Adventure of the Week – Disneyland and Balboa Island

You Can Get this Drink at a Stand Right Before You Enter Frontierland

This week’s adventure consisted of going to Disneyland and then later spending some time on Balboa Island.

Several people have asked Julianna and I how we manage to always be at Disneyland and here’s the secret:

We go to Disneyland all the time without breaking the bank because we have passes that we pay for monthly.

Disneyland offers discounted passes to Southern California residents and allows you to pay monthly instead of paying all at once. With the discount and monthly payments, we each pay about $30 a month; that means for $1 a day, you can go to Disneyland and California Adventure whenever you want (minus the blackout dates which don’t even matter because who really wants to go to Disneyland when their capacity is at max and the lines are 3 hours long each). Compare this to an insane $157 for a ONE DAY park hopper ticket (or $174 for peak days); it only takes you using your pass two times before it basically pays for itself.

Also, because we live fairly close to Disneyland, we are able to go for a few hours, ride what we want to ride, and head out. This works out really well because honestly, the crowds at Disneyland can get really overwhelming. It also makes it so we can save money by going home for lunch/dinner, instead of having to pay crazy prices for theme park food (which we all know isn’t that good). Even if you can’t go home for lunch but you’re looking to save a few dollars while at the park, pack a lunch! There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy food that you brought from home.

There are also three places in the park that we think are worth actually buying food from, especially if you are looking for a deal:

  1. Corn dogs – The Disneyland corn dogs are the best ever, and they have several locations where you can get one. Having a Disneyland pass also gives you discounts on food so you can get a massive corn dog for about $6.50.
  2. Bread bowls – There are a couple of locations in Disneyland and one in California Adventure where you can get bread bowls filled with soup, salad, or pasta. They are filling and cost around $10 each.
  3. Pizza Port – Pizza Port can be found in Tomorrowland, between Space Mountain and the Finding Nemo ride. The portions are big enough to share, and will also run you roughly $10.

The downside to frequently visiting Disneyland is the parking. It used to be much more convenient because Downtown Disney offered free parking for two hours, but they’ve since changed the rules which basically forces you to pay for parking. Regular parking costs $20 a day and that can really add up if you go often or are only going for a few hours.

Here are the parking hacks we use:

  1. Find a neighborhood to park in and count on doing some extra walking. Be sure to read the street signs and use your best judgement to whether or not you can get away with parking in that neighborhood without getting ticketed.
  2. If you are planning to eat at Disneyland anyway, park in the Downtown Disney lot and eat at a sit down restaurant in Downtown Disney instead. A cheaper way to get away with this is to get a dessert at any of the restaurants (we usually get ice cream from the ESPN Zone) and have them validate your parking pass, which gives you a free four hours of parking. With cost of the ice cream and tip, you can get away with paying about $8-$10 for four hours of parking.
  3. Consider the stores at Downtown Disney and if you need to buy anything, wait and buy it on a day you want to go to Disneyland for a short period of time. For example, if I need to buy makeup, I will buy it at the Sephora located inside of Downtown Disney instead of buying it at a mall. By doing this, I earn myself a free two hours of parking (stores will validate if you spend over $20). Or if you’re going with a group of people and you plan on getting coffee beforehand, wait and get it at one of the two Downtown Disney Starbucks and get that free parking.


Before the night came to a close, my little family headed over to Balboa Island to enjoy some time together. Balboa Island is literally a little island off of the Newport Beach peninsula. You can ride the ferry over either in your car or as a free-standing passenger. The peninsula itself houses the Balboa Fun Zone which is a super cute place to play at the arcade, watch the boats on the harbor, ride the ferris wheel, or grab a snack. Regardless of where you live, I can guarantee there is an adventure worth having; the calm of being ocean front is always an adventure worthwhile for our family.


Happy Adventuring ♥

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