We spent Last New Years at Disneyland/ California Adventure. We drove with 2 toddlers and a preteen at the time from Austin to Anaheim. Most know we are a single middle income household so a trip to Disney would cost us basically 3 months income hahahaha! I have been wanting to take my littles since Alix could walk. They are Disney obsessed and Adam has not been since he was 3. Realistically we could not afford airfare, hotel and tickets as a family of 5. So being the savvy mom I am I planned this trip months in advance AND under $1,000 (of my own money) My strategy may not work for everyone BUT it cansure help cut the cost!
For Christmas I asked everyone to get the kids Disney gift cards. Gift cards can be used towards the purchase of Park admission and souvenirs. I told them not to worry about the amount and that anything would help. Sam’s Club had a little deal if buy 3 $50 gift cards for $142. I passed that deal along to my big spenders to knock all 3 kids out in 1 gift. After all the gift cards they were gifted, all our tickets for 2 days 1 park per day were covered. So essentially we were sponsored for our tickets LOL
Park Souvenirs are expensive so I did hit the Disney store on black Friday to score some deals, I got the kids Autograph books, Starter pack of Disney pins and Disney shirts. We got lucky and some family picked up some embroidered Mickey hats while they were at Disney and they gifted those to the kids for Christmas. My mother in law ordered lanyards for the kids to exchange Disney pins. So as far as souvenirs go we were covered. Disney was there big Christmas gift that they got to open on Christmas. All the souvenirs I used as stocking stuffers. At Disney I let the kids pick out pins for themselves to go around trading. At the park we only spent $30 on souvenirs. They had everything they needed before we went.
Lodging we were very fortunate. I have family in Los Angeles so when we arrived we crashed at their place for a night. We spent the day before Disney exploring LA mainly Santa Monica it was a treat for the pre teen because he is so infatuated with LA. The next day we drove to Anaheim and did a day of California Adventure. We had breakfast before we went, ate lunch and had snack there and checked into our hotel and had dinner. Another fortunate even is we have family who works in the Hotel industry and they scored us a sweet deal and another bonus was the Hotel messed up our reservation and upgraded us WITH and additional discount. we stayed 2 nights there for only $140. BONUS the hotel had amazing breakfast for free. We got full before Disneyland Day and took some extra food for snacking.
After Disney we went to our hometown Sunnyvale, California to visit my family for a few days. The Total for the trip was $850.20. If we did not visit my family we would’ve only spent about $650. This includes food, lodging, souvenirs and gas. I know that this scenario is not an option for most but I highly recommended that you ask family for disney gift cards, buy your souvenirs before your trip, look for deep deals on hotels and or ask someone you may know in the hotel industry to lend their discount. You can’t put a price on the Disney memories BUT you sure can save some moola in the process.