How to Save Money at Disney! - Simply Complicated Mom

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How to Save Money at Disney! Saving Money at Disney on Tickets, Food & Souvenirs!

How to Save Money at Disney!

Disneyland the “Happiest Place on Earth.”  It’s also one of the most expensive places to take your family.  As parents we’ve all been there,  planning the big vaca and then bam…those big black ears slap you in the face.  From tickets, to park food to the overpriced souvenirs.  It’s impossible for the family of four to get out of the park for two days under a thousand dollars.  That’s not including lodging or other necessities needed,  so to help ease the pain I’ve scoured the internet for you and gathered ways to help you save on tickets, food, and souvenirs for your big vacation to Disney!…

The Three “P’s” – Prior Proper Planning

The key to saving money is planning and the key to planning properly is doing your research.  That’s where I come in and I do the heavy lifting for you.  I researched (aka googled) and found you discounts and tips.  I also took from my own trips and mistakes I’ve made at the theme park.  Like paying full price for the tickets-rookie mistake. Keep scrolling for tips to save money.

The Big Disney Announcement

But first, before we get to finances let’s surprise the little buggars with the big news!  And what better way than serving them Mickey Shaped Pizza!   

*And don’t forget to video the shock and awe, to look back on the entire vacation in a few years, after you’ve recovered ;). I didn’t record our announcement and I regret that now.  
how to save money at disney

Tickets Cost How Much??

A one-day, one-park adult ticket for Disneyland or California Adventure remains $97 for low-demand days, such as weekdays in May. A ticket for regular-demand days is $117, up from $110. The price of a ticket on peak-demand days is $135, up from$124.  

how to save money at disney

Let’s do some simple math…For my family of 6, that totals $702 for one day of sweaty fun! Now that sticker shock and nausea has passed let’s discuss the ways you can cut that ticket cost down.

According to, there are a few legitimate discounts listed HERE  There are many available discounts such as a teacher, military, California Residents and some other notable discounts.  Check the entire list out HERE Please be sure to check out this article about where NOT to buy tickets and how to avoid SCAMS! 

Saving on food and feeding your Tribe at Disney

This is where even the Disney pro can get into trouble.  Food at all of the restaurants is pricey.  Check out the various Disneyland restaurants and menu prices HERE. Take a glance now, just get it over with.  Because if not this stress is compounded with all of the other stresses that you are going to be enduring ie; losing kid stress, “mom it’s hot” stress, endless line stress, “where the hell did my husband go” stress?)

Prior to our last Disney trip, I had done some reading in advance and I knew the most cost-effective restaurant to feed my tribe would be at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port.  The pizza is still rather expensive, but it’s still the lesser of all other evils.  My rather large family could eat there for less than anywhere else in the park.  We would be sharing a whole pizza and splitting drinks (yup at $4 a soda we’re THAT family.)

We packed in our own refrigerated snacks and bottled water.  We used a backpack that attached to the stroller. This helped immensely with saving money.  Bottled water is upwards of $5 inside the park.  As far as having to go outside to eat, I saw several families eating inside the park.  But according to below park policy, they do have the right to ask you to step outside the park to eat,  so just be aware that they can enforce that policy if you plan on packing food in.

Disneyland food policy states ;

You can bring in your own food some limitations. Please reference the Prohibited Items section of the Park Rules for a list of items, including food containers and beverages, not permitted in either of the Disneyland Resort theme parks.
You may also enjoy your own food and beverages in an ideal setting at the complimentary picnic area—conveniently located outside the Main Entrance to Disneyland Park.

Saving Money on Souvenirs

This is the big money saver, and I’m going to give you tons of options!

We told our kiddos we were headed into the magical kingdom when we were already in California.  We woke them up early with “get up get dressed your clothes are in the bathroom let’s go!” And their Disney shirts were in the bathroom waiting for them…Ta-dah!  We killed Two birds with one stone.  I pre-bought inexpensive Disney souvenirs at the Disney outlet and saved gobs of money and surprised the kids in a super cute way! I was really cool for about 5 minutes until they started bickering about who got the cuter shirt 🙁

Places to buy Inexpensive Disney Souvenirs

The Disney Store Outlet-  This is where I purchased our souvenirs.  The Disney brand is SO INEXPENSIVE in the park. Here is the Disney Outlet store locator for you to find a store near you. Below are some pics from my store in West Texas from this past weekend.  Mickey Ears as low as $4.99 and Plush as low as $2!  Inside the park, you are looking to spend twenty times that amount.  I bought our souvenirs here ahead of time and the kids got to wear them into the park, which made for great vacation pictures!


Target recently launched their Disney clothing line…two words-FREAKIN’ ADORABLE!  You can catch the entire collection HERE! Regularly showcases theme park attire at incredibly low prices.  You can check out some of their adorable merchandise out below!


I hoped I’ve helped you make your trip to Disney a little less stressful!  If you have any suggestions I would love to hear from you in comments!


This post may contain affiliate links where they author earns a commission if you decide to purchase anything from those links. See full disclosure.

1 Comment

  1. Mari, What a great post I love that you shopped at the outlet store before going to stock up! It will definitely be cheaper to get souvenirs for my crew that way too!!

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