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Old 10-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1

First time visit for 5 year old - shoestring budget

Hi all,
We have booked for our first vacation in over 6 years to celebrate the New Year's at Disneyland! WOOO HOOO! We are going to be at the park from 12/30-01/02.
My husband just recently got a job after being unemployed for over a year and 1/2 so while this trip is reasonable (Thanks Costco) I need every tip possible for cheap eats, souvenirs and any other cost saving measures.
What I can tell you that may be helpful:
1) Our hotel did not come with free breakfast, but has micro and fridge
2) Our daughter is 5 and kind of picky/non adventurous eater
3) Husband and I eat it all, too much at times
4) We did get one character breakfast as part of our package deal.
Any tips from seasoned park goers would be welcome! Watch out mouse, here we come!
Many thanks,
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:18 PM   #2
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you will have a Magical Time!!!

We have done WDW on a shoestring budget and it can be done!!! If you can plan ahead, picking up little disney trinkets at the dollar store or disney store will allow you to give her surprises throughout the trip without having to purchase things there. We typicall make our own tshirts ahead of time too - there are so many cute iron on's on the disigns board! or you could even sew some outfits for her!! once again, this makes us less likely to purchase the 25 dollar tshirt there! We also drink the free cups of icewater, and have even brought in some ice tea/lemonaid mix to mix into the water to stretch the budget. My hubby and I have found that we really do fill up on a kids meal too!!! lol!!!
Just enjoy the park!!! take it all in!!! bring glow sticks or a spinny light up toy for night time too!!!

Have a wonderful trip!!!
Wendy Billy and our fur ball Tigger

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Old 10-21-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
My trouble is that I don't remember anything important
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,330

Here are my basics -
1. Eat breakfast in the room. We get donuts, muffins, etc. from Sam's Club. I'm sure Costco has similar items.
2. Eat one big meal midday. Bring snacks to hold you over before and after. Disney portions are generally huge and one meal is enough for us. Schedule your character breakfast as late as possible and have it as brunch.
3. Split meals or order kids meals.
4. Order water in a cup. It's free. If you don't like the taste, bring those single serve drink packs to stir in.
Hope these help!
June 2010 ---Windsor Hills - group trip
December 2009 --- Pop Century
June 2009 --- Port Orleans Riverside
October 2008 --- 6 days POFQ/ 3 days DCL Wonder (finally!)
September 2007 --- Pop Century
July 2007 --- 1st Disneyland Adventure
January 2007 --- Pop Century
Sept 2006 ---Pop Century
Jan 2006 --- Pop Century
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Oct 2000 --- Dixie Landings
Oct 1998 --- Dixie Landings
1978 --- Stayed offsite in an RV (took 20 years to get over it!)
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:24 PM   #4
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I am guessing that you are off site. I would for sure take things to eat in the room for breakfast. With a microwave you can do all kinds of things. Maybe eat just lunch in the park and eat fast food on the way back to the hotel or pick up take out or do pizza delivery. You can even do sandwiches or a TV dinner back at the hotel if you need to. Limit the "stuff" you let the kids buy and carry snacks into the parks. You do not need to do the "extras" to have a great trip. Just the parks themselves are special enough.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:18 AM   #5
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This is for Disneyland? Well first, come on over to the Disneyland forum.

Also, know that your'e going to be absolutely completely socked in by crowds. Your'e going at a time that makes seasoned CMs shudder and get far away looks in their eyes, not looking forward to the upcoming holiday. You're NOT going to be able to take breaks and leave the parks, because you likely won't be let back in b/c of them getting to capacity while you're gone.

And so on and so forth.

There also might still be seasonal food price increases at that time still in effect, so if you're going to do other character meals beyond the Costco one, look into buying vouchers from ares travel or getawaytoday.com. When you call to make Priority Seating arrangements, get the price of the character meals (if you're doing more than just the included one), and compare it (plus tax) to the vouchers from those companies...it *can* save you money, depending on when your'e going and where you're eating.

Have I mentioned it's going to be crowded? Expectations are going to be everything for a successful trip! I'm just trying to set your expectations to "really really crowded but with a plan we'll be OK".

Sharing meals works really well, if you are happy with that. Mimi's and Millie's are both restaurants near the parks on Harbor that have good food at lower-than-Disney prices. Coco's on Katella is also good. AVOID IHOP on Harbor; it's one of the most expensive IHOPs there is. Also avoid Captain Kidd's if you value your stomach health.

Consider a food and water delivery from Von's (vons.com). Buying bottled water (and bringing it in! doesn't do any good sitting in the fridge LOL) can be a great cost savings, along with getting water with meals, etc. Disneyland was doing a thing, at least over the summer, where if you asked for a cup of water at counter service they gave you a tiny kiddie cup with water...they weren't giving nice 20 oz cups...

If you'll have a car, consider the AMS Character Warehouse a few blocks away. Or if there's one near your house (they move around every few months go to it; they *can* have fun things that you or the kids might want, at much lower prices. http://www.ams-liquidation.com/listings.aspx is the page with the current stores.

Buy glowsticks at Michaels (15 sticks plus connectors for $1) or even ebay. If you want a TON of them, orientaltradingcompany sells them too. Glowsticks are great fun, and it's good to have them on hand for cheap, rather than "have to" buy a glowy lightupy thing once dusk hits, b/c all the other kidlets have them.
-molly + robert + eamon (10!!)

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Made weight goal 1yr8m8days after starting...currently working to maintain 85 lb loss thanks to Weight Watchers!
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:37 PM   #6
Mouseketeer since birth!
I am lucky to have kids who also love Disney and a husband who loves it (and us) enough to humor my passion!
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Blazing Heat, AZ
Posts: 2,551

Inexpensive souvenir ideas:
1. Pressed pennies -- they have master lists at City hall and they are in many gift shops. DS found a special Nightmare Before Christmas pressed quarter in a New Orleans Square gift shop last week, too.
2. Homemade autograph book (pages made on computer, bound yourself before or after) plus room for pictures with characters.

Take lots of snacks in with you and eat every couple hours. Split meals and don't order soda. You will have a magical time even if you don't buy every toy or goody.

As Bumbershoot said, it will be busy. Keep your expectations realistic and focus on the magical things, not on a to-do checklist.


p.s. I hope you're visiting the Disneyland section of these boards. There is some great information about maximizing your time there, free things to do, etc.
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