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Disneyland on a budget

As summer winds down, Disneyland begins to get ready to start the transformation for Halloween, Christmas and New Years. If you have never had the chance to see what the park looks like during these special times of the year, I have to say that the transformation is quite spectacular. Growing up in Orange County, CA, I had many opportunities to visit Disneyland during these periods; often owning a season pass to help save me the most money while visiting the park. Season passes save you 15% on dining, 20% on merchandise, 20% on guided tours, 20% off special events, and even saves you money when staying in the Disneyland hotel. The season pass is your best bet if you plan to visit the park more than 4 or 5 times, but this is not possible for all of us. Many of us, as I do now; live too far away from Disneyland to plan multiple trips to the park during the course of just one year. So I am going to give you some other tips on how to save some money while visiting Disneyland that do not involve purchasing an expensive ($779) season pass.

  1. When purchasing your tickets to attend Disneyland Park, do not purchase your tickets when you get to the ticket windows at the park. The lines are incredibly long, and the prices are more at the park than purchasing from authorized sellers of Disneyland tickets. Authorized sellers of tickets include; AAA, Safeway, Costco, as well as many online retailers. Just be sure that you trust the website that you use to purchase your tickets if you do in fact choose to use an online retailer. Do not use eBay, Craigslist or a private party.
  2. With the addition of California Adventure, the park has only gotten more crowded and thus visiting all your favorite rides in one day may not be possible anymore. One way to combat this problem is that you can hold a fast pass (a pass that allows you to avoid the long lines) for one ride in both Disneyland Park and California Adventure at the same time. Thus, if you carefully plan your rides, you are more likely to get on more of your favorites using the two fast pass systems.
  3. Dining in the park can be extremely expensive, often costing upwards of $20 per person at many of the resort restaurants. If you still like to eat out, but do not have to eat inside the park, there are some slightly cheaper options in Downtown Disney, but there is not much of a reprieve there. Your best option for saving money on food is to bring your own food, something that most people think is not allowed, but food is allowed to be brought into the park. Bringing your own food is likely save you the most money, especially if you are like me and eat at least 3 meals a day if not more. It’s great if you plan a multiple day trip to Disneyland.
  4. Merchandise also runs at a very large premium within the Disneyland parks, so if you would like merchandise cheaper; your best bet is to visit Disney stores. These stores generally carry most of what you can find in the park, and you can get these items ahead of time to bring with you into the park if you so choose. My last piece of advice is to download the Mouse wait app in either Apple’s app store or in the android marketplace. This app will tell you ride wait times as well as many different secrets that I have not included here, including the search for the hidden Mickey’s.



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