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Catch Disneyland’s new Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, one of many freebies within the park.

By Amanda Ficili

There’s never been a better time to visit the Disneyland Resort and with the upcoming openings of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, you’ll want to get those bags packed and ready for an unforgettable summer vacation.

A trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth” can be more affordable than you think.  Proper planning and careful budgeting are extremely important keys to successful Disneyland trip planning and with the right tools, anyone can plan a magical vacation that won’t break the bank. Here are a few money-saving tips to keep in mind as you plan for your next pixie-dusted Disneyland vacation:

1. Purchase your park tickets prior to your arrival.
In most cases, online prices are a bit lower than those at the gates. Naturally, start on CheapTickets, which is offering a 3-day Park Hopper for $199.

2. Purchase a complete vacation package.
Bundle your savings with flight and hotel rather than trying to put a trip together a la carte.

3. Bring your own snacks.
Disneyland allows guests to carry small, soft-sided coolers that can be filled with snacks and drinks (bottled water, juice boxes). This can save you at least $25 a day.

4. Eat outside of the parks.
While Disneyland is full of delicious restaurants and eateries, those traveling on a budget should consider “outside” meal opportunities. If you do plan to eat inside the parks, consider the vending carts and quick service locations, such as the all-new Jolly Holiday bakery.

5. Purchase souvenirs ahead of time.
When pinching pennies on your Disneyland vacation, save serious dough by buying Disney-themed souvenirs before your vacation.  The online Disney Store is a great spot to shop for lower priced souvenirs.

6. Bring necessities from home.
Purchasing items such as ponchos, umbrellas, sunscreen, film and batteries prior to your trip will save you money on your Disneyland vacation.

7. Take advantage of freebies.

  • Free sourdough bread samples are available at the Boudin Bakery Tour at Disney’s California Adventure.
  • Grab a free celebration button from City Hall at Disneyland Park.
  • Enjoy the free entertainment offered throughout the park including live music, parades, theatrical performance shows, fireworks and more.
  • Character meet-and-greets and autographs are always free.
  • Grab a free “license” on Disneyland’s Autopia attraction.
  • Occasionally free maps of the Jungle Cruise attraction are available if you request one from a cast member.
  • Keep an eye out for Cast Members, especially security guards handing out free Mickey Mouse stickers.  You can also visit any Disney Vacation Club kiosk to receive free colorful stickers.

Related resources

Amanda Ficili is a member of the 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel.

Panelists have received/will receive a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disneyland Resort or Disney Vacation Club vacation for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the Walt Disney World® Moms Panel. The views expressed in the Panel are those of the panelists, who are independent contractors. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, its affiliates, its management, its agents or its employees and have not been reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.

Tagged: California, Family, FREE!

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