I mentioned that we are heading back to Disneyland this winter, so we can see the resort all decorated for the holidays. We have never been at Christmastime, so we are very excited. We have had this trip planned for several months now, and I think planning in advance is one of the biggest ways you can save money.
Here are a few things we have done to save money on our Disney vacation this time around:
Airline Tickets – We flew JetBlue for the first time in April and we loved it! It was such an enjoyable flight. We knew we wanted to take JetBlue for our trip to Disneyland, so we applied for the JetBlue American Express and earned 2 FREE round-trip tickets, just for applying and using the card. Not too bad! We are also really close to another FREE ticket that we can use on a future trip, because we used the card to buy our airline tickets. We watched the airline rates every week until the price dropped to what we were hoping to pay and then we purchased them.
Airport Parking - The biggest way to save money is to have somebody drop you off at the airport. We have family close by, but we have 7 people in our family, and a 7 seat van, so that doesn’t really leave any room for an extra person, which means we have to park our car at the airport. I was so excited to see this deal pop up on Groupon for airport parking. Yes, I seriously got excited – you can ask my husband, because I am pretty sure I woke him up at midnight to tell him about the deal! Since I had Groupon credits I was able to get our airport parking for FREE.
Paying for the Hotel & Admission – I have said several times that one of the major ways to save money on a Disney vacation is to stay at a non-Disney hotel. This is very easy at Disneyland, because there are so many hotels that are within walking distance of the Park. However, we received a “Pin Code” for 40% off the regular rate of a room at a Disney hotel, so we are staying at the Grand Californian Hotel this time around!! This will be the first time we are within walking distance of the parks, we normally have to drive in and park our car or ride the transit. Our family is giddy! I am hoping my family doesn’t get too attached to the Disney hotel, because I am pretty sure I will go back to my non-Disney hotel ways the next time we visit.
I took advantage of the Albertsons gift card promo they had awhile back, and the one they had recently and I purchased several gift cards that we could use to pay for our hotel and admission into the park. I used money I already had saved for the trip and was able to get a couple of hundred of dollars worth of Catalinas and gift cards that I used at Albertsons for groceries. I took the money I would have normally spend on groceries and added it to our Disney vacation fund.
Money for Meals – I have a Disney Visa that I use to earn Disney Rewards. We currently have $300 in Disney Rewards that we can use for meals. This is FREE money that we earned, since we pay off the bill every month and never pay interest. The credit cards wouldn’t make much sense if we were paying interest. We make the card work for us, not the other way around. I also have plans to bring some cereal and granola bars from home for a quick and easy breakfast a couple of mornings. We also will bring our own snacks into the park like we usually do. This is a shorter trip than our other ones, so we will probably be eating out more than usual, that way we won’t have to worry about running to the store and heading back to the hotel to eat. I am OK with that!
Extras – They have an AMC theater in Downtown Disney, so I took advantage of the movie deal HERE, so we can see a movie on the last day. We have several hours before we have to catch our flight home, but it’s now enough time to warrant an extra day at the parks. I was able to purchase the tickets with credits I had, so the movie will be FREE for all 7 of us. Love that!
I do my best to save money in the planning stages of the vacation, so when I get there I don’t have to worry about pinching pennies on the trip. I can just go, and enjoy! I save money where and when I can beforehand, so we can spend our money on the things that matter most to us, like Dole Whips, Mickey ice cream bars and some fun Disney souveniers!!
We are getting closer, and I can’t wait! Anybody else have a Disney trip planned soon? I would love to hear what you are doing to save money on your trip!