Updated March 11, 2020
A trip to Disneyland is expensive. Add flights and other travel costs and you’ve made an investment that you want to feel good about. And, while simply purchasing a park entry ticket will suffice for an amazing day of fun, there are several add-ons that I find are totally worth the money.
My husband (whose favorite ride at Disneyland is the tram back to the car) occasionally questions these add-ons. However, once he sees the end results, he’s always
totally excited about pleased with the outcome of these additional expenses.
Consider these extras for your next visit to Disneyland:
In this article
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
The princess years come and go quickly, so I highly recommend indulging in the boutique if your budget allows. For children ages 3-12, a darling boutique just beyond Sleeping Beauty’s Castle will make over your daughter in all her princess glory. A few tips:
- Bring your own dress in and purchase the Coach Package, which includes hair and makeup. Your little one will leave with a sash and backpack filled with all her makeover materials to enjoy later on.
- Schedule your session in the late morning so that you get the most for your money. Your princess will enjoy the ‘new look’ all day and into the evening if you start early.
- Reservations can be made by calling (714) 781-STYLE (7895).
- Review my Princess post for more details on the BBB and even more princessy options. (You can never have enough princessy options.)
A Character Meal
When I first started visiting Disneyland, I didn’t know about character meals, nor did I understand the benefits. I encourage you to plan on at least one character meal. Here’s how and why:
- These meals allow you to accomplish three things in one stop, which will save you lots of time standing in line at the park trying to do the same. First, you’ll get to enjoy a nice meal. Second, you’ll get character interaction and photographs. And, third, you can grab those elusive autographs kids go crazy for.
- Consider an indulgence at any of the character meal options for your dining experience.
- All reservations can be made online or you can call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time). Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera and autograph book!
- Think about other dining experiences, also, at the three DLR Hotels. Non-character meals have their advantages, too.
A Guided Tour
If you are an extreme Disney fan, one of the tours might be right for you. There are a variety of options and they all have unique extras.
At the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour, we toured the park, listened to vintage Walt Disney audio, saw the inside of Walt’s apartment (!!!!!!), ate lunch in the private tour courtyard, enjoyed 3 attractions with no wait and left with collector pins. I can’t say enough about this experience. Visit this link for lots of photos and details from my most recent tour in June of 2018.
Some things to know about tours:
- Tours have age restrictions and many are not suitable for young children.
- Absolutely bring your camera.
- Wear good shoes because you’ll be walking a lot.
- If you have options for timing, go with the earliest in the day to avoid a hot afternoon.
I’m a big believer in buying things that will last from Disneyland and Mickey Ears are at the top of that list. They’re timeless, can be personalized and will be something to save for years to come.
I bought all three of our children their ears at their first visit and for several years, I carried them in my backpack for subsequent visits and photo ops. Now, they’re displayed in our children’s rooms and will be for a very long time.
Some tips on buying Mickey Ears:
- Disneyland has three Mad Hatter stores that sell Mickey ears. You can find one on Main Street, in Fantasyland near the Tea Cups or by Splash Mountain in Critter Country.
- At California Adventure, find them at Five and Dime on Buena Vista Street or Seaside Souvenirs in Paradise Gardens.
- Have yours personalized for a small additional fee.
- Consider the headband variety for yourself. It will actually hold your hair back well throughout the day. Plus, they’re so cute in photos!
PhotoPass+ photographers can be found throughout the Disneyland Resort. They’re amazing!
Since the park’s addition of MaxPass (which includes unlimited PhotoPass for each day of purchase), most guests don’t even consider a PhotoPass package. MaxPass covers it all!
For all of your PhotoPass package options visit this link:
A Dining Reservation
A “fancy” meal at Disneyland (Blue Bayou) or California Adventure (Carthay Circle) is a fun experience, too. Prices are high ($60ish for surf & turf), but for a special occasion, I’d consider these two restaurants.
Leaving the busyness of the park for fine dining feels good and you’ll enjoy the rest of your day afterward.
In summary, there are a multitude of additional spending opportunities at Disneyland. Know your options ahead of time so you can work some extras into your plan if your budget allows. If not, don’t sweat it. Disneyland is magical with or without the additional expenses. (And, if you don’t indulge now, you’ll have reason to return!)
Just getting started planning? Visit my First Timer’s Guide for a broad scope of the entire Disneyland Resort. This post links off to many, many others that will help you get organized.