I know that I am in the minority here, but I just need to get this off my chest: I would rather get a root canal than go to Disneyland. I’m not kidding. My dentist can numb the pain.

My oldest is 12 and youngest is 8 years old and though they’ve traveled outside of the country several times, they’ve yet to experience Disneyland. Every time I think “this year will be the year”, I just can’t seem to force myself to make the travel arrangements. 

A year and a half ago we bid on some park hopper tickets in a silent auction benefiting the kids’ school. The fact that the money was going to the school itself was a motivator – and it helped that I was the winning bidder at far less than market value. The best part? The tickets have an expiration date. March 2016.

I tried to talk my husband in to letting me sell the tickets.

He said no.

I’m not a fan of Disneyland. I have a problem with the fact that it’s so cost prohibitive for a large number of people. But beyond that, I think it’s the crowds. I’ve only been twice in my life – once as a child, and once when I was in my 20’s – and aside from the electric light parade (which I know I loved), it’s the massive number of people, running in to me, pushing their way by me, forcing me to smell their body odor, yelling and screaming with excitement. Ugh. It was a nightmare and the reason I have not been back. Were it not for my children, I know I would be content never to step foot in Disneyland again. Friends have told me that once I experience it with my children, my mind will likely change.

Here’s hoping that’s true.

Because we are taking a big, big trip later this year we are looking to do this on the cheap. And yes, I understand that “Disneyland” and “cheap” are two words that have never met. I really wish they would meet, though, as I feel strongly they would make a beautiful pair. I read somewhere that it costs a family of four $571 per day to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth. It nearly killed me to pay for accommodations as even though we are only visiting the parks for two days, we had to pay for accommodations for three nights. And those three nights cost me nearly as much as two round trip tickets to London. And we aren’t even staying at a Disney property!!!!

So far I’m guessing I’ve spent a good three or four hours scouring the web for suggestions on just how I can survive this experience without pulling out my hair. There is SO much online, it’s too much for me and my over-stimulation issues. So far, I’ve gleaned the following tips and tricks via other online searches or from friends who are Disney fans:

  • I can bring in my own snacks and sandwiches and plan on only 1 meal in the park per day, thereby saving close to $100. If I’m lucky, I can get by with just buying ice cream or some other snacks and bypass big meals in-park all together.
  • Water bottles are another thing they’ll let you bring in, so long as they’re not metal or glass. While that’s great news, you can probably guess who is going to get stuck carrying all of the water bottles. I was thinking of getting some of those strap thingies, but for some reason I’m hesitant.
  • Fast Passes are our friends. Grab them for the most popular rides first thing in the morning.
  • Parades: We should try watching them from where they start.
  • Fantasmic show: On the nights they offer two shows, the 2nd show is far less crowded.
  • Fireworks: Great view facing Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

I’ve downloaded the Disney app and plan on getting to know the map so that we aren’t just blindly wandering about. I’m hoping that the preparation will help me maintain some amount of sanity amongst the crazy.

Are you a fan of Disneyland? I would love any tips or tricks you can share!!  In the meantime, enjoy the following photos – all of which, admittedly, are getting me a little bit excited about our upcoming visit. Wait. Did I just say that out loud??


Photo courtesy of DeeAnne Ferraro


Photo courtesy of Annalise Cowan


Photo courtesy of Annalise Cowan