How to Save Money at Disneyland in California!

The coolest part about living in Southern California is having access to so many fun theme parks. My boys love to run wild and explore, Disneyland is the happiest place for a family of young kids. Let me share some Disneyland savings tips that my Amigas from TheMoodyMommiesPodcast shared with me! These are great for the one time visitor, or the annual pass holder! 


Meet my friends Jessica (Jess) and Vanessa! The Moody Mommies Podcast is where they share family, lifestyle and parenting fun. They are Southern California natives and young mamas of beautiful little toddlers (age ranging from 1, 2, and 3). They get their Disney theme park therapy at least 3x a month to take advantage of their annual passes.

Now, to the details about saving at Disneyland!
Rates for a one day pass are roughly:
Adults: $124
Kids (3-10) $118

Perk #1 Kids, 3 and under are free to enter the park (yes!)

Jess has the select pass, she can visit the park on weekdays and have plenty of blackout dates which doesn’t bother her because its only $20 a month* to visit their favorite place on less busy days!

 The kicker is her pass doesn’t come with parking but that’s ok because Vanessa’s does! The signature pass has far less blackout dates and plenty of other perks like 25% off most shops and restaurants. It runs about $60 a month *after the $99 down payment.

Recommendation from a Disney Pass Holder:
Perk #2. Get the signature pass unless you are planning to visit with someone who has parking included every time. (It’s $20 each visit) If you aren’t looking for passes you could always check the dates on the website for value days. Or group rates from events like Dapper Day, Bats Day etc.

Always Prep! This is what these Millennial Moms do to save a few dollars at Disneyland.

  1. Buy Disney gear from places like Target, Old Navy or Ross. The shirts we find are always under $10 dollars and if you see them for cheaper, stock up! Jess likes to stock up on princess dresses after Halloween (once they are on sale).
  2. (Perk #3)The awesome thing about Disney parks is they let you bring in your own food. 

3. Pack your own Snacks, Cooler, Stock your Hotel!

If you’re a local SoCal resident, go in the afternoon so you can plan for either 1 or 2 meals with snacks. There are microwaves in the baby center so you can warm up anything you to there. Typically, you will want to take sandwiches, burritos, macaroni, fruits and/or veggies.  Also, be sure to bring reusable water bottles. If we’re in the mood for a little mommy buzz, split a drink with your friend or hubby at California adventure! This is probably the big tip because food gets very pricey for small toddler portions. To maximize time, let your little ones eat on the stroller’s tray so you can can keep moving. Try and be mindful of how much you really need so your not lugging extras food (it’ll get smashed and wasteful). Eat before you enter the park, buy a filling meal. 

Ditch the Parking Fee!

For those who are visiting and need to book a hotel, try and snag a good deal on a hotel with complimentary breakfast. As well as a hotel that is within walking distance from the park so you don’t spend on the $20 parking fee. Locals like to take an Uber with friends and split the cost.

Too Many Souvenirs?

Kids always want plushy bears, toys, and candy,  so we try to avoid the stores (since we’re regulars). One thing you can do is bring your own Disney toys/stuffed animals and when they see something they want, bust out the secret weapon you brought with you. 😉

Once you’re inside the park other than food, souvenirs and tours it’s basically a free for all!

Patience is Key!
Come with patience & kindness, this will set you up for a successful day at Disneyland. Meet and greet with the characters, ride a couple of your MUST-RIDE favs by splurging on a fast passes.

Don’t be shy; ask staff to take your photo for you with your camera or phone so you could save on Photopass. You could also purchase the max pass which includes photos and fast passes for $10 each pass.

Special Events & Extra Fun!

Perk #4 You could find special events going on that are kid friendly; crafts, face painting or super special food vendors. You could purchase passes for the food events. For Example, right now during Festival of Holidays you could purchase a $45 pass for 8 food and drink items. Most items are the menus are about $8 regular price.

Perk #5 You can check the Disney Calendar to check what rides are closed, the special happenings that you can plan, and set your family up for an eventful day!

Bring your own Sweaters & Outfit Changes

Anaheim weather changes way too sudden! Jess & Vanessa have been caught off guard when it was hotter than anticipated, which meant she had to buy t-shirts to change out of their long sleeves. Bring extra clothes, beanies and compact blankets for the little ones.

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Create a Budget

Sometimes you just want to buy the special name embroidered hats, other exclusive souvenirs or special treats. Create the budget for this trip and treat yourself wisely. Once you buy it don’t forget them and bring them with you each time you visit. 

Photo Credits go to The Moody Mommies Podcast! Thanks so much to Jess and Vanessa for sharing some of their adorable photos and personal tips towards saving a bit as Disneyland Annual Pass Holders!
Follow them on Instagram: @MoodyMommiesPodcast

You can check out my budget tips to visiting Knott’s Berry Farm post here!

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