How Much Does a Disneyland Trip Really Cost?

I have always loosely tracked the expenses for our Disney trips, but this last trip, in January 2024 I meticioulsy noted every purchase so I could outline how much a Disneyland trip actually costs these days. I hope you’ll find my data insightful as you plan and save for your own magical vacation to “The Happiest Place on Earth”.​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​

For context, this trip was for Jemma and I, so, just two people. I prefer trips like that … Disneyland is such a lovely experience one on one with a spouse, child, or friend. I wrote all about that here >>> Why I’ll Never Do Disneyland With My Whole Family Again <<< if that philosophy interests you. I did not include my Disney race expenses which was the primary reason for our travel this time and our flights were *free* thanks to airline points so take that bit into account when crunching your own numbers.

Ok, ready for the official tally? Here you go!

Lodging – $875.49

I feel like I could write an entire post on lodging options in and around Disneyland. You can find super budget options. You can choose luxurious accommodations too. And then, of course, there is everything in between. We tend to be in-betweeners. My non-negotiable are clean/safe and within walking distance or on the ART shuttle line. Depending on who I’m traveling with sometimes a free breakfast is important. I do not care about a pool because even though we are in California we are there to spend time in the parks, not swimming.

All that to say, this trip we stayed at Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim/Garden Grove for four nights which totaled $875.49. We traveled during a busy weekend – the MLK three day weekend and the return of the Disneyland race. This affected our lodging costs quite a bit compared to other times I have traveled.

In the past we have also stayed at La Quinta, The Anaheim Inn, SunCoast, Best Western Stovall Inn, Embassy Suites, and Home2. My sister recommends both Alpine Inn and Desert Palm. I’ve also considered The Castle Inn, Del Sol, DoubleTree, and the Hilton Garden Inn that’s a little closer to the park but still on Harbor. If you are not booking directly through a brand’s site I recommend the Getaway Today ticket/hotel packages. You can use code PIXIEDUSTFIVE for extra savings :)

This Disneyland area map gives a great visual for where the park is in comparison to neighboring hotels. Study it :)

Transportation – $90

This trip our transportation consisted of flights, Uber/Lyft rides, and the ART shuttle. Thankfully our flight was covered by points so we saved a great deal in this category.

Upon arrival at SNA (the closest airport to fly into) we took a Lyft to our hotel which cost $29.43. At the end of our trip we took an Uber back to the airport for $24.57. This was the quickest and most convenient option since we were just a party of two. In the past, I have pre-booked a shuttle so that is something to consider.

Our hotel was about 1.5 miles from the Disneyland entrance so we purchased ART shuttle tickets for five days of unlimited rides. ART stands for Anaheim Resort Transit and their buses run many routes. Hop on the Away We Go app and you’ll be able to easily find where your hotel is and thus what ART line to take. They drop VERY close to the security entrance making coming and going quite convenient. Through Getaway Today ART tickets are just $18/adult for 5 days; children 9 and under are free. We spent $36 for ART transportation during our Disneyland stay.

Park Tickets – $850

I always purchase our park tickets through Getaway Today. They are 100% legit and you save a little bit over the retail price of Disney tickets. I’m also an affiliate there so appreciate you using my link when you buy your tickets!

I bought our tickets in late 2023 and at the time Disneyland tickets were $395/ticket for adults (and children 10+). This ticket covered five days, one park per day. There are other options – one day, two day, park hoppers, etc., but over the course of many visits we’ve found that we prefer to commit to one park per day and we usually visit for five days because the price difference between three/four/five isn’t much. That way we can pop into the park on both our arrival and departure day while still having three full park days.

When you buy park tickets you’ll see the option to add Genie+ as well. This is a feature that allows you to take the “fast lane” on particular rides. It is a wonderful perk and a must if you’re only going to each park one day. But, if you plan to rope drop or have more days to explore it isn’t a necessity, in my mind.

All that said, most trips I purchase Genie+ one day for Disneyland and one day for California Adventure so we make sure to get in all the top attractions without a long wait. As of January 2024 Genie+ runs $30/person/day. This trip though, we only added Genie+ one day – in Disneyland – for a total of $60. Our first partial day in California Adventure we fit in so much we didn’t feel like we needed Genie+ to fully experience that park. That’s exactly why I don’t automatically add it to our initial ticket purchase … it might not be a necessary expense.

Food – $425.60

This trip’s itinerary covered two partial days and three full days and there were so many things we wanted to eat in the park during that time! Our preference tends to be a handful of sit down reservations with the majority of our meals and treats coming from quick service options. This way we can sample lots of things without getting too full; we share everything. I’m sure every family is different in this regard but this is what works for us. I’ll quickly detail out each day and what we ate to give you a peek at what food expenses might be like for you on a Disney trip …​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Day One – $107.30

  • Breakfast at home
  • Airport chai tea
  • Downtown Disney Salt & Straw ice cream – a must!
  • Downtown Disney Black Tap burger and fries
  • Frozen chocolate banana
  • Lucky Fortune Cookery beef bulgogi burrito (excellent!) and Baymax macaron
  • Lamplight Lounge *sit down reservation* potato skins appetizer (we go here just for this every time!) and two 2319 mocktails (also delish!)

Day 2 – $103.78

  • Jolly Holiday strawberry croissant, raspberry macaron (a must!), and Matterhorn macaroon
  • Red Rose Tavern breakfast sandwich
  • Dole Whip
  • River Belle Terrace *sit down reservation* loaded fries (excellent and filling!)
  • Salt & Straw … again!
  • Jolly Holiday beef birria sandwich (so good!), hot cocoa, and raspberry macaron

Day 3 – $57.49

  • Warmed up Kodiak oatmeal in our hotel room
  • Cozy Cone specialty banana split churro
  • Aunt Cass Cafe turkey pesto sandwich, chowder bread bowl, and pineapple bread pudding
  • Lucky Fortune Cookery chicken sandwich

Day 4 – $106.09

  • Ship to Shore Marketplace breakfast chimichanga (we wish we would have gotten two!)
  • Dole Whip and two orders of lumpias (one savory and one sweet … it was a tie which one we liked more)
  • Great Maple *sit down reservation* eggs benedict and fries
  • Candy Palace churro toffee and churro cookie
  • Little Red Wagon corn dog meal
  • Jolly Holiday strawberry croissant

Day 5 – $50.94

  • Bengal Barbecue skewers (3) and Maurice’s Treats pretzel bread (2) to create this amazing combination … you have to try this!
  • Tiana’s Palace specialty beignet
  • Airport coffee

Did we eat well? Absolutely! Obviously! As you can see our sit down meals boosted the daily tally quite a bit but each one was a real treat and we did enjoy slowing down for a bite. Quick serve is the way to go though if you are aiming to keep your food budget in check. And, Disneyland allows you to bring in food as well so if you’re not much of a foodie feel free to pack along snacks and on-the-go meals.

Souvenirs – $218.81

We tend to pre-buy most of our fun … coordinating outfits, pins to trade, and such. We mindfully window shop our first few days and then snag our favorites; the Disney magic always gets to you a bit! This time Jemma found a pair of Disney Crocs she loved that happend to be 50% off and I purchase a silhouette of each child on each trip. We collect pressed pennies and there are always a few incidentals – like this trip I bought socks for a pair of shoes that gave me a blister! I finally bought a Mickey conductor hat too! Oh, and I love the Starbucks You Are Here mugs. There isn’t always a new one, but when there is – I grab it! ​​​​​​​

This time Jemma found a pair of Disney Crocs she loved that happened to be 50% off and I always purchase a silhouette of each child every trip. We collect pressed pennies and there are always a few incidentals – like this trip I had to buy socks for a pair of shoes that gave me a blister! I finally bought a Mickey conductor hat too! LOVE IT! Oh, and I collect the Disney Starbucks You Are Here mugs. There isn’t always a new one, but when there is – I grab it! ​​​​​​​

As you can see, even if you don’t intend to spend much on souvenirs, they do add up. Typically the kids purchase their own souvenirs with gift cards they’ve collected from birthdays/Christmas or money they’ve saved from the business they run, but, in the name of getting an accurate total I’ve bundled all our souvenirs charges regardless of how they were funded.

I will add that Jemma decided on an adorable plush too but then we were concerned about it fitting in her suitcase. A quick search online resulted in the EXACT plush being 50% off on shopDisney.com so instead of buying it in the park we ordered it online and had it shipped home. If your kids/you don’t need the immediate gratification of a souvenir be sure to price check online. We’ve had similar luck on Amazon with a book we wanted once.

Grand Total – $2459.90

And that’s that! All the expenses for a very magical five days in Disneyland! Did you think it would be more? Less?

Someday I’ll have to share a post about how we fund our Disney adventures (I take one or two kids every one or two years depending on our our travel calendar falls) and although some of it hits our regular budget I do have some creative ways to fund these special memories.

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