Jan 8, 2008

PSA: Take your child to Disneyland before his/her third birthday

Note: This post is intended primarily for Southern California residents.

Children under three get into Disneyland for free. Alex's third birthday is a couple of months away, so we are planning on taking him for the first time before then. We were hoping for one of the really good "local resident" deals that Disneyland occasionally has, but so far there doesn't seem to be one. The best deal I can find is the "2fer", which gives you admission to both Disneyland and California Adventure on different days. We're not really interested in making two trips to Anaheim in the next couple of months so this deal doesn't really do anything for us.

Regular admission is $66 per person (3 to 9 year olds are $56). There seem to be deals if you want to stay more than one day, but of course that doesn't apply to us. I've checked Auto Club (a.k.a. AAA) as well as some other locations and simply can't find any discounts. I have a friend who works for Disney so I may call her for help.

If we end up paying full price, the total will be $132 for tickets for Marc and me, plus $11 for parking. That's just for admission and doesn't include anything we buy inside the park. We can afford this, but I do not understand how a family of four can afford to go more than once every couple of years! Although if we lived closer, I'm sure we'd consider getting annual passes with parking.

Most importantly, though, I'm looking forward to seeing the look on Alex's face when we get to Disneyland!


Angela S said...

Ebay. I have a friend who wanted to go and researched for a while. Then purchased four tickets on ebay and was able to sell half of them that she didn't need so she ended up paying $20 for each ticket. But basically a bunch of people do two day tickets and don't need the second day so they sell them.

AJ said...

I can understand visiting Disneyland early if you're a local, but as someone who lives at the other end of California, I'll be waiting until my two kids are 5 and 8. My rule of thumb: if I'm going to take off work and spend a lot on a trip for my kids, I want my kids to remember the trip and get the most out of it.

I could see the kids whining in their teens, "Take us to Disneyland!" And my reply: "I did already when you were 3-years-old and your brother was 1. It's not my fault you don't remember. Here, look at the photos!"

That's not to say we won't go anywhere until they're older. We'll do a lot of camping. Reoccurring camping trips keep them acclimated to the outdoors, even if they forget their earliest adventures.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Angela - Thanks! I'll look into that!

@AJ - Well, yeah, I should have been clearer that I meant this one primarily for people who live in and around LA. (I'll edit the post in a minute.) I totally get your rationale, and it certainly isn't as if I'm rushing off to Florida or even San Diego before Alex turns 3!

Anonymous said...

Just brace yourself. If Disneyland is anything like Disneyworld, you'll be walking through a store everytime you exit a ride. It was tough and disheartening to have to deal with every ride.

MEG said...

Ugh, I don't think you could pay me enough to take a 3 yr old to Disneyland. That aside, I'm sure the look on your child's face will be magical. If that look is worth the several hundred dollars you'll undoubtedly spend, then I'd go. But don't do it for the child-he won't remember a thing and could probably have just as much fun at a (free) zoo or park.

My parents took me to Disneyland when I was 4 (of course I don't remember a minute of it), and the experience was so terrible for them that they STILL bring it up (it's been 20 years!).

Apparently, despite all the money they spent and all the effort it took to drag me around the Magic Kingdom wasn't enough to keep me from crying and complaining. My dad still shakes his head looking stunned when he reminisces about my "inability to be pleased" and my "bad attitude." Apparently when I wasn't crying out of fright or because I was about to have a heat stroke, I was crying because I didn't want to leave and I didn't get to ride every ride. What a brat I must have been. :-)

Chief Family Officer said...

@anon - Fortunately, Alex doesn't seem to be into Disney products yet so hopefully we'll be safe!

@Meg - LOL! I'm hoping Alex will enjoy himself - just about all of my friends have already taken their 2-3 year olds and everyone's had a wonderful time, so I'm optimistic. But if it doesn't go well, at least I have a story to torture him with for decades!