Disneyland on a Budget

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My family loves Disneyland! We have been going to The Happiest Place on Earth every year, for the past 17 years. Our favorite time to go is during the off-season. It’s less crowded and there are higher discounts available. This year we booked our package through Costco and got everything the other companies offered, plus dinner for 6 at Goofy’s Kitchen ($164 value) and a $20 Disney Gift Card – for the same price! Get your Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD (NLA).


Going during the off-season also means lower hotel prices and theme park entrances. We were able to get a suite with a full kitchen, free breakfast, free WiFi and free parking. Be sure to look for hidden or additional fees. Some hotels charge as much as $30 day for parking and $10 a day for WiFi. Having a full kitchen will save you lots of money, even if you only have one meal a day in the room.

Since we are driving, there is plenty of room to carry a couple of 24-packs of bottled water, cereal, snacks, and my Keurig coffee maker. I need my coffee in the morning and dislike hotel room coffeemakers. If you are flying, you can always drive a couple of miles from the resort area and stock up at a Target or CVS.

Ways to Save Money Inside Disneyland:

BYOB – Bring your own bottled water and snacks. Bring along MIO water enhancer or Crystal Light packets if you like flavored water. Any place that has a soda fountain can give you free water to drink.

Free Commemorative Buttons – If you are celebrating a Birthday or any other special occasion, you can get a free button at City Hall on Main Street. As you walk through the park you will be wished a Happy Birthday by cast members. Types of pins available: Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday, First Visit, Family Reunion, Just Married and I’m Celebrating.

Bring your own glow sticks – I get the $1 packs from Michael’s so that they can make necklaces or bracelets. It is almost certain that your child will want a glowing-something as soon as dusk hits and the vendors come out.

Souvenirs – (temporary unavailable while they build Radiator Springs) My favorite is the Build-Your-Own Mr. Potato Head, they have many Disneyland exclusive parts that are really cute. For $20 you get all you can fit in a box. I opt to not add the potato (since we have so many at home) and stuff that box full of Mickey ears, balloons, Goofy hats, etc. I secretly bring plain Mr. Potatos from home so that the kids can play in the hotel room.

Did you know that if you buy a balloon and it pops they will replace it? What other tips or suggestions do you have for saving money at Disneyland?


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  1. Where in disneyland is build mr. potato. I remember they had one in california adventure, but its closed. Going to Disneyland next week, and really want to buy some pieces.

    • Melanie, I just got back from there and that whole section is closed. I would call guest services and ask where they moved it to. I didn’t go into too many shops while there, but my guess would be near the boardwalk where they have the Toy Story ride and characters.

  2. Leslie Crosby says

    We take our RV and stay in an RV park near Disneyland. We save on a hotel stay, have breakfast in the trailer, pack a lunch and come back for dinner. I was able to use the crock pot since the park had full hook ups. Not having to eat very often at Disneyland saved a ton of money!!

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