Isn’t that what they call Disneyland? And yes, later this year, my family is taking a very un-frugal vacation to the Magic Kingdom. My children are 11 and 6, so they’re finally both old enough to participate on most rides and remember the trip. So it’s time.

That said, I haven’t lost my frugal mind. I did a lot of research before booking a hotel and buying tickets. Here is my strategy so far.

Saving Money on Food & Lodging

We’ll be staying 5 days at the Anaheim La Quinta. It’s a two and a half star hotel with decent reviews on Expedia. I’m not an overly picky hotel person, but I do like suites, because nobody sleeps when the kids have to share a room with us.

Our room is a suite (albeit a small suite) with a king sized bed in one room and bunk beds for the kids in the other room. We’ll have a small refrigerator and microwave in the room for snacks (and maybe some lunch fixin’s). And the La Quinta offers a complimentary hot breakfast, so that will save us $20 a day on breakfast.

The hotel is apparently a 10-20 minute walk to Disneyland’s main gate, which is completely doable with my kids.

Before I made my reservations, I checked Disney’s official website, Expedia, Travelocity, the different hotel websites, and I called the hotel itself. I wanted to make sure I got the best price.

One other thing you need to check when staying near a resort like Disneyland is whether a hotel charges “resort” and parking fees. La Quinta charges a resort fee, but it’s really small compared to some of the other hotels in the area.

Saving Money on Tickets

Disneyland is running a special right now where you can buy a 3 day pass and get two more days free. So that’s what I did. Five days at Disneyland and California Adventure may seem like a lot, but I don’t want us to feel like we have to rush through the park. This may be the only time we go before my daughter graduates from high school, so we may as well see everything at our own pace.

Other Things We Plan to Do

Apparently Disneyland is not too strict about people bringing snacks into the park. So I plan on bringing a few snacks and water…maybe even lunch. That will save on meals out. The in-room microwave and fridge will help in saving money on food, too.

I also plan on setting a budget for souvenirs before we go. Each kid will be able to spend their allotted amount of money however they like. Any extra will come out of their allowance, though.

And I also need to look into birthday benefits. I’m not sure there are any, but I’ll be celebrating my birthday at Disneyland. I may as well make sure I don’t miss anything, right? :)

We’ll be leaving toward the end of June for a week. I’m very excited, as are the kids. I haven’t been to Disneyland since I was in college. And I won’t mention how long ago that was.

The best thing about this trip? The money is already in the bank. No credit card vacation here!

Those of you who are Disneyland pros: Do you have any tips for me? This is the first time I’ve tried to do Disney on a budget!

Photo by Ted Chi.