This Disneyland Parking Hack Will Save You Almost Half Off

Despite being the Happiest Place On Earth, the cost of a trip to Disneyland can still make you unhappy. When the park first opened in 1955, a one-day admission to the park was only $1.00 for adults, $0.50 for children, and each attraction would cost between $0.25 and $0.35. The most expensive ride was the Disneyland Railroad, which broke the bank at $0.50 per adult and $0.25 per child. And on top of that, parking was $0.25. If you decided not to indulge in any popcorn, ice cream, or a $4.50 full-course New York cut sirloin steak meal during your visit, you would get to enjoy all the Disney magic for under $10.

Today, standard one-day parking alone costs $35. Although, that's relatively small change considering that a one-day, one-park adult admission starts at $104. Of course, if the day you want to go to the Disneyland Resort lands during a peak period, then that price can jump to as high as $194. And if you're from out of town, then there's hotel costs, car rental fees, airplane tickets, and all the other expenses that come with a full-on vacation.

Since guests are putting out mad money for a Disney trip, any way to cut costs here and there are very much appreciated. Luckily, thanks to some incredibly generous Disney fans, an amazing parking hack recently came to light that will save you nearly half the cost of parking in the House of Mouse's lots.

Strolling To The Parks

According to Instagrammer Kellie Krueger, aka @we_dont_wear_ears, the best way to park like a local when you are visiting Disneyland or Disney California Adventure is to head to Anaheim GardenWalk, which is home to the Anaheim House of Blues. The entertainment complex that is located at the corner of W. Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard offers parking for $4 per hour, with the first hour free. If you were to stay all day, then the daily parking maximum is $30, which is $5 less than regular Disneyland parking. However, when you acquire validation with a purchase, then the maximum cost will only be $18 for the whole day.

The process is simple: Once you find your preferred parking spot in the structure, head to one of the shops and make a purchase. Between the Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rockets, La Michoacana 1st Ice Cream, and other restaurants, there are plenty of quick and easy choices for a treat — though Starbucks on the fourth floor is probably the best option for those looking for a quick caffeine fix ahead of the rope drop at the parks. Upon receiving your order, take a picture of your receipt and parking ticket number. Then, as you begin your 10 to 15 minute walk toward the Disneyland Drop Off at the park entrance on Harbor, text those pics to (949) 532-8293 immediately for the validation to process and ensure your discounted parking rate applies while you're having a magical day.

More Discounted Parking

While we'll likely never pay opening-day prices for parking again, you can still save money on Disneyland parking. Magic Key pass holders unlock 25%, 50%, or 100% off standard parking (excluding blackout dates), depending on the tier you choose. In addition to the parking discount, guests with Magic Keys also enjoy savings on Genie+, dining, and merchandise, as well as exclusive events and the ability to make multiple park reservations at once. While there is a slight discount for California residents, Magic Keys can be pricey, at $849 for Enchant Key, $1,249 for Believe Key, and $1,649 for the Inspire Key.

If you're still making frequent visits to the Anaheim theme parks each month and can't commit financially to a Magic Key package, GardenWalk offers a variety of parking membership deals. This program allows the user to load a card with a certain number of entries into their garage. The entry-level plan is similar to the $18 all-day hack we detailed earlier, except you would pay $72 for four entries up front. After those are used up, the card auto-reloads and the cycle starts again. The better deal is the monthly tier, which includes 30 entries at $10 each, including daily in-and-out access. With this perk, you can drive to get some cheaper food before returning for more fun. Finally, if you choose the annual package, which costs $2,400 billed monthly, you get 365 entries at $6.57 each, in addition to the daily in-and-out access.