A Guide To Saving Money On Your Next Disneyland Trip (Disneyland Tips)

by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Entertainment Columnist


Published in Entertainment on 27th June, 2019


It's a dream for many to spend time in the most magical place on Earth. However, the expenses involved can certainly be intimidating. From the prices of park tickets, to the hotel stay and airfare, there are so many different costs involved in booking a trip.

However, there are a number of ways in which you can shave a bit off the different expenses, meaning that you can achieve a great Disneyland trip without emptying out your wallet. Here, we're going to take a look at how to save money on your Disneyland trip while getting the highest possible value for the money you spend.

disneyland

What Is There To Do At Disneyland?

What isn't there to do in Disneyland? This magical place is filled with rides, entertainment and food for children and parents alike. Because of that, it's the perfect location for family fun that goes on for days. You're unlikely to run out of things to do in Disneyland and California Adventure.

Visit The Different Themed Areas

There are worlds within words at the Disneyland parks. That means that when you enter one of the parks, you'll find a number of different areas to explore, each with unique themes, rides, characters and more. Make sure to explore every one to the fullest in order to find all the fun!

Fantasyland

In Disneyland, the magic is real. However, when you want to find the most magical place in the entire park, you head to Fantasyland. It's the perfect place to go when you want to meet all of the classic Disney princesses like Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and much more.

Additionally, there are some exciting rides for little ones and older kids alike in this section of the park. While the older kids are enjoying the Matterhorn Bobsleds, younger children are sure to love the flying Dumbo ride, or going for a spin in the Mad Tea Party.

Then, when you're ready for a break you can get some lunch at the Red Rose Tavern and maybe a special treat from Maurice's Treats. You may even be able to catch some delightful storytelling at the Royal Theater. It's the perfect way to get off your feet for a few minutes before heading off on the next adventure.

Adventureland

Adventureland is home of the jungle and plenty of excitement. When you're looking for wild animals, intense quests and plenty of space for exploration, it's where you'll want to go. Furthermore, it's the ideal place to let your kids work out their energy in Tarzan's Treehouse.

adventureland

You can also find rides here that will either soothe or excite, depending on what you're in the mood for. The Indiana Jones Adventure is a wild ride that is sure to bring the fun, while the Jungle Cruise is a nice, soothing ride on a jungle boat, watching wildlife and enjoying a new world.

This is another great place for finding a delicious bite to eat. Bengal Barbecue is a fantastic location for getting a hot bite to eat, and the Tiki Juice Bar is perfect when you want a pineapple whip for dessert. Once you've done everything you can in Adventureland, you'll be able to head off to the next area!

Tomorrowland

Here is where you step into a world of the future. If it's related to space, there's a good chance you'll find it here. That includes classic Star Wars characters and rides as well as rides and other spaces dedicated to Buzz Lightyear himself.

Many great rides are found in this location, including one of the park's most well known rides, Space Mountain. For those who enjoy a nice car ride, Autopia is also a great ride for the whole family. Finally, you can take a ride on the Astro Orbiter and feel like you're truly about to blast off into space.

This is also the perfect spot to enjoy some great food. If you're feeling like having something hot off the grill, then the Galactic Grill is the place to be. Meanwhile, pizza fans are sure to enjoy a trip to Alien Pizza Planet. Afterwards, you can stop in to do some shopping at The Star Trader.

Galaxy's Edge

There are few things more exciting than an entirely new world at Disneyland. Due to the popularity of the newer Star Wars films, it only makes sense that a fresh Disney world would get attention from fans new and old, and they certainly spared no expense in order to bring it to life.

galaxys edge

This is also where you'll find the new Smugglers Run ride, and the upcoming experience where you'll join up with the resistance as they go into battle. When you head to the shops, you'll also get the choice to make your very own droid or light saber to take home with you.

While you're there, don't forget to grab a bite to eat! Both Docking Bay 7 and Oga's Cantina have a lot to offer to the whole family. They're the perfect place to rest a bit before continuing to explore this world, meeting aliens of all sorts and experiencing their unique cultures.

Main Street

While you won't find any rides on Main Street, USA, you will find plenty of other forms of entertainment. There are a number of interesting shops and educational areas, including the Disney Gallery. You can also spend time outside and watch the Dapper Dans in their act.

You can also grab a meal or snack before you head off to the rest of the park at the Carnation Cafe or Jolly Holiday Bakery. For those who are looking for a quick and delicious cool-down, the Gibson Girl is an ideal location for getting your hands on some delicious ice cream.

Additionally, you can check out the Main Street Cinema, or sit down to spend a little time with President Lincoln as he discusses some of the great moments in history. The entertainment you'll find here is a great way to get in a break from walking, wind down the day or get your day rolling.

Frontierland

Don't forget about the old west when you're on your Disneyland journey. One of the park's most beloved ride can be found here, so don't be afraid to hop on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for a fast, exhilarating ride. After the ride, you can calm down with a trip on Mark Twain's Riverboat.

frontierland

If you're a fan of games of sport, you can head over to the Shootin' Exposition to aim for the highest score. While you're shooting, the rest of the family can shop around the Pioneer Mercantile for some magnificent souvenirs.

Like many of the other themed areas, Frontierland offers some great places to get a bite to eat. Disneyland definitely ensures that no matter where you are, you won't be going hungry. Whether you want a meal at The Golden Horseshoe or a snack from the Stage Door Cafe, you'll be set.

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square is the perfect place for some truly historical rides. You can start with a strong dose of spookiness with the Haunted Mansion, riding through a land filled with ghosts and other oddities. Following that, dive into the world of Pirates Of The Caribbean for an absolute classic experience.

There are also some great restaurants in this area, which are ideal for those who want to slow down and get a solid table-service meal in with some delicious food. You can stop by either the Blue Bayou or Cafe Orleans for delicious food reminiscent of the actual New Orleans area.

Furthermore, this is an area you'll enjoy walking around, as it offers some delightful sights and sounds. It's a great place to watch the riverboat, get a meal or enjoy some shopping. The Cristal d-Orleans is a great place to look as some magnificent pieces of art.

Critter Country

Critter Country is the home of some deeply classic characters and the world they live in. These include old favorites like Briar Fox, Briar Rabbit and more. It's certainly the place to go when you're looking for some of that classic Disney charm from days that have long since passed.

Critter Country is also where you can find Winnie The Pooh and his friends from the 100-Acre Wood. While you're visiting, you can grab a nice bowl of clam chowder from the Harbour Galley, or a delicious burger from the Hungry Bear. It's a nice place for a quick break!

critter country

Then, when you're ready for Critter Country's main attraction, you can get in line for Splash Mountain and get ready to cool off on a hot day! Don't forget your poncho if you don't want to get wet, and make sure to enjoy the sights and sounds on the way to the top of the mountain.

Toontown

Another place to find some great Disney classics is in Mickey's Toontown. Here, you'll find the houses of several original Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale. Because of that, it's often a great place when you want to get character pictures with the kids.

You'll also find a handful of fantastic rides for the kids here, including Gadget's Go-Coaster, and the Car Toon Spin featuring the one and only Roger Rabbit. If you're looking for some fun souvenirs or gifts, you can also stop by the Gag Factory to take a look around.

For hungry-but-picky children, this is the place to be. Both Daisy's Diner and Pluto's Dog House offer easy basics that most children love. Then, once they've done a good job eating their meal, you can treat them to a delicious soft serve ice cream from Clarabelle's.

Saving Money Before Your Trip

Saving on the tickets themselves is often a key point for most people. After all, tickets to Disneyland are by no means cheap! However, there are a plethora of ways that you can save a bit of money on heading to the parks as well as on your hotel reservations and transportation.

What Kind Of Tickets To Get

When you're taking a look at the cost of tickets to the park, you're likely to notice that there are different kinds of tickets available to you. These include Park Hopper Tickets and those that provide you access to 1-Park Per Day.

As the name implies, the latter variety means you choose between Disneyland and California Adventure for the entirety of a given day. Once you choose which park you want to enter, you don't get to switch. Often, these tickets can come at a lower cost but they do mean you're a little more limited.

Meanwhile, Park Hopper tickets allow you to travel between the parks as much as you want. That means, you can spend time in one park when the other is closed, hit up your favorite rides, shops and restaurants whenever you want and always reach the entertainment you want to see.

It's going to be up to you to balance the value with the price of these ticket options, but keep in mind that the parks will have differing hours that may keep you from getting all of the possible value with a single park-per-day ticket.

How Many Days To Go

When it comes to the number of days you plan to go, it's a good idea to think about just how much time you want to be able to spend exploring the parks. The resort is huge, so it's unlikely that just a couple of days will be enough unless you live near the area and visit more frequently.

days to go to disneyland

Another aspect worth considering is that with more days comes more savings. When you choose 5 days, you get the lowest possible price per ticket, per day when compared to attending for fewer days. Ultimately, that can help to balance out the cost while providing you plenty of time to enjoy the attractions.

What About A Max Pass?

The photo lover in your group is sure to enjoy a Max Pass when attending the Disneyland parks. As you travel the different areas in each park, you'll come across a number of opportunities to get special PhotoPass photos taken on rides, with characters or in special areas to add to the fun and memories.

Typically, you have to choose to purchase these photos and then end up either trying to remember to pick them up before you leave, or carrying them around the park all day. However, with a Max Pass you can instead keep them saved in the Disneyland app, and then download and share them as much as you want.

Consider An Annual Passport

If you happen to live in the area and enjoy heading to Disneyland more than once per year, you're sure to enjoy an annual passport. These passports allow you to attend the park on either select days, most days or any day depending on the tier you select. That means that families on a wide range of budgets can enjoy Disneyland multiple times throughout the year.

Additionally, when you're spending time in the park you can also save on things like food, gifts and souvenirs. Depending on the option you chose, you'll get a discount on these items that may range from 10% all the way up to 20%.

Go In The Off Season

While multi-day packs of tickets to the park may not change in price often, going in the off season can certainly save you money on things like airfare and hotel reservations. It's a great way to shave some money off the price of the overall trip, which is fantastic on a budget.

On top of that, the off-season tends to mean fewer crowds and shorter lines. As a result, you'll be able to spend more time on rides, enjoying entertainment or making sure you get to meet all of the characters. Just keep in mind that this is also an ideal time for ride maintenance, so some rides may not be available.

With Hotel Reservations

While many may dream of staying in the big Disney hotels, they can be quite expensive. Furthermore, there are many people who don't see the need, as they intend to only spend time at the hotel when it's time for sleep.

hotel disneyland

The good news is that there are a number of "good neighbor" hotel options in the area. Some of these hotels are within walking distance of the parks, allowing you to save money on the stay as well as your transportation.

You can also often bundle your hotel stay with your park tickets for added savings, so make sure to look into it!

On Other Attractions

Bundling is also a great way to save when you want to visit other attractions in the area, like Universal Studios or LegoLand. If you look around, you can find bundles like the CityPass as well as reliable ticket resellers that give you deals on bundling different attractions together. It's truly a great option for those who want to see it all.

With Airfare/Travel Costs

You'll also want to think about the best way to not only travel to Disneyland, but also travel within the area, whether it's to and from the park, to meals, or to other attractions. Planning these aspects ahead of time gives you time to save, the ability to catch any special deals that pop up and ensure you can get around without leaving a hole in your wallet.

Saving Money In The Parks

The saving doesn't stop when you're in the park itself. These tips can help you to continue sticking to your budget while you're in the parks. Saving on things like food, entertainment, souvenirs and more can keep the fun rolling right along without creating unnecessary financial stress.

On Food

Food in the Disneyland parks can really add onto your bill. Often, there are a few special treats/meals that your family may want, but you may also want to supplement with your own snacks as well. Something worth keeping in mind is that outside food and drinks are allowed in the park within reason.

where to eat disneyland

Naturally, they don't want you bringing in alcohol or any other intoxicating substance, or glass containers as they can be dangerous. There are also lockers available that you can keep food in so you won't need to carry it around all day. Just make sure to check the Disneyland website for the specific rules and requirements.

Using Your FastPasses

If you have the opportunity to make use of FastPasses, here's something to keep in mind. FastPasses can also be used to get into certain entertainment events without having to pay for a dining package.

That means you can see shows like Fantasmic from decent seating, without having to purchase a meal as well. It's a great way to boost your park experience a bit in between the rides. If you prefer, you can also just use those passes to get onto rides more quickly. It's totally up to you!

Buying Souvenirs

It's totally normal to want souvenirs when you're going on a big trip. However, in an effort to save money, you may choose to limit the number of souvenirs you purchase while you're there. Instead, you can do things like make your own mouse ears, or buy Disney souvenirs beforehand to take with you. Often, you can find very similar souvenirs online at lower prices than you'll find in the park.

Don't Forget The Unexpected

It never hurts to make sure you have some extra funds for unexpected events. That might mean that you decide to head to a restaurant that is more expensive than you had intended, that there's entertainment in the area you didn't know about beforehand, or that some kind of issue pops up during your trip.

Being prepared ensures that you can enjoy (or handle) these situations with less overall stress. Then, the trip can continue on happily and easily, with no stop to the fun!

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