Here are some tips for saving money at Disneyland share by ThriftyFun readers.
Have fun! I love it there.
We packed a lunch and left it in the car. Then we went back for it and went to a close park to eat it. It gave everyone a break and we could decide what we wanted to see in the afternoon. Re-entry is free, make sure your hands are stamped.
I agree. Pack a lunch and snacks and at least one bottle of water per person. During the summer months bring your own squirt bottle with attached fan. There's not a whole lot of shade as you walk through the park.
If you need a stroller bring one from home. It cost $15 to rent one there and more for a double stroller plus there is not a basket underneath. There is just a net pouch on the back to hold all your stuff.
Bring hats and sunscreen. Then if your kids like to play in the water bring extra clothes or a bathing suit. There are little fountains they get to play in to cool off.
I live next door to Disneyland. Our windows rattle with the fireworks. Bring snacks for the kids and bottled drinks, but they must be in plastic and be held on your person. They will inspect your backpacks, purses and such. This is since 9/11.
If you want a restaurant, travel at least 1 mile from the park. The ones around the park are more expensive. I believe they allow you to drive back in as long as you keep your parking ticket.
If you pack a lunch, you can picnic at a nearby park within walking distance. Bring all you need in the way of sweaters or coats (depending on the time of year). We get very chilly at night.
My kids always make fun of me for wearing a fanny-pack but at the end of the day, I have THEIR phones and THEIR stuff in my fanny pack. They're not making fun of me then.
I live near Disney World, Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Universal Studios. Here are a few tips:
Yes, wear a fanny pack, but refer to it as a waist pack because fanny packs are not cool! You'll be glad to have your hands free.
Wear sunscreen. Many tourists end up nursing a serious sunburn for most of their vacation. A visor and sunglasses are a good idea too.
Before you leave on vacation, stock up on $1.00 rain ponchos at Dollar Tree. If you need to buy these at a park the price is much higher. They come in handy not only if it rains but on water rides.
If you or your kids are planning to get soaked on a water ride, bring a change of clothes and rent a locker to store them along with your lunch and other items you don't want to lug around. Busch Gardens sells kids clothes, including socks and underwear, in the gift shop next to its water ride because families realize they don't want to their child to spend the rest of the day drenched to the bone. Those items are expensive especially if you have more than one child.
If you aren't sure if you will be cold, assume you will be- especially on outdoor rides. Bring a jacket or sweater. Leave it in the locker. GIfts shops at the park sell sweatshirts for about $30 and up.
There are many nice relatively inexpensive hotels if you are willing to drive a few more miles to the park. It's not like you could get lost. Everyone who lives in the area knows where the parks are. If you are going to Disney World you can save money by staying in Kissimmee. Osceola Parkway takes you straight from there to Disney without much traffic.
Park food is expensive and usually not particularly tasty. You can save money if you buy subs and bring them with you.
Give the kids a preset amount to purchase souvenirs. Or tell them that the souvenir is the experience. Also, souvenirs are cheaper at stores near the park. Even Walmart and KMart have a Florida souvenir section. When I worked as a cashier at KMart I was surprised by how many people bought souvenirs.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. There is a tremendous amount of walking at all of the parks.
If you don't bring your own water, buy water bottles and re-fill them at water fountains. If you come to the parks in the summer it is important to stay hydrated while waiting in those long lines. Sunstroke can happen very quickly.
We have traveled to Disney World 2-3 times a year for almost 5 years now with our 5 year old daughter. Sometimes we'd drive (MA-FL) straight through, but most times we flew. I have learned a lot about saving money going down there, so often with a child, that some may consider me a pro at this place and ways to cut costs.
1. Search airfares and compare the total air price vs total drive price and then decide.
2. If you do decide to fly, don't forget that if you stay at any resort and only plan on staying at the park, you do not need to rent a car.
3. If you do want to rent a car, be sure to check the major car rental companies internet specials.
4. Don't just stop at internet specials, search for promo/coupon codes. Sometimes they can be combined with the internet specials. (I got a $400 estimate for an SUV for 7 days without codes or specials. With coupon codes and the special I paid $160.00 with an additional free driver, unlimited miles INCLUDING taxes!)
5. DO NOT rent a car from the airport. The taxes and fees are so high, that it'll cost you less to take public transportation to an off site rental store.
6. Here's a lengthy tip! Arrange for a group of friends to all go and split the price of lodging. Instead of staying at the hotels on site, stay at what they call "Short term rental properties" or what are also referred to as "Villas" but are home rental communities privately owned but under "resort" type managment. Some of them have more than 5 bedrooms and a pull-out sofa (or two) and can sleep 12+ people. These homes (Villa's) have the pools right outside of the living room. No need to round up the kiddies, just walk out the back sliders and undo the child safety gate! We stay in Clermont, FL which is literally 10 minutes to the gates of Disney and the bonus is that we get there at our own leisure and not squished in on one of the Disney Parks bus shuttle. The best part is that it feels like you're actually coming "HOME" to a large house and not a tiny hotel. You can also go grocery shopping for the week and make lunches right there!
7. Bring ANYTHING "Disney" related (souvenirs, t-shirts, water bottles, princess dresses) WITH you so you do not have to buy them at the park, or buy them at home. We pack anything our daughter's gotten on vacation there back with us the next time. No begging from her for ANYTHING if she already has it, and has it with her or at the house.
8. Buy a hopper pass so you can go to more than one park in a day.
9. ALWAYS do Animal Kingdom in the morning. We find that it's the park that we spend the least of our time at and they do close early! Plus, the animals are out eating during the morning and makes the Safari ride a lot more enjoyable.
10. It should go without saying, buy the hopper pass that doesn't expire. You may think you'll never be back after the second time, with or without children, but for some reason...everyone ends up going back!
My best tip is to NEVER go over the Christmas/New Years vacation. Parks met capacity levels early and we missed THREE parks due to this. If you manage to get in, you will wait hours on end to go on one ride and pretty much burn a day off your pass. This time period also falls under a month long school vacation for the Europeans.
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