17 Ways to Save Major Money at Disneyland
Your favorite place on the planet doesn't have to be the most expensive one. If you go to Disneyland armed with some helpful tips and tricks and these 17 hacks for saving major money, you'll get to experience all the Disney magic without going broke.
Go during the off-season.
Disneyland has a guide to each month at the park, so you can check out the differences in crowds and prices. Avoiding peak times can help you save, especially now with the new ticket price adjustments Disney recently made. Also, take advantage of Summer hours, which are longer and allow more bang for your buck.
Take advantage of any Disneyland discounts you qualify for.
Disneyland's website is constantly updating and adding new offers, packages, and discounts — ranging from discounted tickets and hotel rooms to college-student discounts, military discounts, teacher and corporate deals, deals for members of fan clubs, and annual passholders to reduced ticket prices for Southern California residents. Be diligent and check back throughout the year and as you plan your trip!
Buy or make souvenirs before you go.
DIY your Mickey ears or buy a special pair for cheap before you visit the park. Find fun Disney souvenirs discounted on the Disney site, and bring them (or wear them) when you head to Disneyland. Keep an eye on these sales all year long, and snag great items for way cheaper than at the park when the moment is right.
Get an Annual Passport.
If you are a frequent parkgoer, then signing up for an Annual Passport is a good idea. There are multiple passport options, and members who have annual passes also often qualify for extra discounts Disney offers. Having a passport means getting a certain percentage off of food at the parks, discounted merchandise, park admission, and more. Advantages vary based on which passport option you pick!
Take advantage of free souvenirs.
Get celebratory buttons that mark your first time at Disneyland, your engagement, your birthday, and other special occasions — and they are free! You can also get free park maps, Jungle Cruise maps, and character autographs. Make sure to bring your own autograph book instead of buying one!
Set a budget for snacks and food, and stick to it.
Disneyland snacks are definitely part of what makes the experience magical, but they can add up. Go to the park with an idea of something you simply can't skip, and indulge in that item. Pack everything else you want to eat before you go, and snack on what you brought.
If your Mickey balloon pops, you can get a free replacement balloon.
While the first one will cost you, make sure to grab a second one for free if it pops. You don't have to worry about pulling out cash for a replacement!
Be on the lookout for Disneyland eateries that include store discounts in the fine print.
Keep an eye out for fine print! "One day at the park I broke down and hit the burger and fries place over by the Nemo subs. Printed in very small print at the bottom of the receipt was a coupon for 20 percent off my entire purchase made before 12:00 p.m., valid at all of the larger shops on the Disneyland property. On the morning we checked out of our condo, we headed to Downtown Disney and picked up all of our souvenirs at 20 percent off," states one commenter on My Frugal Adventures. These discounts are not available at every eatery in Disneyland, but make sure to double-check your receipts in case you qualify.
Get a Disney Visa Rewards card.
Disney Visa cardholders get extra perks and discounts by earning reward dollars on their purchases. You can redeem while on vacation at Disney parks, resorts, restaurants, and more. Holders also get discounted merchandise, tours, and vacation packages.
Cardholders are also eligible for meet-and-greets with Disney characters around Disneyland, with no time limit and as many pictures as you want. You'll even get a free 5"x7" printout of a picture — your pick!
Bring your own bottled water or CamelBak.
Water bottles at Disneyland are pricey, but if you bring your own or strap on a CamelBak so you don't have to carry water, then you can refill at fountains around the park for free. You save time and money, and every little bit makes a difference!
Take park shuttles to save on parking.
Many hotels have their own shuttles to and from the park, but you can also catch ART shuttles that barely cost a thing and will take you where you want to go. Disneyland offers many transportation options as well, but make sure to skip the $18-$28 parking fee!
Another cost-effective method of getting to and from the parks without worrying about parking is to carpool with other parkgoers or the group you came on the trip with. Splitting an Uber or Lyft ride from a hotel near the park comes out to just a few dollars a person in most cases.
Get a Southern California CityPASS.
If you're planning on spending time at other parks in Southern California, then you will save major bucks by purchasing a Southern California CityPASS. The pass includes a Disneyland Park and California Adventure three-day park hopper, plus admission to SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California and a discounted add-on for either San Diego Zoo or Safari Park. Discount amounts depend on a few factors, but you're looking at about $130-plus per person in savings if you go this route.
Stay at an offsite hotel.
While Disneyland resort hotels are amazing, they can often cost more than staying at nearby hotels that aren't park-affiliated. There are plenty of hotels that are very close to the park, so you have a lot of good options!