We recently made this post on another blogsite, inviting others to enlist in our army of worldwanderlusters, battling the monotony and humdrum of everyday life by getting out to see the world. There are far many more places we’d like to take you aside from Disneyland, yet, it’s a pitch that never seems to take much convincing… and if that’s what it takes to inspire you to action, so be it. Enjoy!
At any given moment, there are thousands families all over the country who are in the process of “saving for a Disneyland vacation.” They share meals in restaurants, give up vices, and clip coupons – all in hopes of setting aside enough for a week of Disney entertainment. The savings targets vary, but few families can pull it off for less than $2000.
I’m going to show you how you can plan an entire Disneyland Vacation for about $509 – that’s not much more than you’d spend in a week if you just stayed at home. It will require the careful and diligent use of your good credit to obtain frequent flyer miles and benefits, but that’s something that you can feel comfortable doing once you fully understand that applying for more credit cards won’t demolish your credit, so long as you always make your payments on time and in full. We talk about this extensively, and we don’t take the idea of applying for credit lightly, but life is too short to put everything off for “someday.”
Right now, you can get as many as 8 nights in an Anaheim Hotel, in the shadow of the Disneyland fireworks, without paying a single dollar, you just need 30k Starwood Points. You’ll get 25k for the bonus and you’ve gotta spend $5k on the card, which will complete the 30k with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
How do you go about it? You need to have a credit score of at least 700 and be capable of making your payments on time and in full. It requires that you spend $5000 within the first 6 months of having the card, so you’ll need to use the card for most of your monthly expenses and then pay it off immediately – never paying interest.
- Step 1: Get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
- Step 2: Get 25k bonus Starpoints, plus 10k after your first purchase and another 15k for the spending $5k within the first 6 months.
- Step 3: Use your 25k Starpoints to book this Anaheim Hotel with a shuttle to Disneyland for 5 free nights (save your other 3 nights for your next vacation)!
Disneyland Airline Flights
You can take the idea a little further and get your flights free, too. If you’re in Salt Lake City, check out this post for how to get 5 RT flights to LAX.
- Step 1: Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
- Step 2: Spend $1000 month for the first two months
- Step 3: Get 50k Southwest Rapid Rewards Points (SW also has free baggage – mega savings over other domestic airline flights)
- Step 4: Pay the $69 annual fee
- Step 5: Use for 50k Rapid Rewards Points to book 2 RT tickets in the US (You can get SW “Wanna Get Away” fares for 60 points per dollar – so these points equate to $834 in free travel – 2-4 RT tickets!)
Disneyland Park Passes
You knew it. At some point, you’d have to pay for something. Such a shame. But we won’t let you do this the expensive, unwilling-to-research-the-good-deals price. If you really want to do it right, you need a multi-day park hopper pass that will allow you entry to California Adventure Park, too. A 3-day pass would run you $250 over age 10/$235 under age 10. Ouch.
But before you pony up all that cash, take a look at these options:
- Military Discount: $125, must be purchased by active or retired military at military sales outlets or at the ticket desk.
- Craigslist:~$150, but be careful. Your best option would be to buy in person and check expiration.
- Mousesavers.com: ~$215, with various options and good advice about getting deals on entry.
- (There is a way to redeem Hilton HHonors points for Disneyland Passes, too, if you have any of those).
What you’d spend at home
Now, I promised you could do this for what you spend at home. I’ll have to make some assumptions here, but I’ll give it a shot. Let’s say you’d normally spend $130 in fuel costs between your two vehicles. You also spend about $600 a month in groceries, so let’s take a quarter of that for another $150. Staying home would also necessitate a date night, which you’d spend a good $80 between dinner, a movie, and a babysitter. That about covers the cost of your 3 Park Passes assuming you can get a military relative to help you out.
You’ll be on the hook for some booking fees ($15) and the $69 for the Southwest card. Those costs you’ll have to cover with what you save on a week of low/no utility use – turn down the furnace or the AC, unplug electrical devices, and put your home on conservation mode.
You’re going to have to eat on your Disneyland trip, and that can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. For our purposes, we’re going to ask you to go backpacker-style. You can bring snacks and meal bars into the park. Spring for a $12.99 refillable mug, rather than several $4 drinks a day. Use your hotel room microwave to make other meals and shoot for $10 a day… we don’t want to starve you, but we want you to do this now, not “someday.” Hopefully the money you spend there will be saved in not making that $50 shopping trip you make every week.
Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or other ideas! We love to have feedback from you.