Budgeting is one of the most important parts of making sure you have a stress-free Disneyland vacation! In this episode, we provide you with some tips on what you need to budget for your trip, how to get a discount on Disneyland tickets, and how to spread out your costs when you're booking your flights and hotels.
Chapters and Time Stamps
0:30 Setting a Budget
2:30 Booking Your Hotel
3:05 Use Our Budget Calculator
4:02 Souvenir Budgets
Setting Your Budget
Let's talk about setting an appropriate budget for your Disneyland vacation. I'm not going to pretend the trip to Disneyland is cheap because we all know that it's not, and it's important to budget to make sure that you have enough money to be able to have a stress-free vacation, I just want to remind you that there are a couple of things that we want to make sure that we include in our budgeting. And the main things you're probably going to have to pay for first are your tickets for your park days and your airfare. Those are the things, generally, you can't get around going out of pocket for; and so you would want to budget for those first.
The reason we want to buy our park tickets as soon as possible if you're planning 120 days or less before your Disneyland vacation, is because you want to make sure that you have that park reservation. And so usually I will book my park tickets, my flight and my hotel accommodations all in one day just to make sure those pieces all get handled together. Then I will go back and adjust my ground transportation and adjust my food budget depending on how much money we've saved before the trip and how much money we have available.
We do have some links in the ticket section of this course to talk about how to save a little bit of money on tickets. But park tickets are pretty much going to be what they're going to be.
Park Tickets and Airfare First
In the booking flights section, we're going to talk about booking different airport destinations to try to save some money. As you're buying your air tickets and your park tickets, you might want to consider if your credit is good, getting a new credit card, putting everything on one, and then using the points for that for another trip; or you could even potentially use it for your hotel. When we're budgeting for park tickets you have to determine how many days you're going to be in the parks and what kind of tickets you want to purchase. And then with airfare you have to scout that out.
Booking Your Hotel
With the hotel rooms there's a lot of different variability in pricing. I recommend that as soon as you book your airfare and your park tickets, that you also book a refundable hotel room, and then you can continue to look, to see if you can find a better deal. If you book directly with the hotels, you generally do not have to pay in advance, so that gives you time to save up for that cost or potentially rack up some credit card points that you could use for that hotel stay.
There are several credit cards that offer points specifically for Marriott or Hilton, and that in itself could pay for a couple days of your hotel. We have some links for those specific cards down below.
We also need to think about your transportation from the airport to the parks and back, any parking fees. We have a budget calculator that you can use, the link for that download is in the course below.
And then we have also set up a budget for food. So you can see how many sit down meals, how many quick service meals, which is counter; so sit down would be any table service, anything that needs a reservation, and how many meals you were planning on doing at home or in a hotel, or that you were going to bring in sandwiches. You can bring in snacks and food as long as it's in a soft sided cooler and it needs to be a small one. And there's no loose ice. So any ice needs to be put in sandwich bags. So if you know that's what you're going to do and you're going to pack that in the hotel, make sure you also pack some Ziploc bags to store the ice in.
Special Activities, Wheelchairs, and Strollers
Then you can budget for, if you want to do any special activities, if you're going to rent a stroller or wheelchair, and then a souvenir budget.
Usually I'm going to recommend about $35 per person if you have the budget. There are a lot of things that you can do that have almost no cost. You can do pin trading where you can get some pins off of eBay and trade them in the parks, there's the pressing pennies, and there are buttons that you can get in all of the stores completely free, so there are some things that you can do there.
What I recommend you do is you go through that calculator and then you add on about a 10% or 20% buffer and then that allows you for unexpected expenses.
Account for Credit Card Holds
One thing to be expected is for car rentals and hotels, they will put a hold on your credit card. So not only do you need enough money for that trip, but you also want to make sure that your things aren't so tight that hold makes it so you're unable to purchase food or other souvenirs or activities during the trip. You can check the hotel policies or you can call the hotel to be sure, same thing with the car rental, but those are generally the things that tend to trip people up on their budget. When in doubt, it's always better to have an extra little bit saved. And then you can always use that towards another trip or put it towards your retirement or other saving goals that you might have.
We hope that this helps you in starting to craft the budget for your trip and making sure that the trip that you're planning is affordable for your family.