My friend Keri recently took a trip with her family of 5 to Disneyland and was able to successfully do it on a budget. (Make sure to read her post, 12 Tips for Saving Money at Disneyland, in case you missed it!) She recently was telling me that “time is money” at Disneyland and thought it might be useful to share some of the key ways her family maximized their time at Disney. I wholeheartedly agreed with her, and asked her to please share her ideas! With that, here’s Keri:
If you read my last post, you know that my family recently took the budget route to Disneyland. While saving money is of utmost importance, so is saving time! After all, time IS money, especially at Disneyland. I calculated that for a 5-day stay at the park for my family of 5, each hour at Disneyland cost us $25. That’s not including food, drinks, or souvenirs. That being said, you don’t want to waste any time, because you are paying for every minute you are in the park. So, I’ve come up with some efficiency tips and tricks you’ll want to employ on your next trip to the happiest place on earth!
1. Go in the off season. The #1 tip for saving time at Disneyland is to go in the off season. This greatly reduces the amount of time you will spend waiting in lines, meaning you get to ride more rides! Or, you can even ride the SAME ride 5 times in a row because there is no line! Some rides will be closed for refurbishment, but the fact that you can literally walk onto rides is a great trade off. Our trip was Monday-Friday, and we noticed that Tuesday and Wednesday were the slowest days in the park. So, if you can go midweek, that’s an additional way to beat the crowds.
2. Fly into a smaller airport. Both John Wayne Airport (SNA) and Long Beach Airport (LGB) are a mere 20 minutes (without traffic) from the park. Walking from the gate to ground transportation took us less than 10 minutes at SNA. And, when we flew out, there was absolutely no line at security.
3. Arrive early and stay late. This will get you the most bang for your buck, IF your family can handle it. We departed Seattle at 6:15 a.m., arrived at SNA at 8:45 a.m., and were able to enter the park right around 10:00 a.m. We also took the latest flight out so we could have a 5th day in the park. This way we paid for 4 nights, but got more out of the trip because we had a full 5 days at the park. Keep in mind that the more days you stay at the park, the less each day costs. We found that a 5th day at the park was only $12 more. Since our hotel/airfare costs were the same, we took the latest flight out to have that additional day of magic.
4. Hitch a taxi. Unless you have need of a rental car, hitching a taxi is the most efficient and frugal way to get from the airport to your hotel. For my family of 5, we paid $90/round trip via taxi from SNA to our hotel across the street from the park. In the past, we took the pricier option of the shuttle bus and wasted a lot of time waiting around for its arrival/departure. We also made multiple stops along the route, which lengthened the commute. When you depart Anaheim, reserve your taxi ahead of time so you don’t have to wait for one to arrive.
5. Store your luggage at the hotel. If you arrive in Anaheim before your hotel room is ready, store your bags at the hotel. Some hotels offer this as a free service and others have a minimal charge. You can also store your bags on the day of departure if you have to check out before you leave Anaheim. This will allow you to capitalize on tip #3!