DVDJunkie: I'm sorry that you find visiting Disneyland to be out of reach. That would break my heart. Our family doesn't have much money, but I forego lots of other things in order to budget in Disney every few years. Unfortunately Disneyland doesn't have the same ticket policy as in Florida. The tickets expire at the end of every year, at least they used to and still do as far as I know. So you can't purchase a ticket when you have a little extra money and save it until you have the rest of the trip budgeted for (that's how I go to Florida).
Here is what AARP says on their website: Of course, each of the AARP travel center vacation package deals in Disneyland® Park also gives you access to an array of members-only travel perks. You'll be able to ditch the booking fees on airfare, score a 10% discount on a single hotel stay, chip off anywhere between 5% and 25% on your car rental and save up to $525 when you book your Disneyland® Park senior vacations as one package. If that's not enough, we'll even let you browse a selection of sale trips at the very last minute. Check out the Disneyland® Park vacations for seniors at the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia today, and get ready for your long-awaited getaway.
Honestly, I stay at the Motel 6 when I visit Disney in Florida AND Anaheim. In Florida, the Motel 6 has a beautiful pool area and the rate is $29/night. I go for the parks anyway - I don't care how small the room is. The rate in Anaheim is about $77/night. I would rather go on a severely limited budget than not be able to go at all. Disney also lets you bring your own food into the park. They will not stop you at the security check-in for sandwiches and snacks. You can ask for water for free at any concession stand.
In addition, the "Disneyland Express" bus can take you straight from the airport to your hotel vicinity (depending on the hotel, you might have to take a few blocks cab ride when you get there) for $49 RT - up to three children ride free per paying adult. NO rental car needed!! I watch for $129 fare sales at the airlines.
I hope all of this helps. I really feel for you and hope that you do get to go. If I had the money, I would send you on a trip! If you're willing to not travel in "style" or stay on Disney property, it really is do-able to make an enjoyable trip.
Officially Moving to Orlando in 2016!
Disneyland Trips: 1983, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, ~Nov 2014~
Walt Disney World Trips: 1999, 2007, 2011, March 2014
Favorite Disney Movies: Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, Enchanted, FROZEN!