Penny Pinching at Disneyland
April 4, 2019
The Most Expensive Place on Earth
While Disneyland is the happiest place on earth it also among the most expensive. This is especially the case for Australians. Not only do we have to fly at least 14 hours to get to Disneyland but there’s always the issue of that accursed exchange rate. With this in mind, here a few penny pinching tips for the Disneyland Resort, in no particular order.
Note: Many of these strategies can be applied to all Disney Parks.
Stay and Save
If you really want to save some serious money on your Disney adventure, start with the hotels. While it would be brilliant to stay at the beautiful onsite, Disney Hotels, realistically this is not a viable option for most people. The cheapest option will set you back almost AUD$500 per night, for a standard room, not including tax!
If you are willing to give up pure luxury and 5 star service then book a standard hotel offsite. They are by no means dives and some are just a short 5 minute walk to the gate. The best part? You can save 30% minimum!
For more information on where to stay check out our hotels post.
With so many options at the Disneyland Resort, this is a hard one for food lovers. If I had the money I would probably return from my holiday 3 x my size and need to buy an extra seat on the plane. It really is something that can get out of hand so going in with a food strategy is integral.
- Hotels with breakfast: Related to my first tip, choosing a hotel with breakfast can save you a packet. Load up on the most important meal of the day, grab some extra fruit for a morning snack and you won’t need to eat again till after lunch!
- Groceries are Great: If you really want to save a lot of money do some grocery shopping. Disneyland allows some BYO and there are a number of supermarkets within a couple of kilometres of the park. Some of them even deliver to your hotel. It’s just so much cheaper than buying snacks in the park.
- One main a day: Breakfast should be covered by your hotel so when your in the park limit yourself to one main meal (lunch or dinner). This rule can also be applied to snacking. Try to limit yourself to one churro/Mickey shaped delicacy a day. (You can do it! I believe in you!)
- South Harbour Haven: Across the road from Disneyland (where some of the great hotels are) is South Harbour Boulevard . Here there are a range of family friendly restaurants and take away joints that are great for cheap, albeit unhealthy, eats.
For more info, check out our dedicated Disney Dining post.
We have touched on souvenirs in a couple of posts but here is a more succinct list to help keep your budget in check.
- Fun Freebies: Nothing says penny pinching like free stuff and Disneyland has plenty of it. You can nab yourself free celebratory badges (for all occasions), stickers and even a souvenir map of the Jungle Cruise Ride. Just ask a cast member for more information.
- Buy Before You Fly: Before setting off on your adventure, get your hands on some Disney clothing from Big W or Target, to wear in the parks. There’s plenty out there and if your already wearing a Mickey shirt you won’t feel the need to buy another. This rule can also be applied to Mickey and Minnie ears. There are an infinite amount of online shops selling custom ears for cheaper than that parks.
- Money Card Magic: If you have children with you or you have no self control get yourself some Disney gift cards. It allows your children to be responsible for their own money. They (or you) can spend it on anything they like but once it’s gone it’s gone!
Flights of Fancy
This is probably the one you don’t really have much control over. You can never really plan what price flights your going to get. If you don’t mind a stop over you can fly for as little as $550 each way, off peak. Direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane can be as low as $1200 return but it is rare. Quite simply, do your research and you can save up to a grand in flights alone.
Take a look at our Flights post for more info.
A new payment structure for Disneyland Tickets means that off peak times are cheaper. Up to US$45 cheaper for a 1 day ticket! That’s massive! This makes it even more necessary to research well and try to avoid US holiday periods.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you can purchase discount tickets from many authorised sellers online. Just make sure they are legitimate!
10 Days for Aussies!
This is a ridiculously amazing one! Exclusive to Australian and New Zealand travellers you can actually get 10 day passes to Disneyland for very little extra! Sounds like a lot of time to spend at Disney but even if you only decide to use it for an extra day or two then you still come out on top.
If you have younger children you can spend a number of half days/ nights at the park so it doesn’t drain you or the kids too much! It could also allow you to check out some of the other sites of LA.
You can buy these tickets at some accredited travel agents or grab them online here.
It’s so hard walking anywhere in the resort (or in the States generally), seeing something amazing for $50 and realising you have to add on 25% (currently) because of the exchange rate. Add on another 10% for the non-included tax and that $50 looks more like AUD $77. Be careful and avoid the money madness.
Be Time Wise
It’s not really a money saver but I always feel like I’ve got the best value for my hard earned when I haven’t wasted time. This simply comes down to knowing when to do each attraction, when to go and taking the time to enjoy the atmosphere of the park.
These are only some of the money saving strategies you can use for a great holiday at Disneyland. Hope you found it useful!