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50 Ultimate Disneyland Splurges and Where to Cut Costs

50 Ultimate Disneyland Splurges and Where to Cut Costs


Disneyland splurges add extra special magic to your vacation! From sweets and treats to full-blown boutique make-overs, there’s a Disneyland splurge for kids of all ages…and every budget. These are the top suggestions of Disneyland splurges for kids and adults. Read on for additional tips to do Disneyland on a budget with ideas that still allow for special fun!

Glow with the Show Disneyland Mouse Ears in Disney Store window

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This post was originally published Feb 15, 2017 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

Disneyland Splurges for Extra Pixie Dust

Yes, Disneyland is already a magical place. A trip to the California theme parks is usually enough. But if this is a once-in-a-lifetime visit, these extravagant extras can take your vacation over-the-top!

Throwing in a few splurges here and there on your trip will really put a twinkle in your child’s eye! Whether this is a first Disneyland vacation or you’ve been a hundred times, there are ways to plus-up your Disney days. 

These are some of the Disneyland splurges for kids and adults with a range to fit any budget. Find out what’s worth the cost and where you can save money. I’ve included Disney hacks for saving money on things that still feel like a splurge!

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Adding Magic Without Big Money

Yes, there are plenty of money saving ideas for a day at Disneyland while still having a magical day. With four kids in our family, we don’t tend to go “all out”. But it certainly adds joy to our trip to surprise the kids with a few little splurges.

This article will cover Disneyland splurges, both big and small. There are ways to indulge in monetary ways as well as more budget-friendly means.

If you’re on a tight spending budget complete the free printable worksheet to figure out the full cost of a Disney vacation. Work in a few special splurges above and beyond the cost of the trip if possible. The Disneyland budget tips shared here will help!

What If I Can’t Afford These Disneyland Splurges?

Just know that even if you’re pinching pennies, Disneyland is in itself a special place. Kids don’t know what they’re missing out on if you don’t tell them. Keep to the rides, shows and entertainment, that’s often enough for children.

With all the fun that Disneyland offers on a regular park day, nobody should feel like they’ve been shorted. If you can’t afford the ultimate splurges, it’s no big loss. You’re still going to have a fantastic trip when you follow these tips!

Disneyland Resort is a Stay On-Site Splurge

From the themed rooms and the amazing pools, staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is a splurge worth making. I’ve stayed in all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels and each offers their own magic.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – This resort hotel is the highest priced with a private guest entrance right into Disney California Adventure park (with valid park ticket). Upscale accommodations add to the luxuriousness.

Splurge on a Pool Cabana – Enjoy swim day in style with a poolside cabana. The Grand Californian has an awesome redwood-themed pool slide with dining service from GCH Grill.

At the Disneyland Hotel, cabana guests will love zipping down the Monorail slides. Polynesian-themed food service comes from Tangaroa Terrace.

Learn more about the Disneyland Resort Hotel pools and what they offer.

Pool and water slide at Disney’s Grand Californian

On-Site Disneyland Resort Hotel Splurges

Disneyland Hotel – The original and most magical location! The Disneyland Hotel has an extra-special pool area with Monorail-themed water slides and light up musical headboards in the rooms that kids adore.

Is Club Level Worth the Splurge? – Add on “Club Level” service to either a Grand Californian or Disneyland Hotel stay. Guests staying at Club Level receive access to the private concierge lounge.

Enjoy a continental breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres and desserts along with soda and alcoholic beverages. Concierge staff is available for assistance with dining reservations and more.

Disneyland Hotel room (with light-up musical headboard!)

Paradise Pier Hotel – Soon to be rethemed into a Pixar-themed hotel. The location is about 15 minutes walk to the front gate and many rooms overlook Disney California Adventure park (especially stunning at night!)

Paradise Pier is also the least expensive of the three so if you’re wanting to save a little money, consider booking here. The addition of an exclusive side entrance into DCA is a plus for this hotel location.

Tip to Save Money on Disneyland Resort Hotels – Weekends, holidays and peak season dates will have higher prices. Stay mid-week and in the off-season to save on a Resort room.

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)
Rooms at the Paradise Pier Hotel

Extreme Splurge at the Disneyland Resort

For the ultimate in Disneyland splurges, nothing is more amazing than an overnight stay in one of the Signature Suites. These incredible spaces cost upwards of $4000 per night in off-peak season.

Disney’s Grand Californian – Craftsman-style suites include Arcadia, Arroyo, Mount Whitney and El Capitan.

Disneyland Hotel – Supreme theming includes Adventureland, Big Thunder, Fairy Tale, Pirates of the Caribbean suites and the Mickey Mouse Penthouse.

Photo credit: Disney Parks

Disneyland Suite Life

Need a suite but not ready for the extreme cost? All three hotels do have 1, 2 and 3-bedroom suites that sleep up to 14. Partner up for a multi-family trip, then split the cost of the larger space.

More Ways to Splurge at the Disneyland Resort Hotels

Some of these splurges are only for park guests. Others are available for anyone visiting the property. I’ll specify in the description of each and will describe some of these in more detail throughout the article.

Paradise Pier Hotel

Rooftop fireworks viewing from the hotel’s pool area (available for all Disneyland Resort hotel guests).

Disneyland Hotel

Character Dining – Goofy’s Kitchen (available for anyone to make reservations).

Disney Grand Californian

World of Color Viewing – Watch this nighttime spectacular from the Paradise View Terrace on 6th floor (only available for Grand Californian guests, access with room key). Thanks to my friends at Get Away Today on Instagram for this tip!

Character Dining – Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe. Princess Breakfast Adventures at Napa Rose (available for anyone to make reservations).

Tenaya Stone Spa – Massages, manicures, facials and more (available for anyone 14+ when accompanied by an adult).

Fitness Classes – Includes pool paddle boarding instruction, yoga or a power walk through DCA before it opens to park guests! (available for Disneyland Resort hotel guests – book through the spa website)

Disneyland Splurges at Nearby Anaheim Hotels

To save money (but still have excellent accommodations) these off-site Good Neighbor Anaheim hotels are a great choice. Amenities like waterpark pools and fireworks viewing will feel like a splurge!

Save your spending money to use inside the parks by considering one of these nearby hotels:

Courtyard Anaheim – Walk to the front gate within a few minutes, this theme-park entrance hotel has the best water park pool in the area! Bunk beds, dining area and double showers in every room.

View of the disneyland matterhorn and pool water park from the Courtyard Marriott in Anaheim
Courtyard Anaheim theme park entrance

The Westin Anaheim Resort – Newly opened, this upscale location is walkable through Downtown Disney. A rooftop fireworks view from the family-friendly bar is a highlight.

Radisson BLU Anaheim – Modern luxury with theme park views in this newer hotel. Excellent swim areas, including one reserved just for grown-ups.

JW Marriott Anaheim – Elegant accommodations with in-room soaking tubs, rooftop bar and poolside cabanas.

Room inside JW Marriott Anaheim near Disneyland
JW Marriott Anaheim

Budget-Friendly Splurge for Family Accommodations

Save a little more with these family-friendly hotels that are great for all ages.

Howard Johnson – Within 15 minutes walking distance, the HoJo Anaheim offers the kid-friendly Castaway Cove pirate-themed water play area.

Castaway Cove at the HoJo Anaheim

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel – Castle theme extends into the large rooms, including bunk rooms. A complimentary shuttle takes guests to and from the parks.

The Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel even has a special princess greeting wake-up or bedtime story reading (scroll through to find out more details, with photos!).

Splurge on a Disneyland Multi-Day Vacation

If you can swing it, aim to spend 3 full days in the theme parks and a few days in between to explore in the Southern California area. There are many excellent things to do in the Anaheim area on an off-day at Disneyland including themed dinner shows and children’s museums.

Budgeting for Disneyland Tickets – When calculating the cost per day, a multi-day ticket is the better value. Research more about how to get discounted Disneyland tickets to splurge on a multi day visit.

DISCOUNT DISNEYLAND TICKETS – My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted Disneyland tickets and Anaheim-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

Disneyland tickets purchased now are good through January 12th, 2025. Purchase your multi-day tickets through Get Away Today today and lock in the best pricing of the year.

When you’re ready to book your Disneyland vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package (when booking 2+ nights with two or more tickets).

Sweet Disneyland Treats

When I think of Disneyland splurges, one of the first things I think about is dessert! All those sweet treats to indulge in, yum. Many of them are perfectly designed for the delight of children.

Some treats are sold only on a limited time basis for certain special events or holidays. But other items are perennial favorites that vary dependent upon location.

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)
At about $5 each, these marshmallow character “tails” are a reasonably priced treat.

Traveling to Disneyland when they are running a special event or during the Disneyland holiday season? Check the Disney Parks Blog ahead of your trip to see what fun treats will be offered. Here are a few peeks on some of the seasonal treats from Disneyland in the past:

Items like the Poison Apple Cake Pop during Halloween Time at Disneyland are a fun little splurge that won’t break the bank.

During the holiday season, there are always a bunch of amazing churros in every flavor, like this one with chocolate drizzle, pretzels and peppermint bits.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are the top tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

More Disneyland Treats for Kids

Many other Disneyland sweet treats are staples you can find year-round. There are character-themed marshmallows on a stick sold all over the Park and unique sundaes. Read the menus for milk shakes and smoothies and of course lots of adorable Disney themed cookies.

Check out the Cheshire Cat cookie, it matched my daughter’s leggings!

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

Of course there are some amazing caramel apples sold throughout the Parks. Many of the sweet shops throughout the Disneyland parks have windows where you can watch the treats being crafted. We love watching them create the apples at Marceline’s in Downtown Disney District.

Minnie Mouse candied apple at Disneyland

Money Saving Splurge on Sweets – Buy a caramel apple and request to have it cut into slices. Then everyone can indulge and share the treat!

Watch the video below where you can see how candied apples are made. Each apple is painstakingly dipped and decorated by hand. Now you’ll know why this treat has a premium cost, as so much work goes into each apple!

Must-Try Treat Splurges at Disneyland

One of the best budget-wise ways to save on Disneyland splurges is to share treats within your group. Read more about the best meals to share at Disneyland.

(all subject to menu change):

Disneyland Park

Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor – Hand-made waffle cones and hand scooped ice cream in 9 flavors. Share an oversized sundae like the Firehouse Dalmatian Mint Sundae to save on the cost.

The Golden Horseshoe – The house made Chocolate-Chunk Cookie Sundae is a delicious dessert served in true Disney-style (Mouse Ear cookies!)

Chocolate-Chunk Cookie Sundae at Golden Horseshoe Disneyland
Chocolate-Chunk Cookie Sundae at Golden Horseshoe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe – Order up a variety of cookies, pastries and cupcakes including the Mickey Mouse-shaped Sugar Cookie & Matterhorn Macaroon.

Mint Julep Bar – Share a bag of Mickey-shaped beignets dusted in powdered sugar.

Red Rose Taverne – Try the elegant Grey Stuff Gâteau inspired by Beauty and the Beast. It’s white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a raspberry center.

Tropical Hideaway – Classic Dole Whip pineapple soft serve swirl with either raspberry or orange.

Two Dole Whip desserts at the Tropical hideaway in disneyland
There are many types of Dole Whip offered at the Tropical Hideaway

More Tasty Splurges at Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure park

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats – Sip on the Pixar Pier Frozen Parfait, a blend of lemon soft-serve and blue raspberry slush.

Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream – Go for the big one, The Kitchen Sink. Make your choice of any sundae served in a souvenir Mickey-inspired kitchen sink.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)
The Kitchen Sink sundae

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop – A variety of enormous sundaes including the Golden Gate Banana Split & Twin Peaks Marshmallow Hot Fudge Sundae.

Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums – Extra-large warm chocolate chip cookies and milk, found in a cart just outside the Incredicoaster ride.

Lamplight Lounge – Delicious warm fluffy donuts with dipping sauces to finish off your meal.

Lamplight Lounge Donuts with dipping sauce Disney California Adventure park
Lamplight Lounge Donuts with dipping sauce

Portrait Mementos of a Magical Vacation

If you’re looking for the ultimate memento of your Disneyland trip, consider booking a personal photography shoot inside the Parks. A & C Photography will custom design the most magical mementos of your children.

A & C Photography kids in front of Disneyland carousel
Photo Credit: A & C Photography

A & C Photography recently took my website head shot and they were amazingly fast and easy to work with. As you can see by these beautiful images, they know exactly how to work with kids in the Parks to get the best photos. What a wonderful memory of your vacation!

A & C Photography child dressed in Brave Merida costume at Disneyland Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Photo Credit: A & C Photography

More Ways to Capture Your Kids at Disneyland

Portraits – Located in the streets of New Orleans Square, just down from the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean. A hand-drawn portrait is a souvenir worth framing. Choose from silly caricatures or more serious pastel drawings. The simple one color designs are a less expensive Disneyland splurge.

Silhouettes – A cherished memento is the Disneyland silhouette. The Silhouette Studio shop is found on Main Street U.S.A. (editor’s note: Currently non-operational, there is no announced return date for the Silhouette Studio).

Within just a few quick minutes, paper artists cut out the child’s silhouette and mount it onto a background that’s suitable for framing. It’s a very reasonably-priced piece of art.

Take it home to frame or purchase a special frame in the shop. I still have the silhouette that my parents had made for me when I was just 5 years old!

front entrance of disneyland silhouette

Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane

Pay to skip the line and splurge on lower wait times with the Disney Genie+ system and paid Lightning Lane for select attractions.

Disney Genie+

Invest $20 for Disney Genie+ per person per day. This upcharge will give you the ability to use the Lightning Lane on select attractions throughout both theme parks.

Purchase a Disneyland Ticket with Disney Genie+ to save time. Disney Genie+ will be added to the Disneyland app automatically. You’ll be able to book your first Lightning Lane of the day after scanning in at the front gate.

Is “Line Skipping” at Disneyland Worth the Cost?

Individual Attraction Selection

Otherwise known as the “paid Lightning Lane” feature, Individual Attraction Selection is available for several popular attractions. This allows guests to skip the stand-by line and access the Lightning Lane.

Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs Racer and WEBSLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure offer this additional charge for LL. The paid Lightning Lane has an additional cost up to $20 per per, per attraction.

Disneyland PhotoPass

Any pictures that Disney PhotoPass photographers take are downloadable without any additional cost when you purchase Disney Genie+. This includes on-ride images.

Save Money with This Tip: If you’re only purchasing Disney Genie+ for the photo downloads, purchase the add-on for just one person in your party.

Little girl in Minnie Mouse dress with Tinker Bell in Disneyland Pixie Hollow
Image credit: Disney PhotoPass

Splurge-Worthy Disney Souvenirs

Souvenirs are not only a great way to splurge, they’re an excellent memento of your magical vacation. There are gifts big and small located in the shops all around the parks. You’ll also find kiosks in every Land. These are a few of the top souvenir splurges:

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

Mouse Ears – The classic Disney headband, there are Mouse Ears to fit all budgets. The lowest cost Ears run about $30. Luxury brands like COACH offer upscale versions like these Mickey Mouse Leather Ears.

Image credit: shopDisney

Dooney & Bourke – Limited releases of new designs make these coveted bags an upscale splurge. Watch shopDisney for occasional promotions on these popular backpacks, wallets, purses and totes.

Photo credit: shopDisney

Pandora – Start a charm bracelet and purchase a Disney themed Pandora charm ahead of the trip through shopDisney. There are also park exclusive designs in their shops located in the Downtown Disney District or Disneyland’s New Orlean’s Square.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

How to save money on Disney souvenirs – Rather than shopping at the World of Disney or within the theme parks, consider these souvenirs to buy before a Disney vacation. Purchasing online can save you money, especially if you have a discount code.

Star Wars Souvenirs

There are two locations within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in which guests can design and build their own keepsake.

At Droid Depot, guests can create their own BB-series, C-series or R-series unit. Each droid runs around $100 with additional cost for accessories. Savi’s Workshop is the place to hand build a custom lightsaber. Prices start around $220 and go up from there, depending upon how complex your design becomes.

Advance reservations are required for both locations, up to 60 days in advance of your visit.

Droid Dept at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland
Pick your parts off the conveyor belt inside Droid Depot

Lower cost Star Wars souvenirs – For a light saber or droid without the astronomical cost, look to The Star Trader in Tomorrowland. There are large stations with bits and parts to make your own designs.

Special Souvenirs That Feel Like a Splurge

From balloons, light-up toys, spinners, princess wands, swords and bubble blowers there’s something to find for all budgets that kids will love.

Stuffed animals at Disneyland
My daughter always has to hug the stuffies!

Yes, there are many souvenirs in the park that are highly priced. But a great many of the smaller things can be found throughout the gift shops for less than $15 each.

If you have a particular budget you’re trying to stay under, ask a Cast Member in the shop. They are always very courteous to point you in the right direction and help you find what you’re looking for.

Tinker Bell pen souvenir Disneyland
This unique Tinker Bell pen was less than $10.

Splurge on Disneyland Dining

Looking for a Disneyland dining splurge you’ll never forget? Many of the Disneyland restaurants are fun, but these choices are worth the extra.

Blue Bayou Restaurant – The location alone is swoon-worthy. The restaurant is located inside Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It’s the only restaurant at Disneyland inside of an attraction!

There is also a restaurant menu that’s kid-friendly. Order simple dishes like mac and cheese with veggies or more sophisticated options like salmon and beef strip loin.

Request a waterside table to watch the ride boats float by. Just be sure to get an Advance Dining Reservation because this is a very popular dining location.

Want to save a little on Disney dining cost? – Dine for lunch at Blue Bayou instead of dinner. Adult meals are lower priced in the afternoon.

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Carthay Circle – The signature restaurant of Disney California Adventure this is the fanciest meal you’ll find in either park.

There are kid’s options including orange chicken or quesadillas while adults dine on rib eye or pork chops.

Less-spendy Disney dining option – Choose to get a reservation at the Carthay Circle Lounge, which offers al fresco dining. The menu is different, but it’s still an excellent lunch or dinner choice.

Book a Character Dining Meal

If you’re looking for a restaurant and entertainment combined, you can’t miss out on the character dining splurge! Families can enjoy a meal while favorite characters come to each table for a one-on-one with your children. Take photos, request autographs and some of the characters will play or dance with the kids.

Little girl hugging Chip at Plaza Inn Minnie and Friends breakfast at Disneyland

Have a baby or toddler? – Children who have not yet had their 3rd birthday dine for free, even at character dining locations.

My daughter was 2-years old when we went to Goofy’s Kitchen (just five days before her third birthday). Her meal was cost-free!

These character meals are especially great if your little ones have a hearty appetite! All these character dining experiences have an unlimited buffet. I really think my daughter ate more than I did!

You’ll not only meet n’ greet with characters who come to your table, there will also be great options for dining to please everyone in your group.

Dine Early to Save – Character dining is definitely a splurge but there is a way you can save on the cost. Choose breakfast when offered instead of lunch or dinner and cost decreases significantly.

Another way to save is to choose a meal time in between that will serve as both a late-lunch/early-dinner. Opt out of eating another full meal and just pack in your own snacks.

Disneyland Character Dining Locations

Advance dining reservations (ADR) are needed to book these popular restaurants. Try using MouseDining to score coveted reservations ahead of your trip.

  • Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel is a favorite. Check out the expansive buffet that includes pb & j pizza as well as freshly carved meats.
  • Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet is located at Storyteller’s Cafe inside Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. The food choices here are excellent.
  • The Plaza Inn hosts Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the mornings with a vast spread that kids will love (Minnie Mouse waffles!) This is the only in-park character meal.

Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures

There’s a newer character dining option that is such an over-the-top splurge you won’t believe it! Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is located at Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa.

This meal is three-course and also includes a personal portrait moment and a take-away keepsake. While the meal is touted as a “breakfast” and served in the morning hours, the dishes lean towards savory as well as sweet.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim

On the menu are traditional brunch offerings like pastries, fine coffee, fruit, turkey sausage and Princess waffles. You’ll also find slow braised short ribs, house made mac & cheese and pork belly which are more dinner-type dishes.

Naturally there are desserts as well, served on a tiered platter. Treats include chocolate princess cake pops, a sea shell macaron and petite berry tarts. If you’re too full after the meal, request to have leftover sweets boxed up to go.

All this also includes one-on-one time with popular princesses. You’ll definitely want your kiddos dressed to impress for what is sure to be a meal to remember!

READ MORE: Is the Disney Princess Breakfast Worth the Cost? Check out this article from my friend Sally on Lovestalgia.

Splurge-Worthy Special Events

There are several special events and packages available at Disneyland if you’re wanting to splurge! The events change frequently so be sure to check the calendar before your visit. 

Each guest receives a dessert platter during the World of Color

Disneyland & Disney California Adventure Dining Packages:

  • World of Color Dessert Party – reserved seating as well as snacks and drinks during the show.
  • Plaza Inn Dining Package – lunch and reserved viewing area for the Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience – treats and seats with a view for nightly fireworks show.
  • Fantasmic! show Dinner Packages – reserved seating or reserved standing area for the evening show after your meal. Blue Bayou is the priciest option and River Belle Terrace a bit less, though both are a 3-course prix fixe meal. There is also less expensive “Fantasmic! On-the-Go” package from Hungry Bear. Guests dining at River Belle Terrace can choose to upgrade their dinner package and watch the show from their seat during the meal.

Reserved Viewing at Less Cost – The more expensive Blue Bayou will give you a seat to watch Fantasmic! that’s just at the waterside. The upgraded package from River Belle Terrace will allow guests to eat in the restaurant and watch the show at the same time.

If you’re looking for the cheaper package choose the Hungry Bear package which reserves a standing room area. Standing or sitting, you’ll still be watching the same show!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Seasonal Event Splurges

Disneyland offers different seasonal special events throughout the year that can be big-time splurges for the kids. Some of these events sell out extremely fast (within days) so you’ll want to move quickly when tickets open for sale.

Disneyland After Dark events

Disneyland After Dark events are especially great fun for older kids or teens who can stay up into the wee hours. These themed evening events have a limited number of tickets to keep crowd levels low.

There is exclusive entertainment and special treats available during the event. Past events have included Sweethearts themed for Valentine’s Day or Star Wars.

Disney Halloween Party

Visiting Disneyland during the fall? The nighttime Halloween trick or treat party is a yearly tradition! Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure replaced the annual Mickey’s Halloween Party and was an instant success.

Party into the Night without Extra Cost – Skip purchasing a regular Disneyland day ticket if attending the Halloween party at night. While the “party event” doesn’t officially start until evening, guests can get in to the park 3 hours early.

Planning a vacation for Halloween at Disneyland with kids? This is the ULTIMATE fall guide with all the most helpful tips on what to see, fall treats, favorite characters dressed up for autumn, limited-time seasonal ride overlays and special events just for Halloween Time!

Fall Fun without the Extra Funds – Don’t want to pay extra for the Halloween party? There is still tons of Halloween Time fun to be had at Disneyland!

During the fall season there is plenty to Halloween fun that is a part of the regular park ticket including ride overlays like Haunted Mansion Holidays. Kids 13 and younger can still dress in their Halloween costume to celebrate the season.

Planning a vacation for Halloween at Disneyland with kids? This is the ULTIMATE fall guide with all the most helpful tips on what to see, fall treats, favorite characters dressed up for autumn, limited-time seasonal ride overlays and special events just for Halloween Time!

Take a Disneyland Guided Tour

A Disneyland guided tour is a wonderful way to learn more about the parks (or even skip the lines!) Older kids may enjoy the in-depth tour like “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps”. (Editor’s note: Guided tours have not returned to the park).

For a major splurge, reserve a “Plaid” for a VIP tour that will allow you priority access, reserved seating and a personal guide for the day.

Considering a Disneyland vacation but worried about crowds? Here are the tips you need to know even if the parks at Disneyland are crowded! #Disneyland

Self-Guided Disneyland Splurge – Instead of splurging on a costly Disneyland guided tour here’s a budget-friendly option. Purchase one of these book suggestions that will allow you insider access and secrets to the Park!

Overlooked Disneyland attractions like Hidden Mickey hunting and scavenger hunts are perfect for kids who like to explore more. Here are some ideas for self-guided “tours” you can take in the theme parks!

Sip and Splurge

Yes, even your beverages can be a splurge when you indulge in some of the fun that Disney offers. There are souvenir sippers, glow ice cubes and silly straws that can “upgrade” your drink.

Years ago, I found this Incredibles Elastigirl straw at Corn Dog Castle. Just look at the window (or ask) when you’re ordering to find out what fun sippers are available during the time of your visit!

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Check out the restaurant menu for other child-friendly beverage treats. Even the special events like Festival of Holidays and Food & Wine Festival offer specialty non-alcoholic beverages that kids will love.

My daughter loved the coloring changing Yippee! Mickey’s Cotton Candy Soda that was only offered during the Disney California Food and Wine Festival. All of the following suggestions are non-alcoholic and perfect drinks for children.

Cotton candy soda with a preschooler at Disney California Adventure park
Special beverage offered only during Food and Wine Festival.

Kid-Friendly Drink Splurges


  • Maurice’s Treats -Boysen Apple Freeze in souvenir mug.
  • Mint Julep Bar – New Orleans mint julep.
  • Tiki Juice Bar – Dole Whip Float is Dole pineapple juice topped with pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve.
Mint Julep from the Mint Julep Bar at New Orleans Square Disneyland
Mint Julep from the Mint Julep Bar at New Orleans Square

Disney California Adventure park

  • Cozy Cone Motel – Ramone’s “Pear of Dice” soda, “Route” Beer Float or Red’s Apple Freeze
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe – Flo’s Classic Shake in Souvenir Glass. Vanilla, chocolate or strawberry with “Road Gravel” topping.
  • Lamplight Lounge – Non-alcoholic beverages including the Infinity Fizz and 2319.
  • Schmoozies! – Variety of smoothies including many special event and seasonal offerings.
Cocktails at Disney California Adventure park Lamplight Lounge
The two drinks on the left from Lamplight Lounge are non-alcoholic and kid-friendly.

Money Saving Disney Sipper – Request a “Shirley Temple” at some full-service restaurants. My family was able to get this sweet drink (Sprite mixed with cherry juice) for the same cost as a fountain drink.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)
A cool Olaf sipper

Birthday Celebrations

No better time to splurge than for a birthday! There are a great many fun ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland on all budgets.

Disneyland Birthday Freebie – Pick up a complimentary personalized birthday button from guest services when you enter either of the Parks. 

In-Room Disney Decor

Want to give your kids a magical impression from the moment they enter the hotel room? A decorated room is wonderful Disneyland splurge to kick-off your vacation!

If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, contact Disney Floral & Gifts for an in-room celebration that includes decorations, goodies, treats and personalized souvenirs laid out for the kids when they arrive. (Editor’s Note: Disney Floral & Gifts is not currently operational).

Splurge-Worthy Decorations – Bring your own store-bought treats like bubbles and glow necklaces. Put them on your kid’s pillows and say that Tinker Bell delivered them!

Upgrade Splurges at Disneyland

Many of the snacks sold throughout the Disneyland Resort have an upgrade option.

Choose to have your popcorn sold in a regular carton or splurge on a whimsical souvenir bucket. Order the “Kitchen Sink” at Clarabelle’s and receive a souvenir Mickey-themed sink.

Share this Splurge – The Kitchen Sink and many other ice cream sundaes at Disneyland are big enough to share. Order ice cream cones separately if you want to fill them with the sundae from the “sink”. Get the tips on more of the best meals to share at Disneyland.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

Magical Disneyland Make-Overs

What little prince or princess wouldn’t love a head-to-toe fairy tale make-over from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? This special shop inside Fantasyland at Disneyland offers the ultimate splurge for kids aged 3-12.

There are several packages to choose from including grand make-overs that include a sparkling new gown, glittered up-do, make-up, nail polish and more!

For the over-the-top splurge, Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture the moment for you with a customized portrait series. What a sweet way to capture that beautiful make-over. Advance reservations are required and bookings fill up very quickly. 

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

Bibbidi Bobbidi Budget – Purchase your own princess costume online before your trip and wear it into the Park. Instead of going for the full-out makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you can still choose the hairstyle and make-up but save on the (very expensive) dress. Read more about the best places to buy Disney princess dresses.

Have your child change into their costume before heading into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The cost savings could be upwards of $50 just by purchasing your dress before your trip!

A second money saving option is to conduct your own princess makeovers at home or in the hotel room. From easy-to-do hairstyles and kid-friendly make-up, these DIY Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique tips make it fun (and inexpensive).

Magical Splurge Outside of the Parks

The Disney magic doesn’t happen just inside the parks. This is a splurge that will delight youngsters and it happens beyond the park gates!

Bedtime treats at Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel offers a special princess morning wake up or bedtime tuck-in. Princess Corinne came to our room at bedtime to read several story books she’d brought. My daughter received two fancy cupcakes, milk, a crown, certificate, and signed photo of the princess.

It was a highlight for my (almost) three year old daughter and she still talks about Princess Corinne!

After making your reservation, you’ll want to call the hotel and book the greeting. Make your choice of either morning wake-up call or a bedtime tuck-in. There is an additional cost for this special activity.

Princess Corinne Bedtime Greeting at the Anaheim Majestic Gardens Hotel near Disneyland

Grown-Up Disneyland Splurges

Disneyland is a place for all ages, adults included! So naturally some of these Disneyland splurges are just for grown ups.

Whether you’re on a honeymoon, girlfriends trip or just splurging for an adult’s night out, these are a few things to add to your itinerary.

Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian – Indulge in a facial, massage, pedicure, body wrap or one of the other luxurious spa treatments.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar – This popular bar is open to families until the 8 pm hour. After this the restaurant is available only to guests aged 21+.

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Cassandra D

Monday 20th of May 2019

I like the outfits and the treats.


Friday 24th of February 2017

Character dining is probably my favorite splurge at Disney. A Disney vacation just isn't complete without a meal shared with your favorite characters! There's no other experience like it!

Didi Marie

Sunday 19th of February 2017

What a complete list Julie! I love that you included some budgetary tips too. We splurged for a "plaid" once many years ago, and if I get a shot at that Aladdin's lamp, that's my #1 wish!!!

Lori Ketcherside

Friday 17th of February 2017

Lots of great ideas! Our favorite are breakfast character meals!

Kimberly K

Thursday 16th of February 2017

We had my son's portrait drawn one visit in New Orleans Square. When we got home, I had it framed. I think it was a perfect splurge because it's one I will enjoy for years to come.

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