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Disneyland Trip Planning Guide
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Brian Bennett

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Forward
Forward  |  Why Travel to Disneyland?  |  My Favorite Things at Disneyland

Resources

Disneyland Trip Planning Phone List  |  Critique of Published Disneyland Trip Guide Books  |  Other Disneyland Resources on the Web

Planning Ahead

Planning Your Trip  |  What Time of Year You Should go to Disneyland  |  How Many Days Do You Need to "See It All?"  |  Other Attractions in Southern California  |  Estimating What Your Trip Will Cost  |  Rental Car Considerations  |  What You Should Pack to Take on Your Trip

Accommodations

Should You Stay On or Off Site?  |  Off Site Accommodations  |  Disneyland Area Campgrounds  |  Disneyland's "Good Neighbor Hotels"  |  On Site Hotels  |  Grand Californian  Hotel  |  Disneyland Hotel  |  Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort Primer
A Disneyland / WDW Comparison  |  The Ins and Outs of Disneyland Reservations  |  How to Use Disneyland's Transportation System  |  Developing a Daily "Game Plan"  |  The Daily Afternoon Break Touring the Parks With Kids  |  Touring the Parks With an Infant  |  Touring the Parks with Disabled Guests

The Parks
General Issues
  |  All About Admission Media (i.e. Tickets)  |  General Park Operating Hours  |  "Magic Mornings", the Disneyland Resort's Version of Early Entry  |  Fastpass -- Disney's New "Virtual Queue"  |  Disneyland  |  Details-at-a-Glance  |  Touring the Park  |  Attractions  |  Shopping  |  Disneyland Shows and Entertainment  |  Parade of Stars  |  Believe: There's Magic in the Sky  |  Fantasmic!  |  Disney's California Adventure  |  Details-at-a-Glance  |  Touring the Park  |  Attractions  | Shopping  |  Eureka! The California Adventure Parade

Everything Else
Downtown Disney  |  Guided Tours of Disneyland

Disneyland Restaurant Resource

First, if you couldn't find it here, I would appreciate it if you would click on this link and send me a message to tell me what's missing.  I'll do my best to "fill in the blanks" as soon as possible.

Estimating What Your Trip Will Cost

You'll need to budget for the following things as you plan a trip to Disneyland:

  • Travel to Anaheim:  Don't forget to include money in your budget for the trip to Southern California and back home again. Airfare and/or gas and lodging costs can be estimated, or you can call a travel agent to get an idea of the costs for the time of year you are planning on going. If you're a AAA member, get a trip-tic and plan your trip with stops and daily driving distances well in advance. You don't have to make reservations a year in advance, unless you're going at peak times, but several months is a good idea.

  • Rental Car:  Another issue when traveling to Southern California is the need for a vehicle for transportation. If you're not driving to Anaheim, you'll almost certainly want a rental car so another $210 per week or so should be added to your budget for rental and gasoline. On my last trip car rental for a week cost about $170, but each additional individual day ran $35.

  • Accommodations:  You should also plan on spending $200 - $235 for accommodations at the Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and $250 - $290 per night at the Grand Californian.  Prices may be even higher in premium season, and concierge rooms and suites, of course, will be even more pricey. Rooms can be had at non-Disney hotels in the area for a fraction of the amount quoted above.  There's a page discussing this "on-site versus off-site" issue that you can read by clicking here.

  • Food:  For rough figures plan on a maximum average of $50 per day per person for food if you're planning to enjoy sit-down, full-service meals.  Of course, you can reduce cost by eating at least some fast food, and children and light eaters will cost less.

  • Admission Media:  Disneyland admissions will set you back about $40 for one day.  Other area attractions are similarly priced, although Disney is obviously the premium ticket in Southern California.

  • Souvenirs:  I would also suggest that you include in your budget a certain amount of money for souvenirs for each member of your party. Southern California excels at separating you from your money. The Walt Disney Company is probably worst (or best, depending on your point of view) offender, but Universal and Knott's give Disney a run for your money, too.  As a result, almost everyone in your group is likely to find something that they want to buy during the course of your trip. It's alot easier on the pocketbook if you determine up front what you're willing to spend. A typical person can probably find at least $50-$100 worth of souvenirs that they would love to cart back home. Plan accordingly -- or take the necessary precautions (i.e. pre-trip education) to avoid problems when little Susie or Johnny find that $375 Disney University Leather Jacket that they "just have to have."

If you use these numbers to estimate your trip costs, you will be on the conservative side.  These are good budget planning numbers, but you should get hard numbers from your hotel (don't forget local taxes and charges) and Disney (for admission media for the duration of your trip) as soon as you can. For one thing, it locks the prices when you make your reservations...for another, you'll know exactly what your costs will be.

 

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