Disneyland is Walt’s original Magic Kingdom, and I personally believe that it is a place that every Disney addict should visit at least once in their lifetime. Many factors go into planning a trip to Disneyland, especially if it involves traveling across the country to get there. Let’s talk about these factors and how much it cost to visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks.
- Number of People – The number of people visiting the parks is the first important factor. Each additional person will bring costs for park tickets, food, and souvenirs. Also keep in mind that most hotels can only accommodate 4-5 adults. Many hotels also charge more for each additional adult (after the first two).
- Number of Days – How many days do you plan on spending at Disneyland? There are two parks, so 3-4 days at the park is the perfect amount to be able to complete all that there is to see and do. The number of nights also affects the cost of your hotel stay since hotels charge by night.
- When You Go – When you travel to the Disneyland Resort will affect the cost of your hotel room. September, January, and February are the cheapest months of the year, because they are still considered the “off-season”. December and the summer months are by far the most expensive time for hotels, especially on property resort hotels. Holiday weekends will also greatly affect the Good Neighbor, or off-site hotels just like with any hotel. Another thing to consider, although it does not affect the cost, is that because Disneyland is in the middle of Anaheim and many locals have annual passes the parks do get crowded on weekends, during school breaks, and during the weeks leading up to and of Christmas.
- Where you Stay – Your choice of lodging is a major factor in terms of cost. Disneyland has three on property hotels and there are also 40 Good Neighbor Hotels. The three onsite hotels offer intricate themes from the California wilderness to the beach. These resort hotels range in price from around $280 (average) to $400 (average). The Good Neighbor Hotels range from economy, costing around $100 per night to superior costing around $200-250 per night. If you want the ability to stay at a “nicer” hotel like a Holiday Inn or Marriott, but do not want to pay the $200 a night, there are additional hotels within 5 miles of Disneyland and will only take you a few minutes to reach the Disneyland Resort by car.
- Park Tickets – Park Tickets are essential and are the next big expense. There are two ticket options – the regular one park per day ticket or the Park Hopper Ticket. The price difference between a three and four day adult one park per day is only $25 – so if you have the time don’t hesitate to spend an extra day at the parks. The three day base ticket is $235 per person. Upgrading to a park hopper, which will allow you to visit both parks on the same day (the two park entrances are about 100 yards apart) will add an additional $40 per person.
- Dining – Food is also essential, after all you need energy to travel from land to land within the parks. Unlike at Disney World, there is no dining plan at Disneyland which means there are three options. Disney allows you to bring your own food in, which is a great way to save money! You should definitely allow yourself some spending money for those tempting snacks, though. If you choose to provide your own food for all three meals but allow each member of your party $5 a day for a snack this will cost you $30 for snacks for two people over a 3 day trip. Another options is to purchase all three meals a day at the parks which will cost you at least $35 per person per day, but it could definitely cost more. The third option is to combine the previous two options. My family eats breakfast before we leave for or are on the way to the park in the morning, we bring our own lunch, and purchase a snack and dinner from the park. This is a great way to limit spending, but to also be able to experience the great food that Disney has to offer.
- Souvenirs – Souvenirs are hard to resist and can be anything from balloons to toys to pins to shirts. I personally think that $100 per person for the length of your trip is a good amount to allot for souvenirs. A great way to limit your spending in this area is to use Disney gift cards! Each family’s budget will obviously be different – you can spend more or you can spend less.
- Extra – Extras such as travel insurance can be added to your trip, if you wish. It will cost an additional $70.50 per adult.
- Parking – Parking fees are unavoidable, sadly. If you are staying at any of the Disney or Good Neighbor hotels a parking fee of anywhere from $10 to even $20 per day will be included in your overall trip price. For those driving to the park from a further away hotel it will cost $18 per day to park in a Disney lot/garage.
- Transportation – Transportation is the last factor that plays into the overall cost of your tip. For those that are driving to the Anaheim area the cost of gas and possible additional hotels need to be taken into consideration and can change daily. The cost of flights can also change daily – so when you book, where you are flying from, and how many people are flying will affect the cost. A best case scenario will allow you to fly one-way for $100 per person or around $200-300 per person round trip. Once you arrive in LA you will need a way to get to your hotel. Some hotels offer shuttles, there is also the pricey option of taking a taxi, or renting a car which will allow you to be able to go to more places than just the parks and your hotel. A rental car could cost around $100 per day.
So, what does all of this information mean? A lot of factors come into play when figuring out what a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth will cost. Let’s look at some real numbers…
For a couple to stay 3 nights in January at the Quality Inn & Suites with a 3 day one park per day ticket, $30 total for food, $200 total for souvenirs, and $10 a day in parking will cost $1112.94.
For a couple to stay 3 nights at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in January with a 3 day Park Hopper ticket, $50 per person per day for food, $200 total for souvenirs, $18 per night for parking, $100 per day for a rental car, and $400 total in flights will cost $3,352.22.
For a family of four to stay 3 nights in January at the Quality Inn & Suites with a 3 day one park per day ticket, $60 total for food, $400 for souvenirs, $10 a day in parking will cost $1811.94.
For the same family of four to spend 3 nights in January at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa with a 3 day Park Hopper ticket, $50 per day per adult and $30 per child per day for food, $400 total for souvenirs, $18 a night to park, $100 per day for a rental car, and $800 total in flights will cost $4681.22.
No two trips to the Happiest Place on Earth will cost exactly the same, so contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started planning your magical vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth. My name is Miriya Whitaker, I am a travel agent with World of Magic Travel, as well as a writer for Chip and Co and Disney Addicts. Also. Follow me on Facebook for more Disney and travel information.
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