How I spent my Starwood points and Disneyland trip cost breakdown

This post will update on how I spent my Starwood points earned with my credit card.

It's summer time. I've been posting a lot less regularly in the last month.

During last holiday weekend, we decided to go to Disneyland with my 2 boys. A typical trip to Disneyland would cost thousands, so I manage to keep the costs down around ~1300$ or so for 5 days.

Here's an overview of our total cost:

Trip cost breakdown
Stay at Starwood 70$
Disneyland 879$
Rental car 125$
Gas (40mpg) 100$
Food 150$
Total 1324$

Hotel cost:

For a trip like this, hotels are usually the bulk of your total budget. In my previous post, I showed how to get a Starwood credit card. I found one hotel part of the Starwood family walking distance to Disneyland (Hotel Menage). If you book 5 nights or more, it comes to 5600 points per night. With the bonus of 35000, there is enough points to cover this.

Disneyland:

We decided to buy 5 day tickets for Disneyland from the Park saver's website
. This comes to around 60$/day. It's only slightly more expensive than 3 days but since it was our first time, we decided to stay longer. If we did get tired of it, we could always go to the beach or Newport Beach. But we didn't need it, it went so fast.

Rental car:

Even if I own 2 cars, I decided to rent a car for our road-trip. Mainly so I don't have to worry about mechanical problems and it's so cheap. I booked a long time ago for 125$/week. I also booked a compact car, great for gas mileage. It's a rather uninspiring car (Hyundai), but it does the job. Also, since we walk to Disneyland, we only took the car once to go to the grocery store.

Restaurants:

Eating out is part of the experience. I was pleasantly surprised by what Disney has to offer. If you avoid typically fast food (like hot dogs and burgers), you can find some amazing food with decent portions. What I found worked best to order something big and split among ourselves, but end up trying more variety. This way, we can keep the meal costs pretty low (~10$-13$) and maybe have an extra meal per day. Same goes for the ice cream. Buy the biggest one you can, and ask them to split it for you.

Improvements:

If come back next year, I should use the Disney credit card. It provides a 10% rebate on Disney food/products. You also get a 150$ cashback, which might seem meager compare to the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Bottom line, those vacations will be priceless for us. But we still manage to stay within budget and will be able to afford more getaways later. For optimal happiness, you want to have as many experiences as possible. Minimizing costs for each of these experiences will help you reach that goal.

Enjoy your summer!