A trip to Disneyland can be a pricey affair, but with a bit of savvy planning, and good budgeting, it's possible to do the trip for under $10K.
We did the trip for $7054 in Jan 2023 as a family of 2 adults and 1 child.
We were able to use Qantas Frequent Flyer points and fly the three of us from Melbourne to L.A return in economy class for $1300 AUD, which saved us $7700.
We accumulated the points in less than a year, so it's definitely doable if you're willing to put in the effort!
Read all about how we did it here:
We never travel without fully comprehensive travel insurance, and this, combined with our USA VISA's (known as an ESTA), and two sim cards, cost us $907 in total.
We purchased our theme park tickets from Disneyland directly and opted for a 3-Day Ticket with Admission to 1 Park Per Day. It cost us $2152 in total, which also included car parking for the three days, and genie passes.
Genie passes allow you to reserve a specific time slot for some rides, meaning you can skip the queues. These enabled us to get through most of the rides and attractions in our three days. However, it is important to note that you can only use the genie passes a few times per day, and they aren't valid for every ride.
We stayed off-site at Hotel Peppertree and Suites in Anaheim - a boutique hotel with spanish charm. This saved us BIG!
In total, our accommodation for the Disneyland portion of our trip cost us $1300. If we had stayed on-site at the park, it would have cost us upwards of $5200, or if we had chosen to stay within walking distance, it would have cost us upwards of $2500.
While I acknowledge that you get extra benefits by staying on-site, e.g., early access to the park before the public, to me, it wasn't worth the additional cost.
We could not fault Hotel Peppertree and would happily stay there again.
It's an easy 7-minute drive from the parks, there's secure parking and BBQ facilities, and each room has a fully equipped kitchen, which helps save on eating out costs.
To top it off, there's also a supermarket right across the street, and most nights, there’s a taco truck out the front as well, where you can grab a yummy authentic taco for $3.00.
Car Hire & Taxis:
Being offsite meant that we needed to have a car, and these costs came in at $485. This included transport from LAX to Anaheim, rides to and from to pick up the hire car, the hire car itself, extra insurance and actual fuel.
We were initially a little nervous about renting someone else’s personal car; however, the experience was incredibly positive, and we continued to use Turo when we needed to rent cars for the rest of our trip.
Like any theme park, food within Disneyland itself is expensive. You can expect to pay between $8 - $12 for a snack item, $8.00 for a drink, and $20 for a meal.
We kept costs down by bringing our own drinks into the park (you're allowed to bring your own food and drinks into the park) and by eating two out of three meals per day, outside the park.
We cooked at the hotel, ate tacos from the taco truck, or grabbed a meal from fast food chains such as Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A.
If we had to pick three favourite things from within the park itself that represented good value, they would be: Churros ($7.49), Mickey Pretzels ($11.95), and the mac and cheese hot dog ($19.41).
Our total food cost for this part of our trip was $660.
Like with any theme park, souvenirs are expensive, but you can't go to Disneyland and not purchase Minnie Mouse Ears, right?
We spent around $250 and brought home a few small things we’ll treasure.
- Was it worth it? Yes.
- Was 3 days enough? Yes, if you are prepared to do 9+ hour days each day, and clock 26K steps a day!
- Would I take kids under 10? No. I don’t think TJ would have had the stamina at an earlier age. If you do want to go, and your kids are under 10, factor in an extra day or two, so that you can leave the park, have a nap, and come back.
Disneyland is one of those special once-in-a-lifetime trips for a family. I am so glad we did it, and that some good planning enabled us to make it happen.
PS: Yes, there is a US travel diary coming. Thank you for supporting our business so we can keep investing in bringing out new editions for families to enjoy.