Visiting Disneyland- On a Budget

Monday, December 13, 2010

Many a child harbors dreams of visiting Disneyland, the quintessential childhood experience when it comes to theme parks full of iconic cartoon characters, wild and wacky rides, kitschy souvenirs, and junk food galore. After all, it is the happiest place on Earth! And for parents on a budget, there are plenty of ways to turn your child into an honorary Mouseketeer. Whether you live in sunny SoCal or you’re traveling from afar, you can find discounts, specials, and packages that will help to make this fun family getaway totally affordable. Here are just a few methods you might pursue to ensure that you stay within your budget when you opt for fun in the sun at Disneyland.

While it’s true that Disneyland rarely offers coupons, you might be able to get a freebie if you know someone who works for the company. All employees get tickets yearly and may rarely use them. As for discount tickets that can be bought through a business (like a grocery store chain, for example), they are offered sporadically and through different means, so you’ll simply have to jump on them when you see them. Also, make sure to purchase your tickets online since you can almost always save over purchasing tickets at the gate. It couldn’t hurt to check their website frequently since deals go pretty fast. For example, earlier this year they offered a free one-day pass to anyone who completed a day of volunteer service (up to 1 million people). It was over by March! You may also be able to take advantage of “adult pay kids’ price” tickets that they sometimes offer early in the year to boost sales, or discounts for residents (with proof of address in a nearby zip code).

However, if you live in the area and would like to visit Disneyland frequently, you should definitely opt for the annual pass. It’s a bit more than a day pass, but you can use it as much as you want throughout the year and it pays for itself within 3-6 uses, depending on the type of pass you select (some are limitless while others observe blackout dates). If you plan on going only once or twice a year (if that), see if you are part of an organization that offers discounts such as California Teachers, AAA, or a branch of the military. Some corporations even offer discount tickets to their employees, so check with your HR department to see if this is the case.
As for those who are visiting from afar, your best bet for a reduction in cost is probably to book a vacation package. If you live near a major airport, this could include airfare, lodgings, and up to several days in both parks (Disneyland and California Adventure). While staying at the Disney hotels is may seem a bit expensive, other area hotels are just as pricy because of their proximity to the park, so if you can avoid renting a car to shuttle your family back and forth, you should definitely opt for the Disney hotels, which have a lot of added value for the kids (breakfast with costumed cast members is just one perk). You can actually save a lot by selecting a package offered by the park and you will have the added benefit of easy access and an entire world of Disney to immerse yourself in.

Kyle Simpson writes for Cheap Holidays where you can find a variety of inexpensive, family friendly, and fun travel packages.

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