Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday - Disneyland Secret Tips & Tricks

We love Disneyland over here.  Who doesn't?  We are lucky enough to have been able to a lot over the years our 1st time was when Cassidy had just turned 4.  What a magical age to take children.  Any-hoo since we have gone a lot we have picked up some great tricks at avoiding the crowds, saving money and having a ton-O-fun!
(some of these are from my own experience and some are from a Disney Employee that gave me this info)
Top 10 Tricks to Disneyland
10) This is the BIGGEST kept secret so I'm going to give it to you first: Disney LET'S you trade in tickets to get you to the next level ticket. So if your friend or neighbor just returned from Disney with their tickets, grab them! They are like gold! A used 5 day bonus park hopper has the value of $219, and you can put that towards a NEW annual pass. Even if you are only going for 3 days, that means you can  add $20 to each used ticket and turn it into an annual pass! That’s 3 days at the park for $50!!!! And if you live in CA, even better, you can use that ticket all year for just the $20 you had to spend in the upgrade!!!!  Let’s take it slow and let me try to explain it clearly. Don’t worry, if it’s too confusing you can call Disney or go to Disneyland.com and check it out. They don’t advertise this, but it’s true!!!!
9) If you are buying annual passes buy one DELUX pass w/ parking (for the Hubby) and the rest buy the cheapest possible.  That way you can get a 10-20% discount on all food and merchandise that will save you loads of cash.  In one day we saved $98 with Tom’s Discount.  The parking pass is worth it so that way you don’t have to worry about the shuttle or busses and can come and go when you need to. 
8) When you first get into the park make sure one of you gets a pin from Town Hall.  It could be a Happy Birthday, Just Graduated, 1st Time or Just Married pin.  You will be surprised at the extra attention and free stuff you get just by wearing this pin!  We got a free dessert with dinner! (Tom was wearing the Just Graduated pin).
7) Did you know there is a Petting Zoo at Disneyland?  And it’s the cleanest Petting Zoo I have EVER been too.  I am mentioning this because it is tucked away far from everything else in a quiet and shaded location.  It’s got a nice log cabin that has coloring for your child, a horse, cow and lots of baby goats and sheep you can pet.  The best part?  It has loads of seating for a nice rest while your kids are being entertained by the animals, it has shade to cool you off in the hot summer and it has plenty of the cutest washing stations so you can clean off all grubby little hands and germs from every part of yours and your families bodies.  (this is very important for my Hubby who is a germ-a-phobe!)  They even have a new Bar-B-Que area right next door for you to eat lunch/dinner at.  Look for it next time you go.  It’s totally worth it! (disclaimer – we haven’t ever eaten there…it’s brand new)
6)  Hopefully you know about the Fast-Pass so you don’t have to wait in long lines but did you know about the Baby-Pass?  This lets you have one parent sit out with the baby while the other one rides.  When they get back you switch and you don’t have to wait in line.  Plus you get to take someone with you.  The kids like it because they get to ride twice in a row and this gets you lot’s of points with them (wink!)
**oh and don’t forget to bring Grandma next time you go – put her in a wheelchair so she doesn’t get tired and the whole family can go right up to the front of the line with no waiting.  Don’t forget to go get a handicap pass at Town Hall. **
5)  We always eat at Zocalo Mexican Restaurante – they have the BEST Mexican Chicken Caesar Salad.  They also have plenty of Mexican Food options plus Bar-B-Que options so everyone is satisfied!  They give you plenty of food – Big-Bang-For-Your-Buck kind of food!  Here’s the secret tip – they let you have refills on your drinks.  And……..you get to sit inside or as I prefer outside in the quiet gorgeous garden area for as long as you want.  Baby needs a nap?  Mom needs to rest her feet?  Have a big group that needs to all sit together?  They have got you covered!  It’s my perfect Disneyland dining location!  ** they also have a bathroom that no one knows about so there isn’t a long line like there is at other places**
4) Priceline is what you want to use for your Hotels.  You can get a 3, 3 1/2 or 4 Star Hotel (Hilton, Hyatt, etc) for under $50 a night.  And if you go off peak or during the week it’s more like $35 a night.  We just went and paid $34 a night for the Hilton.  SWEET!
3) If you are an Annual Passholder make sure you call each month to see what the special is.  One time we stayed (the only time) at the Disneyland Hotel because we got the rooms for $79 a night instead of $550 (I just did a check for Friday night and that was the price!  Can you believe that?)  Each month is a different deal so check each month by calling or going to THIS site.
2)  Prize Plan – This is what we do to help with “THE GIMMIES”  you know, gimmie this, gimmie that……..can I have……….but I want………..  This makes things so frustrating for the parent because we know how much we spent on just getting to Disneyland and it wasn’t pretty!  Then we are bombarded with ungrateful children asking for more stuff every hour on the hour.  So we came up with this plan very early on that has saved our sanity and out wallet! The kids are free to LOOK at anything and everything they might want to buy.  It doesn’t matter if we are there 1 day or 5 days they can not ask for anything until we are walking out of Disneyland on the last day we are there.  Then they can pick ONE thing – anything but it can only be ONE thing.  If that is a giant Lolly-Pop then we go buy that.  If it’s a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt then we buy it.  If it’s a ceramic figurine, a CD, a bag of stones, a princess wallet…….then we buy it.  But only one thing per child.  I’m telling you this is the best plan!  Everyone is happy.  Everyone has a great time and no one feels left out or underappreciated. 
1) Are you ready for the best kept Disneyland Secret? 
click on the link to go to the website for directions and more info.
It’s about 10-15 minutes from Disneyland but worth the drive. We usually go first thing when we get into Cali or after we are Disneyland out and go on our way out of town.  They have great deals and you can find lots of Disneyland stuff for 20-50% off or more.  It’s a great place to go if you want key chains, hats, a sweatshirt. We had to buy Cass a sweatshirt in the part and it cost us $70 – for a DUMB sweatshirt…but what do you do when your darling daughter is freezing after riding Grizzly Mountain Rapids!  We got the best Disneyland book there years ago that my girls are still fighting over at bedtime.  It has fun facts, loads of pictures and information on all the different rides.  ** Disclaimer – this is an outlet store so if you go make sure you aren’t looking for anything specific.  It’s always stocked with overflow from the parks so it’s always different. 

Well, there you have it folks.  There are more secret tips and tricks out there and I’m sure anyone who has been to Disneyland has a few they swear by.  This was Top 10 Tuesday so I only shared 10 but I would love to know of your secret tips and tricks!  Leave me a comment if you want and we can share info!


Erin said...

Thanks for the tips. I'll have to come back and read this post again before we go to Disneyland this year. We like Zocalo too.

Susie said...

Oh my goodness! The put Grandma in a wheel chair. I am cracking up right now. Disney is crazy expensive. That number 10! Who knew. And the Baby Pass!!!! What! Perfect. Thanks for the gem of info.

onehm said...

Now I'm even more sick for DL!! :)
LOVE all your tips...you are awesome!

The Kempiak Party of Five said...

I am amazed what you have just taught me. Thank you so much. I will need to store this away for our Fall break. Is the Disney outlet in Aneheim (sp) if I google it? Thanks again!

Kristin said...

Thanks for all the tips. Please explain the 5 day tickets - turning them into passes please.
email me at kspangler7@cox.net
(by the way I'm Pam's cousin)

Anny said...

Great info. now I just need to plan a trip to DL. I will be calling you when we do so we can enjoy a cheap vacation! Thanks