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Monday, February 8, 2010

Conquering the Mouse on a Budget

When you grow up in Arizona, you end up going to Disneyland every few years.  Maybe it's a right of passage.  It's certainly wonderful as a child to go this often and maybe ever more so as a parent to take your kiddos there.  So on the way to the birthday party, we took a little detour through Anaheim, California, and visited the mouse.

However, we were definitely on a budget.  And I wanted to pass on some suggestions on visiting Disneyland and spend minimally which is no easy task!

Timing of our visit to Disneyland is critical! We never visit during the summer, holidays, or anyone's spring break.  My littler kiddos aren't patient enough to wait in any line longer than 20 minutes.  So October, January, and February are our favorite months to go.  This also helps with cheaper hotel rates.
Cheaper hotel off season-check!  (Ours was $199 a night and was two rooms that slept 6.  A smaller family could surely find something cheaper.)
Visiting off season so there are less crowds-check!

And we found a hotel with at least a continental breakfast and supplement with our own bagels and cream cheese, fruit, and juice boxes.  Continental breakfasts usually have a toaster which we use for the bagels.  
No breakfast expenses-check!

We called ahead and got a room at a hotel just across the street from the entrance of Disneyland.  Many hotels will tell you they are just across the street from the park, and they are!  But be sure to find out which ones are across the street from the entrance or you could be walking miles around the park just to get into the entrance.

Then we walk across the street.  Much of the time this is even closer/faster than walking from the huge parking facility.
No parking fees-check!
There are no color changes/enhancements on the above picture!  Isn't the horticulture at Disney amazing?

We packed a family lunch and brought it in with us.  I'm not sure this is allowed by Disney, but nobody has ever questioned us when we bring our little cooler bag in, and they do rifle through it at security.
No lunch expenses-check!

We fill the diaper bag with lots of snacks, mostly high protein foods like granola, almonds, beef jerky, cheese sticks, chocolate milk boxes, those awful pre-made PB&J sandwiches...  And rather than dinner at the park which can be REALLY expensive, we just snack our way through the day.  I've never had my kiddos say they're hungry with hearty snacks that they like.  Then park then closes early off season.  So at 8 o'clock we walk back across the street, get sub sandwiches and take them up to the hotel room for dinner.
Cheap dinner-check!

I prepped all the kiddos ahead of time, explaining that we would not be purchasing food or souvenirs at Disneyland.  We don't always do this, but the budget required it this time.  We've been to Disneyland in years past and brought our ears and an autograph book purchased years earlier.  We did end up buying a couple little extras, like new ears for the babes since they didn't have any yet, and some churros for Sunny who stayed with the stroller when Papa and I went on Space Mountain, and a chocolate covered banana cause I alwasy have one.  But in general, we just enjoyed the park and didn't get distracted with constant requests for stuff.
No nickle and diming-check!

We were sure to pack a backpack full of sweatshirts and put them in a locker as soon as we got in the park.  The locker was $7 and that's a lot for a tiny little locker!  But it's still a lot less than buying that $39 sweatshirt when your child is freezing after the sun goes down.

We really had a fun time.  On the second day, there was a constant drizzle which we welcomed, as it keeps the crowds away.  Papa took a quick trip to Target and picked up rain ponchos.  The ones they sell in Disneyland are expensive, thin, and rip easily.   But go early 'cause Target will run out as we found out one year, and thus we know about the cheap and thin Disney ponchos.

It was a fun trip!  The babes were a bit overwhelmed at times, and the occasional melt downs were expected.
Here Tess wanted to ride the carousel for a third time.

And here Jujube wanted a juice box rather than a chocolate milk.

This was Boo's first real trip to Disneyland since he was a baby last time we went.  Boo said every ride we went on was his favorite, but mostly he loved the big roller coasters.  Jujube just loved driving his own car at Autopia, and now when someone says Disneyland, he holds and turns his imaginary steering wheel and says, "Drive!  Drive!  Drive!"   Not surprisingly, Tess-the-thrill-seeker loved the tea cups!

And thankfully the big girls like the tea cups too, which is good because I can't ride on it anymore without spewing lunch.

Patch said his favorite ride is still Dumbo!  Oh my, he's such a teddy bear at heart!

My favorite?  Watching the big ones show the little ones around.

Being next to my man as we see their smiles.

And Space Mountain of course!

1 comment:

  1. Great post with great tips and great pictures. Did I mention it was great?


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