Disneyland Resort Hotels On A Budget

Package or do-it-yourself

You don't have to break the bank to take a Disneyland Resort Vacation in California. Yes, you can stay at the Grand Californian Hotel to be the closest to the Parks, but close is not needed if you are on a budget. Also, a budget price does not necessarily mean that you can't do a package and get the perks that go along with a package. Walt Disney Travel Company, as well as other companies offering packages that appeal to those wanting to spend a lot, or spend a little. With Disney's Good Neighbor Hotels you can get a 2-night package for not much more than the cost of the park hoppers, so be sure to check out that option. Right now, for travel before the end of April 2005, those packages start at $199.00 per person for 2 nights. This includes your hotel, and your park passes, as well as a few extras.

There are two ways to get an inexpensive vacation to Disneyland. One way is to call a travel agent, and let then know you want to go as cheaply as possible. It is very helpful to a travel agent if you could give them a budget to work with. By doing this, the agent can get you the best possible vacation for your money. If you do this, be sure to let them know what you DO want. For example, if you want the park hopper tickets, let them know, also, be sure to let them know how many days you will be going to Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. This is important, for example, because if you are going to be in California for a week, but only going to the Disneyland Resort for 2 days, it may be more cost effective to stay further away from the Disney Resort. The advantage of using a travel agent is that you will just need to make 1 call to take care of everything. Yes, there will be call back and forth to confirm, but should be no long distance calls or time spent on hold while dealing with a hotel or car rental company.

The second way to get a budget vacation to the Disneyland Resort in California is to do all of the planning yourself. Yes, this takes more time, but you can then be assured you are getting exactly what you want. You can either call hotels directly, via the 800 numbers, or a local number to get a price, or simply spend some time on the internet. Companies such as www.expedia.com, www.orbitz.com, and www.priceline.com have some fantastic deals on hotels, cars, and airfare, all in one place. Then, if you do want the park hopper tickets, so that you can go to both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure in the same day, those tickets can be purchased ahead of time also. The Disney Store in your local shopping mall, or www.disneyland.com are great ways to purchase your tickets early, and avoid the lines at the ticket booths upon arrival.

One tip to keep in mind before you start making your calls or contacting companies to confirm reservations. Do check the Disneyland website first for any promotions that may apply for the dates of your vacation. Remember, you are planning a vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth, and how much you spend to get there enjoy the Resort does not matter. Whatever fits into your budget will work to give you a great Disneyland Resort vacation.

Example Disneyland Plans

Here are a few samples prices for Disneyland Resort packages. These prices do not include airfare. The same dates of travel will be used for all 3 examples, and the prices below are of course examples based on today's prices (March, 2005) and are subject to change. Each sample below is for a family of 4, using 2 adults, and 2 children between the ages of 3 and 9. At the Disney Resort in California, children under age 3 get in free. Children aged 10 and over are considered adults. These prices are also based on weekend travel off-season.

Deluxe Package (without concierge service)

2 Nights at the Disneyland Hotel, Resort/Pool Park View
3-Day park hopper tickets, one per person
1 Character Breakfast per person

This package price is $1174.10 for a family of 4 (includes taxes).

Moderate Package

2 Nights at the Howard Johnson Anaheim
3-Day park hopper tickets, one per person
1 Character Breakfast per person

This package price is $822.14 for a family of 4 (includes taxes).

Budget Package: (do it yourself - not done as a package)

2-nights Days Inn and Suites Anaheim Resort/Convention Center ($54.00 per night from www.expedia.com)
3-Day park hopper tickets, one per person ($129 per child, $159.00 per adult)

This price is $684.00 for a family of 4.

Budget Package (non expedia.com hotel price)

2-nights Jolly Roger Hotel ($84.95 per nights from the Jolly Roger website)
3-Day park hopper tickets, one per person ($129.00 per child, $159.00 per adult)

This price is $745.90 plus hotel taxes.

Budget Package (Using a Walt Disney Travel Company Package)

And just to give you an example of a package using the above hotel through Walt Disney Travel Company, which will include your taxes and a few extras that come in a WDTC package. This package was checked to show that that doing a package does not have to cost more, but a package will give you more than just your hotel and tickets.

2-nights Jolly Roger Hotel
3-Day park hopper tickets (one per person)

This package price is $682.04 for a family of 4.

Disneyland Eating on a budget

Please note that the Deluxe Package and the Moderate Package both include a Character Breakfast. None of the other packages used for comparison are priced with Character meals, but food cannot be forgotten because it is an expensive part of your vacation.

In order to estimate your food costs, you must determine if you will be eating mainly at the Disneyland Resort, or if you will also eat at places such as McDonald's. Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not your chosen hotel has a complimentary breakfast, as many of the hotels in the Disneyland area do offer. Also, children tend to eat throughout the day, so taking snacks is a great idea to help save money on your food budget.

Now, as a general rule of thumb, if you plan on doing all of your eating at the Disneyland Resort, $50.00 per person, per day is a good target. Some people in your party may spend more, others less, but it is usually a pretty good figure to go with. There are some factors that will greatly affect that dollar amount though. If you plan on eating 2 character meals a day, then $50.00 is not enough. If you will be dining at the Napa Rose it is not enough. But, if you eat a light breakfast, a fast food lunch, and a sit down dinner, then it should more than cover your meal expenses.

There are also many ways to save money on meals both inside and outside of the Disneyland Resort restaurants and eateries.

While the Disney Resort doesn't allow you to take in food for a meal, small snacks are okay, and can really save money when children just want to munch. If you would like to bring your own meal to the Disneyland Resort, you can leave it in a locker outside the park, get your hand stamped later in the day and leave the park to enjoy your meal. Taking in your own bottled water, and then refilling the bottles at water fountains will save costs on drinks. Traversing a theme park can make you very thirsty.

For a few inexpensive snack or meal ideas at the Disney Resort, don't forget Wetzel's Pretzels in Downtown Disney or White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian Hotel. Those two places will help lower food costs.

Finally, eating outside of the Disneyland Resort will also help to lower food costs. In Disneyland, a piece of pizza and a drink will cost $8.00. (March 2005) Many restaurants within walking distance have good food and very low prices. Mimi's Café, next door to the Howard Johnson Anaheim on Harbor Boulevard has huge servings, wonderful food, and great prices. If curious, take a look at their menu at www.mimiscafe.com. They are a nice change from standard theme park food, and in addition help to lower your daily food costs. Also on Harbor is a McDonald's for fast food fare. These are just two of the many restaurants in that area.

Another way to save money is to bring a picnic lunch. Put it in a locker outside of the parks, and when hungry, get your hand stamped, leave the park and retrieve your meal. There are many large planters with seats on the edges in which you can sit to eat, and people watch at the same time in a relaxed setting.

Whatever you decide to do for meals, it is better to budget high and use less, so keep that in mind when planning your vacation. With the tips above you can save money and still eat most of your meals at Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney or one of the three Resort Hotels and more importantly have a wonderful time.

Our 2005 Disneyland Trip Dining Costs

Luxury Disneyland Resort Vacations

Now of course, you may want to splurge on a vacation, spending more on your hotel, and if that is the case, here are some ideas to help you do that for your perfect upscale vacation.

There are several ways to splurge on your vacations. First, without spending a bunch of money, you can simply upgrade your hotel room from a standard room to a park view, or a suite. Concierge is another upgrade that will add quite a bit of money to the cost so even if you do want to splurge, really think about concierge before adding it to your reservation. (Disneyland Resort Hotel Concierge Service) Of course, you can also simply upgrade your hotel without making any other changes to splurge on this vacation.

The Grand Californian is the most deluxe Disney Property at the Disneyland Resort in California. By changing to this hotel, not only are you splurging, but now you are as close as you can get to the gates of Disneyland. You will also have a private entrance into Disney's California Adventure. Even a standard room with no view here feels like a luxury hotel. Each room has two wonderfully fluffy robes to lounge in while in the room.

There are also ways to splurge without changing your hotel. You could plan a special dinner at Napa Rose at the Grand Californian, Blue Bayou at Disneyland or Catal in Downtown Disney, for example. If you are traveling with children, the character meals are wonderful, yet somewhat expensive. They could definitely be considered a splurge. It is very much recommended for each of these restaurants that you have priority seating (reservations). (When to Make Reservations for Disney Dining)

If you are already staying in one of the three resort hotels, Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian, you can contact the people at vacation planning to add surprises of food and/or gifts in your hotel room. The dollar amount to spend is completely up to you. (Disneyland Vacation Planning Service)

Another wonderful way to add more to your trip to the Disneyland Resort would be to purchase Balcony or Riverside Seating to Fantasmic! for one night during your stay. At $53.00 per person, this is pricey, but well worth the cost. (Price in March 2005) This is a great way to be treated like a King or Queen for a short time during your stay. (Disneyland Resort Parades and Shows)

If your reservations have been done through Walt Disney Travel Company, you can even prepay many of your meals, by doing the Disney Dining Plan during your stay.

Now, using the above as an idea of how to splurge below is the cost for a very deluxe Disney Vacation. (March 2005 Prices)

Deluxe Disney Resort Vacation

2 Nights at the Grand Californian
Concierge Service, Theme Park view
3-day park hopper tickets (one per person)
3-day Disney Dining Plan (one per person)

This package price is $1963.14 for a family of 4 (including taxes)

Very Deluxe Disney Resort Vacation

2 Nights at the Grand Californian
1 Bedroom Artisan Suite
3-day park hopper tickets (one per person)
3-day Disney Dining Plan (one per person)

This package price is $2331.10 for a family of 4 (including taxes)

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