|Pillows I made for our first trip with the kids, and some plush toys|
I got for a great deal at the Disney store before our trip.
When I post pictures of my family at Disneyland, one of the questions I get asked most is "How can you afford it??"
Other than the fact that we all have our own priorities, there are some steps that we take to make sure we aren't blowing all of our money at Disneyland.
Here are some of the steps we take to help keep costs down.
1. Find a decently priced hotel. No, not the cheapest motel, because after you figure in the cost of food for 7 people (these places don't usually provide much of a breakfast), the cheapest motel just turned into an average, good rated hotel, except dingier and more time-consuming. The hotels we prefer to stay at serve a hot breakfast that can actually fill the kids up. That includes eggs, sausage, bacon, sometimes biscuits and gravy, in addition to yogurt, muffins, bagels, cereal and fresh fruit. I admit, we do take a few extra yogurts and fruit with us to take into the park. Also, if you want to step it up a little, there are a few hotels that also serve "evening appetizers"....the amount of food they serve can work for a free dinner!
2. Plan NOT to buy souvenirs at the park. We keep a Disney box at home. When I find Disney items on clearance for a great price at Target, I buy them and stick them in the box. We take the box with us on our trip. If/when the kids start asking for souvenirs, I just remind them that we already have some in the hotel room.
3. Be frugal with your meals! The official, written rule is that no outside food is allowed in the park...but they also advise you that if you are bringing in food that needs to be prepared, you have to go to the picnic tables provided. They know you are bringing outside food in :) One of our favorite meals is a large Mickey sandwich. We bring in our own lunch meat and cheese, and purchase our bread from California Adventures (Mickey shaped sourdough loaf). The kids love it, as do we. For snacks we put olives, pistachios, trail mix, and cut up fruit into plastic containers to munch on throughout the day.
What's your favorite frugal tip for Disney families?