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isabel Jul 19th, 2002 11:01 AM

Disneyland, CA, on the cheap?
Can anyone suggest how a single mom, 11 and 16 year old daughters can fly from San Jose to Disneyland and where to stay on a very, very tight budget? We would like to leave on August 14 for three days. Kids have saved and saved for this and we have little money to spare. Thanks.

Barbara Jul 19th, 2002 11:13 AM

I'd suggest going with the Residence Inn. You can all 3 stay in 1 room, it includes continental breafast and appetizer goodies in the afternoon. There is a full kitchen so you can cook in without going to restaurants or room service expense. We were very pleased when we stayed there. As for airline tickets, you could try or Although John Wayne is the closest airport, you'll probably get better rates going into LAX (there's a shuttle that runs between LAX and Disneyland). I think Southwest and American Airlines are the major players in and out of San Jose and each have their own websites to check fares. <BR>Also, make sure you stay over a Saturday night for the cheapest airfare. Best dates to fly are probably Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the cheapest fares but maybe Sunday morning would be less as well....just start comparing. Good Luck

jenny Jul 19th, 2002 11:27 AM

isabel,<BR><BR>We did the same trip about 6 months ago as a last minute weekend trip. We flew out of SJC into SNA ($130/pp, but we booked late so you might find a better fare), rented a car ($25/day not including taxes and fees) and stayed at the Anaheim Marriott ($40/night). <BR><BR>American Airlines offers pretty low fares (lower than Southwest) if you book ahead or get a web special. Also, I don't know if this is possible, but perhaps you can just get a shuttle from the airport to your hotel to skip the car rental? Once you're there, the hotels offer free shuttles to the park. <BR><BR>Our flights were purchased online at American (after doing a search at both AA and Southwest web sites). Car was purchased through Orbitz. The hotel, which was really nice, was won off Make sure you add about $12/day for parking if the hotels being offered by priceline in your category grade are in convention areas. Tickets to the park we had to buy full price.<BR><BR>For two people, I think we were able to do air, hotel, car and 2-day entrance fees on a 3 day trip for somewhere around $580. I don't know if this is within your budget, but hope it helps.

isabel Jul 19th, 2002 11:38 AM

I really don't understand how to buy tickets and stuff from the internet but appreciate your advice. Renting a car seems stupid to me since there are shuttles to the park. Does anyone know the price for Super Shuttle from LAX? We are literally counting every penny here. Thanks.

jenny Jul 19th, 2002 11:40 AM

Oops! I realized my numbers don't add up and should be something closer to $640.

Jill Jul 19th, 2002 11:49 AM

I'd check out places like Travelodge or Super8 motels near Disneyland,not a place like Residence Inn (they are very expensive) if you have a tight budget. You can go to their websites and check room rates. If you are an Auto Club member look for the discount too.<BR>

Susan Jul 19th, 2002 01:10 PM

Isabel, if you are not able to use the internet to purchase deals on airfare and hotels, I'd suggest you consider driving. For the three of you to fly, even the cheapest airfare is going to be at least $150, so that's $450 right there. You can make the drive in 6-7 hours, and that way you will have your car and won't need to bother with Super Shuttle or renting a car. <BR><BR>You can call around to get prices, but the advantage of staying in an Embassy Suites or Residence Inn is that you can bring groceries and a cooler in your car and cook some of your meals. You can even make sandwiches and bring them into the park, though they might question you about them. Just say that one of you is on a special diet for health reasons, blah, blah, blah. They cannot deny you your own food then.<BR><BR>This way, your only expenses will be hotel, gas and park admission, plus any meals you choose to eat in restaurants. Have fun!

Alice Jul 19th, 2002 01:27 PM

I couldn't disagree more that Residence Inns are very expensive. I've stayed at several (I'm also a single Mom with a daughter 10 and son 8). These are fabulous because you can eat the free breakfast sure helps. They are more roomy for 3 people. As far your inability to buy airline tickets on line, maybe just check out since there is no bidding required or They are so easy to do....if you can post a message here and if you have a major credit're very able to purchase airline tickets on line. You're just nervous since you've never done it before. Alice

x Jul 19th, 2002 01:42 PM

i think a lot of motels offer free continental breakfast. eating in the park is very expensive so fill up at breakfast. call the motels below. they both have several motels around the park. don't worry about being the furthest will probably be the cheapest and they will have shuttles from the motel to the park. you don't need a rent-a-car once your around the park.<BR><BR><BR>best western: (800) 854-8177 <BR>get the 800 number for super 8

Jill Jul 19th, 2002 01:44 PM

Isabel,<BR>You can fly Southwest on Wed.,08/14 and return on Sat.,08/17 for $104 pp.<BR>I went with 3 teens on a budget and this is what we did. We choose to drive. Left at 5AM and checked into the hotel by noon quick dip in the pool before heading to the park). We stayed at Staybridge, a faily new property adjacent to and part of the Holiday Inn. We had a two room suite with full kitchen. That kitchen had everything including coffee, tea, and snacks (popcorn for the micro). I brought two coolers full of food. Even brought a homemade lasagna and had a wonderful dinner one night. All meals were had in the room. They had a full buffet breakfast and even a video library. Great pool and a basketball court (lit at night) to keep my teen son happy. They also have a laundry room and on time shuttle to the park. We bought our tickets prior to travel from AAA and hopper passes to both parks (in and out privilages to bath parks at anytime on all days). All in all, my only out of pocket expense on the tirp was gas and a stop at Taco Bell on the trip home. A great vacation "on the cheap".

J Correa Jul 19th, 2002 01:49 PM

To purchase airline tickets through Southwest, just go to their website and do it. It's pretty easy - just click on reservations, put in your itinerary, and you will get a list of available flights and prices. You can also sign up for email alerts for specials - southwest will send you periodic emails letting you know when they have specials. You can get cheaper rates that way. <BR><BR>Driving is another great option that will save you on airfare and shuttle tickets.

Faina Jul 19th, 2002 02:02 PM

Isabel, done some search for you.<BR><BR>The cheapest flight I could find on Expedia by American Airlnes San Jose - Los Angeles $96. How much is child's discount? Does your hotel have a free airport shuttle?<BR><BR>Greyhound bus San Jose-Anaheim. Tiresome, but doable - done that from San Francisco when my children were small and the budget tight. 7-days advance adult ticket $55 round trip. Not sure how much child's discount.<BR><BR>Amtrak train. $93 adult round trip San Jose - Anaheim, children up to 15 years 1/2 price.<BR><BR>Check with the hotel if they have in-room coffee makers - not for coffee, you can boil water in them to make cup-o-noodles to save on dinners, most expensive meals of the day. If not, get an electric cooking pot in Walgreens, it's $12-15, you'll save more cooking yourself. Also get lots of sandwiches - the food is really expensive inside D-land. I'm not sure if they are still there, McDonals was across from main entrance, and 7-11 1 block away. Now there is new Californian adventure, so not sure if the buildings are still there.

darlene Jul 19th, 2002 02:31 PM

I found eating on site quite expensive, so I packed cereal bars, fruit, juice boxes, crackers and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch (they don't need refrigeration)and snacks - sure got sick of peanut butter but saved lots and I didn't have to eat Mcd's every day.

Sara Jul 19th, 2002 02:44 PM

I agree with Residence Inn. While it might be more expensive it might be cheaper if you don't eat out. The breakfast was plenty and the evening snack was enough for dinner for 2 adults. It has a shuttle to Disneyland every 15-20 minutes so you don't need a car, I am sure it also has a shuttle to/from the airport so no car there. Take some food with you (lunchables, soups etc such a short trip on the plane you could take almost anything but ice cream!), without a car I think it would be a walk to a store for food. Don't eat lunch at Disneyland it is pretty expensive. Take water bottles from home that that you fill in the room. Take snacks and skip lunch (granola bars etc). The appetizers at the hotel start early so skipping lunch is more doable. Buy your tickets ahead of time so you don't have to worry about it when you get there. We had a package deal through AAA for our airfare, rental car, Disneyland, hotel and other places (Knotts, Medieval Times). It felt like a good deal and was especially good when we realized we got breakfast and dinner too! I am sure there are other packages - certainly take the time to price them but hurry - I am sure things are filling up for August. <BR><BR>Can't give help for flying but the other responses sound good to me. <BR><BR>Have a great time!

Janice Jul 19th, 2002 03:34 PM

My husband travels to Denver often and loves to stay at the Residence Inn there. He says that he fill's up on their comp breakfast, get's by with a light lunch out and then eats heavy on the appetizers they offer. He says at the one he stays at they have things like chicken wings, meatballs (hot stuff). Not sure if all Residence Inns are like this or not but it sounded like things that kids would like.

janis Jul 19th, 2002 04:18 PM

There are MANY inexpensive motels on all sides of Disneyland - but mostly along or near Harbor blvd or Katella - and almost all have two room suites (or more) and kitchenettes.<BR><BR>Residence Inns are very nice but you can stay at the Best Inn, Desert Inn/Suites, Dupre Suites, Desert Palm, Portofino Suites, Carriage Inn or 30 other places for MUCH less than the Res Inn. <BR><BR>If you belong to the AAA or CSAA then pick up their tour book for SoCal and you will find over 200 listings and most offer discounts to members. Even if you don't belong to AAA, some relative or friend can probably get you a copy of the tour book. It is worth its weight in gold.<BR><BR>August is a very busy time but Disneyland is offering specials so things must be slower than usual. You should be able to find something very reasonable.<BR><BR>I would consider driving. It isn't that long a drive from the Bay Area. If you were going by yourself definitely fly - but when you are talking three airline tix, driving is much cheaper.

xxx Jul 19th, 2002 04:52 PM

Rent a locker for the day and bring frozen water bottles. They'll be icy cold water by the time you're really thirsty in the afternoon. Much cheaper than the on site drinks. You'll have lots of room in the locker to store your snacks for the day - load up at Walmart before you leave, so the kids don't regret not having junk food on vacation.

Don Jul 20th, 2002 08:08 PM

Isabel, Here's what I'd do: <BR><BR>Southwest currently has a special on flights between San Jose and LAX. (Buy your ticket online (it's easy) at before 8/1.) I specified an early flight on 8/14 and a late flight back on 8/17, and the total for three people is $289.50--or $96.50 per person, all taxes and fees included. <BR><BR>For hotels, indicates that people bidding for 2.5* hotels in the Anaheim-Disneyland zone on Priceline have gotten the Residence Inn Anaheim or the Hawthorne Suites Anaheim. Prices on winning bids have tended to fall in the $33-$45/night range, plus taxes and the Priceline fee. The Residence Inn has come up far more often than the Hawthorne Suites. <BR><BR>IMPORTANT: Note that there's no guarantee you'd get these two hotels on a successful bid--Priceline sometimes adds new hotels in a zone. But these are the only two that are reported on as coming up so far for a 2.5* bid in the Anaheim/Disneyland zone. <BR><BR>If you took a chance and bid for a 2.5*, you could end up with one of these hotels for a very cheap price. If you got the Residence or Hawthorne, both include breakfast, which would save you some money on meals. And both of these hotels have free shuttles to and from the Disneyland parks. <BR><BR>I see a shuttle that runs from LAX to Disneyland--for the three of you, the cost would be $66.00 (don't know if that includes tax). Here's the Web site: <BR><BR>Anyway, the airfare, shuttle, and hotel (estimating three nights at $45/night when you include taxes and the Priceline fee) would be $490.50. Assuming the free breakfasts, the only other costs you'd have would be admissions to Disneyland, lunches, dinners, snacks, and souvenirs. <BR><BR>Anyway, I hope this helps. Have a nice time in Disneyland!

Jen Jul 20th, 2002 08:25 PM

Isabel<BR>You may want to read the article in today's Mercury News in the Travel section on Disneyland. It's not so much about "going on the cheap" but some insight for a "doable" stay.

Linda Jul 20th, 2002 09:07 PM

Isabel,<BR> on line is not that difficult as long as you have a major credit card. Good Luck and we're all rooting for ya! Let us know what you decide.<BR>Linda<BR>P.S. I do agree that the Residence Inn would be an ideal choice should you be able to get it. I rarely cook in/or eat out when I stay at these...I just eat what they provide (brekfast and enough to make a dinner out of). They even provide the coffee and microwave popcorn! Let us know what you decide.

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