How To Do Disneyland Cheap in 2024

Savings To Make Your Trip More Affordable

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If you are looking for the perfect family vacation destination, it’s hard to beat Disneyland. This Disney resort is a long-time favorite, for a very good reason, and it is likely something that you are going to want to do at some point in your life. However, Disneyland can be expensive.

How to do Disneyland cheap is a question we get all the time. It seems that every year Disney is raising their theme park ticket prices making it more and more expensive to take a vacation to Disneyland. The average family saves for 5 years to spend a week there. Saving money anywhere possible can help you take your trip sooner and get more out of it. 

Follow these simple steps to help save money on your next Disneyland vacation. Doing so could save you hundreds of dollars and make what is typically an expensive vacation a cheap one!

Travel During The Off-Season

Tea-cups at nighttime

This is applicable to any kind of vacation, and that certainly applies to going to Disneyland with the family. You’ll find better rates on hotels and better discounts on tickets by traveling during the off-season, so it’s always something to consider. The off-season is anytime during the school year. Parks are also typically less busy when you do not visit on the weekends, major holidays, or when big conferences are being held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Their website typically lists their upcoming events. You will also want to keep an eye out for any other local events which might influence your timing.

Take a look at our Free Disneyland Crowd Calendar for the best days and weeks to visit.

Book in Advance

Racers attraction signage with Lightning McQueen

Try to book 2-3 months out if possible, although any longer than that will rarely be possible. Often, hotels will have better rates further out and some ticket discounters require an advanced purchase as well. This is especially useful during the spring break time in March and April. Book your hotel and tickets early for special deals and discounted hotel rates.

Buy Your Tickets Through a Ticket Discounter

Even if you do need to book right before your trip, you can still save a surprising amount of money and do Disneyland cheap by buying your tickets through a ticket discounter. You will find that there are plenty of these to choose between, although you should be careful only to buy from an authorized seller. Consider purchasing through our partner, Undercover Tourist. You can save up to $25 per ticket.

Look out for special sales throughout the year as well. They typically offer special deals such as a “Free Day” or “Adults at Kids Prices.” These can add up to be major savings.

Stay Off Property for Your Hotel

Disneyland Hotel with blue Disney hat in front

A common way to “Do Disney” is to stay on property. But if you really want to do Disneyland cheap, you will probably want to consider other options. One great way to save money is to stay off the property when you are choosing your hotel. There are several hotels within walking distance of Disneyland resort.

If you book using our exclusive link you can find sweet deals at several local hotels to help you save even more! Several of them offer free parking and breakfast which can add up to savings of per day! Disney’s 3 Property Hotels do not offer either of these things. You can even receive discounts on hotel rates as a Magic Key Holder or military member at these hotels.

Fly Into A Closer Airport Than LAX

In order to make sure you know how to do Disneyland cheap, you need to consider all aspects of the vacation, not merely just the Disneyland part itself. That includes being careful about which airport you fly into. Of all the Orange County airports, LAX is the furthest away so you’ll end up spending more getting from there to the resort than the other two. Try flying into SNA (John Wayne Airport) or LGB ( Long Beach Airport) if you can.

Also, try and book your flights with saver airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest. Both fly into all 3 major airports in Orange County and can save you hundreds of dollars over Delta or United. If you do that, you should find that you save money. 

Don’t Drive to Disneyland

Cloudy Sunset Over Matterhorn Mountain and Tall Green Trees

For many families trying to save money for Disneyland, driving might at first glance seem like the best way to go. However, you might be surprised to learn that this is far from the truth, and if you are hoping to do Disneyland for less, you will want to think about other options.

In fact, there’s no point in spending money on a rental car these days. You can get from the airport to the resort for much less than a daily rental car or the cost of a taxi with either Uber or LYFT. Plus, with rental cars, you may end up spending money on parking each day at your hotel and Disneyland depending on the distance. This can cost you $35 a day in parking alone!

Use our special Uber and LYFT discount codes to get your first ride free! 

Bring your Own Food

You are obviously going to have to think about food when you go to Disneyland. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own food, as prices at Disneyland itself can often be pretty exorbitant. If you’re driving, pack your car with all the food you need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You’ll save an average of $30 per person per day by doing so. If you’re flying in try using Vons Grocery delivery service or Amazon prime pantry. Both can deliver right to your hotel. You can bring your own food into the parks so don’t worry about that. Pack the cooler and the lunch boxes and sit down wherever you’d like to enjoy a delicious meal and savings!

One great tip you’ll want to remember has to do with water. DON’T pay for water at Disneyland. You can go to any quick-service restaurant and get a free cup of water. Just ask! It will save you $3 every time, and in the long run that will make an enormous difference.

Keep Park Meals To A Minimum

Obviously, the whole point of that is that you want to keep the number of in-park meals you buy to a minimum. This is a whole tip in itself, as you are going to find that, despite being prepared and arriving with your own food, you are probably going to have to give in to temptation now and again – or the kids will, at the very least. As such, you should be sure to keep your park meals to no more than once a day. That alone will ensure that you are going to save a lot of money, and it’s an important part of how to do Disneyland cheap.

Make Use Of Free Shuttles

Cream-spotted Bunny Sculpture in front of small tree

If you are hoping to stay outside Disneyland, and as you know that is what we recommend, then you need to make sure that you are making full use of the free shuttles. A number of hotels outside Disneyland offer free shuttle services to and from Disneyland itself, and you will find that the simple act of making use of these is going to mean that you can save a lot of money on transportation. It is certainly better than getting a taxi every day – and trust us, you won’t want to walk it! 

Invest In A Magic Key Pass

One great way to save money on tickets is to get an annual pass, which allows you to visit Disneyland numerous times over the year, saving money in the process. Of course, you will need to consider whether this is an appropriate way for you personally to save money, as it does require that you are relatively close to Disneyland in the first place As long as you think you could make good use of such a pass, it is one of the best ways in the world to do Disneyland cheap. 

Check For Coupons

Another way to save money is by checking to see if there are any coupons available for tickets or dining reservations. If you look on websites like Groupon, you should be able to find deals for Disneyland, which could end up saving you an incredible amount of money. Of course, as ever, you should take care and make sure that these deals are what they appear before you put any money down on them. But as long as they are genuine, it could constitute a tremendous saving on your Disneyland experience.

Include The Trip In Your Holiday Gifts

Walt and Mickey Statue outside of decorated castle Disneyland

Really, saving money anywhere else in your life is going to help hugely when it comes to trying to go to Disneyland for cheap. One of the major expenses that all parents have is the holiday time, especially the gifts that you are expected to give at that time. If you want to save money on the whole, you can simply include the trip to Disneyland as a part of the holiday gifts that you give to your children.

You will find that there is no disappointment whatsoever when you approach it this way, as any kid will be thrilled to receive a trip to Disneyland for Christmas. Of course, you might want this to be just one present, and still, give them something to open on the day. But as long as you make this one of the gifts, you won’t be spending on all those gifts as well as a trip to Disneyland, and that will certainly make for a cheaper year on the whole. That alone is going to make an enormous difference in how much money you save.

Last Minute Bookings

It might sound ironic, but you can actually save a lot of money by simply booking at the very last minute for your flights and hotels. By making use of a last-minute website, where they simply match you up with the holiday you are looking for at the last minute to fill spaces, you will be able to save a huge amount of money.

This is certainly a risky way to approach it, but as long as you do it right it could be all you need to do, and it might work out much better than planning far in advance. Although it doesn’t always work, it is nonetheless something you will want to consider if you are going to try and learn how to do Disneyland for less. Bear this in mind, and it could really help.

Travel When Your Kids Are Young

Paradise Pier Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel Decorated with Neon Lights and Neon Fountains

This one is a matter of waiting for the right time, but it is absolutely something that you will want to consider if you want to do Disneyland cheap. Bear in mind that kids under 2 get in free, so if you go when your family is at that stage you are going to save a considerable amount of money. 

Come Prepared

Preparation will always help you to save money on any holiday. If you are wondering how to do Disneyland cheap, then in many ways it is going to come down to the matter of preparation. The better you prepare, the more likely it is that you will be able to save as much money as possible. For instance, you should always check the weather ahead of time.

If it is going to be cold or rainy, you might be able to enjoy the parks with fewer visitors. Packing a poncho, gloves, a coat, or other cold-weather necessities can make a world of difference! If it’s going to be hot and sunny – a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, pure aloe vera, and staying hydrated (with the free water tip above) will ensure you enjoy the Magic all day long!

See our what to pack post for more information on what to bring.

Buy Your Merchandise Before You Arrive

Brown Rock Statue of Grizzly River Ride

Inevitably, you are going to find that your children are going to ask for merchandise at some point or another. Of course, that can be a huge drain on your resources, and it’s the kind of thing you need to think about carefully if you are going to do Disneyland cheap. If your kids want hats, shirts, or toys, buy them at Walmart or Amazon before you travel. They will be at least half the cost compared to buying at the Disney Parks.

If you are going to purchase at the parks, try a budget. Get each kid a Disney Gift Card with a certain amount of money on it and let them know that once it’s gone, it’s gone. This basic difference is going to mean that you can save a considerable amount of money.

Play Around With Ticket Options

You are not going to be able to get into Disneyland without a ticket for each person – that much goes without saying. But if you are hoping to do Disneyland cheap, you can look at what your options are regarding ticket types, and make sure at least that you are not overspending on them. This is a simple fact of looking at the different ticket types that are available and making sure you choose the right one. The cheapest ticket is the 2-day 1-park per day ticket, so if that is appropriate for you that might be the way to go. Alternatively, you also need to bear in mind that this park passes not the best value, even though it is the cheapest. It’s not much of a jump up to three or four-day tickets, so that might be something you want to consider too.

Get Free Tickets Or Airfare Before Your Vacation

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Attraction

This seems crazy, right? That you could actually get free tickets or airfare to Disneyland. These ideas are the epitome of how to do Disneyland cheap. And yet I have a proven method that works and has worked for myself. I have a complete guide on how to do this, so be sure to read it.

Basically, the gist is this: Grab the best credit card rewards offer on the market that gives you over $600 in cash or travel. Then apply that bonus offer to your vacation and save big. I’ve explained this to several guests over the past year and many of them have been able to save big. I personally paid for my entire airfare with the welcome offer I received.

It’s one of the smartest ways to save on your Disney experience is open to anyone with Good to Excellent credit. Again, be sure to read the complete guide above for all the details. You won’t regret it!

To Sum Up

Combining all or most of these steps will help you save several hundred dollars on your next Disneyland vacation. Then you can put that money to good use elsewhere! For more savings and deals be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. They keep you in the loop on any upcoming specials and offerings as well as great giveaways including free tickets and vacations! What better way to save money on a Disneyland trip than getting it for free?!

So there you have it. If we didn’t answer the question of how to do Disneyland cheap we don’t know what else to tell you!

  • You can save on flights with discounted airlines and flying into airports closer than LAX.
  • You can purchase discounted Disneyland tickets.
  • You can book hotels in advance and stay at Good Neighbor Hotels that offer free nights, free parking, free breakfast, and more.
  • You can bring your own food into the parks so you can save money on dining.
  • You can even get a hold of the merchandise beforehand, which will alone save you so much money you’ll wonder why you never did it this way before.

All these things taken into consideration will help you save hundreds of dollars on your upcoming Disney vacation!