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NerdWallet: How to save money on Disneyland—tips from the pros

This article is reprinted via permission from NerdWallet.

Taking a Disney DIS, -2.05% vacation will also be pure magic.

That’s what it seems like for Becca Robins of Boise, Idaho. She travels to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, about two times a yr with her husband and three sons — one 7-year-old and 3-year-old twins.

“We in reality fell in love with it when we had our first son,” says Robins, who runs the go back and forth weblog This Crazy Adventure Called Life. She and her husband first took their oldest son there when he was 10 months previous. “You’d see his eyes remove darkness from when he noticed his favorite characters and the rides, and the whole enjoy was magical.”

But occurring those journeys isn’t affordable, Robins acknowledges. That’s why she’s at all times searching for ways to trim prices for tickets, food, transportation and accommodations. If you’re making plans to talk over with a Disney park — comparable to Disneyland in Anaheim or Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida — you can minimize prices, too. Here’s how.

Budget for tickets

Visit on a ‘worth day’

If you’re visiting Disneyland or Disney World for just sooner or later, you’ll pay more on height days and less on worth days. And the ones value variations, posted on the park web pages, will also be vital. Consider the cost of a typical one-day price tag for any individual age 10 or older, as of this writing, as an example:

  • Disneyland: $97 on a value day vs. $135 on a height day
  • Disney World: $102 on a value day vs. $122 on a height day

Kids ages 3 to nine can get in for much less, and also you don’t need to buy tickets for kids under age 3. Although multiday tickets and annual passes are cheaper on a per-day foundation and aren’t priced in line with call for, they’re more expensive overall.

Skip the Park Hopper

If you’re pinching pennies, don’t get the costlier Park Hopper tickets that help you talk over with a couple of parks in the same day.

“I’ve never actually gotten a Park Hopper [ticket] as a result of most often I just pick out a park and keep on with that park for the day,” says Krystel Seijo, founder of the Disney budgeting weblog Planning the Magic. “It’s no longer like I am getting bored or there’s nothing for me to do.”

Seijo first become serious about discovering ways to save lots of at Disney World in faculty when she was making plans a talk over with with her little sister, who was 10 on the time.

Buy tickets at a discount

It’s arduous to find large markdowns on Disney tickets. But you could possibly get a more modest discount. For instance, consider those offers:

  • For locals: Residents of Southern California and Florida can get discounts during the Disneyland and Disney World web pages, respectively
  • For military: Service contributors can get lower charges at their bases
  • For AAA contributors: Members should buy less expensive tickets at sure AAA branches

Or search for discounted Disney present cards before you move to the park, Seijo suggests, and use the ones to cover tickets.

Watch out for scams

Don’t buy tickets on eBay EBAY, -2.14% or other identical web pages, Seijo warns. It might appear to be a sensible money-saving transfer within the short term, however you chance purchasing tickets that aren’t valid.

Create a cost-friendly itinerary

Book an off-site resort

Disney parks offer on-site hotels, however the ones are continuously moderately pricey. “It is very tough to find rooms for only $100 an evening in Disney World; it’s pretty much unattainable at Disneyland,” says Robert Niles, editor of the ThemeParkInsider.com weblog and former sights host at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Go to a nearby off-site resort to find lower charges, Niles advises.

Hit the street

For Robins, riding is essentially the most cost-effective manner for her family of 5 to get from Boise to Anaheim. Even though the day trip takes about 14 hours, it’s value it, she says.

“We can pressure around day trip for a similar value as one round-trip [plane] price tag,” Robins says.

Pack meals

To trim spending, Robins brings sandwich-making provides and helps to keep them in a locker she rents close to the picnic space, close to the primary entrance of Disneyland. You can convey food to the park, as long as it follows sure pointers listed on the park’s website online. The charge of renting lockers is reasonably low:

  • Disneyland: Lockers charge $7 to $15 an afternoon, depending on dimension
  • Disney World: Lockers charge $7 to $nine an afternoon, depending on dimension, plus a $five key deposit

“To some other folks, that’s like, ‘Well, you’re spending $12 to $15 an afternoon to devour your personal food,’” Robins says. “But a meal of scorching canine would charge my husband and [me] — just the 2 people — over $12.”

Redeem bank card rewards

If your bank card earns issues or miles, you could possibly redeem them for go back and forth. That’s how Seijo, of Edison, New Jersey, has paid for a few of her flights to Disney World.

“People spend, like, $1,000 a month on kid care. Right there, that’s 12,000 issues” a yr, assuming you earn 1 level per buck spent on the ones transactions, Seijo says.

Save cash within the park

Buy Disney-branded pieces before your talk over with

For Mindy Moser of Salt Lake City, restricting in-park spending is vital to saving on journeys to Disneyland and Disney World with her husband and three sons, ages 10, 8 and three. That approach shopping for Disney-branded pieces forward of time.

“I’ll most often get Disney shirts at Target TGT, -1.47% or Walmart WMT, -1.97% before we move, as a result of they’re a whole lot cheaper” than buying clothing within the park stores, says Moser, founder of the lifestyle weblog The Mommy Mouse Clubhouse.

Give your children a budget

Moser most often provides each of her children $25 before the holiday to restrict in-park spending on souvenirs, too. For her children, it’s a chance to make buying groceries decisions and learn about budgeting.

“They most often buy one thing the ultimate day, when they know what they want and so they’ve thought of it for few days,” she says.

Dine out for much less

Even in case you pack most of your meals, you might want to talk over with considered one of Disney’s eating places throughout your day trip — and you'll find ways to do so inexpensively. For starters, split your meals amongst members of the family or order smaller parts when conceivable.

“If it seems you’re still hungry, you'll at all times move somewhere and order more food,” says Niles, of Pasadena, California. “They’ll at all times promote you more food, however they won’t refund you food you didn’t devour.”

You too can talk over with the parks’ web pages to browse dining choices, kind via value vary and make reservations.

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Claire Tsosie is a creator at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ideclaire7.