I was struggling to find a way to Disneyland since 2014. Disney World was never out of reach, I have been there many times (it’s easier for me to get there). But I knew I just had to get back to California soon. Disneyland on a budget is a complex topic, so I set out to master it.
I live in the Northeast, and a trip to California and Disneyland is very expensive for me. The only way to get there is by flying, and flights there are rarely under $300 round-trip per person.
It’s the type of trip that really benefits from planning way in advance, and always watching for the best prices and ways to save on everything.
I just recently got back from the Disneyland trip that I’ve been planning for years, and it was honestly perfect. I can confidently say that I’ve gotten my Disneyland fix for the next few years. But this was due to a whole lot of work that I put into planning the perfect trip.
For example, I did a lot of research before I decided that my trip would be happening in mid-September. In fact, I waited a whole extra year to make sure I got the date just right.
Mid-September is the perfect time in terms of crowds, weather, and travel prices. I found all of this out by researching travel trends, crowd calendars, and reading what other people said about their own vacations.
I also spent hours doing research.
Ok, enough about my planning journey. Let’s start saving you money on your Disneyland trip!
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Top Disneyland on a Budget Tips
Let’s get started with some Disneyland budget tips before we get into specifics.
Plan in advance and research deals and discounts.
It’s always a good idea to plan in advance and do some research on deals and discounts before making any reservations for your Disneyland trip. By doing so, you can often save yourself a considerable amount of money and get the best value for your hard-earned cash.
Purchase multi-day tickets via GetAwayToday.
I recommend purchasing multi-day Disneyland tickets through GetAwayToday. They offer great deals and discounts on tickets, so you can save some money while still having a great time at the park.
Save on hotel your stay by staying at a hotel near Disneyland or by using Airbnb.
When planning your Disneyland vacation, it’s always a good idea to try and save on hotel costs. One way to do this is by staying at a hotel near Disneyland, which can often be much more affordable than hotels located inside the park.
Another option is to consider using Airbnb, which can provide even more potential savings. By exploring these options, you can ensure that you have more money to spend on fun activities and experiences during your Disneyland vacation.
Choose wisely when eating at Disneyland restaurants or pack your own food.
When it comes to dining at Disneyland, it’s important to keep in mind that the prices of the restaurants can vary greatly.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to review the menus beforehand so that you can make an informed decision about where to eat. This way, you can avoid any unpleasant surprises when the bill arrives and ensure that you’re staying within your budget.
Some restaurants may offer better value for money than others, so it’s always worth checking out the different options available to you.
Plan your souvenir purchases in advance and look for discounts or sales.
When planning a trip to Disneyland, it’s important to keep in mind the potential souvenir purchases you may make during your visit. It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of the park and want to buy everything in sight, but it’s important to plan your purchases in advance and look for discounts or sales.
Bring snacks and drinks into the park with you
Definitely bring some snacks and drinks with you when you go to the park. It’s always nice to have something to munch on, but it’s a huge Disneyland on a budget tip.
Avoid eating inside the Disneyland parks and opt for restaurants outside the park.
Not only are the restaurants inside the park usually more expensive, but they can also be quite crowded and have long lines. There are plenty of great restaurants and food options just outside the park that offer more affordable and delicious meals. Plus, it’s a great way to take a break from the crowds and noise inside the park.
Travel during the off-season to save on airfare, hotel rates, and park tickets.
If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, consider traveling during the off-season to save money on airfare, hotel rates, and park tickets. The off-season typically falls during the months when school is in session, so if you’re able to plan your trip accordingly, you could save a significant amount of money. Plus, with fewer crowds, you’ll have a more enjoyable and relaxing experience at the park.
Cheap Disneyland Hotels
I’m just going to say it. It was nearly impossible to find anything under $100/night. I spent months looking, reading articles, making lists, checking prices, etc.
In fact, while doing research, I came across an article by Hotel.com giving a list of budget hotels near Disneyland. Here are the prices that came up when I looked into them.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anaheim – $275/night
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Anaheim – $199/night
Alamo Inn – $115/night
Quality Inn – $125/night
According to Hotel.com, a budget hotel at Disneyland costs about $145/night.
I was able to stay at one of the nicest hotels near Disneyland for under that price.
Let’s see how we can make that possible for you too.
What you should look for when booking a hotel for your Disneyland trip:
- Quality (Obviously)
- Within Walking Distance from Disneyland
- Free Parking
- Free Breakfast
In reality, if you want to get a room for around $100/night, you’re probably going to have to stay off-site.
Disneyland actually has only three hotels on-site, and they are all high-priced. But if you really want to stay on the property, there are a few ways to get a good price for a Disneyland hotel.
Using DVC Rentals to Save at Disneyland Resorts
My experience: I’m a DVC member, which means I get to use my points to book rooms at the Grand Californian or The Disneyland Hotel
You usually have to watch the availability and book long in advance, so it can be difficult to stay there, much less do it for a low price. But it can be managed.
Long story short, I was able to book 2 of my 4 nights at the Grand Californian, though I hunted for them months and months before my trip. The other two nights were spent off-site.
If you aren’t a member of the Disney Vacation Club, that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay at one of their hotels. The Disney Vacation Club’s one hotel at Disneyland Park is the Villas at the Grand Californian.
When booking a room through DVC, it’s at a cost of points per night. The average “cost” for a night in one of the Grand Californian’s studios is 20 points. If you are not a member of the Disney Vacation Club but want to stay in one of the villas, you can rent points to use for your stay.
Through renting points, you can get a studio room at GC for $350/night, or $20/point. Depending on the time of year, renting DVC points can save you over 50% of the price! Click here to learn more (opens new window so you can keep going on this post).
Other inexpensive hotels near Disneyland
- Anaheim Carriage Inn
- America’s Best Value Astoria Inn & Suites
- Motel 6 Anaheim Maingate
- Days Inn Anaheim Maingate
- Anaheim Maingate Inn
If you book with a Disney travel agent, you often can get free nights at Disneyland Good Neighbor hotels.
Cheap Disneyland Tickets
Disney keeps such a tight grip on their ticket sales that it can drive anyone crazy.
I remember my time at Disneyland when they asked to take a photo of me for my ticket, and they really do check it every time you scan in. Disney makes sure that every person in their parks has paid their fair share.
Because of that, it’s very hard to find inexpensive Disneyland tickets. Cheap Disneyland tickets do exist, but the discount isn’t huge. I spend most of my time trying to find ways to save more than 10% on Disney tickets.
Let’s talk about how you get those discounts.
The cheapest and easiest way to get Disneyland tickets is through an authorized reseller. I purchased mine through Get Away Today. They send me a voucher that I just exchange for tickets at Disneyland. It’s a quick and easy way to save.
Get Away Today has the best Disneyland ticket deals. They sell at the cheapest, are the most efficient, and are the safest. I don’t recommend any other company. I used them and picked up my tickets when I checked into the Grand Californian.
Using Discounted Disney Gift Cards for Disneyland Tickets on a Budget
Another way to save on Disneyland tickets is by procuring Disney gift cards at a discounted rate. You can sometimes get these at places where you already have a card or membership with them (like Costco or Target), where you might be able to save something like 5% by paying through your membership.
This might not seem like a lot now, but it can really add up. This is great for all things at Disney, including tickets, food, souvenirs, and more.
Disneyland on a Budget Vacation Packages
If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland and want to save some money, you might want to consider booking a package through Get Away Today. This travel agency offers great deals on Disneyland packages that can help you save money on your trip.
One of the best things about booking through Get Away Today is that they offer a Best Price Guarantee. This means that if you do find a better price on the same package, they will match it or give you a refund. They also offer a Layaway Plan, which allows you to make payments on your package over time, making it easier to budget for your trip.
Another great thing about booking through Get Away Today is that they often include extra perks with their packages, such as free breakfast, free parking, or even free theme park tickets. They also offer discounts on other popular Southern California attractions, such as Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego.
Overall, if you’re looking for a way to save money on your Disneyland trip, booking through Get Away Today is definitely worth considering. With their Best Price Guarantee, Layaway Plan, and extra perks, you can enjoy a magical vacation without breaking the bank.
Cheap Disneyland Food
On my most recent trip to Disney, I spent only $300 on food for two, and the trip was for 4 nights and 5 days. That’s only $60/day, and we ate really well! We went to at least three restaurants and went on a food tasting tour within the entire Disneyland Resort, which I highly recommend looking into. It was a great experience and helped us learn a lot about all the great food offered throughout the resort.
Here are a few tips, based on my experiences, for how to keep your costs low when visiting Disneyland.
One of the first things I did when I got to Anaheim was head to Walmart, that’s one mile away from the resort. While there I purchased water, crystal light packages, snacks, and breakfast on the go. This is the strategic list that I use for every Disney vacation Actually every vacation, period.
Buying groceries made my snack spending disappear. So did the money I would have spent on non-alcoholic drinks. Even when we sat down to eat, all we asked for was a cup of ice (or ice water), and we used our water and crystal light juice powder. It’s an easy way to make all your drinks taste good without spending extra cash. If you plan ahead, thinking about what you might need for breakfast, snacks, or sandwiches, you can save so much money by buying groceries while you are there.
Must Try Restuarants at Disneyland
As for the food at the resort, Carnation Cafe within Disneyland Park is a signature location to eat at during your trip. Not only is the food great and the atmosphere fantastic, but it’s also inexpensive. We had a great meal for cheap here.
They have an array of great options for breakfast (including a Mickey Waffles!), but also have a great menu of sandwiches, burgers, and salads for lunch and dinner.
Cafe Orleans, also within Disneyland Park, was another perfect place to eat. It was actually on our food tour to try the Monte Cristo sandwich there. The sandwich cost us $21 and the fries $8, both of which we shared. This sandwich is huge. I’m seriously not kidding. I have a very healthy appetite, and a half was enough.
While at Disney California Adventure, make sure to head over to the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land and try both the Bacon Mac n’ Cheese cone and the Chili Con Queso cone. Both are served at Cozy Cone 3. They are $10.99, and two of them will not only be the most delicious thing you’ve had, but it will successfully fill you up.
This is also a great place to stop for an inexpensive sweet treat, as they serve different flavors of soft serve for $5.49 at Cozy Cone 2.
Payment Plans for your Disneyland Vacation
The best way to get a solid payment/layaway plan for your Disneyland vacation is to use a free travel agent like myself who offers that.
To book your package for a stay at a Disney resort, you can take advantage of our layaway program. It’s very simple and with only a small deposit of $200 per room, you can reserve your reservation and then make periodic payments towards your vacation package. The entire balance must be paid at least 30 days prior to your arrival and there are some major advantages to using the program:
- There’s never a fee so you can make as many payments as you wish.
- There’s never any interest charged to your reservation price.
- Your reservation is fully refundable so should you need to cancel, for whatever reason before 30 days before arrival, your entire layaway amount will be returned to you in full with no questions asked.
Disneyland on a Budget: Transportation
If you want to save money on your next trip, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and buy your plane tickets early. And if you don’t mind which airline you fly with, you’ll usually find that Frontier has the cheapest prices.
Fly into SNA (John Wayne Airport)
If you’re planning on visiting the parks and need to fly in, consider choosing the John Wayne/Orange County airport. It’s not too far away and you can save some money on transportation since it’s only about 20 minutes away, depending on traffic. Additionally, it’s an easy airport to get around in, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost or confused.
If you’re planning to visit Disneyland, you may want to consider using the Anaheim Resort Transit bus (ART shuttle). This shuttle service provides convenient and affordable transportation to and from the park, as well as to other popular destinations in the area.
It’s a great option for those who want to avoid the hassle of driving and parking, and it allows you to relax and enjoy the ride.
Experience Disneyland on a Budget: While still having a luxurious and memorable trip.
If you’re looking to experience Disneyland on a budget while still having a luxurious and memorable trip, there are several tips you can follow to make the most of your money.
- Choose the Right Time to Visit: One of the most effective ways to save money on a Disneyland trip is to visit during a less busy time of year. This means avoiding holidays and weekends, when prices are typically higher. Additionally, you can save money by visiting during the off-season, which is usually in January and February.
- Plan Ahead: Planning ahead is key to saving money on a Disneyland trip. Research the park and create a budget for your trip. This will help you to avoid overspending on things like food and souvenirs. You can also save money by purchasing your tickets in advance and booking your hotel room early.
- Stay Off-Site: While staying on-site at Disneyland can be convenient, it can also be expensive. You can save money by staying at a hotel or vacation rental off-site. You’ll still be able to enjoy the park, but you’ll save money on lodging.
- Bring Your Own Food: One of the biggest expenses at Disneyland is food. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own food into the park. Pack snacks, sandwiches, and drinks in a cooler to keep them fresh throughout the day.
- Splurge on Special Experiences: While you’re trying to save money on your Disneyland trip, don’t be afraid to splurge on a special experience or two. Whether it’s a character breakfast or a VIP tour, these experiences can make your trip more memorable and luxurious without breaking the bank.
By following these tips, you can experience Disneyland on a budget while still having a luxurious and memorable trip. Remember to plan ahead, stay off-site, bring your own food, and splurge on special experiences to make the most of your money.
I could go on and on about saving money for your Disneyland trip, but with these tips alone you can save a ton of money!
Make sure to do your research and buy the best guidebook on Disneyland that’s out there. With this book, you won’t wait in line for over 20 minutes (I used it and didn’t), you’ll have summaries on all the best places to eat, the rides, and so much more.