Disneyland Food – How To Save the Most Eating at Disneyland!

Disneyland Food

Ways to save on Eating Expenses at Disneyland

Disneyland has many great eating options, but food costs can add up! We have put together some ideas on how to save on food costs and eating out (including the popular Character Meals) at Disneyland for you. The key to saving the most is to plan. Once you are on property, if your crew gets hungry and you have not planned ahead chances are you will end up eating where-ever you can get into, and that can cost you.  I did this by creating a quick list of what would be breakfast /lunch and dinner options that were in our budget, just so I knew were to look when it was time to eat. Not only did it save us money, but it also saved us time too! Check out our Disneyland Savings page for more tips on:

Tips to Save on Food at Disneyland:

Bring your own food, or have groceries delivered to your hotel room

The way you will save the most is to cook your own meals if you are staying in a hotel with a kitchenette, or to pack your own snacks and water for the parks. You can get groceries delivered to many area hotels from the local VONs store (Safeway affiliate). Don’t want to worry about preparing each meal in your room? Just eat breakfast in your room. This can save you a ton alone, and its an easier meal to eat in your room (cereal, oatmeal, etc). [Read more...]

Living Social Coupon Code – 30% off Sitewide (with Promo Code)

living social coupon codeLiving Social coupon codeLiving Social coupon code

Living Social Coupon Code – 10% off Sitewide!

Living Social is also offering a special discount today – get 30% off sitewide with a maximum of $25 discount. All you need to do is use the coupon code: BESTMOM at checkout to receive your discount. This discount is available through tomorrow, April 22nd, 2014 at 11:59pm pst.

I love these kinds of discounts as you can get a rare discount on a higher priced item, getaway, etc (although there is a maximum of $25 discount but still a way to save even more if you’re needing a night away or have a higher priced item to buy thru Living Social.

Here are a few deals I spotted with the discount::

Neiman Marcus

Get a $50 voucher for the Neiman Marcus Last Call website, for just $18.75 after promo code

semiahmoo resort

Semiahmoo Resort – Blaine, WA - $104 for 1 night stay – after 25% off 

This is a beautiful resort up north of Bellingham & on the border of Canada, at the top of the Semiahmoo Spit on 1100 acres of peaceful tidelands. This area is home to more than 300 tide pools, estuaries & waterways. The resort offers a spa & a beautiful golf course designed by Arnold Palmer.

  • Limit 2 per customer, additional as gifts; up to 2 vouchers may be combined to extend stay
  • Only valid for stays now – June 15, 2014
  • Reservations required and subject to availability
  • Not valid toward existing or room block reservations
  • Voucher includes one welcome appetizer and drink per guest upon arrival (max 2 per room) and late 12 p.m. checkout
  • Nights must be spent consecutively; all inclusions must be redeemed during one stay
  • Voucher valid for 2 guests; additional guests may be added based on availability and at an additional cost
  • Merchant cancellation/rescheduling policy and fees apply once booking is made; voucher subject to forfeiture
  • Taxes/resort fee not included; payable directly to the property
  • Incidental charges, charges for additional services and gratuity at the property are not included
  • Credit card information and photo ID is required at check-in
  • Upgrades available; please inquire with merchant at time of booking reservation
  • Blackout date(s): May 23-25, 2014

portland hotel

North Portland Best Wester -  OR – rooms start at as low as $53.25 after promo code savings! (and find our tips for visiting Portland with Kids here, and some of our favorite spots to eat with kids here too)!


Discount Great Wolf Lodge Deal – Up to 40% off for Spring Dates

discount great wolf lodge deal


Great Wolf Lodge is having a Spring Sale right now on their website.  They are offering up to 40% off when you book a date this spring through June 26, 2014, using the promo code: SPRINGFUN at checkout. You will need to book by Monday April 21st to get these lower rates and the best dates do go quickly, so hurry on over to the Great Wolf Lodge website to check it out soon!

Rates start as low as $139.99 a night (mid-week in June is where I saw these rates) and I even saw some under $200 for Friday night as well. So these are definitely some great prices for Great Wolf Lodge rates, as it also includes admission to the waterpark for 4 people for almost 2 days.

(** Update – I just checked out their reservation system and it told me that the Discount is not available on 4/17-4/20, 4/24-4/27, 5/3-5/4, 5/10, 5/16-5/17, 5/24-5/25, 5/30, or 6/14.  Sounds like dates may be selling out quickly, so book soon if interested).

Make sure to also check out the other discounts available right now with Great Wolf Lodge:

Early Bird Savings – Save up to 20% off when you book 2 or  more nights for the summer (dates: May 26 – Aug 29th); Must book by 4/25

Stay 3, Save Big – Save up to 25% off when you stay 3 or more nights (dates: 5/26 – 8/29 – must book by 4/25)

Make sure to check out our tips for ways to save while you’re at Great Wolf Lodge, too.  For more ways to save, make sure to check out additional ways to save at Great Wolf Lodge using the military discount, signing up for E-mail alerts on discounts and more.

Thanks Sounds Fun Mom!


Disneyland Ticket Discounts – How to Save On Getting Into the Parks!

Disneyland Ticket Discounts

Disneyland Ticket Discounts!

Are you planning a trip to Disneyland? It is one of my families favorite destination spots, and we have been a number of times over the years. While Disneyland is never a cheap trip, there are some saving strategies I have learned over time that I wanted to share.

Check out our Disneyland Savings page for more tips on:

Now, lets look at how to get the best Disneyland Ticket deals, which could possibly be the biggest expense of your trip.

Generally speaking you save more when you buy your tickets separately, vs part of a vacation package, so its always a good idea to see what current Disneyland Ticket Discounts are available.

Another important point – You will want to be careful when purchasing discounts for Disneyland tickets, there are plenty of scams out there. In the past folks have bought tickets off of ebay and Craiglist, and we highly recommend you stay away from this practice (folks sold tickets that had only been partially used, for the remaining days). Disneyland has really cracked down on fraudulent ticket sales, and they will take your photo with hand held computers at the gates, and if someone else’s picture is attached to the ticket you will not be able to use it and will have lost that money. I would only buy tickets from a vendor you know is reputable.


DIsneyland Ticket Deals

Toon Town, always a good time!

Here are Disneyland Ticket Deals that we know are legitimate:


  • Park Savers offers discounts from $10 to one FREE day per ticket. These guys have great offers currently, and they are good through December 31st, 2014 so its a good spot to stop for discount ticket options first.
  • Cheap Tickets is part of Orbitz, and they offer Disneyland Tickets discount too. This is where we bought our tickets for our last trip, and it was by far the best deal I could find at the time. They are currently offering a free day on multi day park hopper tickets (we bought a four day pass for the price of a three day pass). I was buying 5 tickets, so this saved us hundreds! Orbitz currently has the same offer too!
  • Get Away Today usually offers some savings on tickets. For example in May you can get an adult ticket for the price of a kids ticket (savings of $16 pp). They generally at least will save you $5 or $6 off gate prices, so it can add up if you are buying for multiple ppl too. Plus TNWM readers can save an extra $10 off with promo code ThriftyNW14 
  • Buy at your Grocery Store during rewards offers – this is a great way to save significantly on your tickets if you plan ahead and purchase during a rewards offer at one of your local grocery stores. Another thing about grocery stores, is that they are not required to dispose of their Disney Tickets if the price increases. This means they will continue to sell the lower priced tickets until they are gone (I found some at last years prices at one of my local Safeways this Feb.).

     Some examples of ways to save at recent offerings at NW grocers include:

Safeway runs a get 4x the gas rewards on gift card purchases from time to time. They sell Disneyland tickets in their gift card section. For my family of 5 a 3 day park hopper ticket would have earned us 5000 in gas rewards – or 5 $1 off discounts. Since I can use them for up to $25 per fill up that means that this offer would have saved me $125 in gas that month (and so I consider that a $125 savings on the tickets!).

Fred Meyer (Kroger Stores) pays you on your rewards points

Albertsons runs promos from time to time where you will get a certain Dollar amount off your next grocery store purchase with gift card purchases.

Target offers 5% off if you use your Target Red card to purchase Disney Gift Cards/Tickets

If Disney is offering a ticket deal that you can buy at the ticket gate during your visit, then consider buying the Disney Gift cards during one the promo offers mentioned above, and you can *double dip* on the deals. You will get the savings for buying the Disneyland gift cards, and then you can also use those cards like cash at Disneyland to take advantage of the ticket offer you found through Disneyland.

  • City Pass for Southern California – If you are planning to do more then just Disneyland on your trip ,the CityPass for Southern California is a nice option. You can also upgrade the Disneyland portion of this pass if you want to spend more days at Disneyland. You will just want to make sure you do it before you use up day 3 on the pass, and you will have to do it onsite at Disneyland. (noteGet Away Today is currently selling these for less then they cost on the City Pass site!)
  • Costco – Sometimes Costco will offer a Costco Gift Card with purchase of a Disneyland Hotel ticket. These are getting harder to find, but are great offers if you come across one!
  • Military Discount - Those who are active or retired military members can save quite a bit on tickets (get 3- day park hopper tickets for as low as $129!) through the Salute discount running through Disney right now. There are some restrictions, so be sure to read all the details here.
  • AAA offers a discount on your tickets + AAA/CAA Members also receive FREE parking at the Disneyland® Resort Theme Parks with a multi-day Disneyland® Resort Ticket. If you plan to drive and park at Disneyland, this might be a nice option as free parking can save you an extra $16 per day! You will need to be a member and sign in to get this offer.
  • Mouse Savers also has a list of discount Disneyland tickets if one of the above offers does not fit your needs


Disneyland Tickets Discount

Cars Land at night – so pretty!

Things to Consider When Buying Disneyland Tickets:

Park Hopper vs non-Park Hopper Tickets – No park hopper tickets can save you up to $30, so they are definitely a cheaper option. For the Disneyland park though, I always opt for the Park Hopper tickets. They are just more convenient. Unlike Disney World, the Disneyland and California Adventure Park are right across from each other, and its nice to have the option to go back and forth. Especially if you are staying in one of the Disneyland hotels and want to use the special entrance into the California Park (start there and work your way over to Disneyland). It is also nice, when one park opens earlier or closes later – to maximize time in the parks for the full day.

How Many Days to Visit - One tip that not everyone realizes is that you can upgrade your ticket at Disneyland. For example, if you buy a 2 day ticket and decide to visit three days, as long as you have one day left on your tickets you can upgrade to more days. So, when in doubt buy the lesser number of days and if you decide to visit the park an extra day or two you can upgrade your tickets onsite.

That being said, we always prefer a 3-4 day hopper ticket with young kids. This allows us one day to explore each park at our own leisure, a third day to finish off the rides we might have missed the first two days and if we do day 4 we use that as an opportunity to jump in and out of the park, and do a second round of rides on our favorites, etc. We enjoy a pool break daily, and like to take our time working our way through the parks and not feel pressured to do everything right away, which is the main reason we prefer this length. You could do both parks in two days though, if you like a more aggressive schedule and less time out of the park. 5 days would be too much for my crew – by day 4 we don’t even spend that full day in the park.

There is also plenty to do for a full day out of the park, in the Disneyland area – so we generally plan one days stay where we don’t have park entrance. Downtown Disney has Build A Bear, Studio 365 for make-overs, ESPN Zone for fun, and much more. Pool time is also fun, and there are plenty of day trip opportunities in the immediate area.

Early Entrance – Multi-Day park hopper tickets will provide you one day of early entrance into one of the parks. If you stay at a Disneyland hotel you will get early entrance for each day you visit the park. This early entrance opportunity is a wonderful opportunity to get on the more popular rides like Cars, without extreme wait times!

One last tip. Some of the ticket deals above provide you a voucher that you have to turn in to redeem your actual tickets for. Many of the hotels will allow you to pick your tickets up at check -in. All of the Disneyland Hotels do. If your hotel offers this service, it can save you time as you will be able to avoid the ticket lines in the park (and they can be long)!

Free Night at KOA Campground – May 10th (when you pay for one night)

Winthrop KOA Campground

KOA campgrounds are offering a FREE night’s stay coming Saturday night, May 10th when you pay for a night’s stay on Friday night, May 9th.  So, stay as a paying guest on Friday night & you’ll get a FREE night of camping on Sat 5/14. It’s a great way to check out a new campground at a discounted price, and support a good cause, as this is a fundraising even to support kids with cancer. This applies to campsites, cabins & lodge rooms, although the cabins & lodge rooms may be booked faster, so you’ll want to reserve right away.

Find a participating KOA campground location.  There are a number of participating campgrounds in the Northwest, as well as around the country.

“Now in its 11th year, funds raised during this weekend help send children with cancer to KOA Care Camps across North America. These 56 specialized, medically equipped facilities offer a true summer camp experience to children undergoing treatment or recovering from cancer. The KOA Care Camps Trust distributes $500,000 annually to these camps to help send children to the summer camps of their dreams.”

We do have this review of the Winthrop KOA if you want more info on that location!

I have heard some good things about some of the local KOA campground (like ones with fun bouncy things for kids and more). What are your thoughts on camping at a KOA park? Where is your favorite KOA location to camp at?

Thanks Susan!

Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon – Family Friendly Resort near Mt Hood

Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon Mt Hood

We recently traveled down to the Mt Hood area for a few days to check out all that the area has to offer and we had the opportunity to stay at the Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon. We had stayed here about 3 years ago in the spring for a short visit, but didn’t get a chance to see much of the resort or the surrounding area as it was a short stay. So, I was excited to  have more time check out the resort and explore some of the fun winter sports around Mt Hood. I’ll be sharing more about the winter sports options in a post later this week, but first I wanted to tell you about this family-friendly and affordable option for a stay at a resort close to Mt Hood.

Stay tuned in a few days, too, as we will be sharing about an awesome giveaway for the Resort at the Mountain resort for Thrifty NW Mom readers!!

Review of Resort at the Mountain in Welches:


Welches, Oregon is just a short jaunt (less than an hour away) from Portland and about 3 1/2 hours away from Seattle, so it’s not as far as it may seem if you’re not familiar with the area. If you’re planning on visiting Mt Hood, there are several different options of places you can stay to access the mountain & all the areas around the mountain.

  • Timberline Lodge – right on the side of Mt Hood at almost 6,000 ft; however, prices start at $250 & up for a small room.
  • Government Camp lodging – Government Camp is the closest town to Mt Hood as it’s just 15 minutes away & located at 4,000 feet up the mountain. The types of lodging  you’ll find in Government Camp varies between hotels, condos/timeshares or vacation rentals. They do not, however, offer any full resorts with a variety of activities all on location at the resort. You’re paying higher prices to be closer to the ski resorts or the mountain activities in the summertime.
  • Resort at the Mountain – 15 minutes down the mountain from Government Camp (where one ski resort is located) and less than half hour away from Timberline Lodge

The Resort at the Mountain is nestled in the woods in the beautiful Salmon River Valley.  This is the only full-scale resort with a variety of activities to keep families busy & active. My husband and I were visiting the resort along with travel writers from around the country & as one travel writer said, “Oregon is versatile. Yesterday guy on my trip skied Timberline Lodge then played golf at the Resort at the Mountain.”  You can take advantage of the winter sports on the mountain but then head back to the resort to golf, head to the spa, relax in the heated outdoor pool & more – perfect for busy families to keep your kiddos entertained & enjoying the great outdoors!

Lodging Options:

resort at mountain hotel rooms

The exterior of the resort’s buildings are a bit more rustic looking, but as you can see from these pictures, the inside of the resort rooms, as well as the bathrooms are very modern, luxurious and spacious.

Resort at the mountain lodging

We stayed in a room with a king sized bed and a fireplace & fold out couch and it still had tons of room to feel comfortable with your family. The balcony overlooked the pool and courtyard area, with plenty of trees to make it very cozy & give you the feeling you’re in a cabin (but with all the modern conveniences!). They do offer options of 2 queen sized beds, too, if that’s what you prefer for your kids. If you’re looking for larger accommodations, they do even offer some larger suites situated on the golf course and even a few vacation homes on site that you can rent as well.

[Read more...]

Hotels In Downtown Seattle – Mediterranean Inn for $67/nt!

hotels seattle downtown

Hotels: Seattle (Downtown) Deals!!!

Here is a steal of a deal for a hotel in the Downtown Seattle area. Stays at the Mediterranean Inn start at just $67 a night (or $71 for a room with 2 double beds)! The Mediterranean Inn is located up on Queen Anne Hill, near the Space Needle area of Seattle. It gets a 4 star review on Trip Advisor, and this is an amazing rate for a Seattle area hotel.

What you get with this Groupon deal:

  • Stay for two in a queen or double room
  • Up to two kids 17 or younger stay free in double room
  • Complimentary overnight parking
  • Dates into May

Plus, the guest rooms are equipped with a kitchenette to help you save on food costs too.

Be sure to check out our Seattle Staycation post too, for lots of ideas on what to do in the area.

There is also the Grove West Hotel in the Space Needle are of Seattle for as low as $69 a night and includes a continental breakfast.

Mediterranean inn

Some highlights of staying at the Mediterranean Inn in Seattle:

  • Walk to the Space Needle and Seattle Center.
  • Explore the beautiful Queen Anne neighborhood, with its historic mansions, coffee shops, and local restaurants.
  • Rooftop deck with great views of Seattle
  • Spacious rooms feature 32-inch LCD TVs.
  • Don’t miss a visit to Pike Place Market. Beware, though—the fish sellers love to play jokes on shoppers.


hotels seattle downtown

The rooftop deck at the Mediterranean Inn offers jaw-dropping views of the Olympic mountains, Elliot Bay, West Seattle, the Space Needle, the Seattle Center, the complete downtown Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, and more.

Fine Print:

  • Date cannot be changed once booked; valid only for night(s) purchased
  • 48-hour cancellation notice required prior to check-in or reservation is non-refundable; reservations made within cancellation window are non-refundable
  • No-shows will be charged total Groupon rate
  • Traveler name must match ID at time of check-in
  • No refunds will be processed by Groupon after check-in
  • 21+ to check in
  • CC required at check-in
  • 15.6% tax, $2 daily tourism tax & 2.89% energy surcharge added at purchase.
  • Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Family Travel Talk Forum with Residence Inn – Teaching Your Kids To Give Back & More Travel Talk!

residence inn by marriott

If you are a family that loves to travel, you’ll definitely want to check out this fun and informative Family Travel Talk Forum that the Residence Inn has started on Facebook. They are featuring tips from 10 family travel expert bloggers from around the country every month, with topics such as finding balance in travel, traveling with different ages of kids and more. This is a great forum to connect with other families who love to travel and share your experiences.  We’re excited & honored as we will be one of the 10 family travel experts sharing our experiences and tips with you as part of the forum. So, make sure to check out the Family Travel Talk Forum and post your own questions and experiences about family travel.

This month we are talking about giving back, and specifically how to teach your children to give back. We have some fun ideas on how to work giving back into your travel plans, and would love to hear from you all about how you do this as a family too! Join us over on the Family Travel Talk Forum and share your ideas!

One additional tip along these lines is:

Giving is not only good for those on the recipient end, but also for the givers! It empowers your child. They learn that they can facilitate change, at whatever age they are. There are many ways to give back, so help your child discover what causes they feel strongly about. This will help them stay connected during the process and get excited about giving. The more personal the connection for them, the more likely they will want to be involved. Share some ways you’ve involved your family in giving back? For more info on involving your family in giving back, check out my tips on Residence Inn’s Family Travel Talk Forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RIFamilyTravelTalk/

The forum started this summer and you can scroll all the way down thru the ideas to see some really unique ideas for fun family travel ideas with your own families. There have been lots of unique travel destination ideas for families, a cool idea for a Mom Camp to explore your own city, staycation ideas and more! Travel doesn’t have to stop just because the school year is starting – you just have to get creative about how you accomplish fun travel times with your family!





Hotels and Disneyland – How to Save On Your Disneyland Stay!

Hotels and Disneyland

Staying at Disneyland (and Disneyland Hotel Deals) -

Here are some tips on how to save the most on Hotels and Disneyland stays in the Anaheim area. Be sure to check out our Disneyland Deals page too, for more great ways to save on a Disneyland Vacation!

There are two ways to save the most on your stay when looking at Disneyland Hotel Deals:

1) Stay during the off season. The off season for Disneyland runs from:

  • Mid-January through mid-March (except for President’s Day Weekend)
  • Mid-April through mid-May (except during Spring Break)
  • Mid-September through mid-November (except during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort)

Generally speaking, you will save more if you book a weekday stay vs weekends too (plus you miss more crowds this week, but may run into shorter hours, etc).

Disneyland offers a resource here on when to visit Disneyland, with information on what to expect for weather, crowds and more.

Fairfield Anahiem

We spent one night at the Fairfield Marriott Anahiem, across the street from Disneyland

2) Stay off site at one of the Disneyland good neighbor hotels ( a non-Disney Hotel) - Staying at one of the Disneyland good neighbor hotels vs a Disney Resort will save you lots of money! I have to be honest and tell you that I am a Disney Resort fan personally, but its really a personal decision so I will point out some of the pros and cons of both (and where to find the best deals). My family has stayed onsite at all three Disneyland Resorts, and off-site in walking distance and off-site requiring a shuttle. Every stay was great, and I recommend them all. Here is some more info when trying to decide whether to stay onsite or off site.

The Disneyland Main Gate area is a great place to stay if you want to be in walking distance to Disneyland. Some of these hotels are directly across the street from the Disneyland Maingate (you walk through the transportation area of Disney where the shuttles drop people off). Two that get great recommendations are The Fairfield Disneyland Maingate and The Howard Johnson Anahiem. We stayed at the Fairfield for a night on our latest trip and we had a front row seat for the evening fireworks from our balcony. The room also accommodated our family of 5 nicely (pull out couch and two queen beds). Customer service was great, there was a pizza hut and arcade on the third floor, Mcdonalds in the parking lot, nice swimming pool and a really easy walk to Disneyland! Plus their online booking system is awesome. Book your hotel stay in advance to secure your rate, but you can keep an eye on the rates and if they drop you can cancel and rebook for the lower rate with no penalty (as long as you are more then 24 hours out from your stay)!!

Howard Johnson Hotel

Photo Credit: Howard Johnson website

The Howard Johnson is a little bit of a longer walk, but it includes a small water park on site, so may be fun if you have little ones. I have not stayed here personally, but the reviews are good, and it is the only non-Disney hotel with a waterpark.

Another benefit of staying offsite is that you will have easy access to many more affordable restaurants then if you stay in a Disney resort.

I find Trip Advisor to be a great spot to read the reviews and decide which hotel might best suite your family.

Best ways to save on Off Site hotels near Disneyland:

  • Get Away Today offers some of the best Disneyland discounts as far as travel sites go.  They often include extra promotions (like currently they are offering a free night stays, free kid’s backpacks, discounted Character Meals and more).  I found one deal for the Clarion in Anahiem for my family for around $1500 for a 4 day 3 night stay, and includes free parking and free breakfast (and kids eat free for other meals too). This included a 3 day park hopper ticket, and the price of the tickets alone for my family ran around $1200, so this is a pretty amazing deal! I was looking at packages with tickets included, and they were running approx. $500 less then comparable packages on the Disneyland site. Plus TNWM readers can save an extra $10 off with promo code ThriftyNW14  Another benefit for Get Away Today is that you can use their layaway program and make payments on your vacation to spread the cost out over time.
  • Check to see if your preferred hotel has an online booking site that will not cost you any cancellation penalties (like the Marriott site I mentioned above). That way you can book far in advance, and then keep an eye on rates and cancel and rebook at the lowest rate you find. Many of these sites guarantee lowest rates too, so if you found a lower rate on one of the travel sites you can submit for that rate.
  • Don’t forget to join the rewards programs of these hotel sites too. You could get close to a free nights stay with some, if you are booking 4 or 5 night trips.
  • Take advantage of travel site promo codes for sites like Expedia.com , Cheap Tickets or Orbitz.com promotion codes. Here are some examples of current ways to save:
  1. Orbitz is currently offering 15% off at Disneyland Resort stays through Sept. 30th, 2014 (must book by 3/31) when you use promo code OUTTAHERE at checkout!
  2. Cheap Tickets is another one to look at. They are a branch of Orbitz (legit site for both Disneyland hotels and park tickets – we bought ours through them for our recent stay). They are offering 20% off with promo code LETSJET through March 30th (and this will save you a whopping $67+ a night at a Disney Hotel, so its  a great offer)!
  3. Expedia is offering Save $25 on your first hotel booking on the Expedia app of $100 or more, OR get $150 off $1000 or More on Flight + Hotel Vacation Package with promo code CHEAPPKG150 at checkout (Book by 09/30/13 and travel by 03/31/14). Restrictions apply. See site for details.

Disneyland Hotels:

While it will almost always be cheaper to stay off site, there are some reasons that you might choose to stay at a Disneyland Hotel. They are primarily for convenience, because the rooms are not spectacular for the price you pay (but we loved our room, with all the extra Disney touches).  That being said, if we can afford it and find a deal, we generally choose a Disneyland hotel over staying off-site (just our personal preference). The primary reason for us is that Disney is never a very frugal vacation option, even if you are saving everywhere you can. So, if we are going we want to cut down on the stress and really enjoy the parks, and staying on site helps us do that best.

Here are some of benefits of staying on-site at a Disneyland Resort:

- Early Park Entrance Hours – this is the best benefit in my opinion. When you stay at a Disneyland Resort you get early entrance into one park or the other each day of your visit. You can get one day of early entrance with a multi-day ticket if you stay off-site too, but having this option each morning of our visit was great! We were able to easily get on Cars one day by utilizing early entrance. It was a nice way to enjoy many of the harder to get on rides, and then we would take a breakfast break during the morning rush after they opened the park to all. Even better, the Monorail is open during this early hour for hotel guests so you can avoid the crowds at the front gate.

- Disney Theming throughout the hotel and grounds (you never leave the magic of Disney). Our headboard in the Disneyland Hotel could light up at night with a fireworks theme, they played Disney music from the alarm clocks, you can have a Disney bed time story on the TV in the evenings and more. You can also request to have a character call in the morning to wake you up!

- There are many other Disney events for your downtime out of the park (like movies, storytime, character sightings and more).

- Convenience. We were able to enjoy many conveniences while staying at the Disneyland Hotel. We were able to pick up our park tickets at the front desk while checking in, and avoid the ticket lines. If we purchased anything in the parks (or won prizes) we could have them sent back to our hotel for free, and not carry them around the park all day. Guest services is located right in the hotel so we were able to easily set up restaurant reservations, get info, etc.

You can read more about some of these in our Disneyland Secrets and Tips post here.

Ways to Save on Disneyland Resort Hotels:

We got our rooms for 25% off this year, by using a promo code they sent us. Here are some tips for saving on Disneyland Hotels beyond just booking during the off season:

  • Check out the Disneyland Offers and Promotions page for current specials.
  • Get on Disneys mailing list, to get emails from Disney and promotions (they sent ours to us in the mail). You can do this when you request a free Disney Planning DVD or Cruise Planning DVD, or if you have stayed with them before.
  • If you are booking online at the Disneyland website, pull up a chat box and ask the representative if there are any travel promotions available (they sent me a link to book the 25% off directly online, so I would have been able to do that even if I had not received the post card from them).
  • Book through Costco Travel to get extra perks. For my family this worked out to be more then $200 in extras! I just compared vacation packages and they were the same price on Costco travel and Disneyland site, BUT if you book through Costco you also get:
    • Premium Disney Character Dining Experience (one per person, per stay) – a value of $45 per adult and $22 per child (ages 3 to 9)?
    • $20 Disney Gift Card (one per package)??
    • Exclusive collectible pin with matching luggage tag and lanyard (one per person)
    • (plus check out Thrifty and Thrivings tip on how to use the character dining to save even more on dining while at Disney here)!
  • Call the Walt Disney travel company directly and ask for promotions (note – I always do this just in case they have a lower rate for me – but in this years case I found a rate online that was lower then they could even find in their system, so be sure to check all avenues first!). The number is (714) 520-5060.
  • Take advantage of Expedia.com or Orbitz.com or Cheap Tickets promotion codes (see the staying at Non-Disney hotels above for current promotions)!
  • Military Discounts - Military families can get up to 40% off at Disneyland Resort hotels, now through Sept. 27th, 2014. Call their travel company for more info (714) 520-5060.
  • Check Get Away Today for current promotions (Plus TNWM readers can save an extra $10 off with promo code ThriftyNW14 )
  • Check Mouse Savers for current promotions.

Lastly, if you have your own RV, here is a list of RV parks near Disneyland that you could stay at. If you really want to save, you can consider camping near Disneyland. There is a list here of some sites that include actual camp sites (but I recommend checking reviews on Trip Advisor too).

Do you have any great tips on how to save on your stay at Disneyland that we missed?

You might also be interested in this article (and stay tuned for more posts on saving on food at Disneyland, How to Get There, Souvenirs, Tickets and more coming soon!).