microwave in room, pool, and a separate living area in the room. This ended up being the Staybridge Suites Anaheim Resort. (I originally priced the Anaheim Marriott Suites, but it was $200ish more). For Hotel and park hopper tickets- the total cost came to $1584.08
Booking separately- I went to Hotwire and with the help of the Better Bidding website (and the fact that this is the exact hotel we just bid on for our March trip) I found a 3 * hotel in Buena Park- La Mirada, Suite, Pool, Resstaurant, etc for $70 a night using the Hotwire deals where you don’t know the hotel until you book (but can narrow down the hotel with the help of the Better Bidding Website). Yes, this hotel is a little farther away, but it is a gorgeous hotel. The restaurant gives complimentary cooked to order/buffet breakfast (as does the Staybridge Suites), rooms have fridge and microwave and “kitchen” sink, has BBQ pits, gorgeous courtyard, etc. It is right across the street (well, kiddie corner) from Knott’s Berry Farm if you want to go there, and is right next door to Medieval Times and half a block from Pirates Dinner Adventure. It happens to be The Radisson. Here is a picture from March (taken with my phone so pardon the poor quality).
This was the view from our room door to the pool area. You can see the hot tub in the pictures. All the doors face a courtyard and it is gated, or you must enter through lobby.
So the total if I were to book the hotel, after taxes, through Hotwire is $560.48
Now the tickets. Rather than buying them through Disney- I looked to my husbands work site, or the Entertainment Book site. If you don’t have an entertainment book/account it is worth it to buy one simply for the discount on tickets. Or find a family member or friend who has one and will purchase the tickets for you (you pay of course). Disneyland site- for tickets only, charges $275/person. YIKES! (They recently raised their prices and this is the ticket good through December 2013. They usually have cheaper tickets for the first part of the year, but again, I was basing this off an October trip). NOW- through Entertainment Book (Since not everyone gets Tickets At Work) a 4 day park hopper ticket runs $209/person. After the fees through Entertainment Book, for 2 adults, it came to $449.17
My total, if I book these things separately is only $1009.65. If you would walk to the park (approximately one mile) from the other hotel but drive from this one (though it does offer a free shuttle, you just are dropped off at the wrong side to bring coolers to the lockers) you would have an extra $15/day for parking and maybe spend $15 in gas total for the 4 days. So taking that into account, a total of $1084.65. That is a savings of nearly $500!!!!!
Bottom line, it pays to take a little extra time, research the different options, etc. Is it nice to just pay a small deposit to Disney and have the rest due a month before the trip- SURE, but is it worth the extra $500? Not in my opinion. Want other money saving tips- also check out my post “Disney on a Dime”