Tips to Saving Money at Disneyland
As you may know, my family & I love Disneyland. We were Annual PassHolders for 2 years. We were going almost every 2 months or so for awhile, which was amazing. We live about 5-6 hours away from Disneyland, when we’d go, we would go for 2-3 days, which gets expensive. Maybe not to everyone, but for me & my family, Disneyland is expensive. So if you’re like me & want to save money as much as possible, read along to find out some tips to saving money at Disneyland/California Adventure.
Some people think having Annual Passes to Disneyland is crazy. “Why are you spending $800+ a year to go to the same place over and over?” My response goes something like this, “The crowds are horrible, the lines are long, my feet get tired, boob sweat is so annoying, but Disneyland just gives me good vibes. Even though there’s so many things that I can’t stand, there’s also so many things that I love. The moment I step onto Disneyland grounds, I hear the music, instantly I feel nostalgic. The smell they pump out makes my nose happy (besides the horse poop), & the look on my daughter’s face when she finally sees Sleeping Beauty’s castle. All the little things are worth spending the money for.
Now that i’ve basically gone down a short memory lane, let’s talk about why I’m really here.
My tips to saving money at Disneyland/California Adventure:
- Get an Annual Pass. If you go often, or plan to go at least 4 times out of the year, get an Annual Pass. You can pay it in full, you can make monthly payments, it’s great! As long as you go at least 4 times out of the year, you’ve made it worth it. Having an Annual Pass makes it easier to go often because you don’t have to fork out whatever it cost for a ticket. You just focus on the hotel & the food & all the unnecessary things you don’t need, but buy anyways from World of Disney. Also, with an Annual Pass you get discounts, discounts at most restaurants in Disneyland/California Adventure & in Downtown Disney. Discounts can also be used at the gift shops, not at food carts though (no discount on churros :/ )
- DO NOT BUY WATER BOTTLES. I repeat, DO NOT BUY WATER BOTTLES! A regular size water bottle, 16.9 OZ is around $4.00. Why spend $4.00 for a water bottle when you can bring your own water in, perhaps an insulated bottle to keep your water cold. Go to the gas station or mini marts near buy & store water bottles at your hotel & throw some on the bottom compartment of the stroller or toss some in your backpack when you head to the park. But, if you’re like me & don’t want to carry a water bottle with you, or your kids are just too big to be in a stroller (Mine is turning 6 & she just doesn’t like to walk, “my toes hurt.” “my knees hurt.” “My legs are tired.” We’re cutting her off at 6!) Find the Starbucks or somewhere that has fountain drinks. Just ask for a cup of water. They’ll give you an ice cold cup of water for free. So again, why would you want to spend $4.00 a bottle when you can get water for free?
- Bring your own snacks/food. You’re allowed to bring in your own food now. Years ago, they didn’t allow it. I’ve seen people bring a tupperware of food, now that’s some real saving. We always bring a backpack filled with a different kinds of snacks, small bags of chips, fruit snacks, granola bars, small snacks to get us by until it’s time to eat lunch or dinner. But of course we can’t skip out on having a churro, cotton candy or popcorn.
- Eat breakfast before coming to the park. Breakfast at the park just isn’t our thing, the money you spend for the amount of food you get isn’t worth it. We love going to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, it’s cheap, filling, & delicious!
- Bring your own stroller. Stroller rentals are ridiculously expensive & pretty unsanitary. Strollers cost $15.00 a day for 1 and $25.00 a day for 2. Why not bring the stroller you already have or go out & buy your own. It’s yours, you know where it’s been & who has touched it. You don’t need anything fancy, just something to get you by. If you rent a stroller, you’re allowed to bring the stroller into both parks, but not into Downtown Disney. What if you little one is asleep when it’s time to head home? Having your own stroller would be way easier to push them back to the hotel instead of having to carry them. Bonus tip: Make sure your stroller has a cupholder!
- Rent a locker. Locker prices depends on the size of the locker. Lockers can be rented inside the park if you plan to stay there all day. They can also be rented on the outside of the park if you like to hop back and forth. Maybe you don’t plan to go back to your hotel mid day, lockers are big enough to store your sweaters, change of clothes for the kids, & blankets. This is where saving money by getting a locker comes into play, since you didn’t go back mid day, & your hotel isn’t close by, & you don’t want to miss out on all the fun by going back to the hotel to grab your jacket or blanket, so you decide you’ll go buy something to keep you warm. Instead of spending money on something you don’t need, you could save yourself some money by getting a locker & storing your stuff in there first thing in the morning.
- Don’t buy a balloon! As cute as they are, & as much as your kid wants one, say no! I don’t know how much they cost off the top of my head, but I do know that the light up ones are around $15.00. Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t buy them, they’re a waste of money, they get in the way when your walking, they hit you on the head when the wind is blowing, & it’s in the way when you’re trying to watch the parade, fireworks, or World of Color. Trust me, you will regret it!
Since I focused on saving money at the park, I will do a pt. 2 focusing on tips to save money when planning a trip. Look out for that post.
Share your favorite tips to saving money at the park in the comments!