Nine Tips for Saving Money at the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland
Apr 07, 2016 11:58AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Joani Taylor
Disneyland: it’s Utah’s favorite theme park. With the exception of California, it’s estimated that more people from Utah visit Disneyland per capita than from any other state, but it’s expensive. Setting the whopping cost of admission aside, it’s not uncommon to see folks spending a king’s fortune on food and merchandise. Disney is a magical place for the kiddos, but the real magic for adults is figuring out how to pay a visit without breaking the bank.
It’s been a while since I visited Disneyland, so I turned to some of the frugal moms that write for Coupons4Utah.com and travel expert Krista Mayne from Wasatch Travel for some money-saving advice to help you save on your next Disney trip. Here are their tips and tricks for saving money at the most magical place on earth.
#1 — Check with a travel agent before booking. When you purchase a package, many airlines offer bulk airfare discounts when combined with either a hotel or car or both. Travel agents have access to these for you. Going off-season and staying in an off-property resort can yield the highest savings.
#2 — Check for group rates. Disney offers various discounts for military members, college students, credit union members, corporate and government groups, teachers and youth groups.
#3 — We find the three-day hopper pass to be the best ticket value, as it allows you one early entrance into one park. This means you can ride some popular rides before the crowds pick up. We suggest spending one full day at Disneyland, one day at Disney’s California Adventure Park and one day going between parks to visit anything you missed or want to see again. You don’t have to use these days consecutively, so add a few beach days in between.
#4 — Make use of the hotels shuttle service. Disneyland charges $17 a day to park in one of their parking lots or structures. Multiply that by three and you’ll be spending $51 just to park. Parking for oversized vehicles and vehicles with trailers comes in at $22 to $27 a day.
#5 — Buy souvenirs before you go. You’ll save a ton of money by purchasing T-shirts, character pjs, drink cups, etc. before you go to Disneyland. For extra fun, hide your treasures from your kids and sneak them out during the night as a gift from the magical fairies.
#6 — While Disney’s official policy says it does not allow outside food or drinks, Disneyland does allow most food and water or juice items in small, soft-sided coolers. A few things they will not allow are hard-sided coolers, glass containers, large coolers or alcoholic beverages. Fountain drinks and water bottles inside the park are upwards of $3 each, but ice and water are free anywhere that sells food and drinks.
Counter meals are considerably less expensive than eating at table service restaurants. Adults may order kid meals at counter restaurants, which are a surprisingly generous amount of food.
#7 — Purchase a Premium Disney Character meal as part of your travel package, which is valid at Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration, Ariel’s Grotto or Goofy’s Kitchen. If you use it for one of the dinners rather than breakfast or lunch, you will save the most money on your meal.
#8 — If you are a Chase Disney or Star Wars Visa or debit cardholder, you will get extra perks, such as 10 percent off select food purchases in the parks. Chase Disney debit cardholders can meet at a secret place for special alone time with Disney characters. For information visit https://disneydebit.com/vacation-perks.
#9 — Use coupons. You can save on local restaurants and shops by couponing. Purchase a membership to the Orange County Entertainment Book to use on your vacation. Visit http://www.coupons4utah.com/Entertainment.com for details. Also, check your hotel for local coupons, which are oftentimes found in in-room magazines.
To find out more about the available travel packages for Disney, contact Wasatch Travel. Mention Coupons4Utah in the City Journals for a free personalized gift for your children. Krista Mayne can be reached at 435-709-8656. Thanks to our coupon-clipping moms of Coupons4Utah Holly and Chelsi for the additional tips.