Purchase tickets using GetAwayToday.com They have the lowest prices and the best customer service. We booked our tickets before Disneyland announced their price increase. We also purchased our tickets while they were offering a promotion of Buy 4 days, get the 5th day for free! This saved us $120 on our one park per day tickets.
Because we were traveling to California to photograph weddings, I knew we would want our own vehicle. Besides, with car rental costs the way they have been, it was easily the least expensive option. Driving will save you money both in rental vehicle fees, and in plane tickets. The only downside to having a vehicle at Disney, is that most places you have to pay for parking. The expense of paid parking was still well worth the savings!
We splurged at Disney and enjoyed so much yummy food, while still trying to stay on a budget. We allotted $100/day for food and treats. For a family of 3, this may seem like a lot! But we didn’t pack anything more than a few small snacks each day. We took a water bottle and refilled it inside the park as needed. Small water bottles are $4 inside the park and a total rip off! If you want to save even more money, it’s easy to pack in food. If you are traveling as a family, pack a small cooler with sandwiches and water bottles in the stroller. If you’re traveling solo or as a couple, take a small backpack that can easily sit on the floor of the ride.
We ended up eating at several different restaurants and trying all kinds of new treats. Disney food is expensive. But, we found it was best if we purchased two main meals, and then that left us room for other treats. Like the famous Dolewhip!
Some of our favorite meals were:
Bengal BBQ’s Skewers and Rice Plate
Lucky Fortune Cookery’s Beef Bulgogi Burrito
Paradise Garden Grill’s Traditional Tamale Plate and Pollo Verde Wet Burrito (this was also the best value)
Shakes from Flo’s V8 Cafe and snacks from the Cozy Cone
When we took our first trip to Disneyland in 2019, we stayed at the Desert Palms Hotel and Suites. I had done a ton of research and ultimately decided to stay close to the park, within walking distance. The Desert Palms Hotel and Suites is less than 10 minutes from the main gate into Disneyland and California Adventure. I also found their prices to be pretty reasonable. It boasts a pool, free breakfast with several different options, and onsite parking.
This year, we added a new experience to our list, visiting Savi’s Lightsaber Workshop. While this is definitely a splurge in my book, it was well worth it. Ryan had so much fun building his custom lightsaber. The cost is about $220 for this experience.
When we visit new places or experience new things as a family, we like to purchase a magnet. This is one of our favorite family traditions since we can usually find them easily at most locations. We can also find a great magnet for under $10! Sometimes we purchase pins that look cooler than the magnets. We cut the back of the pin off and glue a magnet to it so we can add it to our board.
If the now expired Max Pass had been available, we would have purchased it. Disneyland has now introduced The Disney Genie Service with Lightning Lanes. If it had been available at the time of our visit, we could have added it for an additional $300 for our trip. It’s a steep add on, but gives so many benefits to enjoying your trip to the fullest.
With 5 days at Disneyland, I didn’t feel like we would have needed it. If you’re planning a shorter trip to Disneyland and California Adventure, it is well worth the investment.