UPDATED MARCH 2023. If you’re asking yourself “How much should I budget for Disneyland?” don't worry, we have the perfect place to start. We’ve been helping guests like you get to Disneyland on their budget since the 90s. Today we have put together a list of all the things you’ll want to consider when planning your Disneyland vacation, including some things you may not have thought of.
Your “Start Here” Budget for Disneyland
We bet you’ve been on cloud nine as you’ve made the big decision that you are going to Disneyland! Cue the confetti! We know how it is; all you’ve been able to think about is how good those churros will taste, the tears of joy that will surely be in your eyes during the fireworks and all the new memories your family will make. Then you think of the one question that brings you down from your dreamy celebration: “How much should I budget for Disneyland?” This may seem like the scariest question of all, since there’s no definite answer and it can change drastically based on each person asking. But it doesn’t have to be a scary question! In fact, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of everything you need to consider when budgeting for your Disneyland trip. We look at each category and help you customize it to fit your family and trip needs. Soon enough you’ll have a better idea of how much to budget for Disneyland without the stress lingering over you. It’s time to get back on cloud nine – and if you’re having trouble getting back to that day dream, just think about Disneyland churros – and let’s start planning how much you should budget for Disneyland.
How much should I budget for getting to Disneyland?
How much to budget for getting to Disneyland depends on two things: where you live and how you want to get there. If you’re in Northern California and only a few hours away from Disney, it’s going to cost much less than a family from several states away who will be flying in. There are a few tools you can use to help you get the best idea on how much to set aside for this portion of your trip.
How to Budget for Driving to DisneylandFirst, let’s look at driving to Disneyland. This isn’t a bad idea, especially if you’re only a state or three away from the park. We like to use the Trip Calculator from the EPA to get the best idea of how much to spend on gas. With this tool, you’re able to enter the make and model of the vehicle you’ll be driving, on top of where you’ll be starting and ending your trip. Since you’re entering the type of car, you’re going to get a more accurate idea of how much fuel will cost. Just remember to double the amount shown, since you’ll need to drive back from Disneyland. Unless you decide to never leave, of course. Another thing you’ll want to consider when driving to Disneyland is if you’ll be stopping overnight or not. Is the drive long enough that you’ll need to get a hotel? It’s also a great idea to consider how many times you’ll be stopping for restroom breaks or to stretch your legs. Will you be purchasing meals or snacks during these times? These are all numbers to think about that can either be added to transportation, or to the food and lodging budget portions. Either way, just make sure you add them so you don’t end up budgeting too little!
How to Budget for Flying to DisneylandWhat if you’re flying to Disneyland? The best tip for budgeting for flights is to start looking as soon as you know you’re going. Even if you have a few months – maybe even a year – it’s good to watch the flight prices and get an idea of what’s a good price for where you live. At Get Away Today we suggest Google Flights. Not only can you see all the different flight times and prices based on the information you put in, but you can also “track” flights. You just choose which flights you want to keep an eye on and Google will email you every time the price goes up or down. It saves you a lot of time and stress when it comes to booking flights to Disneyland. For example, Google Flights identifies the best price on legacy carriers to fly from Salt Lake City to Long Beach is about $240 round trip if you plan to fly June 2023. If you're not going for a few months, you should wait it out and watch for lower prices to pop up. It’s also important to note that Southwest Airlines and other low cost carriers do not pull up on Google Flights. It’s worth it to check their site separately as they periodically have great sales for flights to California. Generally, we suggest booking flights about three months out from your travel date, as you're most-likely to find the best prices in that window. You can also follow Facebook or Instagram pages/groups that do the flight-finding for you. Like Google Flights, you can book a great deal on a flight thanks to someone else's research! Usually these groups are free to join, and sometimes there's a minimal fee to "upgrade" your access to deals or the frequency of which you receive them. You’ll want to also think about what city you'll be flying into for your Disneyland trip. You have three main options:
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Santa Ana
How much should I budget for hotels near Disneyland?
Now that you know how much to plan on for transportation, let's look at budgeting for hotels near Disneyland. This is another portion that can wildly change depending on your family and preferences. To get an idea of how much to budget here, you'll need to know how many nights you're staying, an idea of the dates and how close to Disneyland you want to be. Length of stay doesn't usually change the rates for each hotel night, but it can change if you pick a hotel with a free night special. Many hotels near Disneyland that Get Away Today offers in the Anaheim area have Third, Fourth or Fifth Night Free specials. These are always the best since you'll be able to add a night to your vacation without paying for it! Even if you spend that day lounging by the pool, it's a great idea. After three or four days spent in the Parks, it can be a real treat to have a "rest" day before driving or flying back home. Our Extra Night Free specials are so great for that. The other thing to keep in mind for deciding your hotel budget is when you're going. Peak times, like summer and holidays, will have higher rates than non-peak times. To avoid astronomically high prices, I recommend booking your hotel as much in advance as possible. With Get Away Today's Layaway Plan, you can do just that. Even if you don't have all your budget saved, the layaway plan lets you lock in everything for only $200 down. It's a great deal when you think about having your availability and lower rates locked in, plus time to save. Additionally, you're never penalized for booking early with Get Away Today, so if a better rate on your hotel becomes available, we'll credit the difference to your account. Keep in mind how close you want to stay to Disneyland as well. Hotels that are right across the street, or the Disneyland Resort Hotels themselves, are going to cost more than the hotels that may be farther away. But the hotels that are farther away may have a shuttle service fee. Does that cost cut into the savings of booking farther? Currently, the Anaheim Resort Transit shuttle service to and from Disneyland costs $16 - $25 per adult (depending on length of ticket) and kids are free when you purchase from Get Away Today. You can view ART ticket options here. Speaking of shuttle costs, make sure to record any potential resort or parking fees in your budget. Parking at hotels near Disneyland can cost anywhere from $5 - $25+ per night and the same range usually applies for resort fees as well. The good news is that when you book with Get Away Today, many of those fees are waived or reduced. We suggest browsing the hotels online or calling in to get a comparison of pricing and any additional fees. With so many hotels near Disneyland, it may take a bit of research to get a better idea of your budget but it’s worth it!
How much should I budget for Disneyland tickets?
Next up is how much you're going to spend on park tickets. Again, this will change depending on how long you're going and what your family likes. There are a few things to consider when budgeting for Disneyland tickets. Mainly how many days you want in the parks, whether you'll be park hopping or not and if you're going anywhere besides Disneyland. It seems like three days in Disneyland is the most popular choice, but don't be afraid to change that based on your family. You can get discounts on 2, 3, 4 and 5-day Disneyland tickets here. Remember that the longer you stay, the better the price gets per day. In fact, you end up paying almost half per day on a 5-day ticket of what you'd pay for one single day ticket. Plus, Get Away Today offers Extra Day Free savings, offering 5-Day Disneyland tickets for the price of just 4-Day tickets! To park hop or not to park hop is the next question in budgeting for Disneyland tickets. I'm a big proponent of park hopping since Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are so close to one another. However, I know that some families with smaller children feel like they just really don't go between the two parks that much. I'm sure you'll have a great time whichever you choose, just remember to give it some thought before budgeting and purchasing. With our current prices, you'll pay just $60 more over the course of your vacation (per ticket, not per day) to park hop. When you break that down, it’s a HUGE value. That means Park Hopping on a 3-Day ticket is only $20 extra per day. On a 5-Day ticket, it’s only an extra $12 per day! Considering to add a Park Hopper to a 1-day ticket will cost $65, it seems like a smart thing to budget in Park Hopping to give yourself some extra flexibility. Don't forget to think about whether you'll be visiting other places or not. If you'll be visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND or beyond, you'll want to include this in your park tickets budget. When you bundle your tickets with Get Away Today, you can even save a little bit more per ticket.
How much should I budget for Disneyland food?
This may be one of the most asked questions when it comes to how much you should budget for Disneyland. Disneyland has some of the best food found in theme parks across the world - just imagine those warm sugary churros again if you doubt that statement at all. Being theme park food, it does cost a bit more though. You may be feeling lost on this one, especially if this is your first time to Disneyland. How are you supposed to plan if you don't have any idea of the cost of things there? Well, there are two things that can help you create your food budget. The first is the fact that Disneyland posts nearly all of their menus online. You can find all the Disneyland dining options here and click on whichever one appeals to you. Once on the restaurant's page, you'll notice a "View Menu" option to the right. Once you click that, you'll be taken to the menu's page that shows all the food options with pricing. This is great if you have a list of Disneyland foods you can't miss and want to plan on the budget ahead of time. Even if you don't have a specific list, it will help give you an idea of the cost of food in the park overall. Once you have an idea of what you think your family would enjoy, you can pre-purchase Disney gift cards, or pre-load debit cards with the required amount. This will help you stick to your food budget. For even more savings, you can actually purchase Disney gift cards at a discount from some box stores, such as Target. Using the free, Target debit card offers a 5% discount on the purchase of gift cards, but you still get the full-value to use in the Parks on food (or souvenirs, etc...). A lot of families also bring groceries or buy groceries from one of the nearby stores while staying in Anaheim. This is perfect if you have a hotel with a kitchen as you can save a lot by cooking your meals and either bringing them into the park or going back to the hotel for a meal break. However, I do think you can eat almost every single meal in the park without your budget skyrocketing. Many entrees at the Disneyland Resort are large enough for an adult and child to split, which is a great way to try more food and still stick to a budget. The biggest thing in creating your budget for Disneyland food is knowing your family and their eating habits. Don't forget to include things like snacks or drinks in your budget either. Pro tip: even if you don't bring a refillable water bottle into the park, you can still get water for free. That's right, any of the restaurants in Disneyland will give you free water cups, so don't worry about including drink costs if your family sticks to water. Another great tip to remember is Disneyland does allow outside food into the Parks, take advantage of that and bring in your own favorites such as crackers, jerky, cheese sticks, nuts, granola/protein bars, fruit snacks and the like. As long as your cooler is soft-sided and no bigger than a 6-pack, you can even keep items like deli meats, yogurt, etc... cool while enjoying the Parks. Locker rentals start at about $7, so if you need to stash a bag with snacks in the Parks, include that cost in your Disneyland budget.
How much should I budget for Disneyland souvenirs?
Now, let's look at Disneyland souvenirs. You have to have something to commemorate such a magical time with your family, right? There are several ways to budget this into your Disneyland vacation. The first is to buy your souvenirs ahead of time. This may seem a little silly, but you can often get Disney-themed merchandise for way less at big-box stores or on Amazon (try HERE) than inside the parks. It's perfect for kids since they often want the toys and character shirts, instead of the park-exclusive memorabilia. If you'd rather something from the parks, I suggest heading to the Shop Disney website and looking through the "Parks" merchandise. This will give you an idea of how much things in the parks cost and you can decide how much you want to spend from there. Worried about going over budget on all the cute things? Judging by all the Disney art on our walls here at Get Away Today, you could say we know a thing or two about this. To combat the chance of overspending, purchase Disney gift cards in the amount you want to spend. Once those gift cards are spent, souvenir shopping is over.
Is there anything else I should budget for Disneyland?
Transportation, lodging, tickets, food and souvenirs are the biggest things to think about when budgeting for Disneyland. But is there anything else you should consider? If you've traveled a lot, you know that things can come up no matter how much you plan. Because of this, I always like to budget an extra $100 or so for just-in-case moments. That may mean purchasing an extra souvenir that you just can't leave behind or it could mean purchasing a portable charger because you forgot your own. No matter what happens, having an extra bit set aside will make sure you are prepared for anything. Another thing to think about when budgeting for Disneyland are all the extras they have available. Things like Disney Genie+, Character Dining and princess makeovers. These are things you don't need to have a great trip, but they can definitely add to the magic. Just don't forget to take things like this into account when creating your budget! Remember, when you purchase Disney Genie+ it does include unlimited PhotoPass downloads at no additional cost!
There you have it, a thorough list of everything you need to know when asking yourself "How much should I budget for Disneyland?” I hope that you are still just as excited and thinking about those churros! You are going to have such a great time with your family! To make planning your Disneyland trip even easier, book with Get Away Today. We have something for every budget, with the tips and tricks to help you save even more money than you thought. You can easily price out all of the options on our website or by calling our agents at 855-GET-AWAY.
Join the Conversation!Leave A Comment
Get Away TodayFebruary 21 2020
Nicole- You're welcome! Thank you so much for visiting our blog. We hope to have 2021 Disneyland tickets available this summer for booking. Stay tuned!
nicoleFebruary 21 2020
Thank you so much for updating this as New year's come. So helpful I will definitely be using these tools for planning my DL vacation next year
Get Away TodayDecember 17 2019
Anonymous- We love utilizing any resources we can to help make Disneyland vacations more affordable!
AnonymousDecember 16 2019
This didn't help at all, just suggested other websites
AnonymousJuly 30 2019
son and daughter and grandkids went to California, but didn't get to go to disneyland because of lack of money
AnonymousMay 25 2019
It’s Down syndrome. Not downs
Get Away TodayApril 16 2019
Maddie- How exciting that you're doing an adults-only trip! So glad we could help you plan.
MaddieApril 16 2019
Thanks for the tips! I’m planning on going with my best friend at the start of September and it’s the first “adult” vacation that I’m planning on my own. It’s good to have an idea of the costs I need to budget for aside from just the hotel room and tickets.
Get Away TodayFebruary 27 2019
Anonymous - A trip to Disney with your granddaughter would be a memorable, special experience to have together! Let us know if we can help you plan in any way. 855-GET-AWAY
AnonymousFebruary 27 2019
I would live to take my granddaughter she has downs and i think she would love it
TeahyaAugust 18 2018
I want to go to Disneyland