Win a Winner!
Writers & Photographers
Berlitz Summer Camp
1. Arrive at the park when it opens, and use FASTPASS to reduce your time spent waiting in lines. PHOTO BY K. PEARSON BROWN
by K. Pearson Brown
A trip to Disneyland can be expensive, with the lowest price SoCal resident one-day, one-park tickets starting at $81 for kids 3-9 years old. Admission is only one cost. There’s gas, meals, snacks and souvenirs, and if you plan to stay overnight, the cost of a hotel. In order to truly enjoy your visit and not worry about money, figure out which elements of your trip are worth splurging on for you and your family, plan ahead to help defray costs, and then just have fun.
If you have the buckage, staying at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels is the way to go. The Disneyland Hotel, The Grand California Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel are all fabulous and carry over the Disney brand of extreme hospitality and spirit in décor, ambient music and other touches, and there are added perks, like Magic Hour early admission and a private park entrance. All three Disney hotels also have great pools and waterslides. The Disneyland Resort site (http://disneyland.disney.go.com/) features a number of packages that slightly discount Disney hotels plus admission tickets and dining options.
You can save a lot by staying off-Disney, at one of the partner hotels, which offer much lower room rates. The nearby big convention hotels have a more corporate ambience, but hotels such as the Hilton Anaheim Hotel (http://www.hiltonanaheimhotel.com/), with room rates starting at $94, cater to Disneyland visitors with child-friendly features, such as a terrific water feature at the hotel pool and an on-site Disney Desk staffed by resort cast members. The Hilton is also walking distance from the park, if you are a sturdy walker, or you can hitch a free shuttle bus across the street that will drop you off right at the park entrance.
It will cost you a little sleep but no extra money to get in more Disney by arriving when the park opens so you can maximize your visit. Lines are shorter for the first hour or so, so head to the attractions that historically have the longer lines, which are generally the rides that feature FASTPASS (also a great program to take advantage of to reduce your time waiting in lines).
The themed merchandise at the shops is tempting, so set a budget for yourself and the kids each day. Use gift cards or Disney Dollars to enforce the limit. Once the allowance is gone, that’s it. Better yet, tell the kids that you are saving the last hour of the last day for shopping, so you can stave off the constant pleas for souvenirs at every turn.
Be prepared. Take along extra batteries, a change of clothes and towel for wet rides, and a sweatshirt or jacket for when the sun goes down, so you don’t end up buying these things at the park.
Lastly, don’t feel deprived just to save yourself a few bucks. Budget in one or two spontaneous purchases, and enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth without regret.
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We get our family together for a Disney visit and then buy group rate tickets. My sister handled everything during Christmas break and we all paid our share online using splitzee.com so she did not have to wait for our checks and cash. We had a great time.
Oklahoma City, OK
01/31/2013 - 05:00 pm