The Cheapest Way to Get Disney Tickets {7 Tips for Buying Dirt Cheap Disney Tickets}

One of the most asked questions Disney-loving families ask is, What is the cheapest way to get Disney Tickets?

Disneyland and Walt Disney World can add up in a hurry when you start looking at ticket prices for an entire family.  I frequently see posts and comments on social media of people saying that their family could never afford a trip to Disney.

I disagree.

A Disney vacation IS within reach for your family.  

Using my hacks and tips, most families CAN afford a trip to Disney.  Our family of five can get tickets to Disneyland for three days for $393.  That’s only $26 per person, per day! Yes, that’s dirt cheap!

family talking to buzz lightyear in toy story land at hollywood studios at walt disney world


The most bang for your buck involves a Disney credit card or two… that you pay off IMMEDIATELY and cancel as soon as you get your rewards.

Chase offers a Disney Premier credit card that gives you a $300 discount when you spend $1,000. It also charges you $49 for the annual fee.  This equates to a $251 discount, which is pretty amazing.

I got a credit card for myself and one for my husband, Allan, saving our family $502!

You can reapply for the card every two years and get this reward each time.

If you struggle with managing your impulses when it comes to credit card expenditures, however, I would recommend avoiding this method.


At certain times of the year, Disney offers discounted tickets to residents.  Purchasing a discounted resident pass is one of the cheapest ways to get Disney tickets.

Usually, from January through May, Disneyland offers a discounted 3-day ticket for Southern California residents (the entire bottom half of the state). Any California resident that lives in zip code ZIP codes 90000-93599 qualifies. If you’re willing to visit on a weekday during the first half of the year, you can score the 3-day pass for only $199 this year. 

This discounted pass is a one-park-per-day pass which means that you can only visit one park each day–no park hopping.  We aren’t big fans of park hopping.  It takes up more time, and we don’t feel it’s worth the additional cost.  This is especially true if you have young kids.

From the time you use the first day of your pass, you have 14 days to use your other two visits.

Florida residents can get similar discounts at Walt Disney World, but it applies to all residents of the entire state.

TIP: If you purchase a resident pass, be prepared to show proof of residency at the gate.  Typically, they will check your tickets against your state-issued ID.  So, you cannot purchase tickets for friends or family who are non-residents.

cinderella and prince charming on parade float at magic kingdom at walt disney world


Alternatively, you can get tickets from a reputable source like Get Away Today or Undercover Tourist for a smaller discount. 

These discounts aren’t as good as a resident discount, but if you don’t qualify for a resident discount, this is a good alternative.

Note: Ticket fraud is an unfortunate reality. Do not buy your tickets from unauthorized websites or third parties like FB Marketplace or other sites.


Purchase Disney gift cards using your Target Red Card and save 5%. You can use the gift cards to purchase your tickets on Disney’s website or in the app.

Prior to purchasing your tickets, use the Disney gift card website to combine balances on cards.  Just keep in mind that the balance of each card can’t exceed $1,000.  Also, the ticket website only allows you to use one gift card per purchase.  So, if your total ticket price is more than $1,000 you’ll need to split up your ticket purchase into multiple orders.

girl hugging bb8 star wars droid at character meet and greet in hollywood studios at walt disney world


The Rakuten app is one of my favorite money-saving tips.  It’s so easy to use!

Rakuten partners with popular businesses to provide cashback to its users.

Recently, Rakuten was offering 10% back on the Disney store. The fine print said cashback didn’t apply to gift cards (you can use the gift cards to purchase your tickets) but it worked for me. No guarantees on this tip—but you might get lucky, too.

Additionally, if you use this referral link to sign up for Rakuten, you’ll get $30 when you spend $30.  Then, if you refer someone (like your spouse), they also get $30 when they spend $30 AND you get $30.  Sounds too good to be true?  It’s not!  It’s good–and it’s true!

By taking advantage of their referral program, we were able to get Disney gift cards FOR FREE.

Here’s how it worked.  I referred my husband who bought a $50 Disney gift card.  Since it was Cyber Monday, they were giving an even better referral credit, so I got $40 and my husband got $40.  That’s a total of $80 cashback.  If you subtract the $50 I spent on the gift card, we still walked away with an extra $30.

When you’re on the hunt for the cheapest way to get Disney tickets, the Rakuten app is the way to go!

Sign up for Rakuten and get busy saving! It’s easy!


The best (cheapest) time to visit Disney is during the offseason. Any day that kids are in school there will be lower crowds and cheaper tickets.

To score the lowest cost on tickets, check the ticket calendar on Disney’s website.  Avoid weekends, holidays, and school breaks and your pocketbook will thank you.


Instead of paying extra for hopper tickets, go with the 1-park-per-day pass. 

If you only have one day at Disney and have teens, a hopper may be a good choice.  But for most families, park-hopping equals lots of walking.  And more walking means you’re spending less time enjoying the attractions and the magic of Disney!

We have always found plenty to do and have never had trouble filling up our day by staying in one park all day long.

Typically, at Disneyland, we spend two full days at Disneyland Resort and one full day at California Adventure Park.  For Disney World, it’s easy to spend a full day in each of the four parks.

The Cheapest Way to Get Disney Tickets

Using these tips and tricks will make a visit to Disney World or Disneyland within reach!  Here’s a breakdown of how our family of five can score 3-days worth of tickets to Disneyland for only $393.

1. Purchased $1,000 in gift cards from Shop Disney via the Rakuten App with a 10% cashback offer.


2. Used the gift card money to purchase 5, 3-day, 1 park per day Disneyland tickets for Southern California Residents at $995.

SAVINGS: $655+

3. Applied for the Chase Disney Premier Visa Card for both my husband and myself. Obtained a $300 credit – the $49 annual fee.

SAVINGS: $251(x2)=$502


$995 (Tickets)

-$100 (Rakuten cashback)

-$502 (Chase credit card credit)


If you have any questions about any of these tips, I’d love to help answer them.  Drop them in the comments below.

For more ways to save money at Disney, check out our post 11 Hacks to Help You Save Money on Food at Disney.

7 Disney Trip Planning Mistakes to Avoid

If you like saving time and saving money, here are seven Disney trip planning mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Whether you’re in California at Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park, or in Florida visiting Walt Disney World, these are essential.

If you want to make the most of your time in the parks and make happy memories, these seven tips will help make your trip to Disney run a little smoother.

Mistake #1:  Buying Heavily Discounted Tickets from a Third Party (unless it’s at Costco or Target)

Just don’t do it. I get it. Disney is expensive. When you’re buying tickets for a whole family, it can be tempting to want to cut corners.

There’s nothing wrong with cutting corners on your Disney budget, but you just don’t want to cut them using this method.

Disney Ticket Scalping is Both Illegal and Risky

Buying Disneyland or Disney World tickets on Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, Craigslist, or any other third-party app can be tempting. The tickets may be cheap, but they’re likely cheap for a reason. Chances are, they’re a scam.

Instead…Buy Slightly Discounted Tickets from Target or Costco

Costco has Disney ticket packages for their members that are available for purchase. At Target, you can use your Redcard to purchase Disney gift cards, saving 5%. Those gift cards can then be used to purchase your Disney tickets online or from Disney’s park apps.

Don’t Forget, Residents Can Buy Discounted Tickets

Southern California residents can buy discounted multi-day tickets for Disneyland. Florida residents are also eligible for discounted multi-day tickets for Walt Disney World. This is BY FAR the best way to save money on Disney tickets, providing the largest savings on tickets.  

Note: You will be asked to show proof of residency (usually a government-issued photo ID) at the gate. So, only buy a resident pass if your primary residence is located within the required area.

In addition to purchasing a resident ticket, another great way to cut corners at Disney is to use these 11 hacks to save money on food

minnie mouse giving smiling girl wearning frozen ears a hug and kiss

Mistake #2: Assuming You Can See it All

Unless you’re planning on spending at least two days in each park, it’s almost impossible to see it all. I’m ok with not seeing it all…it gives me a good reason to come back!

While some planning is necessary, planning every second of every day will suck all the magic right out of your vacation.

Between rides, attractions, character meet and greets, shows, shops, parades, and food, there’s so much to see, do, and taste! Go with the mindset of enjoying whatever you do see, and you’ll feel satisfied!

Mistake #3: Thinking You Don’t Need a “Must-See, Must-Do” List

Knowing that it’s impossible to see and do it all, we usually create a “must-see, must-do” list before visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland. These don’t have to be fancy spreadsheets (but I’ve done that before, too).

Make a “Top Three” List for Each Member of Your Party

Just grab a pen and paper and ask everyone who will be joining you to name three things that they HAVE to experience. Also, have them name one or two special treat/food items that they want to try if that’s important to your family.

Having a list, even if we don’t take it with us, gives us a good idea about which attractions we want to make a priority during our day. This is especially helpful if you are traveling with different age groups. Your teen will likely have a different list than a younger sibling. If everyone gets to participate in the planning, it ensures everyone will have a good time!

Mistake #4: Expecting Your Children to be Happy All the Time

While Disneyland may be the “Happiest Place on Earth” and Walt Disney World may be the “Most Magical Place on Earth”, you can be sure that young children may be, at times, neither happy nor magical.

This unrealistic expectation was the biggest miscalculation I made when we visited Disneyland for the first time with kids–talk about Disney trip planning mistakes!

Disney is incredibly fun, but there is a lot going on. Too much of a good thing is still too much.  

Inadequate food and rest are the two main reasons my kids have meltdowns. Having healthy snacks on hand helps.  Fried foods and sugary treats are tasty but can mess with your body.  If a child needs some downtime, head back to the hotel for the afternoon, or escape for an hour to a quieter spot like Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland Park or Magic Kingdom.

Above all, expect some hiccups in your day. If you’re expecting some difficult moments, they’re not nearly as frustrating. Even if your day is peppered with a meltdown or two, your trip isn’t ruined!  We have found that the magical moments stick with everyone the longest, creating the best of memories.

happy dad spinning kids on tea cups ride at disneyland kids aren't always happy at disney - disney trip planning mistakes

Mistake #5: Not Creating a Trip Budget

As much fun as it is to say, “Who cares how much I spend?! I’m on vacation!”, lack of financial planning before a Disney trip could lead to a money catastrophe after the trip.

I love budgeting for trips. It’s just a way for us to choose ahead of time what’s most important to us! Save yourself some stress and draft a budget. If you need help getting started, check out these 9 easy steps to create a foolproof trip budget.

Mistake #6: Arriving Right Before or Right After Park Opening

As tempting as it is to sleep in while visiting the parks, you can always get the most done in the parks during the first couple of hours. Crowds are typically the lowest first thing in the morning, making lines the shortest!

It takes time to go through security and get through the gate, so we like to plan to be at the park 40-60 minutes before the park opens. With COVID, things are a little different, so 30 minutes may be adequate.  

When Disney states a park opening time, that time is the time the rides and attractions begin working. You can often enter the park up to an hour before the park technically opens! Sometimes, Disney will start allowing guests into attractions before their scheduled opening time, so it pays to get there early!

screenshot of disneyland app for common disney planning trip mistakes

Mistake #7: Forgetting to Download the Disney Park App Ahead of Time

You don’t want to forget to download the park app! If you’re visiting Disneyland, look for the Disneyland app on Google Store or the Apple Store. If you’re going to Walt Disney World, download the My Disney Experience app.

Not only can you purchase tickets directly from the app, but you can also use it to look up ride wait times, reserve dining, view menus, order food, find characters, discover parade and shows, locate restrooms, and more!

Avoid These Mistakes to Have a Magical Time at Disney

Make the best of memories on your next Disney vacation when you avoid these common Disney trip planning mistakes!  You’ll save time and money (and headaches), allowing you to focus on what’s most important.  

Have you learned from your mistakes at Disneyland or Walt Disney World?  Share them below!  Planning a trip to Disney and have a question?  Ask it!  I love hearing from my readers.

What Should I Bring to Disney? (15 Things You Should Pack in Your Backback)

If you’re headed to Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida, you’re probably asking, “What things should I bring to Disney?”

I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World, and I always pack these 15 items in my backpack.

Backpacks may not be uber fashionable, but they’re very functional. I opt to take a small one with me whenever I visit an amusement park.

There are two main reasons I opt for a backpack on every trip:

  • It saves time (no trips to a locker or vehicle)
  • It saves money (snacks, water, rain ponchos…they all add up, and these items are EXTRA expensive in the park!)

Use this checklist to pack a perfect backpack on every trip to Disney!

1. Cell Phone

Your cell phone is one of the most important things to bring to Disney. I like keeping my phone in my backpack as much as possible.

I use my phone too frequently to keep it in the backpack all of the time, but it’s a great place to store it during rides or when you’re not using it.

Random Story: Once, after riding Matterhorn, I realized I no longer had my phone. I had it in my back pocket during the ride and didn’t realize it had fallen out during the ride (those bobsleds are crazy bumpy!).

I stood there while the cast members checked each bobsled that came in, and I got lucky. There it was, lying on the floor of one of the bobsleds!

Before You Visit Disney Download the App on Your Phone

Each park has its own app!  These apps are absolutely essential when visiting the park.  You can use it to purchase tickets, get FastPasses, order food, check wait times, find restrooms, locate characters, and so much more.

For Disney World, download My Disney Experience, and for Disneyland, download the Disneyland app from the Apple or Google store.

2. External Phone Charger

Even if you have a great battery, after a long, 12+ hour day at Disney, you might need a recharge. My phone is older than dirt, so it usually needs a pick-me-up by late afternoon or evening.  

While they have external chargers that you can rent in the park, I like having my own (it saves time and money–are you noticing a pattern?), so I use a charger that I got on Amazon. 

3. Credit Cards/Cash/Wallet

Thanks to the ingenuity of the Disney app creators, you can link your Disney gift card, credit card, rewards card, or debit card in the app to pay for any in-app purchases like food, drinks, tickets, MaxPass, or Memory Maker.

However, I usually throw in one card, or some cash, just in case!

4. Identification (Driver’s License)

You’ll need your ID to get into the park or to purchase any alcoholic beverages.

One time, when we were waiting to get into Disneyland Park, Allan realized he had forgotten his ID. Or maybe I forgot mine. I conveniently don’t remember which one of us was the guilty party.

He had to run all the way back to the hotel to grab the ID. Ooops. It was a little over a mile roundtrip. I think he felt like he was in middle school P.E. all over again, although I don’t think he was able to muster up a 6-minute mile. Such an invigorating way to start the day.

5. Snacks

It’s always nice to have a little something in your backpack, just in case. If you have young kids, extra (cheap) food is one of the most important things to bring to Disney.

Keep those blood sugar levels stable and keep everyone happy. Nobody wants to have a hanger melt-down at “The Happiest Place on Earth”.

6. Refillable Water Bottle

Disney is wonderful about letting guests bring in outside food and drinks, provided it meets their requirements. Refillable water bottles are great for your wallet and our planet!  

There are refilling stations located throughout the parks or you can get a free cup of water from any quick-service restaurant!

7. Rain Poncho

I always like taking a rain poncho to Disney. In California, we don’t really need to for the rain (it’s more sunny than rainy), but it’s certainly handy if you’re expecting some afternoon thunderstorms in Florida at Disney World.

The main reason I pack a rain poncho in California is for the water-based rides. If it’s not a blazing hot day, it’s not terribly fun to walk around in dripping wet clothes that don’t dry. It’s nice to have for Splash Mountain, Grizzly River Run, or Kali River Rapids.

You can grab one for $1 at the dollar store or get them in bulk online.

8. Flip Flops or extra Socks

I also like wearing flip-flops on water-based rides. Walking around with wet socks and shoes is a good way to get blisters. When you’re walking 8+ miles per day, you want your feet to be happy.

For that reason, I like to have a pair of flip-flops in my backpack or a dry pair of socks.

9. Zipped Plastic Bag for Wet Items

If you have a wet poncho or socks, you can place them in a zipped plastic bag so that everything else stays dry!

10. Sunglasses

If it’s dark when you head to the park, be sure to pack your sunglasses in your backpack! Did you know that you can get melanoma in your eyes? It’s also nice to not be squinting all day long.

11. Sweatshirt

You’ll especially want a sweatshirt if you’re headed to Disneyland. Even when daytime temps are high, it almost always cools off at night. It’s not uncommon to have a 40-50 degree change between day and night.  Add it to your list of things to bring to Disney!

12. Sunscreen

Pavement can reflect sun rays and increase the chance of sunburn. I like carrying a small bottle or stick of sunscreen in my backpack to use in the parks.

13. Wipes/Hand Sanitizer

Honestly, I never carry either of these items. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer and wipes makes my skin go crazy. If I’m desperate, I’d rather use a little water from my water bottle, but mostly I use the sinks in the restroom.

But, I would guess that most people would want this in their backpack, so I’m adding it to the list.

14. Chapstick

I truly have nothing to say about this one other than it’s always a good idea to keep some chapstick nearby.

15. Extra Mask

A year ago, this wouldn’t be in my backpack, but things have changed. Having an extra in your backpack just in case one falls on the ground–or (heaven forbid) in the toilet–is a wise choice.


There may be a few other items you may want to bring to Disney in your backpack (like make-up, medications, trading pins, or autograph books), but this list will get you started!

Being prepared gives you more time to do what’s important—rides, attractions, and snacking!  If you want to learn more about Disney tips and tricks, check out 11 Hacks To Help You Save Money on Food at Disney or How Many Rides Can You ride in One Day at Disneyland? (more than 18 if you follow these tips)

Do you typically take a backpack to the parks? Is there anything in your backpack that’s not in mine? Tell me about it in the comments section!

How Many Rides Can You Ride in One Day at Disneyland? (more than 18 if you follow these tips)

The goal?  To experience as many rides at Disneyland as you can…in just one day.

If you’re planning a trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth” and want to know how to get the most bang for your buck, we have some great tips for you! Even though Disneyland makes standing in line the best experience of any amusement park I’ve visited, it’s still more fun to spend less time waiting and more time doing. 

Using the following tips, our family of five can consistently see and experience 18+ attractions in an 11-12 hour day at Disneyland…that includes parades, light shows, and two meals in the park. We’ve even gone in a group of 12 and maintained that same average.

Here are the secrets to making the most of your time at Disneyland!

Visit at the Right Time of the Year

There’s never really a bad time to go to Disneyland if you don’t mind crowds. We prefer to steer away from crowds, so we shoot to visit when they’re at their lowest. 

Visiting when school is in session and in the middle of the week is typically your best bet to avoid crowds.

However, as crowd levels increase, Disneyland is great about adjusting attractions to fit the crowd size. They will bring out additional trains on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, run additional rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, or put more cars into the track at Autotopia.

Don’t Park Hop

Park hoping may be great for teens who want to hit all the most thrilling rides, but for most families, a park per day is more than adequate. Although the parks are close together (especially when you compare them to Walt Disney World), you can still chew up a lot of time walking back and forth between parks.

Save money, and time, by purchasing a single park per day ticket.

Waiting to board Star Tours

Install the Disneyland App

Before you leave on your trip, you’ll want to download and install the Disneyland app on your phone. The app is incredibly helpful and is an amazing resource for your trip.

You can purchase tickets through the app, use it to check wait times for attractions, view show and parade times, find characters, locate restrooms, and even order food.

Familiarize yourself with the app ahead of time to save you even more time.

Order Tickets Ahead of Time

There is no benefit to buying your park ticket at the park ticketing window when you arrive. Purchasing your tickets through the app is faster and easier.

Link Tickets for Everyone in Your Party

Using the Disneyland app you can link everyone’s tickets, making it easier to plan your meals and to schedule FastPasses for the next attraction.

Get MaxPass/FastPass

FastPass is the best thing about Disneyland, and it will save you more time than any other tip.


What is FastPass?

Many of the more popular rides and attractions at Disneyland have a feature called FastPass. This allows you to receive a one-hour window return time for a ride, allowing you to enter through a special “fast” line, drastically reducing your wait time. FastPass lines typically average a 5-10 minute wait time, while standby lines can be anywhere from 5-90+ minutes.


Where Do You Get a FastPass?

FastPasses can be obtained for FREE from FastPass kiosks located near attractions that have FastPass lines. You can find these kiosks using the map in the Disneyland app.


Save Even More Time with the MaxPass

If you’re willing to spend $15 more per ticket per day, get the MaxPass. The MaxPass allows you to schedule FastPasses right from your phone…more frequently and more quickly.  

If your tickets are linked for everyone in your party, one person can schedule a FastPass for everyone, saving more time.

Also, with MaxPass, you’ll receive PhotoPass. This service allows you to get digital copies of all photos taken on rides (like Splash and Space Mountain) and any photos taken by Disney’s PhotoPass photographers located throughout the park.

I’m a budget-conscious person, but I think MaxPass is a worthwhile add-on. 

Some Disney magic courtesy of the PhotoPass photographers

Get to the Park Early

Without a doubt, you’ll be able to ride the most rides in the first two hours of park opening. Apparently, people like to sleep in when they’re on vacation.

Ideally, you’ll want to arrive at the park one and a half hours before their posted opening time (check the app for hours on the day you’re visiting).

It can take a little while to get through the security check line. Once you’re through the security check line you’ll get into the ticket check line at the park entrance. Often, Disneyland will start letting people through the ticket check line 30+ minutes before the actual park opening.

This allows you time to take iconic family photos at the park entrance and on Main Street. You’ll then proceed towards the land you want to visit first. The land will be roped off until the park officially opens.

By arriving at the park prior to opening, you’ll be able to experience more rides at Disneyland.

Know the Rules

You’ll save time going through the security line in you know the rules about what you can and can’t bring into the park (snacks are ok, but no glass bottles or containers). Check Disneyland’s website for the most recent security requirements.

Be Flexible

We find it’s easiest, and we can see more, if we’re flexible with our plans. For example, we don’t ever do everything in one land then move onto the next land. Often, we’ll jump on one or two rides in a land, then hop over to a neighboring land to visit an attraction that has a low wait time (or a FastPass available).

While walking back and forth across the park for each attraction isn’t a very efficient use of your time, SOMETIMES it makes sense.

Know Your Food Options

Before we go, I typically pick out a handful of restaurants (maybe one in each land) that I think we would like to visit. We don’t have to visit all of them, but at least we know where we want to eat no matter what land we find ourselves in when we’re ready to grab lunch or dinner.

A lot of time can be wasted discussing where you want to eat and trying to figure out what’s on the menu.

We usually opt for quick service restaurants (faster and cheaper) while at Disneyland. 

Order Food From the App

Ordering food from the app is one of my favorite things about the Disneyland app. Maybe it’s an introvert thing.  

Everyone can look at the food options and decide what they want while you’re waiting in line for another attraction.

The Disneyland app also allows you to connect a credit/debit card, making placing orders a breeze.

Pack Snacks

Skip the overpriced snacks, and pack some fruit and granola bars in your backpack. Disneyland is very lenient when it comes to allowing food in their parks, which is amazing. Snack while you’re in line outside, and save more time for more rides at Disneyland!

Hit the Busiest Rides First

Try to fit as many rides as you can into the first couple of hours. At Disneyland Park, you’ll want to ride the rides that DON’T have FastPass and are more congested in the afternoon. We often find ourselves starting in Fantasyland, then grabbing FastPasses for some of our favorites if the wait is longer than 15 minutes. 

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Fantasyland

Hop on the Dark/People-Eater Rides in the Afternoon

Some rides last a long time and have large ride vehicles that seem to “swallow” people. Most are indoor attractions, making them “dark” rides. The ride wait time for these attractions doesn’t change that much throughout the day.

Saving rides like, It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean for the afternoon is a great idea. It’s also the time of day when energy is the lowest, so it allows you to sit back, kick up your feet, and relax for 10-15 minutes.

Single Rider Lines (For Ages 8 and Older)

Some attractions have a single rider line. Cast members pull guests from this line to fill up the ride vehicles. For example, if there is an empty seat on The Matterhorn, single riders can climb in and ride separate from their party.

Single riders get placed rather quickly and close together, so it’s a great alternative if you don’t have a FastPass or if the standby line wait time is long. 

Our kids were a little nervous about using the single rider line for the first time, but ended up doing great! 

Matterhorn bobsleds are a great choice for first-time single riders–they don’t have to sit next to anyone.

Create a “Must-Do” List

Knowing ahead of time what attractions you absolutely must experience will save time while in the park and ensure that everyone has a fun time! For our family, we have everyone choose three rides at Disneyland that are important to them and make it a priority to visit those attractions. 

Coordinate Bathroom Breaks

If you have small children or are traveling with a larger group, you can spend an inordinate amount of stopping for bathroom breaks. If at all possible (and it’s not always possible), try to have a rule that when someone goes to the bathroom, everyone goes to the bathroom. And if you’re like our family, there will be someone who doesn’t think they need to go. Try anyway.

TIP: One of our favorite restrooms at Disneyland Park is the King & Queen Restrooms. These memorable Wonderland-themed restrooms make for a fun pit-stop! You can find them on the right side of the castle, closest to The Matterhorn.

Skip the Lockers

It’s a given that you’ll need somewhere to store your snacks, sweatshirts, and maybe rain ponchos. We opt to squish everything into backpacks rather than rent lockers to save time. The lockers are located at the front of the park, so if you opt to use them, someone will have to walk to the front of the park to retrieve items you may need.

Backpacks may not be fashionable, be they’re certainly convenient and can be taken on almost every ride.

If you have stroller-aged children, loading the storage basket with your items is another great use of space that will save you time allowing you to experience more rides at Disneyland!


Using these tips on your next Disneyland adventure will save you time, so you can spend more time doing what you want to do!

If you want to learn about saving money at Disneyland, check out our post titled 11 Hacks to Help You Save Money on Food at Disney.

8 Tips for Introverts Visiting Disneyland

Introverts visiting Disneyland may feel a bit overwhelmed.  It’s no secret that Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth”.  It can also be the busiest place on Earth.

Regardless of the busy-ness, Disneyland still manages to be incredibly magical, making even the most introverted of introverts blissfully content while inside its gates.

I’m an introvert.  This comes as a shock to many people since I can be talkative when I feel like being talkative. But the honest truth is that while I love people, I need copious amounts of time alone in order to recharge my batteries.

I’ve discovered a few things during our trips to Disney that help me maintain balance and not feel too overwhelmed.

Visit Disneyland in the Off-Season

When is the best time for introverts to visit Disneyland? It’s almost easier to talk about the worst times to visit Disneyland.  

Crowds will be at their highest on weekends, holidays, and school vacation days.  You can always check a crowd calendar before you go (there are several bloggers out there that make their best guesses for each year, but keep in mind that some charge for their services).

As a free alternative, visit Disneyland’s ticket website or view the tickets section of the Disneyland app.  Prices are pro-rated depending on the popularity of the day.  Therefore, lower ticket prices = lower crowds.  

You’ll want to keep in mind that lower-priced days also have shortened hours.  So, if you’re the type that likes to stay in the park until midnight, you might have to settle for higher crowds.  However, if you’re like me, and most introverts that I know, you’re ready for a few hours of quietness by 9 pm, so the shorter hours are perfect.

We typically go in the middle of the week, while school is in session.  We request independent study for the week from our children’s school and try to complete as much as possible before we leave.

Pictures with a little Disney magic.

Book Your Own Hotel Room if Traveling with Family or Friends

Traveling with family and friends to Disneyland is always fun!  My kids LOVE making memories with their cousins. 

All five members of our family are introverted, so even though we have a great time with cousins, we all need a little space to relax and unwind.  That’s why we typically get our own hotel room rather than sharing a larger suite or house with cousins.

We love staying in a house or cabin with cousins during our winter getaways, but since Disneyland can cause more sensory overload than a cabin in the mountains, it’s nice to have a place all to yourself for a few hours after a long, full day at Disneyland.

Taking a short break

Float On Over to Tom Sawyer Island

One of the best-kept secrets at Disneyland is Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.  This little island, located in the center of the Rivers of America, and visible from both Adventureland and Frontierland, is only a 2-minute ride from the mainland.

Guests can hop on a motorized raft that shuttles them over to the island.  Adventurers can stay on the island for as long as they would like, or at least until the rafts stop running, which is typically around dusk.

There are caves to explore, swinging bridges, trails, and plenty of nooks to pull up a seat and just enjoy the quietness.  Since the Rivers of America flows around the island, the water provides a peaceful buffer from the mainland.

Cave view from Pirate’s Lair

Watching the river boat

Peaceful views from Tom Sawyer Island

Eat Meals Early or Late

Grabbing a bite to eat during “off” hours is always a good idea!  There will be fewer people in line and more open tables.

Eating lunch before 11:30 or after 1:30 and dinner before 5 pm or after 7 pm will allow you to miss the busiest meal times, a plus for introverts visiting Disneyland!

Always Order Food Via the App

COVID-19 may have made this the default option, but mobile ordering is always my first choice.  It’s so easy!

I love that you don’t have to stand in line, then try to get everyone to hurry and choose a menu item while the cast member patiently waits.  Instead, everyone can look over the menu options on their phones, choose what they want, then pick it up when it’s ready.

I also connect the app to my credit card, making the ordering process that much easier.  Mobile ordering is more efficient and all kinds of wonderful.

Use Fastpass or Single Rider Lines

Since waiting in lines with masses of people isn’t a favorite pastime for introverts visiting Disneyland, we use Fastpass/Maxpass and single rider lines as much as possible.  Using Fastpass/Maxpass and single rider lines allows you to experience more in a shorter amount of time.

As introverts, we’re ok with not having to be seated next to our friends and family on every ride; hopping on a ride as a single rider is no big deal.  Children as young as seven can join the single rider line as long as they meet the height requirements for the attraction.

Our kids were a little nervous the first time they used the single rider line but ended up loving it.  They especially enjoyed the single rider line on the Radiator Spring Racecars ride since you frequently end up “racing” against a friend or family member who was in the single rider line with you.

Pure joy on Splash Mountain

A quiet moment with Tiana–only us!

Avoid the Center of Main Street for the Evening Shows

If large crowds give you claustrophobia, you’ll definitely want to avoid the center of Main Street, U.S.A., before, during, and after the nighttime shows.

Guests pack into the area in front of the castle, standing shoulder to shoulder (but not during COVID-19, of course).

As an alternative, the show can also be watched from other areas like It’s a Small World and Rivers of America.  The last time we were there, we were one of a handful of families watching from the Rivers of America.

We were close to New Orleans Square so we grabbed some hot Mikey beignets and mint juleps and settled in for a great show.  Unfortunately, that night they ended up canceling the show due to technical difficulties. So, instead, we sipped on our juleps, munched on our beignets, and enjoyed the silence. 

Let the Crowds Disperse Before Trying to Leave After the Nighttime Show

When the nighttime show ends at Disneyland, there is a mass exodus of guests leaving the park.  Think bumper to bumper traffic with some guests weaving through everyone like they’re on a motorcycle.

I have only witnessed happy, tired guests leaving, but it’s just A LOT of people.  If you opt to hang out in the park for a few extra minutes, you can leave as the crowd dies down.  Just don’t be one of those people that the cast members have to ask to leave the park.  Nobody wants to be those people…not even the introverts visiting Disneyland.

Making memories at Disney’s California Adventure Park

It’s Time to Plan Your Next Trip to Disneyland

I know a few people who haven’t been to Disneyland citing crowd concerns, but to me, Disney crowds are happy crowds.  There’s no comparison between a state fair crowd and a Disneyland crowd. 

By implementing all these tips I hope you can enjoy a more “low-key” Disney vacation.  Here’s to planning your next trip to Disneyland!  May all your dreams come true!

11 Hacks to Help You Save Money on Food at Disney

To help you save money on food at Disney, I’ve compiled a list of my top 11 money-saving hacks.

It’s no secret. The food at Disneyland and Disney World can be pricey.

If you’re looking for ways to eat cheaper at Disney, check out these tips and SAVE MORE!


It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s true for our family.  The best way to save money on food at Disney is to never spend it!

If I don’t make a budget, we just fly by the seat of our pants.  Five dollars becomes ten.  Ten dollars becomes twenty.  Suddenly we find ourselves spending significantly more than we thought we would.

Enter THE BUDGET.  Decide ahead of time how much you’re going to spend.  Figure out the cost per meal.  The easiest way to calculate how much it will cost is to look at current menus.  Download the app for the park you want to visit.  For Disney World, it’s My Disney Experience.  For Disneyland, it’s the Disneyland app.  Or you can visit the park website and view the menus there.

Every restaurant shows its menu with prices, making it easy to get an accurate estimate of what you might spend on any given meal.

I use a free expense tracking app, Spending Tracker, to enter all our expenditures and stay on budget.


Save the planet and your pocketbook.  Bring your refillable water bottles into the park.  You can refill them at one of the refilling stations (check the map on the app!).  You can also request free cups of water, with ice, from any quick-service restaurant.


Or bring your own.  Soft drinks can add up quickly!

If you don’t mind drinking canned drinks, Disney allows guests to bring in their own soft drinks or energy drinks.  The only requirement is that it’s in a can or plastic–no glass.


For me, eating out makes it feel more like a vacation, so I’m not the type to make my own lunch every day, BUT I have brought in our lunch before and saved $60.

You can’t bring in a full-sized ice chest into the park, but we filled a couple of soft-sided lunch boxes with sandwiches, chips, and fruit and stuffed them in the storage compartment under the stroller.  There are plenty of places around the park that you can choose from to sit and munch on your deletable peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

If you don’t have a stroller, you can rent a locker, but it costs money–and I’m averse to unnecessary spending.

Munching on our packed lunch while the rest of our party enjoys Rancho del Zocalo at Disneyland.


Even if you don’t want to pack a lunch, stuffing snacks into your backpack is always a good idea, especially if you have young children.  It’s easy to eat a granola bar or banana while you’re standing in line outside, saving you time.  Most snacks available for purchase at Disneyland and Disney World are significantly more than you would spend at the grocery store.

Along with snacks, there are a few other items you should throw in your backpack to help avoid small item purchases.  What should you bring to Disney?  Check out my post about 15 things you should pack in your backpack for Disney.


If your kids are showing signs of an approaching hanger episode in the afternoon, skip the cotton candy, and do something different: order a kids’ meal from a quick-serve restaurant!  The last time we were at Disneyland we got a kid’s meal from Alien Pizza Planet.  For $6.99 they shared a large slice of cheese pizza, carrots, fruit, and bottled water (they didn’t want milk). 


Eating at sit down, fancy restaurants is usually not a top priority for our family at Disney.  Mostly because we want to maximize our time and budget.

Choosing quick service restaurants is a great way to save money on food at Disney.  It will also decrease the amount of time you spend waiting in line (online ordering) and minimize your spending (no tip and cheaper meals). Choose places that give you the biggest bang for your buck.


When I’m selecting a hotel, I look for hotels near Disney with free breakfast, specifically free HOT breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes–the works!).  Having a hearty breakfast makes my body happy and starts my day off right.  It’s usually much more cost-effective to eat at the hotel rather than in the parks.

I’m a huge fan and use them to book all of our hotel accommodations.


There are few things in this world that I strongly dislike. Wasting food is one of them.  I’d rather buy more if we need it than see it tossed in the trash.  Sometimes, Allan and I will share a meal, if I know the portions are larger.  Or we may buy two meals and share them with three people.

Reducing food waste is good for your pocketbook and our world.  And it doesn’t hurt that it helps you save money on food at Disney!


You can use your Target REDCard to buy Disney gift cards, saving 5%.  If you’re using the credit REDCard, rather than debit, don’t forget to pay it off immediately so you don’t spend extra in interest.  While the savings aren’t huge, every little bit counts!

save money on food at Disney girls eating hand-dipped ice cream bars from Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream on Buena Vista Street at Disney's California Adventure Park in California

You’ll want to budget for Clarabelle’s hand-dipped ice cream and sorbet bars at Disney’s California Adventure!


Some restaurants offer a 10% discount when you pay for your meal using the Chase Disney credit card.  Check the CHASE Disney credit card website to see which restaurants offer the discount before you go!


Using all or some of these hacks to spend less money on food at Disney will allow you to enjoy your next trip without breaking the bank!