The "happiest place on earth" is a top destination on many families' bucket lists. If you plan ahead, this magical, unforgettable experience doesn't have to put a large dent in your budget. Here are some tried-and-true tips for saving money while enjoying your Disneyland experience.
1. Come Prepared
Plan ahead so that you don't have to purchase a necessity at Disneyland that you could have brought from home. For example, check the weather so that you don't need to buy a rain poncho or umbrella.
2. Buy Souvenirs in Advance
Disney has infiltrated practically every industry, which makes it easy to find Disney items anywhere, from Walmart, Target, and your local grocery store to department stores and Amazon. You can save a lot of money by purchasing items before your trip at these less-expensive retailers than at Disneyland.
3. Make an Autograph Book
An autograph book is seen as a must-have by many Disneyland enthusiasts and is a memory you can take home with you. These books can cost anywhere from $7.95 to $19.95 at the Disney Store and up to $30 for the latest-and-greatest autograph book at Disneyland, such as the park's 60th anniversary edition.Other options can get the job done for under $5. For example, you can buy a small, generic photo album; cute memo pads or notebooks.
4. Use a Shuttle Service or Carpool
Disneyland charges $17 a day to park in one of their parking lots or structures. Most nearby hotels offer shuttle services, often even for free. If you are not staying at a nearby hotel and need to park at Disneyland, then try to carpool.
5. Bring Your Own Stroller/Wheelchair
If you are planning on using a stroller or wheelchair, plan ahead. You can rent a single stroller at the park for $15 a day. No double strollers are available, but you can rent two strollers for a discounted price of $25 a day.
6. Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive
Breakfast is almost as pricey as lunch or dinner if you eat inside the Disneyland parks. You can save quite a bit of money by eating breakfast before you go to the park.
If your hotel has a fridge, buy milk and cereal or other easily prepared breakfast items the night before so that you're ready to go in the morning or take advantage of the hotel's free breakfast. If you want to eat out, eat at a local restaurant that is inexpensive or has a kids' menu, such as McDonald's which is close to the park.
7. Bring Your Own Food and Drinks
While Disney's official policy says it does not allow outside food or drinks, Disneyland does allow most food items. Take snacks for throughout the day or pack a lunch to enjoy in the picnic area just outside the main entrance of the park.