Category Archives: Disney

Disneyland on a Budget 

It’s no secret that Disneyland can get extremely expensive very easily. On my most recent trip, my husband (then fiancé) and I were determined to spend the least amount of money possible on the trip while his parents and siblings went wild, buying all kinds of delicious meals and awesome souvenirs. We didn’t exactly end up sticking to the plan, but I did learn some valuable lessons and tips on how to successfully do Disney on a budget.

I want to start with my personal favorite Disney expense: shopping. You can spend as much or as little money as you want here, but there can also be some unnecessary expenses that a little bit of planning ahead can prevent you from having to pay.

I started watching Disney haul videos on YouTube to figure out what kind of souvenirs I would want to buy when we were there, and I made a pretty good plan ahead of time for what I was looking for. However, I wasn’t expecting that ornaments would be $40 and Minnie ears would be $30. I did find a couple ways around this, though. One tip I’ve heard countless times (that I wish I would’ve followed) is to order Disney merch online before your trip. In the age of Etsy, you can buy custom made ears and tons of unique pins to trade before you even leave on your trip (this is also great if you’re bringing kids to the park with you. Hello dollar store buzz lightyear when they start asking for the $15 one in the gift shop). To beat the high cost of ornaments, we opted for a big keychain that we later removed the key ring from and tied a cute ribbon around it instead (we did the same thing at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I’m obsessed with my cute little ornaments).

We went to Disneyland in May 2016 (the end of May to be more specific) and we ended up actually having to buy a $40 sweatshirt because it was so cold during the nighttime shows. We had been expecting 90 degree weather the whole time we were there that we hadn’t even thought of bringing sweatshirts for the evening. Although we now have a super awesome souvenir, it was an avoidable expense. Luckily we remembered to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, gum, and all the other necessities (check out my park essentials post to hear more about what to bring) or else we would have shelled out even more cash for these in the park.

The next category we’ll go over is tickets, transportation, and accommodations.

Tickets:

I’ve seen all kinds of posts on Pinterest explaining all of the different websites you can get discounted park tickets on, but I’m not going to go over all that. What I will say regarding tickets is this: Unlike Disneyworld, it’s absolutely essential to get the park hopper option when purchasing your park tickets. In WDW, each of the 4 parks are massive with tons of things to do, and you can easily spend a full day in each. Not to mention the transportation between parks can take up a lot of your park time, so you’re usually better off just staying in one park for a full day. This is not the case with Disneyland. Disneyland and California Adventure are about 500 feet apart from each other, making it so easy to bounce back and forth throughout the day. When one park starts to get crowded, it’s so convenient to walk over to the other one and enjoy the short lines. Don’t skip your park hopper, friends.

Transportation and Accommodation: 

Disneyland is extremely unique in the sense that unlike Disneyworld, you’re actually much closer to the parks staying at an off-site hotel. The money you save far outweighs the benefits you get staying on-site since Disneyland doesn’t currently have MagicBands, FastPass+, or Disney Dining Plan, so the only perk you’re getting is the Extra Magic Hours. In my experience, the park is pretty quiet in the mornings and everyone usually leaves right after the evening shows are over, so save yourself the money and stay in one of the Good Neighbor hotels. 

Most (if not every) hotel near Disneyland offers a free (or cheap) shuttle to and from the airport, so you shouldn’t need to rent a car during your trip. Ask the front desk about the shuttle schedule while booking your room.

Another quick tip is regarding entertainment. The Golden Horseshoe restaurant in Frontier Land offers dinner and a show (and air conditioning) for just the cost of the meal (which is a quick service and usually around $10 a person. This is super cheap entertainment and an easy way to get out of the heat and rest. 

Next up, lets go over my husband’s favorite thing: Disneyland Food. 

At Disneyland, you’re going to run into an average price of $5 per snack, $3 per drink, and $10-$15 quick service meal (quick service means anything where you walk up to the window and order, no waiters). 

A quick tip to cut down on costs is to buy one meal and split it. This can be especially beneficial for small kids, but I find that even two adults can easily split a meal at Disneyland (or at the very least a drink). The portion sizes are so much bigger than you would get anywhere else! (Pizza Port is hands down the best bang for your buck! Just google their pasta dishes, they’re absolutely huge for one person to scarf down). Not to mention smaller meals throughout the day means you can go on more rides without having to worry about stomachaches. 

One of my favorite Disney tips is to refill your water bottles. We usually buy one water bottle for each of us in the morning of our first day and refill it over and over throughout the rest of our vacation. You also get free water at restaurants, so if you ask for water in one of their large cups or ask to refill your water bottle with ice and soda fountain water, they’ll usually let you. 

A lot of people don’t know this, but you can actually bring your own food and snacks into the parks. This can save you tons of money (especially if you’re bringing kids with you). 

  

That’s all the tips I have for you on how we managed to go to Disneyland on a budget! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you next time! 

Advertisements

My Disneyland Bucketlist

As you probably know by my blog name, I’m a huge fan of Disney. Because of how far away I live, I’ve only ever been to Disneyland Resort in California 3 times in my life, and there’s a lot of things that I haven’t been able to do yet. So here is my Disneylad Bucketlist!

1. Ride Thunder Mountain at night


Thunder Mountain has always been one of my favorite rides, and I’ve heard that it’s even more thrilling and wonderful at night!

2. See Fantasmic! 


I’ve never actually seen the Fantasmic! show before. For one reason or another I’ve been busy doing other things while the show is happening, but I’d really love to see it the next time I go.

3. Ride the Christmas version of It’s A Small World


Like a lot of Disneyland rides, It’s A Small World gets adorable new themeing for the holidays and I’m dying to ride it!

4. Ride The Nightmare Before Christmas version of The Haunted Mansion


Yet another ride that has amazing holiday themeing that I’ve never seen but am dying to!

5. See the Holiday decorations and parades


I’ve only ever been to Disneyland during the spring and summer, so it goes without saying that I’m dying to see the Halloween and Christmas decorations and parades!

6. Attend Mickey’s Halloween Party


Every Halloween season the park has a special event that you can get tickets to where you get to run around the parks after hours dressed up as your favorite character. My husband and I are both dying to go to one of these!

7. Ride the Disneyland Train


Another Disneyland classic that I’ve never had the time to do. Shame on me, I know.

8. Visit ToonTown 


While technically I’ve done this in the past, I was 9 years old and didn’t go on any of the rides. I don’t remember a thing from ToonTown, and every time I’ve been to Disneyland since I’ve had so many bigger and better things to do than stop back into good ole’ ToonTown.

9. Find the golden marker


There’s a myth that the little golden spot on the ground is the exact center of the park, and while I know that’s not (or has never been) true, I still have yet to find the actual golden marker.

10. Spot the Eeyore sign in the Indiana Jones que


I’ve looked and looked as hard as I could on my last two trips to Disneyland, but still have yet to see the mythical Eeyore parking lot sign in the projector room (I even had all of my brothers and sisters in-law looking for it too, none of us could see it!)

11. Spend some time relaxing on Buena Vista Street 


Every time I go into California Adventure, I always notice how beautiful Buena Vista Street is. Unfortunately, I also always plow right through it on my way to get to the rides. I’d like to spend a few minutes relaxing and taking it all in the next time I visit Disney.

12. Ride Grizzly River Run


I’m not a huge fan of water rides, so it’s no wonder I’ve never actually been on this one. But I’d like to eventually say I’ve been on everything in Disneyland, so I’m going to have to do this ride at some point.

13. Spend some time in A Bug’s Land 


I always over look this section of California Adventure (probably because most of the rides are for kiddos) but every time I’ve passed through I’ve always been in awe over the theming of everything. I’d like to walk through a bit slower next time and really appreciate everything Bug’s Land has to offer.

14. Slow down 


It’s so easy to get sucked into the excitement and find yourself going-going-going the whole time you’re at Disneyland. I’ve always been running to get from ride to ride, cramming the most possible into each day. I’d really like to slow down on my next Disneyland trip, find some time to sit and take in the magic.

Disneyland Park Bag Must Haves

Today we’re going to be talking about the 10 things that can make or break a Disney vacation. Here are my park bag essentials for visiting Disneyland and California Adventures theme parks. 


1. The right bag for you

The floral bag is from Payless, grey bag is from Kohl’s, and the green bag is from Target.


Let’s take a second to talk about the bag itself. This is going to look like a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Big, tiny, cross-body, backpack, fannypack, whatever is the right size for you. Personally, I like to take a cross-body bag with an adjustable strap that’s approximately this size. After plenty of trial and error, this is just what works best for me and what fits on the rides. 

2. Sunscreen (and lots of it) 


Sunscreen is so important no matter what time of year you’re visiting the parks. I prefer to take a miniature spray with me for an easier reapplication process, but any kind of sunscreen will do. 

3. Ibuprofen 


If there’s one thing you’ll learn very quickly, it’s that your feet and legs are going to hurt. A lot. Ibuprofen will take the edge off throughout the day. (I would recommend putting a few pills into a tiny ziplock baggie instead of taking the bottle in with you. That is, unless you enjoy sounding like a human baby rattle all day.)

4. Your wallet (duh) 


I love this super skinny wallet from Target. It’s perfect for travel, especially when you only need to bring your debit card, some cash, and your park ticket.

5. Plastic bag (for water rides) 


Want to go on Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run but don’t want to get your bag full of electronics soaked? Bring a plastic bag with you and tie your purse inside of it for the water rides. You’re welcome. (Bonus tip: bring a disposable poncho to keep your clothes dry. If you don’t want to wear it on the ride, you can at least sit on it to keep dat booty dry.)

6. Hand lotion (or deodorant or body spray)

This lotion is my newest obsession. It smells like heaven (and lemon cream).


Basically, bring something with you so that when you start sweating (and stinking) you can freshen up (and de-funk yo self). 

7. Portable phone charger


You do not want your phone to die while you’re at one of the most photo-op vacation spots in America. This cute little charger and USB are both from Walmart and were less than $25 all together (they have even cheaper ones, I just wanted the cute one #storyofmylife). 

8. Gum 

My favorite gum of all time


They don’t sell gum in the parks, so if you want some, you’d better bring it in with you. 

9. Lip balm 


Make sure you bring a lip balm that has SPF in it. The last thing you need is to get crusty sunburnt lips. 

10. Sweat defense (hair tie and oil blotting sheets) 

These oil blotting sheets are awesome for absorbing sweat and oil on your skin without disrupting your makeup.

I love these creaseless ribbon hair ties


Make sure you bring a hair tie to get your hair off your sweaty neck and some oil blotting sheets to mop up the oil on your face. California is hot year round, people. Be prepared. 

11. Park maps


Bonus item: make sure you grab the free park maps. Although you don’t technically need them anymore now that you can use the Disneyland Park app, it’s still such an awesome souvenir (and nothing beats navigating Disney with a good old fashioned paper map). 

Make sure you don’t forget your cell phone and some comfortable walking shoes (your desire for cute footwear will disappear after about 3 hours of walking your butt off). Most importantly, make sure you get your hands on a water bottle once you get into the park (or bring one with you to begin with). Dehydration is lurking right around the corner when you’re walking around in the heat for hours on end. 

Other than that, just remember to have fun. Make some memories and enjoy the happiest place on earth.