A trip to Disneyland and its sister California Adventure park in California is not cheap even for the smallest family. Tickets alone for a family of four can cost well over a thousand dollars for multi-day passes which allow you to jump from one park to another. Add transportation, food, lodging, and souvenirs and what was destined to be a relaxing trip can be turn out to be a stressful one for you and your budget.
There’s a way to reduce some of this stress to enjoy to your trip to the first House of Mouse. It won’t reduce your vacation budget by thousands of dollars, but it should ease it enough that you won’t worry about every penny and end up splitting a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar among all the family members. Here are a few things to try.
Don’t purchase a park hopper.
Disneyland is not Walt Disney World which has four huge parks to visit, two of them only accessible via Disney bus transportation or car. Disneyland and California Adventure (DCA) are adjacent to each other and small enough to take in for one day. Of course, this is only if you don’t go during one of the peak times of the year; therefore, the second piece of advice is …
Don’t go during peak times of the year.
California is still a year-round vacation destination, and yet there are still times when Disneyland is not at capacity. Many times when school is in session you can find empty small lines and plenty of space in both parks. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is another time of quiet. In addition, don’t think spring break will be crowded for your time may not correspond to the rest of country.
Don’t eat in the park
We’re not talking about ice cream, churros, or the famous Dole whips. We’re talking about having meals in the park. Families who eat all three meals in the park can end up spending almost $100 a day. Unlike Disney World, which is an enclosed environment in Florida, Disneyland is surrounded by numerous eating establishments outside of the park. In fact, the establishment known as Gardenwalk is right across the street from the park entrance and features a number of low and middle cost eating locations. The other option is to bring a picnic meal to the park or eat in your hotel room. This brings us to our last tip.
Not too cheap, mind you — we don’t need you to get bitten by bed bugs or something worse. There are dozens of budget lodging choices within a few miles of the Disneyland Maingate which should fit your budget. Use a website like Tripadvisor to review comments from other guests at these lodgings to chose the one that’s right for you.