Here’s how we are saving money for Disneyland. We started planning for our trip about a year before we went, so we were able to spread various expenses throughout the year. Each of our kids received a $25 Disney gift card as part of their Christmas since we knew that we would be heading to Disneyland and California Adventure over Spring Break. We also purchased Disney pins through eBay. That meant all of our souvenir expenses were paid for before we even loaded up in the car. And I like pre-paying for items. It is easier for me to spread things out ($15 here, $25 there) than to have all of the expenses hit our family budget at once.
So, how were we able to pay for the big three (travel, tickets, lodging)? Here is how our family of 6 did it:
Our family lives in Utah and the first question was how to get there. Fly or drive? This was not a tough decision. It is a 12 hour drive for us to Anaheim and driving was the way to go versus 6 airplane tickets, baggage fees, etc. By driving, we were also able to stock up on snacks and souvenirs and not have to deal with those expenses. We saved money for our gas over several months and then used our Costco AmEx to purchase gas on the road. We received 3% back on our gas purchases which we already had sitting in our saving account to pay it off as soon as we received our credit card statement.
Our daughter’s dance company was invited to perform at Disneyland which meant that we were able to purchase discounted tickets. We were able to purchase 3 day hopper passes for only $160 a piece (children as well as adult tickets). This meant that instead of paying the full price of $470 for our 2 youngest and $1,000 for the other 4 of us, we were able to save $510! There are several savings programs for tickets such as ones for California residents and members of the military.
The other big expense was lodging. We don’t have any family in the Southern California area, so we had to hit a hotel. Another obstacle? Most hotels design rooms for 4 and with 6 of us, we are way over that limit. So we had to look at hotels that offered suites that could comfortably fit our family of 6. We decided to work with Get Away Today, a company that offers discounts on vacations. We were able to book a room at the Homewood Suites for 5 days and 4 nights for $950. Included in that cost was free continental breakfast, a shuttle to the parks, free parking, and a free manager’s reception from 5-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday which basically worked out to free dinner for our family. Another benefit? When you book through Get Away Today, they will donate a part of their profit to a selected group of non-profits. Our children’s school district foundation received funds when we booked our hotel through Get Away Today.
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Hi! My name is Julie and I am a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids. With four kids ages 6, 9, 11, and 14 we have to be careful how we spend money to make vacations like this possible.
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