How to Save Money at Disneyland During the Holidays

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Disneyland during the holidays is merry indeed. Make your Christmastime visit even merrier by saving some dough during your Disney getaway. Before you pack up the sleigh and head to the Happiest Place on Earth, check out these eight Disneyland holiday season money saving tips.

How to save money at Disneyland during the holidays

how to save money at disneyland during the holidays

1. Plan ahead.

Enjoy Disneyland during the holidays from November 10, 2017 until January 7, 2018. The holiday season is a popular time to visit, so it’s best if you book your vacation as early as possible. Although last-minute specials occasionally come up, you usually get the best deal when you plan your vacation in advance. To maximize your savings, it’s best to visit during the least expensive portions season. This might mean foregoing seeing Mickey on Christmas Day. Opt instead for the first couple of weeks of December or the first week of January. Not only will this save you money, but also you will see fewer crowds during these times.

Christmas tree at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland during the holidays

Christmas tree at Disney California Adventure Park (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort)

The easiest way to save money on planning a Disneyland vacation is to book your vacation with Get Away Today. With their Layaway Lock-in Plan, all you need to do is put $125 down at time of booking. You can make as many payments as you want, whenever you want, up until two weeks before your vacation. This will help you whether you want to book a vacation for this December or wait to experience Disneyland during the holidays next year.

Even Tow Mater is decked out for the Disneyland holiday season

Even Tow Mater is decked out for the Disneyland holiday season (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort)

2. Buy Disney gear before you go.

Kids love buying trinkets during vacations. However, souvenirs in the parks are sold at a premium and the cost can add up quickly. Buy less expensive Disney gear like t-shirts, stuffed animals and toys in advance from Amazon. You can find all sorts of Christmas-themed Disney apparel and gear, so you can enjoy Disneyland during the holidays in style. Then you can use the money saved to splurge on special dining experiences like Character Dining or a fancy holiday meal.

Special parades and concerts are included at no additional charge at Disneyland during the holidays

Special parades and concerts are included at no additional charge at Disneyland during the holidays (Photo credit: Scott Brinegar, Disneyland Resort)

3. Find freebies and affordable souvenirs at Disneyland.

While you’re at Disneyland, be sure to take advantage of all the free stuff Disney has to offer. You can get complimentary pins inside City Hall on Main Street U.S.A to celebrate a special occasion like a first visit, birthday or anniversary. Over in Adventureland, ask your skipper for a free Jungle Cruise Map.

Character autographs are another fabulous and free Disneyland holiday season souvenir. Bring along a Disney autograph book and pen to collect signatures.

Meanwhile, smashed pennies make an affordable and fun way to celebrate the Disneyland holiday season. Buy a pressed penny souvenir holder in advance to get kids psyched about finding coin pressing machines throughout the parks.

Santa at Disneyland during the holidays

Kids can collect autographs at Disneyland during the holidays from Disney characters and even Santa himself (Photo credit: Scott Brinegar, Disneyland)

4. Save money on your hotel stay.

Sometimes the hotel stay can be the most expensive part of your vacation, but it doesn’t have to be. You can find hotels near Disneyland that offer a third, fourth, or fifth night for free. This will not only allow you to stay and play an extra day at Disneyland, but also it will save you money that you can spend at the parks. Additionally, some hotels include free parking, free breakfast or complimentary shuttle service. Make sure to do your research to see which hotels give you the best return on your investment.

You can also save money when you bundle your hotel with park tickets, even Disneyland Resort hotels! If you've got your heart set on staying at a Disney property, the most affordable choice is typically the Paradise Pier Hotel.

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel tends to be the most affordable of the three Disney Resort hotels during Disneyland holiday season

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel tends to be the most affordable of the three Disney Resort hotels (Photo credit: Disneyland)

5. Bring your own food.

While Disneyland has some of the best sweet and savory foods around, eating in the park can be expensive. Luckily, you are allowed to bring in your own snacks and beverages. Even though you can’t haul in a feast in a cooler, you can toss some granola bars, fruits, sealed bottled waters, and even some PB&J’s in your backpack. Then you can use the extra cash you've saved to indulge in some of Disney's famous holiday treats, like holiday cookies or their hand-made candy canes.

Save room in your budget for a holiday treat or two during Disneyland holiday season

Save room in your budget for a holiday treat or two (Photo credit: Disneyland)

6. Cap spending with a Disney or Visa gift card.

It's easy to get so caught up in the magic of Disneyland, that you end up spending more than you originally planned. If you purchase a Disney gift card or a Visa gift card beforehand, though, you won’t go over your budget. What’s great about gift cards is that you can choose the amount you're comfortable spending, so you won’t have any unwanted surprises on your credit card when you get home. (Disney gift cards make awesome stocking stuffers, too!)

Using gift cards with a set limit can help curb spending during the Disneyland holiday season

Using gift cards with a set limit can help curb spending at Disneyland (Photo from ShopDisney.com)

7. Give a Disney vacation in lieu of a mountain of gifts.

While presents and stockings are always a glorious sight to see on Christmas morning, it can be stressful knowing what each person wants year after year. And, if your kids are like mine, they lose interest in their brand new toys from Santa before the New Year. Instead, give the gift of a Disneyland vacation. You will create memories with your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

To add to the fun, wrap up a few Disney gifts to put under the tree and tie an invitation to Disneyland around a Disney character plush toy. Just imagine the look of surprise when that present is opened!

Get Away Today Disneyland Discounts

8. Get the best price when booking your Disneyland vacation.

You want to be sure you are getting the very best price when you book your Disneyland vacation, right? That's why I recommend booking with Get Away Today. They offer the best deals on discount Disneyland tickets as well as hotel deals. Even if you find a better deal elsewhere, they will not only match the price, but also they'll beat it. Use promocode TravelMamas to get an additional $10 off your vacation package!

Have you ever visited Disneyland during the holidays? Let us know your questions or comments below!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for these tips! I love Disney, but let’s be honest, it can be expensive! I am so bookmarking this.

  2. We are hoping to bring our kiddos to Disneyland next year and these pointers will help so much. I am planning on bringing in my own food and water and just have a good day riding the rides.

  3. I love these tips, I am not planning a Disney trip this season but I will keep this post as a reference if we do go. It is better to buy souvenirs and food off site is a great tip.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Yes, I am buying some Disney items from Amazon right now for our New Year’s Eve Disney trip. Can’t wait!

  4. Great tips. My family is most definitely a Disney family. We will be going next month.

  5. Disneyland is so magical during the holidays. These are great tips on how to save money.

  6. These are great ways to save money at Disneyland during the holidays. I love going to Disneyland at Christmastime, it’s such a fun time to go when it’s all decked out for the holidays.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Agreed! Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are so pretty when dressed up for the holidays!

  7. Claudia Krusch says:

    Disneyland during the holidays would be so amazing. I will have to see if we would be able to do it next year. I am always looking for ways to save while on a trip.

  8. These are great tips for saving money at Disney World. I especially love the buying your gear beforehand!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Yes! I’ve already purchased my Disney gear from Amazon in advance for our New Year’s visit! 🙂

  9. I would love to take the kids to Disneyland during Christmas season! Disney is already so magical. It would just be over the top amazing to visit during Christmas season.

  10. I would love to take my girls to Disneyland this time of year. I bet it’s so magical. We have never even gone before. Hopefully some day that will happen.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I hope that will happen for you too! Everyone should get to see the magic of Disneyland during the holidays!

  11. I need to keep all of this in mind when I head there with my daughter. We could easily go over budget if we’re not careful.

  12. I would love to take the kids to Disney during the holidays. We always say we are going to do it but we never do budget during the holidays.

  13. These are really great tips! I love money saving tips, especially during holidays! Thanks for sharing these!

  14. I have always wanted to visit Disney during the holidays! These are some awesome tips that I will be putting to use for our trip in the spring!

  15. These money saving tips are awesome. Planning ahead is always helpful whether it’s a trip to Disneyland or any other vacation.

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