Disneyland splurges can really add a certain magic to your vacation. From tiny sweets to full-blown boutique make-overs, there’s a Disneyland splurge for kids of all ages (and every budget)! 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. I have some suggestions of Disneyland splurges for kids, plus some money saving ideas that still allow for special treats!
Disneyland Splurges for Kids
Yes, Disneyland is already a magical place. Throwing in a few splurges here and there on your trip will really put a twinkle in your child’s eye! If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime Disneyland vacation, you may just want to really plus-up your Disney days. These are some of the Disneyland splurges for kids that they’ll love, with a range to fit any budget. I’ve also included Disney hacks for saving money on things that still feel like a splurge!
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1. Sweet Disneyland Treats
When I think of Disneyland splurges, I think dessert! All those sweet treats to indulge in, with many of them perfectly designed for the delight of children. There are character-themed marshmallows on a stick sold all over the Park, sundaes from Gibson Girl, milk shakes from Flo’s V-8 Cafe and adorable cookies we found at Jolly Holiday Bakery & Cafe (check out the Cheshire Cat cookie! It matched my daughter’s leggings!)
And of course there are some amazing caramel apples sold throughout the Parks. We love watching them create the apples at Marceline’s in Downtown Disney District. Each apple is painstakingly dipped and decorated by hand. Many of the sweet shops throughout the Disneyland parks have windows where you can watch the treats being crafted.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Buy a caramel apple and request to have it cut into slices. Then everyone can indulge and share the treat!
Watch the video of how caramel apples are made at Disneyland on my YouTube channel.
2. Portrait Drawing and Art
Older kids may appreciate this more than youngsters but having your portrait done (in the streets of New Orleans Square, just down from the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean) 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.
Another option and cherished memento is the Disneyland silhouette. The shop is found on Main Street U.S.A. 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.
3. Handheld Disneyland Souvenir Splurge
Handheld goodies will put a smile on a child’s face! Items like balloons, light-up toys, spinners, Princess wands, swords and bubble blowers add to the Disney joy and are a nice souvenir too.
*Money Saving Splurge* – If you buy a balloon and it pops, return the remnants (along with the original receipt) to any balloon vendor in the Park for a replacement.
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4. Splurge on Disneyland Dining
Looking for a Disneyland dining splurge you’ll never forget? Consider a meal at The Blue Bayou Restaurant. They have a location to die for inside the 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.
There are simple dishes like mac and cheese with veggies or more sophisticated options like salmon and beef strip loin. Kids will get a kick out of watching the ride boats float by and in the decor, which looks like you’re dining outside (complete with chirping crickets!) Just be sure to a get an Advance Dining Reservation because this is a very popular dining location.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Dine for lunch instead of dinner to save on the cost of adult meals.
5. Splurge-Worthy Special Events
There are several special events and packages available at Disneyland if you’re wanting to splurge! Check out the World of Color Dessert Party that gives guests reserved seating as well as dessert and drinks (World of Color is currently not available). Or purchase one of the Fantasmic! show Dinner Packages, which gives you reserved seating for the evening show after your meal.
Visiting Disneyland during the fall? A ticket to Mickey’s Halloween Party is a must so that kids can dress in costume and trick or treat through the Park at night!
6. Disneyland Resort is a Stay On-Site Splurge
From the themed rooms, Extra Magic Hour, 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 Resort & Spa is the highest priced and allows guests staying here private access to a special entrance right into Disney California Adventure park (with valid park ticket).
Disneyland Hotel has an extra-special pool area and light up musical headboards that kids adore. The Paradise Pier hotel is about 15 minutes walk to the front gate and many rooms overlook Disney California Adventure park (especially stunning at night!) This is also the least expensive of the three so if you’re wanting to save a little money, consider booking here.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Naturally weekends, holidays and peak season dates will have higher prices. Stay mid-week and in the off-season to save on a Resort room. Sign up for offers and you may be sent a discount code in the mail or via email.
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7. In-Room Disney Decor
Want to give your kids a magical impression from the moment they enter the hotel room? Contact Disney Floral & Gifts for an in-room celebration that includes decorations, goodies, treats and personalized souvenirs laid out for them when they arrive. What a wonderful Disneyland splurge to kick-off your vacation.
Another alternative is having a gift basket delivered, like those from Pixie Magic. Baskets are unique and contain items culled especially for your needs or the basket theme. If staying at an off-site hotel, your room can even be elaborately decorated before you check-in!
*Money Saving Splurge* – 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!
8. Disneyland Character Dining
Do your littles have a hearty appetite? Consider a character dining experience with an unlimited buffet. You’ll not only meet n’ greet with characters who come to your table for one-on-one time (photos and autographs too), you’ll also have some great options for dining that will please everyone in your group.
- Goofy’s Kitchen is a favorite, with an expansive buffet that includes pb & j pizza as well as freshly carved meats.
- Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast located at Disney’s PCH Grill is our breakfast buffet go-to with made-to-order omelettes.
- The Plaza Inn hosts Minnie in the mornings with a vast breakfast spread that kids will love (in between photo ops with a wide range of characters).
- Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet is located at Storyteller’s Cafe inside Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures
There’s a new option that is such an over-the-top splurge you won’t believe it! Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures. 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.
On the menu are traditional brunch offerings like pastries, fine coffee, fruit and Princess waffles. You’ll also find Shepherd’s Pie, Slow Braised Short Ribs, House Made Mac & Cheese and Beef Sliders which are more dinner-type dishes. Naturally there are desserts as well, including Chocolate Princess Cake Pops, a White Chocolate Slipper with Strawberry Ganache and Petite Fruit Tarts.
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!
*Money Saving Splurge* – 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. Then you can opt out of eating another full meal and just pack in your own snacks.
9. Take a Disneyland Guided Tour
Older kids may enjoy the in-depth tour like “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps”. 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.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Instead of splurging on a Disneyland guided tour, purchase a book pre-trip that will allow you insider access and secrets to the Park! Things like Hidden Mickey hunting and scavenger hunts are perfect for kids who like to explore more.
10. Splurge-Worthy Disney Souvenirs
If there’s one thing that Disney does well, it’s creating some amazing take-home treats that get kids excited! Build-your-own light saber inside The Star Trader. There’s a large station with bits and parts to make it your own design. This area is usually crowded and you’ll be carrying around a big light saber so consider this a late stop in the day.
If your kiddo is more the soft and cuddly type, they might prefer a Disney-themed Duffy Bear! These adorable bears have some amazing costumes that resemble other Disney characters (my daughter has her Duffy wearing a Monsters Inc. Sully outfit).
Start your daughter’s first Pandora charm bracelet and purchase a Disney themed charm. You can purchase charms through ShopDisney or in their shops located in the Downtown Disney District or inside Disneyland’s New Orlean’s Square.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Have a teddy at home? Shop the a la carte teddy bear outfits at World of Disney, located in Downtown Disney District.
11. Afternoon Tea, Disney-Princess Style
Do you have a sophisticated little lady who would enjoy an elegant snack of scones, tiny sandwiches and sips of tea? The afternoon tea held at the Disneyland Hotel has three options (classic, premium or kid’s tea party) and takes place in the elegant Steakhouse 55 restaurant. Dress to impress!
*Money Saving Splurge* – If this upscale experience is too much, consider a stop at the more casual Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe inside Disneyland. You can still indulge in treats, sandwiches and Very Berry Diamond Tea. You might even see Mary Poppins and Bert!
12. 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. 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 upgrades are available.
Check out the restaurant menu for other child-friendly beverage treats like mint julep at French Market, Louisiana Lemonade at Blue Bayou or Red’s Apple Freeze at the Cozy Cone Motel. Even the special events like Festival of Holidays and Food & Wine Festival offer specialty non-alcoholic beverages that kids will love.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Ask for a “Shirley Temple” at some full-service restaurants. We were able to get this sweet drink (Sprite mixed with cherry juice) for the same cost as a fountain drink at the River Belle Terrace Restaurant.
13. Birthday Celebrations
No better time to splurge than for a birthday! Parents can pre-order a custom birthday cake to be served at select Disneyland Resort restaurants. Contact Disney Floral & Gifts for a birthday themed in-room celebration that includes room decoration and special gifts.
READ MORE: More ways to celebrate a birthday at Disneyland.
10. *Money Saving Splurge* – Pick up a complimentary personalized birthday button from guest services when you enter either of the Parks.
14. A Snack & an Upgrade Splurge
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. When ordering a kid’s meal at Flo’s V-8 Cafe you can opt for a Lightning McQueen keepsake. Order the “Kitchen Sink” like we did at Clarabelle’s and receive a souvenir Mickey-themed sink. Reuse them when you return home (my Kitchen Sink holds desk supplies at home!).
*Money Saving Splurge* – The Kitchen Sink is definitely big enough to share. Order ice cream cones separately if you want to fill them with the sundae from the “sink”.
15. A Magical Make-Over
What little 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 under 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!
Even your little prince can get in on the action with a Knight’s Package. 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. A visit to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland is by appointment only and is only for kids 3+.
*Money Saving Splurge* – Purchase your own princess costume from ShopDisney online before your trip and wear it into the Park. Instead of going for the full-out make-over, you can still choose the hairstyle and make-up but save on the (very expensive) dress.
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!
What are YOUR favorite Disneyland splurges? Share them in the comments.
Save Money at DISNEYLAND!
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