Help! Need Help Planning Disneyland

Updated on May 03, 2008
H.J. asks from Idaho Falls, ID
13 answers

Ok ladies- I am going to disneyland for the first time ever (yes I know it is hard to believe)I will be traveling with my 5 year old and 7 year old and my hubby. We only get one vacation a year so we want it memorable. We need cheap but CLEAN hotel near Disneyland..any suggestions?
Also, can we do Disney in 2 days, then Cal. adventure park in 1, then Universal in 1...we then plan to travel on to SanDiego for 3 additional days. Am I expecting too much?
Anyone have any cheap tricks, ideas to ease the trip it is greatly appreciated!
Thought a package deal may be the way to go but, my goodness there are so many-I'm overwhelmed-I've been looking for 2 confused!

Is the Disney Grand resort worth the money?????

Thanks tons! H.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

We just returned home last night from Disney World but my hubby works for Disney so of course we got the employee discount on everything, so I can't help there.

However I have booked trips in the past through Funjet vacations and have found really good deals on multiple day passes and hotel accommodations.

As far as doing Disneyland in 2 days you should be fine but make sure to talk to a park attendant when you are there and get their advise on when to hit which rides to avoid the loooooooong lines. Also take advantage of the fast pass to skip ahead on the really popular rides. I haven't been to California adventure so I don't know about that park. One day at Universal should be fine as well.

I have stayed in the Disney Resorts in both Cali and Orlando, they are really nice and offer some fun stuff for the kids, they also offer meal plans you can pay for in advance that can really save you money (it costs a fortune to eat there otherwise). If you are on a limited budget you may be better off finding less expensive lodging.

Here is a link for Funjet:

I know it is overwhelming, but you will find the trip that is right for your family! Have fun!

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answers from Tucson on

There is an awesome site called that is run by a travel agency but there are a ton of people on there. They have a whole section on budget disney. Also when we went we got the disney dining for our family and LOVED it.. It is a little expensive but its less cash you have to carry about and it inclused three meals and a snack for EACH person... So when we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner one night we EACH for a Appitizer, Main course, and Desert... WAY to much food for 4 people but we took it back to the room and had leftovers. It also includes charter meals but you have to "give up" other meals in exchange for that one meal.. Again worth it when you see the price!

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answers from Denver on

we're going to disney in july for our family vacation as well, and have saved a TON of money working with louise rumfello 1-877-454-3991 or [email protected]

this is a service paid for by disney. there is no fee for them to plan your vacation. she found ways to save money on hotel (and a disney hotel at that), she found us cheap airfare on southwest, we bought the meal plan which will end up saving us a LOT of money in the long run, and by staying in a disney hotel, we also get free transportation to and from the airport, as well as around the parks, and we get to take advantage of extended park hours (only open to those staying in a disney property). we bought park hopper passes so we can go to any park we want anytime (really helps "see" everything you possibly can), and we also get to have a "Fast Pass" where we can reserve our place in a ride line (this pass electronically holds our place in line and we can go to that ride at the time the ride tells you to come back, and get right on!) lastly, you also get disney autograph books for the kids for free as well.

she also has made all of our dining reservations - like for our 2 girls to have a character dining experience (they are going to breakfast with the princesses, and another day going to lunch at cinderella's castle). there are a lot of character dining choices - they make the reservations, and you can do it through the meal plan at no extra cost. she also has made reservations at other restaurants on the disney property for us to go to each day/night according to what park we plan to be in at the time. we also have meals where we just grab something from our hotel or something on the go in the park too - all covered through the meal plan.

i would definitely call her - she is trained by disney specifically, and knows the parks' ins and outs. she has helped us plan a great vacation that we're looking forward to.

three adults, two kids - two hotel rooms - 6 days - costing us around $4000 (including airfare for all) we're going to disneyworld - to florida from colorado, but my friend is the one who gave me louise's name, and she and her family went to disneyland in california for 4 or 5 days for about $2800. give her a call!

here are some websites that are great!

have a great time!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

We just went to disneyland and it was the easiest funnest trip I have ever been on. This is what I recommend.

-Shop packages with one of the 3 disneyland hotels. It will save you time and money not having to travel and it is so nice to be able to run back to your hotel for breaks.

-Fly into John Wayne airport in Orange county and take the Disneyland express shuttle. It is only 10 min from the hotel and costs about $15 a person. LAX is about 40 min away.

-Buy your disneyland tickets in advance with a package. They usually have 3 days for price of 2 deals.

We stayed at the Grand California and it has its own entrance to California adventure and Diseyland. It is beuatiful and has 3 swimming pools with water slides. It has a cafe for cheap food for breakfast and lunch. It was worth every cent! Also it is surrounded by restaurants and shops so you save $ by not having to eat in the expensive places in the park.

2 Days in disneyland and 1 in Cal adventure is plenty! I would probably call it a trip with that and stay in a nicer hotel. You'll save on renting a car and gas if you just take the shuttle to and from the airport.

Good Luck and have fun!

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answers from Denver on

I would look up and see what packages you could find that includes hotels or talk to a travel agent they get alot of kickbacks for these things. good luck and have fun

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answers from Omaha on

When we went we did a package trip because it includes some of the food. That helped a lot. Also we got a room with a fridge so we could have breakfast in our room. i carried snacks for the smaller one's into the park. Staying on Disney was amazing and so worth the extra money that we spent. Two days is not a lot of time to see all of Disney because the lines can be long. I hope you have a great time.

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answers from Provo on

Try Costco. They have a discounted package of tickets to sea world, disneyland, universal studios, etc. Just a thought...

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answers from Tucson on

In addition to the DIS Boards, an AWESOME must-have item (especially for first-timers) is Passporter. Available online or at your local bookstore.

They also have a chatboard that is focused on Disney and the Passporter books

The Passporter is part guide book, part travel planner, part organizer, ALL sanity saver :-)
Check out the video guided tour

You can use the planning pages and maps to draw up your attack plan for the parks, which rides and when, where to eat, what to do for down time (VERY important!) etc.

Remember, you can't do everything in one day so don't even try! Instead, build in some down time so that everyone can just chill...whether you go back to your hotel and hit the pool for a couple hours, or take a nap or maybe just take in a something that will put the feet and brain into neutral. Then when everyone is recharged, head back to the park. If you return late afternoon/dusk, you'll get to see the park anew with all the great lights turning on.

There is also a service that will map out a park itinerary (ie ride this first, then get a FastPass for here, then ride that, then eat here etc) if you tell them about your traveling party and interests. They have itineraries for grandparents going with young grandkids, families with a mix of little kids and teens etc.

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answers from Boise on

Just a fair warning that my post is long but I hope it helps!

Here is my two cents worth about traveling to Disneyland and San Diego.

We did a trip to San Diego and only stayed for two nights (one day) and only went to Sea World. It was fantastic! We stayed at a local hotel and didn’t have any problems. Sea World was able to be done in one day. The thing with Sea World is that they have scheduled events for their shows like the dolphins and Shamu and stuff like that. So when you walk in they give you a schedule of events. We felt like we were running back and forth at times to make a show, but it was great fun. We did have sore feet by the end of the day though.

The next day we went to Disneyland and spent two days there. We did stay at a Disneyland hotel and I feel it was very much worth it. Everyone there was there for Disneyland so it was fun to see more families instead of “business people.” They also had a pool so we took a break half-way through our second day to swim, which was a great thing to rejuvenate! One great thing about staying at a Disneyland hotel is the access you have. You get to go through a shopping center outside of Disneyland and ride a “train” to the park. You do not have to wait in line at the gate, you get right in.

There is also a great restaurant outside the tram that is called Rainforest Café. It is a must go to if you go to Disneyland. When you walk in it is a little store but behind it is a restaurant. It has huge fish tanks by the doorway to the restaurant and when you get in the restaurant it is like a mini jungle! It is hard to describe but my children absolutely loved it! There was tons of stuff to look at and every so often the animals came “alive” and made noises and stuff. I am no an orator so I cannot describe it only that it was worth it.

Also the Goofy Café was awesome! They had the Disney characters that came to each table to say hi. The food is buffet style so it is easy to find something for everyone. But the kids only cared about who was coming to their table! Just make sure you find out what time the characters are there, they are not there late in the day!

Now, my advice for Disneyland is to bring little fanny packs for everyone to wear and put water bottles and snacks in it. We only brought a few snacks and had to buy drinks. Bottles of flavored water (no regular water there) were almost $3! It was crazy. Food prices are very high at the park itself. I didn’t do the meal plan so I cannot say for that, but we did spend a fortune on food. One more food advice, do not, I repeat do not eat at the hotel. The restaurants are very expensive. We ended up spending $100 on one dinner at the hotel. We were shocked. The menu had no prices on it, which should have been our clue!

We also had our girls (5 and 8 at the time) save up a lot of money by doing chores and stuff, so they could choose what they wanted to buy. My 8 year old had save up about $100 and my 5 year old had saved up about $70. It was a great teaching tool because of course they wanted everything but they had to stay in their budget. By the end of the trip we did have to go back to certain shops to pick up what they really wanted, but that was ok. Oh, the other thing nice about staying in a Disneyland hotel is if you buy something at a shop at Disneyland, they will send it to your hotel for you! That was great for things you find you want but do not want to carry around all day!

One last thing, bring or buy hats. Standing in line under the sun is very hard on your head and face!

Have a great time!

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answers from Denver on

The best thing I have found to take the stress out of planning a vacation is contact a travel agent. I have a great one that I can refer you to. They can usually get you some pretty reasonable rates and hook you up with travel insurance and they do all the work. My family (husband and 6yr boy) recently took a trip to Disney World over Christmas. Save your money and go for one of the Value Resorts that Disney offers. The only time you will be in your room is to sleep so you might as well spend that money on something else. If you have the option to do the dining package through it, it will save you a ton of coin. Disney is a great vacation and you will have a blast. Your kids will love it and so will you. Have a great time :O)

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answers from Boise on

Do not go to Disney Land during the weekend!!! Disney Land is worth the money as long as you know about the fast passes and work them to your advantage. Eat before you go and take snacks.

San Diego...AWESOME!!! Buy the three in one pass for the wild animal park, the zoo and Sea World. Sea World is by far the best. They have a dog and cat show that sounds stupid but it is great. Don't dally around, get to seeing things and move to the next. There is a lot at Sea World and it is all really cool. You can always back track if you have time and most likely you won't. The zoo is a wonderful place as well. It is more like a walk through the woods type of thing and it is wonderful. The Wild Animal Park is fun and it can be done fairly quickly or slower. If I had to pick my favorite it is definately Sea World.

I would stay in Mission Bay and there is a Best Western really close to all of them where you could see the ocean with decent prices. (or when I was there last, 4 yrs ago.) One upside to staying close to mission bay is there is a "Mission Bay" park that you and your kids could greatly enjoy for fairly cheap that has rides and a cheaper strip mall. I don't know if you will have time or the energy, but if you do it is worth it. It is in some ways funner than Disney Land on a weekend because you can ride the rides with out waiting forever!!!

I personally think you are going at the perfect time and ages for your kids. You will have a much better time if you REMBER, don't do Disney Land on a weekend. Everyone who lives close buy's year round passes and if they are bored they go to Disney Land. When you go I would write your cell phone numbers on your children's stomach. If there is a lot of people it is EXTREMELY easy to lose your child even if they are only ten feet from you. I saw this happen when I was there and it was horrible for both the child and parent. They have children's lost and founds all over and if they know your cell phone number is on their stomach they can have an employee call you for pick up. I know it sounds crazy, but trust me if it did happen you would be frantic and wishing more than anything you did it.

Good luck, and if you need anymore information please feel free to contact me. If you take a vacation every year I would suggest taking a Disney Land trip and take a San Diego trip seperate. If I had to pick I would say I loved San Diego and though Disney Land was Okay, but I went before X-mas and on a weekend and I wouldn't ever do that again, even for free.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi H.,
We used every time we went and were very happy. The most immportant thing is when you go. Only go when it is "off peak' season. We have been in October and in May (between the spring break and summer rush) and both times are perfect. Any other time you will be standing in long lines. The next tip I have is spend a lot of time on Disney's website for their parks. I looked up every ride and all of the food options so we knew what we wanted to do and exactly where we wanted to go. That way we didn't waste a lot of time wondering if a ride would be too scary for the kids or too young for them etc. We also knew just where to go to get what we wanted to eat.
Send me a message if you want to chat. We have had only great experiences at Disney!
Good luck,



answers from Lincoln on


It looks like everyone else gave you advice on how to book your travel. I just wanted to let you know how you have it planned seems doable. Disneyland itself does require at least 2 days and it so much fun for kids of all ages. Cal Ad can be done in under a day. Its mostly for adults and older kids. I think kids your age will enjoy Disneyland itself a lot better. Universal can definitely be done in a day. It is no way as exciting as Disneyland but interesting. And you should definitely take that trip to SD. San Diego is beautiful. I don't know if you were thinking about hitting Sea World or the SD Zoo but if its in the budget I would go. The SD Zoo is one of the best zoo's in the US. Don't forget to relax at the beach some too! hehe. I hope you enjoy your trip!
A. ( SO CAL native)

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