Plan an Affordable Weekend Trip to Disneyland

Dreaming of a weekend getaway to the Happiest Place on Earth and wondering if you can do it without spending a whole lot? Here are some helpful tips to make it happen:

  1. Research + Planning = The Most Bang for Your Buck
  • Packages: Booking a travel package with air, hotel and Park tickets can add up to big savings, so take some time to do some research. You can find package deals with Alaska Airlines, Costco, Travelocity and other sites. Compare your findings with offers listed at before booking.
  • Off Peak: Visiting Disneyland during “off peak” times such as September, between Thanksgiving and Christmas and in January can help you save money. It’s also wise to avoid conventions when possible.
  • Fly Smart: Fly in early Friday morning and take a late flight home Sunday so you only need two nights of hotel accommodations. If you’ve been diligently collecting airline miles, consider cashing them in for a free flight to the Happiest Place on Earth!
  • Park Tickets: Disneyland Resort Park Hopper entry passes are definitely the way to go. They’ll save you money over one-day, one-park tickets and you’ll have the flexibility of visiting both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure every day of your stay. Park Hopper passes may be purchased with travel packages, online, at your hotel or at the Parks.
  1. Sleep on the Cheap

Nothing quite compares to a stay at one of Disneyland’s three resort hotels, however, there are many terrific and affordable “Good Neighbor Hotels” at the Disneyland Resort to choose from as well.

  • My top recommendation is the Candy Cane Inn. Not only is it a short walk or shuttle to the Parks, CCI also includes a deluxe continental breakfast for no additional cost.  Rates for weekends in early December are currently as low as $139 a night.
  • Another affordable favorite of mine is the Howard Johnson Anaheim. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the Parks, and has comfy rooms and family-friendly amenities. I recently found a rate of $129 per night for a weekend in early December.
  • reveals lots of other Good Neighbor hotel options, one is sure to fit your budget. And remember, it’s always a good idea to check hotel reviews before you book so you can avoid “surprises” (I like TripAdvisor).
  1. Tips for Dining that Won’t Break the Bank
    • Go Continental: Book a hotel that offers continental breakfast with your room rate (see Candy Cane Inn above).
    • BYO Snacks: Make room in your suitcase and pack some granola bars and other easy-to-carry snacks. They’re great for kids, and also complement a grown-up’s fresh cup of hotel coffee to kick start to your morning. They also make for a great on-the-go or “waiting-in-line” snack while you’re in the Parks.
    • Enjoy Brunch and “Linner”: Instead of three full meals, plan a late-morning brunch and an afternoon linner. In Disneyland Park, I recommend brunching at Carnation Café on Main Street or Riverbelle Terrace overlooking the Rivers of America for reasonably-priced and filling fare. For linner, I recommend Downtown Disney District walk-up counters at Tortilla Joe’s (tasty, made-to-order tacos) and Napoli (pizza, pasta and salad) where you can grab a meal for under $15 per person.
    • Here’s even more tips on how to eat on the cheap at Disneyland
  2. Membership has its Privileges: If you’re a AAA member (or Disneyland Annual passholder), don’t forget to flash that card at your hotel, at restaurants and in shopping venues throughout the Disneyland Resort for discounts.
  3. Souvenir Savings: It’s easy to be enticed by the fantabulous array of Disney-themed merchandise sold throughout the Parks. However, some of the best Parks souvenirs are those that don’t cost much at all:
    • Stop by the Silhouette Studio on Main Street for a quick and totally personal souvenir for just $9; spring for the old-time frame ($9) so your portrait is ready to display when you get home.
    • Autograph books are an inexpensive and fun way for young Mouseketeers to interact with their favorite Disney characters.
    • Digital photos taken on your camera can’t be beat. Ask Disney Photopass Cast Members to take your photo with your camera, they’re happy to oblige!

Please share with us your best tips for saving money on a trip to Disneyland.