Maximizing Your Money at the Disneyland Resort

by Jenna Kahl, contributing writer

As a devoted Disney fan and defender of all things Disney, it can be hard to defend the cost of some items at the Disneyland Resort. Traveling to the Disneyland Resort as often as we do does allow us the privilege of taking it slow, enjoying the little things, and not worrying about skipping rides or attractions that are crowded or down for refurbishment. This slower pace has also allowed my family and me to learn some easy tricks to saving and getting the most bang for your buck while at the Disneyland Resort.

It can be as simple as a bottle of water.

Being from Arizona, where it is illegal for businesses to refuse someone a cup of water, it never crossed my mind that people might not know that they can request water from any food service provider in the Resort. Keep in mind this doesn't apply to kiosks and carts that only have bottled beverages, but everywhere else will fulfill your request with as many small cups of water as you request. This small change can add up to big bucks and is great for keeping hydrated easier and cheaper as well.

Stepping inside the Disneyland Resort in the morning and seeing a bunch of colorful balloons is a beautiful way to start the day, but that is where that ends for us. Ranging in cost from $10 and up, I completely understand that they are an appealing purchase, especially for little ones, but if you want to use your money wisely and walk away with a keepsake, I would skip the balloons.

As a Disneyland Resort traveler that brings a stroller on every trip I have heard the advice over and over about purchasing and tying a balloon to your stroller to make it easier to find. However, this advice has gotten around, and lots of strollers are sporting balloons. There are so many other ways to make your stroller stand out: ribbons, a colorful blanket, or a token from your favorite sports team.

A beautiful sight but maybe not worth the cost. Photo by Jenna Kahl.

I say: if you can get it at the Dollar Store, you probably don't need to get it at the Disneyland Resort.

While this personal mantra of mine is not set in stone, it definitely applies to my approach to light-up items. Glow necklaces, bracelets and wands, in most cases, are not worth the price in the Disneyland Resort and can be bought prior to your trip and brought in for use at night. I will admit we did succumb to the light-up Little Mermaid bubble wand, but that fell far outside the "could this be purchased at the Dollar Store?" parameters.

Handheld fans are a great item to bring along in the hotter months, and can be found at really reasonable prices and carried in in a bag or backpack. Finding yourself in the position that you are so hot and desperate that you feel the need that you need to purchase one of the water bottle/fan combos, that you will never use again, is a place that I try really hard to avoid.

Ponchos and other rain gear is a harder one for an Arizona girl like me, but I do try to remember that rain is a possibility in other climates, and I prepare accordingly. Purchase ponchos or rain jackets at a big box or camping supply store and always remember to buy at least two extra, one for the stroller (a vinyl table cloth works really well, too) and one for the person who will inevitably rip theirs. Ponchos are available for purchase at the Disneyland Resort and are actually a really good fit and quality that you will be glad you packed your own when you see the lines that form right after the first drop of rain falls.

My family and I have traveled a few times with other family members and friends who might only visit the Disneyland Resort a few times in their lifetimes, and therefore, a keepsake of their visit is something that they really want to get right. While I see the appeal of a T-shirt or a yummy treat to take back, I tend to advocate for things that you can't eat and won't outgrow.

Christmas ornaments are my absolute favorite, however picture frames, keepsake jewelry, and artwork prints are also great selections. Much less important and much more picky, this is where my family thrives, we try to avoid clothing with years printed on them so, even if you do travel to the Resort often, you don't feel compelled to buy the newest shirt when the next edition comes out the following year.

While this article has some money-saving tips, it is also a really good reminder that preparing for your trip to the Disneyland Resort can really make all the difference in the world.



  1. By amyuilani

    I agree that toys that can be purchased on the outside don't need to be purchased in the park. I also agree that balloons are not worth the purchase.

    However, I don't fully agree about purchasing t-shirts that have the years on them. I read once that someone whose family visits the park every year, was buying a dated shirt every year for their kids. Her goal was to create a quilt of all of these shirts when her kids get older as a keepsake. So while the dated shirts are not my style, I can see how such a thing could have lasting sentimental value.

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