Southern California is home to at least half a dozen popular theme parks. In 2012, Disneyland hiked up their admission prices. According to business.time.com, the price of a one-day Disneyland “Park Hopper” ticket went “from $105 to $125 for adults.” At $119, the kids “Park Hopper” ticket isn’t much cheaper. For a family of four, you can spend $488 for one day of fun, and that’s just for the tickets. However, Disneyland is possible on a budget. Here are some tips from a mom on how to save money at Disneyland.
Since we live in Southern California, we can take advantage of the California Select pass. This costs us $269 for 170 days at the park. Since our son is one, we only had to buy passes for my daughter, my husband and myself. This cost us $807 dollars. We have gone three times this year. With the cost of a three-day park hopper ticket running $250, we have already gotten our money’s worth out of the passes. We plan on making at least three more visits to the Happiest Place on Earth. If you aren’t from Southern California, you can buy tickets and passes at many AAA branches for a slight discount. As for passes, you can also do monthly payment plans so the amount isn’t so daunting.
Parking at Disneyland costs $15 a day. You can get a parking pass for $129. However, we weren’t sure if we would go more than eight times. Overall, we plan on spending about $75 on parking this year.
According to moneytalksnews.com, it’s typical to spend “$10-$15 per person or more on each meal at the park.” For a family of four, this can quickly add up to over $120 a day for food. The last time I was at Disneyland, I noticed that most beverages were at least $3. On a hot day, you will need at least three bottles of water per person. Thus, you can spend an additional, $9 per person on beverages. Ice cream treats and other sweets can run you $4-$5. When we go to Disneyland, we bring our own food, snacks and beverages. I make sure to bring something fun like cookies or cotton candy for my kids so they aren’t begging for sweets. Typically, we spend $40 on food for the day. If we stay until park closing, we will go outside to Downtown Disney to get a meal at one of the casual restaurants. Last time, we spent $30 at a sit down dinner. On average, we spend about $60 on food a day. This will work out to $360 for the entire year.
We are thinking about staying overnight so we can enjoy more time at the park. If you are thinking about doing this, check out some of the Good Neighbor hotels. On average, they are at least $150 cheaper per night than the Disney brand hotel. In addition, many are just a short walk from the park. Furthermore, some of the hotels, like the Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott, have themed rooms that are fun for the kids.
Apparel at the theme park can get expensive. With t-shirts for babies and little kids costing about $15, I buy my themed character shirts for half the price on sale at a local store. I bought my children each a long and short sleeved Disney t-shirt that they can wear when we visit the park. This costs me $30 for the entire year. In addition, I bought my daughter a crown and a wand for an additional $15.
Indeed, saving money at Disney is possible. In addition, we have already paid for the majority of our amusement park expenses. Now, we can just enjoy ourselves without worrying about expensive Disneyland trips.
More from this Contributor:
Best Disneyland Rides for a Two to Three Year Old
Tips for Going to an Amusement Park with an Infant
How to have a successful trip to Disneyland with a toddler