02 June 2016

Disneyland: Money (and time) saving tips!

Ok so I changed my mind on what to post next about Disneyland,
sue me hahaha
I figured the next most important thing to know is how to 
SAVE money and time
on these vacations am I right?
SO here's MY tips on how we save money and time.
  - Take in your own food.
This is kinda a no-brainer but a lot of times
guests don't understand that yes, you can bring food into the parks!
We like to get Subway sandwiches (without condiments)
and keep them in our backpacks then when we're hungry
plop down at Village Haus, River Belle Terrace in Disneyland,
or the Smokejumpers Grill, Pacific Wharf in DCA 
where they have mustard and mayo
and other things out for guests to use!
Saved you about $50 already just with that meal!
  - Take in snacks and water bottles.
You can even take sodas into the parks as long 
as they have bottles with lids.
Sorry guys no cans!
- Shop at your local Disney Store beforehand!
Or heck, Target or Walmart even has stuff you can get way cheaper than at the parks!
Get that tshirt or backpack or hat before you even get on the road to Disneyland.
Definitely will save you money.
Also people will say that the World of Disney Store in DownTown Disney
has their stuff cheaper than the stores in the parks
because it's not inside them.
That's wrong my friends. 
Same prices. 
- Now if you're wanting to shop at the parks,
do it
There are so many things there that you can't get anywhere else (duh right?)
Now I personally would pick a day if you're there more than one day,
and shop literally first thing in the morning.
Yep you heard me.
First thing in the morning.
The shops are pretty empty cuz everyone is out riding rides and waiting for characters
SOO that means you won't necessarily be fighting with people
while looking for that perfect souvenir.
PLUS some stores will hold your purchases for you til the end of the day!
YES ma'am!
They will hold it FOR YOU til park close!
You just fill out a little form,
the store staples one to your bag and you keep the other half 
and then when you pick it up just ask a cast member to go get it for you
and off you go!
And no, you don't have to wait in a checkout line to get your package.
ANY cast member walking the store can get it for you ;)
  - Autograph books.
They are both amazing and ridiculously expensive.
I personally have purchased 3 in my lifetime.
1 for myself and 2 for my kids
(could NOT for the life of me find the one we already had for this last trip 
therefore I was unprepared and purchased a second one!!)

 Now they run anywhere from $7 to $25 depending on how fancy you want them to be.
I liked the cheapest option one for Rory when she was littler.
There's no slots for pictures BUT it's ALL paper
therefore you can get so many more characters to sign it!
Plus I can literally just rip out the signature and put it in our album and not have to fret about
wrecking a $20 book!
Now you also can make your own autograph book,
buy a scrapbook album ahead of time,
or even bring a mat with you to then frame when you get home!

You have all seen my map with the signatures on it?
Yeah that's what I used for years!
I finally decided it needed to be displayed because it was starting to 
fall apart and rip at the creases hahaha
They used to sell this map at the resort but it sold out years ago.
You can still find it on eBay but you have to be willing to pay that hahaha
- Buy Disney Gift cards ahead of time with your desired budget on them
and then only carry petty cash.
Kid you not, you will NOT go over your budget if you don't carry your credit cards with you!
Plus everywhere in the Disney Resort
(minus the carts - hence the petty cash)
takes the gift cards as methods of payment!
Do you see the beauty of this??
I do!
 I also plan on doing this more when we take out big family vacations 
cuz I tend to forget the budget
and I go slightly nuts over food hahahaha 
- Prioritize parking costs vs hotel location.
So it costs $18 currently to park your car
at the parks.
That's a lot of cash, HOWEVER,
weigh your pros and cons of a closer hotel.
SO say you decided to get a close hotel 
so you can walk there, awesome!
But the hotel is like $245 a night.
So you happen to look and see a hotel about 10 minutes away for $100 a night,
and even with paying for parking,
you're saving money overall.
Really it's up to your preference.
Or if your whole party can fit in one vehicle,
split the cost of parking between y'all
and BOOM!
Even more savings! 
- I'm going to briefly mention here 2 other things we use for discounts:
our Annual Passes and our Disney Visa Card.
I LOVE having an Annual Pass! 
And I didn't get one til this year hahaha
(Before that I had been a cast member and then I had to save for a pass)
With the annual passes you get discounts on dining and merchandise
as well as passholder specific events and perks around the park.
NOW, we did passes this year because we were there in December
and knew we'd be coming back in April with the whole family.
Those 2 trips if we had bought tickets normally would have been over $800
for both of us (plus Rory's tickets too).
So we decided it would be better to spend the $1200 and get passes
so that we saved money other places
and it made up the difference.
(Plus, if you go like 3 times it's paid for itself already)
So if you're on the edge of thinking about it here is the list of all the choices
and their perks.
(For reference, we have the Deluxe passes)
 Our Disney Visa is also a great way to save!
They do Disney Rewards points so every $100 you spend,
you get $1 Disney dollar.
Not great but still it's something right?
PLUS when you use it at the parks (or your local Disney Store)
and you spend over $50, you get 10% off automatically! 
Again, savings!
Plus you can get discounts on dining, character meet and greets only for
Disney Visa members, and discounts on guided tours as well!
- GO to the big rides first for a FAST PASS!
(ie Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain, California Screamin,
Radiator Springs Racers, World of Color, Soaring Over California, etc)
After you get your Fast Pass,
you have to wait one hour before getting another one!
There's a time stamp at the bottom of the Fast Pass ticket,
just wait one hour after that time to get another one.
You also cannot get 2 fast passes for the same ride until you've used the first one.
- Use the Stroller Switch and Single Rider passes to the utmost!
These will save you so much time if you use them on every ride they allow you to!
 You can get through rides super fast
and get back to other things you want to do! 
- If possible, have someone stand in line for you for characters.
Now this is a touchy place guys.
You can't have just one person standing there if you have a party of like 20!
BUT if you have like 8 people and at least 3-4 people can wait,
usually the others in line are ok with it.
Especially if it's for little kids.
Kids have a hard time waiting in line 
(don't we all?)
so sometimes it saves time
(and sanity) if like grandma and grandpa can wait in line for Mickey 
while the kids run around Towne Square or something til their turn.
I hope you've found some new ideas and tips 
for saving money on you magical trips!!!

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