Thursday, April 14, 2005

Family Fun On A Budget: Yes, Even Disneyland

So, nobody was all that impressed with my pictures.

Well, will anybody be impressed if I say I spent Tuesday at Disneyland?

That I took me, my wife, and my two girls to Disneyland on a budget?

Is anybody paying attention to any of this?

Well, if anybody cares, here's how I did it.

There's an old saying in sales. "You can have it fast, cheap, or good. Pick any two."

This saying always holds true. You can get good, fast food for example, but it costs. If you want cheap, good food, it's not going to be fast--you're going to have to take the time to make it yourself from scratch.

So if you're on a budget, that means that, in most cases, you're either going to have to sacrifice it being fast or sacrifice it being good.

In the case of Disneyland, you can't control the quality (It's still good, no matter what your opinion of Eisner), so what you have to give up is speed. As with all purchases, you get the best deal if you bide your time. The more flexible your time frame, the better a deal you have time to find.

In our case, we knew we wanted to go to Disneyland, but we gave ourselves all the time in the world, and we were able to whittle the price for the tickets for my wife and myself down to free.

Yes, free.

We received an ad for a timeshare presentation that guaranteed that you would receive a fantastic prize at the conclusion of the presentation, whether you joined their program or not. If you weren't happy with your prize, they'd swap it for two tickets to the "Orange County resort" of your choice. Including Disneyland.

We pounced on it. We said no a lot that night, to a lot of people, but ultimately we ended up with the free tickets.

And, as you'd expect, there were all kinds of limits and restrictions on what days we could use the tickets (nothing too close to a holiday, no weekends, etc.) and there were a lot of hoops to jump through (mailing in forms and getting back forms and mailing in other forms, etc.) but ultimately, we ended up with a couple free tickets to Disneyland a free night's hotel stay in Buena Park (Right by Knotts Berry Farm. They offered to move us by Disneyland for $30 more. I'm sure the people who got Knotts Berry Farm tickets were already staying over by Disneyland, and being offered rooms in our hotel for $30 more).

Since Miriam is older than 3, we did end up buying her a ticket. So me, my wife, my three year old, and my two year old all got into Disneyland for the price of one child's ticket.

As for food, we brought a backpack with snacks and treats we bought cheap beforehand, so we could munch on things all day long, rather than stop the fun to pay outlandish prices for Disney food.

We did also pay $10 for parking.

So the moral of the story is know what you want, and then be flexible about when you want it, and you may be surprised with what types of deals turn up eventually.

Oh, and the Universal Studios pics? That trip was courtesy of the company I work for. The moral of that story is work real hard and people will recognize and reward you for it.

I hope I'm not making this 365 Day Turnaround thing look too easy, because it's not. It really is a challenge (Just getting this tickets was a challenge, with all the hoops you had to jump through. Fortunately, it was a challenge that didn't cost money).

I do hope I am making it look like a whole lot of fun.


Rebecca said...

As I was growing up, our family was notorious for going to time share presentations (and saying no) to get free goodies. A few years ago when we took a family vacation to Hawaii, we went to a time share presentation on both islands we stayed at got discount tickets or free tickets for something or other. I can't remember what we got on Oahu, but I think we got helicopter rides over the valcano at a discount or free.

Rebecca said...

Oops, that last sentence was supposed to say "I think we got helicopter rides over the valcano at a discount or free on the big island of Hawaii".

Erik said...

You're spot on, Becky.

My brother Greg did Vegas like that. He was there with his wife, and attended a time share thing and got two tickets to see Mac "Mac King is God" King.

At the King show, he got two tickets to see Jeff "I'm a Jalapeno . . . on a Stick" Dunham.

There is tons of stuff being given away free every day by people who are trying to sell you more expensive stuff. You just have to find them.

Rebecca said...


My brother and I recently saw Jeff Dunham at the Ontario Improv (although we did pay full price). It was a very good show.