Disneyland on a Budget
Well, what can one say about Disneyland that hasn't already been said before?
On our first visit to DL, we travelled there in our rv with three kids, and I have to say this was just a fantastic way to travel. Nobody was fighting, nobody was whining about needing to go to the bathroom, nobody was hungry or thirsty or bored..... it was great!
We stayed at the Anaheim Harbour RV Park on Harbour Blvd - $52 USD per night. They are on the ART shuttle route; it's about a three minute drive to DL. The shuttle was $5 per person for a two day pass. In retrospect, I wonder if it would have been cheaper to take a cab, given our close proximity to the park, versus paying $25 for 5 passes. The shuttles were very efficient, there is one every fifteen minutes.
The RV park has a small pool, and the park seemed to be fairly secure overall. The bathrooms are locked every night at 9:00 pm, and then can only be accessed by using a key, which I really liked. They have a laundromat onsite. It was very busy, as a lot of people live in the park permanently. But even with the wait, the laundry facilities were a godsend for us, after being on the road for seven days! I did find that the bathrooms were not kept very clean, especially the showers. There is NO grass, no picnic tables like we are accustomed to here in Canada! Next time I would take a folding table with us.
Overall I thought the park was quite acceptable. It was very quiet, and I would not hesitate to stay there again.
If you check my tips below, you will find some money-saving ideas on how to survive Disneyland and stay on budget. I am adding ideas slowly, so be sure to stop back again and see what's new. Disneyland is a magical place and you will be so glad you went, it's just a matter of keeping the kids happy without breaking the bank!
"The second trip (Dec 2006)"
Well things change, and life changes...my second visit to DL was just my son and me. In order to capitalize on minimizing our budget for this trip, I cashed in Air Miles for 2 free tickets from Calgary to LA (thanks Air Miles!) We also had enough air miles left over for a 4 night stay at Best Western Courtesy Inn.
Our room had a mini fridge and a microwave, so we picked up cereal, cheese and crackers, fruit juice, pop and the like at a nearby Von's. This enabled us to have breakfast in our room on the days we were going out before the hotel's free continental breakfast was served (8:00 am). We packed juice boxes, pop, a bottle of water, some cheese stiks and granola bars into our backpack every day. This cut down on the amount we had to spend on food in DL and really saved us a lot of money. $50 worth of snacks and drinks from the grocery store lasted us the entire 13 days we were in Anaheim. DL will allow you to bring in small quantities of food and drink - no coolers, no glass and no alcohol. We could snack while standing in line for a ride or while walking from one spot to another. We grabbed lunch at the Golden Horseshoe one day and at Johnny Rockets another day and drank the pop from our backpack, rather than spending $2.50 on one soda from the restaurant! The staff never said anything to us about having our own drinks at the table. We did this every day with no problems. We also found that a pretzel and cheese was often enough of a lunch for us, ($3.50) when combined with the snacks we had brought along in our backpack. The churros are a foot long and are big enough for 2 people to share also.
Before our second trip to Disneyland, I purchased the book "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2007 Edition". For a fee of about $16 US it was money well spent.
The book covers Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and also Downtown Disney. It has plans which will allow you to see everything important, regardless of how much time you have. They have several 1 and 2 days plans to choose from in the book, some for those with children and even a couple for adults only.
The book rates eating spots in both parks, outlines all entertainment and gives a thorough description of each ride in both parks. The rides have been rated by different age groups and we found these ratings very helpful in determining which rides we would enjoy.
There is also a section on Universal Studios.
There are maps of each park so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout of each park in advance. The tips are very useful.
It may seem like you're doing a lot of walking, but if you follow their plans exactly, I can guarantee you that even if you only have 1 day to spend in DL, you will do all you want to do.