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Old 11-06-2012, 04:03 PM   #1
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Trip with a 4 and 5 yr old

I have a 4 and 5 year old and they have been wanting to go to Disneyland so I decided to take them for Christmas this year. I have the trip booked we have to drive from MO and I do not have a lot of extra money, I am trying to get the spending money for us to be able to do what we want.....any ideas of any coupons or discounts that would help us....when I had started planning the trip I thought I would be able to have all the money together and things have happened and now I have to find a way to be able to afford the rest because my kids are so excited and I don't want to disappoint them!!
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
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I moved this thread to the main Disneyland planning forum, where more folks will see it and be able to help you.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
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Depending on how many days you are staying you can save a little by purchasing your ticket at Costco and you get a $50 cash card as well. Bring your own water and snacks and that will save you some money as well.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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Is there a reason you are going to Disneyland and not Disney World? Disneyland is awesome, and I can't blame you for wanting to go there, but from Missouri, I suspect you are looking at a 3 day drive to S. Cal. or a 2 day drive to Orlando.

You could save yourself 2 days travel (and all associated expenses) round trip by going to Florida instead. Of course, this assumes all else being equal. If you have family you can stay with in California, or you are getting a really good price on a room or something that might offset the extra travel costs.

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Old 11-06-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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We are going to Disneyland because my kids want to go to cars land....and the hotel and ticket portion is paid for as well and one character dining and another dinner....I will pack us snacks and drinks to take! We have never been to either park and thats the one my kids want to go to the most, and theres going to be two of us driving so thats going to help some but I know we will not be able make it straight thru
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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Watch some of the chain-hotel ads. I have seen them advertise, Free nights after a one or two night stay. This might help with a room along the way to and from. You might have to sign up for some type of rewards plan.

Go online and map your way along the road. There is a website that you can look up gas stations. I do this when we travel by motorhome. It generally gives the location, hours of operation and cost of gas. I like the cost feature. This way I can decide where to make our stops. The hours of operation comes in handy too. We have needed gas, only to have stations closed. You'll be traveling some long stretches of road during winter conditions. Pack blankets to keep warm.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #7
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Oh I remember those days...you will have so much fun! Buy the kids some Mickey and friends or Cars tee shirts before you go and put them away without letting the kids see them. You can find them so much cheaper at Sears or someplace like that and at 4 and 5 they won't care they weren't bought at the parks when you pull them out of the suitcase for them to wear.

There are coupons here: anaheimoc.org/coupons

Does your room have a fridge and or microwave? Are you staying within easy walking distance? If so definitely get to the park before it opens, ready for fun- little ones are up early anyway, and then go back to the hotel for lunch and some down time during the most crowded part of the day. We always got away with eating breakfast either in the room or with free breakfast from the hotel, some snacks midmorning and then made lunch at the room our biggest meal. The kids were so much happier, if they can nap great, or least let them veg in front of the TV for an hour. Then when you go back into the park for all the nighttime fun they are raring' to go and you can get away with just a lighter (and cheaper) dinner.

Have a great time! safe!
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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I am planning on ordering from Von's for our trip, we will take lunch with us most days and eat breakfast at the hotel. We should only have dinner and snacks in the park most days.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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* plan on some meals in the room and think about packing your own snacks. I would think about breakfast (super easy if there is a fridge for milk) or picking up McDonald's on the way to your room. You can pack some fruit and granola bars or the like for the kids in the park and lug some water bottles to keep refilling. You can allot one special treat a day that they share and that will be a way to keep whining to a minimum. Think about picking up some special "Disney" treats too like Disney fruit gummies or the like.

* pre-buy some of your souvenirs! Hit the local Wal-mart or Target and pick up some postcards and other knickknacks at way lower prices. Watch the disneystore.com site and other websites for sales (like tonight Amazon is having a lightening deal on a Disney toy) and promise a special treat each day when they get back to teh hotel. You can pre-buy plush toys, shirts, and so on at much lower prices than in the park. Maybe let them pick one souvenir in the park of a certain dollar value and that's it. I'd watch the boards so you know what is exclusive to the parks (most carsland merchandise) versus not.

Have fun!

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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In addition to the great tips listed above, I'd avoid the stores in the park given the marked-up prices for souvenirs. I pre-bought Disney stuff from a major Disney store sale and just hid them in the suitcase and took one thing out each morning. We never walked into any stores (we didn't do the rides that end inside gift stores because my then 5 year old DD was too scared of dark rides).

Character meals are expensive (you're paying for entertainment after all!) so I wouldn't plan on doing multiple ones if you're on a limited budget. We did one (Ariel's Grotto) and then tried to eat outside of the park for other meals. Corn Dog Castle was reasonably priced and delicious. There are other threads about budget-friendly meals if you run a search (I think a recent one requested ideas for a $20 budget for a meal for 4).

Have a great time!
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:26 PM   #11
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I definitely agree with the previous posters about buying some disney stuff before you go. If Cars is the favorite I would look for some inexpensive t-shirts and stuff. I got my daughter a ton of little things before our last trip at party city. I got stickers, bracelets, a fun drinking cup, pez ect. ect. I spent a grand total of 20 bucks. If your kids are into light up toys I would make sure to buy those outside the parks too. Grab some glow bracelets or something before you go. You will save a ton and your kids will still feel like they are getting a special treat. Dole the stuff out over the course of the trip.

Also if you eat in the parks for your evening meal you can get lots of advise here on the boards of meals that are large enough to split. I also know that people carry water bottles in the park but I personally prefer to drag as little as possible with me. You can walk up to any counter service place and ask for a cup of water without making a purchase. I don't particularly like plain water so I bring a tiny bottle of drink flavoring with me. Over the course of a few days for 4 people you could save a bundle on not buying drinks.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:03 PM   #12
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I try to take baggies into the park so that we can split a snack between the kids such as candy, popcorn or cotton candy. Some snacks in the park aren't terribly expensive such as candy store lollipops.

We always eat breakfast in our hotel room. You can order from a local grocery store www.vons.com and they will deliver to your hotel room with I believe a $50 minimum order or just stop at one of the many nearby groceries. There are a gazillion things you can quickly make for lunch or dinner in your hotel room to save money with just a microwave and mini fridg. And it's just healthier too. We always buy fruit, cheese and milk for the room and take water into the park which you can add flavor packets to. You can order a case of water from Vons too vs. $2.79 or so for a Dasani water inside the park. We sometimes make a Costco stop for their huuuge $10 pizza.

You can split meals at Plaza Inn - their chicken dinner, and at Rancho del Zocalo's - a lot of their meals are huge and you can add a side or two of something such as tortilla chips to make it a little larger. Sometimes if we weren't so hungry we'd just get a Mickey pretzel each and split a bag of grapes for lunch or dinner. You can review all the menus with pricing online, just do a search for Disneyland restaurant menus.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:44 AM   #13
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Our biggest money saver is always the cooler. Drinks and snacks add up so fast especially with little ones. We load it with ice and juice and water from costco. I also bake a double batch of cookies for the road. For hotels I would look into the chains that offer third night free, or if you know around what city you plan to stop in you can look online and try out priceline. We have done some super tight budget trips and I can tell you that we still had a ton of fun. I would set aside a small amount of money for them to spend in the park just so they have a momento, but let them know they only get a set amount and have them choose.
The Mr.
And our two boys 13 4

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Old 11-07-2012, 10:18 AM   #14
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thanks for all the advice.....Im gonna look into getting them some prizes before we go!!! And we will be staying at the clarion and was able to get the anaheim transit unlimited for like $20 so Im def gonna get a lot of snacks and stuff to eat to keep from eating out all the time and we get free breakfast and in the hotel our kids get to eat free with an adult meal so that will help too.....Im really excited and have a countdown on my phone because none of us have ever been and I have got them a autograph book and some pins they can trade if they want off ebay so I do already have some stuff...thanks for all your help!!!
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:39 PM   #15
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And the Party City Idea was great!!....I found some water bottles and a few other things for them really cheap!!
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