We LOVE Disneyland! I love how not only are there so many fun things to there, but it brings my family together in the process. It amazes me just how many different ways there are to spend money at Disneyland. Some people choose to have a fancy dinner in the park, while others choose to stay at one of the stunning Disneyland hotels. Some people totally splurge on souvenirs for their kids while others pay to have a tour guide to take them around Disneyland.
It is SO easy to spend a fortune on a trip to Disneyland, with such great things to buy. However, some of these things are just NOT necessary. I believe that you can have an amazing time at Disneyland and still partake of many of the great “extras” they have to offer without spending TONS of money. Today I’m excited to be sharing a list of how MY FAMILY saves money at Disneyland.
1. Sign up for a Disney Rewards Card
This is one of the main ways my family didn’t spend millions of dollars on our stay at Disneyland. Disney Rewards cards give you reward dollars for every purchase you make with the card. When my family went on our trip back east, we pretty much used our Rewards card exclusively and we ended up earning $900 to put towards our next Disneyland vacation! And this was just from making purchases we would’ve made anyway. Also, you are not limited to spending the reward dollars at Disneyland, you can spend them at the Disney store, Disney World, or anything like that.
2. Don’t Eat in the Park
Let me start off by saying that we did eat in the park a couple times, but our main meals were mostly eaten outside of the park. What we like to do is purchase snacks and breakfast foods on the night we arrive. Since we LOVE Costco, we go to the one next to Disneyland and purchase snacks along with muffins and bagels for our breakfasts. Then, after we ate breakfast each morning each child would load their backpacks up with snacks. Although the official Disneyland rules say that there is no outside food aloud, they NEVER turn you away when you have food. Most days we actually skipped lunch and just had lunch because we had rides to ride!
3. Give each child a set amount of money for souvenirs in the park, or don’t get them in the park at all!
Souvenirs can get expensive, especially at Disneyland. My parents gave each child $3o to spend on souvenirs. Because this was set in stone and all of us kids knew that was all we could spend it ended up saving us money because their weren’t any non budgeted souvenir purchases. The other route you can go is just telling your kids there will be no souvenir buying at all or you can purchase souvenirs before your trip and bring them along to surprise the kids.
4. Buy or make Disneyland shirts before your trip
The other thing that can get really expensive is the shirts that they sell inside the park. Each time that we go to Disneyland my parents buy each child one Disney shirt ahead of time. It is a lot cheaper! This year I wanted to have a Disney shirt for each day. Instead of buying another one I used freezer paper and paint to make one myself (it turned out really cute too!).
5. Buy trading pins before your trip
I mentioned in this Disneyland post about my families new found love of trading pins at Disneyland. It is SO fun to do and a great souvenir to help you remember your trip. The pins can get pretty expensive especially with having 7 people in your family (like us :). My mom found some SUPER CHEAP trading pins on Amazon and on mouse pins online that came in bulk! It was only around $1 per pin! The pins were not the cutest, but you will trade them anyway so it doesn’t matter. Most of the pins in the park are AT LEAST $5 so this is a HUGE savings.
6. Buy autograph books before your trip
Autograph books in the park can get SUPER expensive. And the cheap ones aren’t even cute! Buy them before hand (we found ours on Amazon) or even MAKE your own. A couple trips ago we got simple chipboard books that were spiral bound and then decorated them with glittery Mickey Mouse stickers. It is actually my favorite autograph books of all our trips!
7. Don’t BUY water in the park!
As I mentioned before, food in the park is SUPER expensive! Take along a reusable water bottle each day and when it is gone, the park actually gives away free unlimited ice water to everyone! Just make sure to stay hydrated!
8. Don’t go during peak season
There are many reasons not to go during peak season! Peak season is when Disneyland is the busiest, usually around the holiday season, in the summer, and Easter weekend. Not inly is peak season MORE expensive, but it’s crazy busy too! The first time we went to Disneyland as I family we went Thanksgiving weekend, I don’t remember much, but I do remember it being super crowded! So save yourself some sanity and stick to off-season.