15 Little Known Ways to Save at Disneyland

By Ashley Eneriz on 11 August 2016 2 comments

Disneyland is considered the "happiest place on Earth," but if you look at the ticket prices, it is not the happiest place for your budget. Despite the pricey tickets, Disneyland is still a fun and magical place to visit for the whole family. Here are some overlooked tips for enjoying Disneyland on a budget.

1. Be Prepared

We went to Disneyland recently for my four-year-old's birthday. All month, it had been in the high 80s, so we did not think to bring extra clothes. Of course, once we were in the park, the weather was chilly, and my daughter was uncomfortable. We ended up spending $50 on an Elsa sweater to keep her warm.

Had we been prepared, we would've brought a sweater so that we wouldn't have had to waste the money. The funny thing is that Costco now has a very similar Elsa sweater for less than $10. I suggest you also bring a change of clothes and maybe even a poncho, especially if your little one loves to go on the water rides.

2. Shop the Wal-Mart or Target Near Disneyland

Wal-Mart and Target near Disneyland both have a lot of Disney memorabilia, clothing, and souvenirs similar to those offered at the parks. The only difference is you'll pay much less at these stores than on Main Street.

3. Use the Disney Credit Card

Disney offers a Disney credit card without an annual fee. Having it allows you to access to a special character meet-and-greet area. This card can also offer you discounts on Disney purchases, as well as special rewards for Disney spending.

4. Get a Multiday Pass

If you're going to experience Disneyland, really experience it. A one-day ticket for just Disneyland can cost $95-$119 per adult, depending on the day you go. However, a three-day park hopper ticket costs $295 per adult, which allows you to visit both Disneyland and California Adventure, as well as expand your trip over three days.

5. Go Offseason

Not only are offseason tickets lower in price, but it's also a more enjoyable time to go. Check the Is It Packed? calendar to get a better idea of when to visit. Try to pick a "ghost town" day to really enjoy the park.

6. Consider the Season Pass

The season pass prices start at $329 per person and grant admission to both parks for the full year. With the lowest level of the season pass, there are quite a few blackout days. However, if you visit the park at least four days, you would have already saved money. I live an hour and a half away from Disneyland, and I know many families that take advantage of this deal, usually going once or twice a month. For the Disney lover, season passes are a great deal, but if you're on a strict budget, the season pass might not be for you. Not only will you have the cost of the passes, but you must also factor in gas, parking, and food expenses as well.

7. Bring a DIY Autograph Book

Autograph books are a lot of fun for kids. You can either find a discounted Disney autograph book, or you can make your own. You can even find a small, cute notebook at the dollar store and decorate it with Disney stickers.

If you are a little more tech-savvy, you can collect signatures on an iPad or tablet device with a touch screen pen. This will then allow you to upload them alongside pictures from your trip into a digital file that you can then use to create your own Disney scrapbook.

8. Buy a Photopass or Use Photopass Photographer

We opted into getting the Photopass day pass for $39, so that we didn't have to lug our camera around. It was extremely convenient, and now we have over 30 pictures from our special trip available to download. You can also choose to skip the pass and just ask the photographers in the Photopass locations to take your photo for you with your phone or camera.

9. Download the Disneyland App

The free Disneyland app is extremely useful to use in the park. It will tell you the wait times of rides and attractions, as well as show you locations of characters and Photopass spots.

10. Bring Your Own Snacks

The rules of outside food and drinks is not the clearest, however, my diaper bag of snacks and water were not looked down upon when we went. Disneyland is very accommodating for individuals with special dietary needs. Bring your own water bottles and light snacks, and if you're hungry for more, just leave the park for a bit and eat at a nearby restaurant.

11. Stay in a Budget Hotel

The hotels closest to the park are pricey, but there are many other affordable hotels within a five-mile radius. Most also offer affordable shuttle rides to the park so you can avoid paying for parking.

12. Pay With Disney Gift Cards

Paying with Disney gift cards will allow you to save more on ticket prices, souvenirs, and food at the park. You can even find Disney gift cards for up to 9% off at Gift Card Granny.

13. Use a SoCal City Pass

The SoCal City Pass is a great deal for $341 per adults. The pass includes three-day admission to both Disney parks, as well as admission to SeaWorld and Legoland.

14. Special Discounted Tickets

Disneyland offers special ticket discounts to several different groups of people, including active military, teachers, credit union members, and even college students. Check with your place of employment to see if you can buy discounted tickets. Through my husband's work benefits, we are able to save $10 per ticket.

15. Take Kids Before Three

Kids under three years old can visit for free, and this goes for one-day tickets and annual pass holders alike. My friends have twin daughters, and they took advantage of owning season passes before their daughters turned three. Therefore, every time they went, it cost about $35–$50 per trip, factoring in how often they went and the extra gas they had to pay for.

How do you save money at Disneyland? Share with us!

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Guest's picture
Gail @ OnlineShopLove.com

If you stay at one of the Disney resorts go out of your way to be very nice to the check in staff. My husband is very friendly and was so very excited when checking us in and they upgraded up to a one-bedroom suite free of charge. The staff is there to make your stay memorable so don't be afraid to mention a special occasion and they may do something.

Guest's picture
Lisa

You can take in sandwiches, water, sodas, etc. It just can't be in glass containers. I have seen people pull out full meals & sandwich making stuff to eat while waiting for parades.