Welcome to the Resources page for Disneyland on a Budget: How Our Family Spends 30 Days a Year at Disneyland without Breaking the Bank!
Disneyland on a Budget is my new book that will teach you how to build your vacation fund from $0 to Disney! In Part II of Disneyland on a Budget I outline a plan for a 2-day, 2-night Disneyland vacation that will only cost you $168 for tickets, hotel, and meals for a family of 4! On this page, you’ll find out how to access all that free money!
The deal is even sweeter now! Just $294 for a hotel room, DIsneyland tickets, and food & souvenir money. I know, you’re thinking that spending $294 sounds like MORE than spending $168 like you saw in the book—and WAY MORE than the $99 that you saw in the first edition of Disneyland on a Budget!
Nope! The credit card bonuses are higher now, and you end up with a LOT more food and souvenir money, so even though Disneyland ticket prices increased in 2017, the card bonuses still add up to an amazing Disneyland vacation for less than $300!
To see how it all breaks down, scroll past the details to the heading “Your Amazing Disneyland Vacation Will Cost Just $294!”
There’s a lot of info here, so you may want to Pin it to use as a guide later. Pin this image:
The second edition of Disneyland on a Budget is now available on Amazon. The second edition includes updated pricing and even more Disneyland tips and budget-saving tricks than the first edition—and it’s still the same price as a Mint Julep!
If you purchased Disneyland on a Budget before September, 2016, you need the second edition! To make sure you’re reading the second edition, go to the title page and check for the 2016 copyright. If you only see the 2015 copyright, use the contact form on your Kindle/Kindle app to request the updated version from Amazon so you don’t have to buy it again.
Stay tuned for the 2018 update to Disneyland on a Budget!
Update 10/2/17 : The $200 Disney Visa referral bonus is back! This is an amazing offer on the No Annual Fee Disney Visa! kc
I’ve added links on this Resources page to the highest opening bonuses for each of the credit cards I evaluate in the book; read on for more details or click any link for the offer.
Here is a quick summary of the current credit card offers. Scroll down for more details!
All card offers updated 10/2/17
- Disney Visa $200 Disney Gift Card bonus No Annual Fee!
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred $250 cashback bonus! If you would like to get my $250 cash back referral offer for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Visa, apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved!
- Southwest Visa
50,000 points bonusUpdate 10/2/17: Three versions of the Southwest Visa are currently offering 60,000 points via The Points Guy here! ($2000–$3000 spend within 3 months)
- If those links expire, use my link to apply here: Southwest Visa 40,000 points bonus ($1000 spend within 3 months)
- Wyndham Visa 30,000 points bonus
Scroll down for ALL the details on these credit card bonuses!
I had a blast writing Disneyland on a Budget! I hope you had fun reading it, and learned a few new tips and tricks for building your vacation fund from $0 to Disney! If you have a moment, I appreciate all Amazon reviews, because they help Disneyland on a Budget show up in the search rankings for people looking for Disneyland tips. If you leave a review for Disneyland on a Budget, let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org —I’d love to thank you personally!
Some of these resources include my referral information. If my referral is not the best deal that’s running now, I’ll always send you to the better deal! Amazon links on this page are my affiliate links.
Chase Disney Visa $200 Disney Gift Card Bonus—No Annual Fee!
Offer (updated 10/2/17): Get a $200 Disney Gift Card when you spend $500 in 3 months on a new No Annual Fee Disney Visa with my referral! The $200 bonus on the No Annual Fee Disney Visa is ONLY available with a referral.
Chase Disney Visa annual fee: NONE!
Total bonus from Disney Visa: $200 Disney Gift Card. Plus earn $5 Disney Reward Dollars with your $500 minimum spend.
- You receive a physical $200 Disney Gift Card for the opening bonus after you spend $500.
- You earn an extra $5 Disney Reward Dollars when you spend $500. Since you can redeem Disney Reward Dollars with minimum $10, so you’ll want to eventually spend $1000 total on the Disney Visa so you can unlock the Disney Reward Dollars. You only need to spend $500 within 3 months, though.
There are two amazing Disney Visa perks in the Parks!
- Disney Visa cardholders get access to all PhotoPass photos from both exclusive Disney Visa Meet & Greet locations! That means you can download and share your PhotoPass photos from these locations for free, with no silly watermark!
- Access your PhotoPass photos from the Disneyland (or WDW) app, or enter the PhotoPass card code on any device to download and share your free PhotoPass photos!
- If you have an iOS device (i.e., not Android) you can add fun digital photo frames to your Photopass pics in the Disneyland app for free! This includes the very cool Star Wars frame that was previously only available on prints inside the Parks.
- In Disneyland, meet Kylo Ren inside Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland, from 4pm-8pm daily.
- Kylo Ren is also at the public Meet & Greet; your PhotoPass photos will not be unlocked from the public location, only the Disney Visa location. Update: The Disney Visa Star Wars Meet & Greet character is Darth Vader again! [You can still meet Kylo Ren at the regular Meet & Greet location at certain times! Those photos won’t be unlocked though, unless you have MaxPass.]
In Disney California Adventure (DCA), meet one of two alternating beloved Disney characters behind Monsters, Inc. in Hollywood Land, from 10:30am-1:30pm.
- We usually hang out with Stitch or Minnie, and we recently spotted Daisy!
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
$150 $250 Bonus
This offer went UP by $100! Now get $250 cash back with Amex Blue Cash Preferred when you spend $1000 within 3 months!
Offer (updated 10/2/17): Get $250 cash back (as a statement credit) when you spend $1000 within 3 months.
If you would like to get my $250 cash back referral offer for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Visa, apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved!
Amex Blue Cash Preferred annual fee: $95
Total bonus from Amex Blue Cash Preferred: $250 cashback. Plus earn a minimum of 1000 points for your $1000 minimum spend—you could earn up to 6000 points if you complete your $1000 minimum spend at a grocery store! 6000 points = $60!
Southwest Visa 60,000 Points Bonus
Offer (updated 10/2/17): Get
50,000 60,000 bonus points when you spend $2000 in 3 months!
- Southwest Visa 60,000 points bonus (update 10/2/17): Three versions of the Southwest Visa are currently offering 60,000 points via The Points Guy here! ($2000–$3000 spend within 3 months)
- Open the Southwest PLUS since it has a $69 annual fee. (The other Southwest cards have a $99 annual fee. Accounting for anniversary bonus points, you save $6 more per year with the $69 annual fee card.)
- You will get an insane amount of value if you open two different Southwest Visas (personal and business) at the same time with the 60,000 points offer. You will earn the Companion Pass and get Buy One Get One free tickets for more than a year! This is a great program if you fly often and Southwest flies out of your local airport.
- Value: $600 in gift cards or $900 in flights
- If those links expire, use my link to apply here: Southwest Visa 40,000 points bonus ($1000 spend within 3 months)
- $99 annual fee is offset by 6,000 bonus points each year (get a $50 gift card for 5,000 points, or $90 in flights).
- 40,000 bonus points equals $400 value in gift cards, or up to $900 value for flights.
Southwest PLUS Visa annual fee: $69 (use The Points Guy link above for the 60,000 points offer.)
Total bonus from Southwest Visa : $600 in gift cards with the 60,000 point offer! Plus earn 2000 points with your minimum $2000 spend.
Capital One 360 Totally Free Checking and Savings Accounts
Offer: Start your Disney vacation fund with $50 FREE money and FREE bank accounts! Use my referral to open a Capital One 360 checking and/or savings account and get a $25 bonus for each!
No fees for checking, no fees for savings, no minimum balance requirements! Plus, get cash at thousands of free ATMs! NO Direct Deposit needed!
Total bonus from Capital One: $50
Wyndham Rewards Visa—Get 2 Free Nights
(Updated 10/2/17) Same 2-night bonus, but the fee went up a bit to $75.
Offer: The best current offer is 30,000 points with the Wyndham Rewards Visa ($75 annual fee) when you spend $1000 within 90 days. You can redeem a free night at any Wyndham property for 15,000 points per night, so this bonus gives you two free nights!
Total bonus from Wyndham Visa: Pay $130 total for two nights ($75 annual fee plus about $55 in taxes for two nights) at Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground (nickname HoJo Anaheim)—that’s just a 7-minute walk to Disneyland! or book the newly remodeled Ramada Plaza Anaheim—a 15-minute walk to Disneyland! You’ll get more bang for your buck at the fancier Ramada Plaza, but if you have little kids, stay at HoJo Anaheim because the pirate pool is super fun and the walk to Disneyland is shorter!
- You’ll also receive Platinum status with the $75 fee card, and 6000 bonus points on your card anniversary—essentially half a night’s points that offset the $75 annual fee if you keep the card after getting the bonus.
- There is no offer right now to get two free nights with the No Annual Fee Wyndham Rewards Visa, but you can get one night free (15,000 points) with no minimum spend, you just need to make one purchase.
- You will pay taxes. At estimated $160 per night, Anaheim hotel tax is 17%, so you’ll pay approximately $55 in taxes. Both HoJo Anaheim and Ramada Plaza Anaheim offer free parking!
Your Amazing Disneyland Vacation Will Cost Just $294 for:
- Two nights at HoJo Anaheim or Ramada Plaza (rates start at $160/night so this is a great deal!)
- Four 2-day, 1 Park per day tickets: $796 for 4 adult tickets (or $772 for 2 adult & 2 kid tickets)
- $249 in food and merchandise in the Parks! (or $273 if you bought 2 kid tickets!)
Who would believe that your Disneyland vacation cost less than $300?!
And how do you spend $294 but end up with $249 in spending money for food and merchandise?
Here’s how your $294 Disneyland Vacation breaks down!
This is the cash out of pocket you will pay for your Disneyland vacation:
$294 total credit card annual fees and hotel tax. You’ll have a month or so before you’ll have to pay these fees off because of the initial grace period on the credit cards. Here’s the breakdown of all the out of pocket fees:
- $0 annual fee for Disney Visa
- $95 annual fee for Amex Blue Cash Preferred
- $69 annual fee for Southwest PLUS Visa (get this one right away while the 60,000 offer is on!)
- $0 fee for Capital One 360 Checking AND Savings accounts
- $75 annual fee for Wyndham Rewards Visa
- $55 estimated hotel tax at $160/night for 2 nights (Anaheim hotel tax is 17%.)
This is what how much you will have to purchase on the cards to earn those fat bonuses:
$4500 total minimum spend, plus $500 minimum opening cash deposit for the Capital One Checking and Savings accounts.
- $500 Disney Visa minimum spend within 3 months of opening the card.
- $1000 Amex Blue Cash Preferred minimum spend within 3 months of opening the card.
- $2000 Southwest PLUS Visa minimum spend within 3 months of opening the card.
- ($500) initial deposit for the Checking and savings accounts ($250 opening minimum each) plus 3 transactions on the Checking account debit card within 45 days. As soon as you deposit your $250 in each account, you can use/withdraw that money and still earn the bonuses. Obviously, you’ll have to leave some money in the Checking account so you can make your 3 debit card purchases. I put the $500 deposit in parentheses because you’re just moving your cash from other bank accounts to Capital One, and you can move them back again, or use the funds from your Capital One like cash.
- $1000 Wyndham Visa minimum spend within 90 days of opening the card.
If you opened every credit card at the same time, it works out to $1500 spending on credit cards each month for 3 months to meet the minimum spend requirements for the opening bonuses. $1500 is a reasonable amount in living expenses for many households, just charge groceries, gas, and household items to credit cards instead of paying with cash or debit card until you hit the minimum spend on all cards. Then pay the cards off with your bank balance. Voila: Free money!
Always make sure you are able to pay off all charges completely before any interest hits! You will lose all bonus points benefits very quickly if you carry a balance on any of these cards!
This is how your credit card bonuses pay for your Disneyland vacation:
Total Disneyland vacation value: $1420!
- Four 2-day, 1 Park per day adult tickets (value $796)
- 2-night hotel stay—just pay taxes (value $375 at $160/night with hotel tax)
- $249 in Disney Gift Cards to spend on food and merchandise in the Parks! This should more than cover a generous Disneyland food budget for 4 people for 2 days, plus you can buy souvenirs if you choose to eat less-expensive meals in the Parks! (value $249)
Here’s how to use your credit card bonuses to pay for your Disneyland Vacation:
$200 Disney Gift Card from Disney Visa:
- Use on food and merchandise at Disneyland.
$250 cash back from American Express Blue Cash Preferred:
- Pay $245 toward Disneyland tickets with the card.
- Pay $55 hotel room taxes with the card. (see “Capital One” below to see why you’re overspending your $250 Amex statement credit by $50)
- Your $250 Amex cash back plus $50 Capital One bonus will pay you back on these purchases.
$600 in Target Gift Cards from Southwest Visa:
- Buy Disney Gift Cards with the Target Gift Cards.
- Pay $551 toward Disneyland tickets with the Disney Gift Cards.
- Use the remaining $49 in Disney Gift Cards on food and merchandise at Disneyland.
$50 opening bonus for Capital One Checking AND Savings total:
- Transfer the $25 Savings account bonus into your Capital One Checking account. (Your $25 Checking bonus will already be in your checking account!)
- Pay $50 toward your American Express Blue Cash Preferred card with your combined $50 Capital One bonus.
2 Free nights at Wyndham from Wyndham Visa:
- Book 2 free nights at HoJo Anaheim or Ramada Plaza Anaheim with your 30,000 points.
- You will pay taxes. At estimated $160 per night, Anaheim hotel tax is 17%, so you’ll pay approximately $55 in taxes. Both HoJo Anaheim and Ramada Plaza Anaheim offer free parking! I accounted for the taxes above—see Amex Blue Cash Preferred.
Grand total for your 2-day and 2-night Disneyland Vacation: $294!
Your $294 Disneyland vacation includes:
- Four 2-Day, 1 Park per day adult tickets
- 2 nights at a great hotel within walking distance to Disneyland (we’ve stayed at both!)
- $249 spending money for meals, snacks, and souvenirs at Disneyland and California Adventure!
Can I just say, Wow?!
Do you want to take a longer Disneyland vacation? Or maybe take two Disneyland vacations? Each adult in the household can open their own set of credit cards and bank accounts. Heck, you’ll even get an extra $20 bank bonus from Capital One if you refer your own husband and kids once you open your own set of accounts—even little kids qualify for the $25 savings account bonus! (That’s an extra $60 if you refer 1 husband and 2 kids, in addition to the $25 they get for opening their new accounts!)
Just make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements before you go crazy opening a bunch of credit cards for everyone in the house!
Thank you for reading Disneyland on a Budget! Got Disneyland questions? Email me with the form below and I’ll get right back to you with answers!
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Helpful Disneyland Vacation Planning Links
To help save you time searching for the websites I mention in Disneyland on a Budget, I’ve linked them here.