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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 2020 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.
Before I get into some general tips, I want to let you know that I strongly suggest booking your vacation through my partners at Get Away Today as soon as the 2020 packages are released. Why? Because you will lock in the current prices on hotels and tickets. Then, if a better deal comes out, you simply call them and they adjust the price (or refund if you have paid in full) because they never penalize you for booking early.
Stay tuned to this site an my Facebook page as I will shout it from the roof tops as soon as 2020 packages are available.
If you book a vacation package through them, use code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 as well. I know $10 is sma compared to the savings they often get people, but it is enough for a couple of churros.
Tips for going to Disneyland For Cheap
My absolute favorite way to save on Disneyland vacations is booking through Get Away Today, but here are some additional ways I save (or other options for those who really want to put in the hours of work to get some major savings).
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 nearly everything in the park, from souvenirs to food. 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 early
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. Get Away Today has both a layaway plan, and a peace of mind plan, so I always find it to be a great option for those that may need to cancel their trip.
Book through pay before you know sites
Want extreme savings? This might be the tip for you, but you have to understand, it takes a lot of time, and you give up a lot of control.
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.
In full disclosure: While I still often use these tactics for travel to other locations, I rarely use it for Disneyland anymore. I much prefer to utilize Get Away Today and know the hotel I am getting, but still get deals like free hotel nights or free breakfast.
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 buy Disneyland 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 Disneyland 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 $175 down. You then just make monthly payments until it is paid in full, at least 5 days before you travel.
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 2019 vacation now or follow along as 2020 packages will open soon!
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 CrazyAdventure 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.