WOOO, you won a gold medal in the Olympics and the first clichéd words out of your mouth locked you in to a fun financially frightening trip to Disneyland! Is there a cash prize involved with Olympic medals? You better hope so because as entertaining as Mickey Mouse is, the park is filled with bad investments and ATM machines.
Here's a list of vacation blunders for you to keep in mind if you're not into the whole 'save time & money' thing, or if you prefer to go home broke, sunburned, and still a space mountain virgin.
Don't you DARE use Disney's FREE 'FastPass' service. This simple system allows you to schedule your rides on all of the major attractions in the park, saving you an average of 45 minutes of time waiting in EACH line. Enjoy the rest of the park instead of waiting in line, who would want to do that??
Enjoy a nice sit down meal. Why bring in your own sandwiches, lunchables, or even In-n-Out burgers and sit on the available free seating when you can shell out $20 for a mediocre bowl of clam chowder!?.
Meet ALL of the Disney characters. They're obviously the real deal, so go ahead and wait in line for 45 minutes to meet each one. Make sure you get all of their autographs on an official Disney autograph notebook with an official Disney autograph pen. This will set you back about six hours and twenty bucks.
Go to California Adventure as well. When you plop down your $72 per person for entry into Disneyland, the award winning Disney customer service will present a bonus offer to hit up the neighboring California Adventure for only $25 per person. What a deal! Turn around and look at it. There's no lines to wait in! There's no crowd to deal with! Just a big, open, barren, kind-of-amusement park. I talked to a few locals about California Adventure - all of them winced when I mentioned it, so clearly they've had some good times there.
Stock up on souvenirs. You can't let your kids come home without a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, right? Why not go the extra mile and plop down $45 for the giant Mad Hatter top hat with attached blaze orange afro-like hair in the back? It only weighs a few pounds, and it will surely help you keep your head warm in the 100 degree California sun. For the kids, you can now get a wide variety of hats with Mickey Mouse ears attached. They don't need to look like EVERY other kid with the same $15 hat, they can look like 1/10th of every other with the same $25 hat. Don't forget to get their names embroidered on the back for $3 extra.
Opt for the upgrade when renting your car. Only $60 additional per day to get out of a Hyundai and into an Infinity? Sign me up. It's super important to look awesome when you're stuck in traffic on the way to the park AND on the way home. Plus it will magically make finding a parking spot in the Puumba lot much easier. Especially if you arrive at noon, when the park is already full.
Buy single entry tickets when you're a California resident and can score a season pass for 300 bucks. Season passes let those lucky Californians hit up Disneyland AND California Adventure 315 out of 365 days a year!
Smile. You're on vacation. Let loose and have a good time. It's perfectly acceptable to spend money on things that you normally wouldn't; however, a little bit of thought and planning will get you more for your money.