The Disneyland Resort’s location makes it an easy destination whether you are coming by car, plane, or train.
Anaheim sits right in the middle of Orange County, about 15 minutes north of Irvine. The good news is – the resort is close to several different airports. The bad news? It’s confusing to figure out which is the best to fly into. If you can, always opt to fly into John Wayne (in Irvine). It’s definitely the closest, most convenient, and the best way to avoid the headache of LAX traffic. Long Beach, Ontario, and Bob Hope airports are also options for flying into Disneyland, but all of these will cost you much more travel time than John Wayne.
Travelers arriving in John Wayne or LAX can take a shuttle service to the Disneyland Resort, called the Disneyland Express. I’ve taken this shuttle before, and was not a fan. The shuttle came late, left late, and was very, very crowded. Instead, I just opt for a taxi or car service. Car service prices range dramatically, but most cab fares from John Wayne airport to the resort run about $50-60, depending on traffic.
Road traffic arrives at the Disneyland Resort from all directions, but most of it comes in from Interstate 5. The Resort is spitting distance from the highway (you can see the park from the road!), and it’s very easy to get where you need to go. I wouldn’t recommend taking 101 from the north, since you’ll get stuck in LA traffic and have to cut over to 5 eventually anyhow. Coming from the south is even easier; when I lived in San Diego, it was a straight shot the whole way! (usually took about an hour and fifteen minutes).
Day trippers will be directed to specific parking lots or structures, so you don’t have to worry about which place you should park in. On the southern side of the resort, most traffic goes to the Toy Story lots (which will take you to the gates by bus), and the northern traffic goes to the Mickey & Friends parking structure, which has a tram to the gates.
If you’re staying at a hotel, check with the front desk about parking rules and guidelines. Many off-property hotels offer shuttle services, so you don’t have to drive back and forth each day.
A lot of people don’t even consider traveling by train to the Disneyland Resort, but it’s yet another option to go visit Mickey. There are several different Amtrak routes to choose from, and it’s a nice alternative to driving if you’re a Southern California visitor.
When I lived in San Diego, I took the Pacific Surfliner a few times, which goes right along the ocean for most of the ride. Yeah, it’s slower than driving, but it’s a cool experience with a beautiful view. The Anaheim Amtrak station isn’t far from the resort, and usually has a string of taxis ready to pick up riders. If there aren’t any when you arrive, give your hotel a call and they’ll gladly send one for you! (Day trippers – just call any of the Disneyland Resort hotels, and they’ll help you out).
One note about taking Amtrak – it really is slower than driving, so don’t think it’s a way to avoid traffic. As a frame of reference, it used to take me about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive from San Diego to Anaheim, and the Pacific Surfliner route takes roughly 2 hours.