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

Hotels and Disneyland

Staying at Disneyland (and Disneyland Hotel Deals) -

**Update – Disneyland is offering 25% off stays before 2/12, and 20% off on stays by 3/26. Discounted rates are valid for select stays Sunday through Thursday nights. We found rates starting at around $207 per night, which is a SUPER price for a Disneyland Hotel!

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:

  • 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. Cheap Tickets is a branch of Orbitz (legit site for both Disneyland hotels and park tickets – we bought ours through them for our recent stay). They almost always offer a 20% off coupon code, that can really help you save. Find their current promo codes here!
  2. Orbitz also offers promo codes good to use on Hotel deals. Find a list of current promo codes with them here.
  3. Expedia often offers special promotions too. See site for details.
  • 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.

DisneylandHotel
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:

**(Note – we found rooms at the Paradise Pier Disney Hotel for $247 in June after using the 25% off Cheap Tickets promo code! (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 25% off with promo code PACKUP through May 26th. )

  • Check out the Disneyland Offers and Promotions page for current specials.
  • Sign up to get special offers and promotions sent to you from Disneyland here!
  • 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!).

Tips For Visiting Victoria BC – What to See, How to Get Around & more!

Tips on Visiting Victoria BC

Tips for Visiting Victoria BC

I’ve been sharing about Victoria, BC all week long (make sure to check out all of the Victoria posts I’ve shared) and today’s post is a wrap-up post about some of the different options of things to see in Victoria, along with a few general tips about visiting Victoria and what you should know before you go.

My husband and I recently had a one-night getaway to Victoria, BC during the Christmas season. You can read all about the fun Christmas activities that they offered in Victoria as well as the Butchart Gardens Christmas lights.

Victoria is one of those places which is an awesome place to visit any time of year.  Whether it’s in the spring or summer when they have their gorgeous, huge flower baskets on every street corner or around Christmas when twinkly Christmas lights line the streets and the buildings. Those are the two times I’ve been, but I’m sure every season is beautiful in this English city by the sea. You definitely feel like you’re transported over to England, with  proper afternoon tea offered at the Empress or double-decker buses driving by.

Things to Do at Any time in Victoria::

If you’re looking for a great resource on things to do in Victoria, the Clipper Vacations blog has an excellent resource on a number of different activities to do anytime of year in Victoria. There really are so many different things you can do at little to no cost, mainly just walking around & enjoying the beautiful sights at any time of year. My husband and I loved taking walks around the Inner Harbor, the grounds of the Empress and the Parliament buildings & all around downtown.

Here are some activities to check out:

The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC

Fairmont Empress Hotel - A must-see when you visit Victoria is to visit the Fairmont Empress. This is the site of the famous afternoon High Tea, which you could try as well (this is pricey at $50 – $63/person – depending on the seasons) for tea & pastries/scones/sweets & tea sandwiches, but it’s on my bucket list to try it – someday! The view is spectacular from the tea room of the harbor (it’s right at the top of the steps in my picture above)

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Disclosure

The Victoria Clipper – Comfortable & Convenient Ride to Victoria!

The Victoria Clipper

The Victoria Clipper

If you’re thinking of heading up to Victoria, BC, you’ll definitely want to consider traveling on the Victoria Clipper as it’s based right out of Seattle & is a very convenient option for heading up to Victoria. My husband and I recently headed up to Victoria and after considering all the options of travel to Victoria, we decided upon the Victoria Clipper.  The Victoria Clipper is a great option for those in the Puget Sound area or if you’re coming up from Oregon or out of state as it takes off right out of Seattle on the waterfront. Not only is the location convenient to board the boat,  but the Clipper is a nice, comfortable way to make your way to Victoria.

The Victoria Clipper is a passenger only ferry service that travels year-round to Victoria, as well as traveling to the San Juan Islands seasonally.  The trip to Victoria takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes, going through the Puget Sound & Straits of Juan de Fuca.   We liked the times they traveled as it was 8am – 10:45am & then we departed the next day at 5pm to arrive at 7:45pm in Seattle. Even though we only spent one night, we felt like this schedule really made it feel like 2 full days in Victoria.

Victoria Clipper Top Floor

The Clipper has 2 floors on the catamaran boat – the top floor is filled with tables which would be great for families. There are either 4 or 6 seats grouped together around a table, which would make it nice for eating, playing games and more. The top floor also has some nice views from that 2nd level.  I think the tables would definitely make great options for families to be able to have some more space & get out coloring books, a few toys, etc. With these tables, if the boat was really full, just know that they do need to fill in all the spots, so if there is room at the table, then other people may be sitting with you (like on a train), but it would be a fun way to pass the time chatting with others.

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Victoria Restaurants – Where to Check Out on Your Trip!

Victoria Restaurants

Victoria Restaurants – Where to Check Out! 

Victoria British Columbia is a city that is filled with wonderful restaurants throughout the city.  We recently headed to Victoria  for a one night getaway, which didn’t allow for a lot of time to try out Victoria restaurants, but we definitely found some restaurants that went on our must-try list! I wanted to share those with you so that you could have a few ideas to get you started, but we’d also love to hear from you if you have any favorite restaurants in Victoria.

You’ll want to check out this website called Victoria Savvy, which is filled with great tips on restaurants to try in Victoria and I love that it’s broken down into price range, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for within your budget (they also have some food trucks listed as well – it is always a good thing to find a local food truck!). She is a Victoria native so you’re getting an insider’s guide to the best food (& even some restaurants to stay away from). I found this website very helpful for the honest information she shared.

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Discount Great Wolf Lodge Groupon Deal – Winter Dates (Start at $179 NT + $25 Resort Credit)!

discount great wolf lodge

 Discount Great Wolf Lodge Groupon Deal!

Looking for Great Wolf Lodge deal? Here is another great Great Wolf Lodge Groupon deal right now, that is perfect for larger parties!  They are offering a multi-day deal for the family suite, Wolf Den, Kids Camp and more! Rates start at as low as $179/ nt for suites a. That is a good price for this time of the year, if you are looking to make visit through March (read fine print below as there are a few blackout dates)! 

This sale is for multiple room options at the Ground Mound location. You can find the full list of locations with Great Wolf Lodge Discounts here.

They did sell out some of the options when they last offered this promotion, so you may want to shop early if your interested. Its generally the Friday night stay option that sells out first.

Great Wolf Lodge Groupon Discounts Available for the Grand Mound, Wa. Location:

  • $179 for a Multi Day Stay (2+ nights) + $25 Resort Credit per night (prices will vary by the dates you select, but this is the starting price)

  • $209 for a one-night stay for up to seven in a KidCabin Suite + $25 Resort Credit per night (prices will vary by the dates you select, but this is the starting price)
  • $209 for a one-night stay for up to seven in a Wolf Den Suite + $25 Resort Credit per night (prices will vary by the dates you select, but this is the starting price)
  •  $289 for a one-night stay for up to seven in a Grand Bear Suite , up to eight waterpark wristband (prices will vary by the dates you select, but this is the starting price)

Fine Print:

  • Reservations: Dates cannot be changed once booked; valid only for night(s) purchased
  • Cancellation policy: 4-day cancellation notice required prior to check-in or reservation is nonrefundable; reservations made within cancellation window are nonrefundable
  • Additional fees: $19.99 plus tax daily resort fee added at purchase
  • Rates may vary by date and are subject to availability.

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.

Round Trip Airfare From Seattle Starting at $142 (Many Options Under $200 RT)!!!

Airfare Sale for Seattle

 

Cheap Tickets is running and airfare sale right now with round trip tickets from Seattle to many popular destinations for under $200! We found Roundtrip Airfrare from Seattle starting at just $142 (thats $71 ea way)!! If you are planning a Disneyland trip, or anything else in the California area there are some great prices under $200! You can also fly to Orlando for less then $300 per person, if your thinking Disney World!

One of my favorite things about this sale, is that the prices are for multiple carriers, and so the dates will be less restrictive. We found deals on weekend tickets, as well as mid week tickets. Check out the best prices for your destination here.

I am a big fan of Cheap Tickets (run by the same folks as Orbitz, they are one of my go to spots for some of the best deals on Disneyland tickets and we have purchased through them a number of times)

Also, check out our Disneyland Savings page for more tips on saving on a Disney Trip if you have one of those planned. You will find tips for saving on the following topics: 

Victoria BC Accommodation – Tips on Where to Stay & How to Save the Most!

Victoria Accomodation - Where to Stay & How to Save the Most on your Hotel

Victoria Accommodation –

Tips on Where to Stay & How to Save the Most on Your Hotel

If you’re thinking of heading to Victoria, BC, I’m sharing some tips on where to stay, what to consider about the locations you pick, and ways that you can save on your hotel stay! Many people go up to Victoria for just a night or two, but there really is so much to see & do that you could make it a mini vacation for 3-4 nights if you found a great, affordable Victoria BC hotel & really take advantage of all that Victoria has to offer.

Tips on Where to Stay in Victoria:

On our stay in December, we stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point, which was a great hotel during the Christmas season, as they hosted the Gingerbread Showcase. The day we were there was also a special Santa Claus Brunch several times during the Christmas season. Families got to enjoy brunch & then as kids were ready, they could go greet Santa & sit in his lap as he was stationed in the main room. It looked very relaxed & fun when we peeked in there & the view was simply gorgeous from their restaurant, situated right on the Inner Harbor.

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Travel to Victoria BC – Budget Friendly Recommendations!

Travel to Victoria BC - Tips & Ways to Save on Getting There

Travel to Victoria BC – Budget Friendly Recommendations 

If you’re planning a trip to Victoria, I’m sharing several different options of how to get to Victoria on Vancouver Island & the most important considerations are whether or not you want a car. Victoria is very easy to walk around and pedestrian-friendly, so I don’t think you need a car, but if you want to explore outside of the city, then you might want one as there are limited transportation options to head out of the city (bus, taxi, rental car, or charter bus with tours).

You’ll also want to consider your home location to the different ferries, which one is closest for you, as many of these leave very early in the morning. So, you’ll want to factor in whether you need to stay the night before near the ferry location, as that will affect your budget as well as the cost of gas to get to that location.  You’ll also want to look at the times that they arrive in Victoria, to see how much time you will actually have to spend in Victoria to maximize your stay.

Here are some different options of how to get to Victoria & ways you can save the most on your transportation, so you can see what will work best for you. And don’t forget to check out all the posts we’ve shared about Victoria BC.

How to Get to Victoria, BC:

Washington State Ferry in Anacortes, WA

Washington State Ferries to Victoria BC

Typically one route to get to Victoria is using the Washington State Ferry System & traveling from Anacortes in Skagit Valley to Sidney, BC. You then need to take a bus from Sidney to Victoria, which is about an hour (although it looks like they may have Express buses which are faster & direct). The buses leave every 30 minutes typically. {Or you can take a cab for around $65 – we have always chosen the bus & it works great} This is the way that I’ve traveled several times to Victoria in the past. However, I just saw on their website that this route is suspended until March 22, 2015 (I’m not sure if this is just this year or if it’s every year during this time – anyone know?).

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Alaska Airlines Sale – Prices as low as $79/one way from Seattle to LA, $239/one way to Maui & more!

Alaska Airlines Sale

Alaska Airlines Sale 

Here’s another *hot* airline sale we found: Alaska Airlines sale with some of the lowest prices we have seen in awhile, starting as low as $59/one way from Seattle to Wenatchee, prices as low as $79/one way from Seattle to Portland & many more options!

You can look at the scheduler & see which dates have the best prices on flights, which was really helpful if you have some flexibility in your schedule. You can also look on that date to see which flight time will be the least expensive as well.

This is another great opportunity to head to Disneyland at a great rate of less than $200 / ticket. Or head to Maui with prices as low as $239/one way! These prices can’t be beat!

Here are some of the sample prices from Seattle (one-way):

  • Seattle to Wenatchee – $49
  • Seattle to LA – $79
  • Seattle to Oakland – $69
  • Seattle to Spokane – $69
  • Seattle to Las Vegas – $99
  • Seattle to San Diego – $89
  • Seattle to Maui – $239 (one-way)
  • Seattle to New York – $199

Fare Rules:

  • Purchase by 11:59 pm (PT) on January 12, 2015. Purchase tickets at least 14 days prior to travel. Travel is valid Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from January 20, 2015, through March 11, 2015. Blackout Dates: Sale fares are not available from February 12, 2015 through February 21, 2015.

Blackout Dates:

Sale fares are not available from February 12, 2015 through February 21, 2015.

Thanks The Coupon Project!

Hawaii Airfale Sale: Flights from Seattle, Bellingham, & More starting at $179 (One-Way)

Hawaii Airfair Sale

Hawaii Airfair Sale: Flights starting at $179 (One-Way)

Does the cold weather have you down in the dumps?  Escape the bitter temperatures with a trip to HAWAII!  Alaska Airlines is offering some great prices on flights from Seattle, Bellingham, Portland & more to Hawaii, with prices starting at just $179 one-way today on Travel Zoo.

Check out the prices:

tzoo.dp.media.10173.252587.kona-shutterstock

Alaska Airlines also has a few other flight options available for the same prices on their website, and the same terms and conditions apply:

Here are the terms and conditions of the deal:

  • Must purchase by January 11, 2015.
  • Travel to Hawaii is valid only on Sundays through Wednesdays between April 15, 2015 and June 6, 2015.
  • Travel from Hawaii is valid Mondays through Thursday between April 15, 2015 and June 6, 2015.
  • Sale fares are available on some select Thursdays, including June 4. Check the fare calendar for updated availability.

Book your trip now with the Hawaii Airfare Sale!