Disneyland Transportation

So you have decided to take a vacation to Disneyland.  Now the question is, how will you get there?  Living in Texas, driving to Disneyland was not a feasible option for us. It just takes too much time to drive nearly 3,000 miles round trip. 

After checking airfare using Google Flights, I decided to book with Southwest Airlines.  The next question was where would we fly into? Unlike Disney World, there is no free airport transportation to Disneyland hotels. To sum it all up, we were going to rent a car as we wanted to visit more than just Disneyland on this trip. With that in mind we could choose any number of airports. If you choose to fly into the Los Angeles area you have five airports from which to choose:

  1. Los Angeles Airport (LAX), 
  2. Ontario International Airport (ONT), 
  3. John Wayne Airport (SNA), 
  4. Hollywood Burbank or Bob Hope Airport (BUR), or 
  5. Long Beach Airport (LGB). 

As you can see there is no shortage of airports from which to choose.  

Now, when I tell you we flew into Las Vegas' McCarran International airport (LAS) I expect your head will do that side turn a dog does when it is trying to understand. I know... I know... we were going to Disneyland in CALIFORNIA, why are we flying into Las Vegas? The answer is many faceted.  The main reason is cost.  This is a blog about family vacations on a budget, I had to find the best deal.  For our trip (June 2018) it was cheaper to fly into Las Vegas than to fly into Los Angeles by about $150. The rental car was about $350 cheaper renting from LAS instead of LAX.  So as you can see we were able to save $500 by flying to Las Vegas.  

The second reason we chose to fly into Las Vegas is, we wanted to visit California, Nevada, AND Utah.  Flying into Las Vegas put us centrally located to all three destinations. Did I mention the drive to Disneyland from LAS airport is about a 3 1/2 hour drive?  I found the drive to be an easy drive through the desert.  
Interstate 15 between Las Vegas & Los Angeles
Rental Car
The rental car company we selected was Enterprise at McCarran International Airport (LAS). If you choose to rent a car in Las Vegas at the airport you will will have to take the shuttle over to the rental car companies which is about a 5-10 minute shuttle ride. To be honest, I have not used a different rental car company so I could not tell you of my experience elsewhere.  I have checked prices with the major competitors and have always found Enterprise to be priced competitively or better than the rest. The key to getting the best price on a rental car is to rent the car as soon as you book your trip.  The second key to getting the best price is to check rates frequently to see if there was a price drop & there usually is a drop. This year the rate on my Enterprise rental car dropped $300 from February to June.  When rates would drop I just cancelled my previous reservation and re-booked at the lower rate.  There is no fee for this, all it takes is a little time. Las Vegas airport car rentals are MUCH less expensive than other airport car rentals I have used in the past couple of years. This year, my Intermediate SUV from Enterprise for 9 days was $262 with unlimited mileage.  Last year, the Intermediate SUV from Enterprise for 9 days in Portland, Oregon was $668 with unlimited mileage. 
Our Rental Car from Enterprise: Nissan Rogue with all the bells and whistles!
We drove our rental car about 1,500 miles over 9 days from Las Vegas, NV to Anaheim, CA, back to Las Vegas, NV, and then on to southern Utah where we traveled as far east as Bryce Canyon National Park. We liked our rental car so much we were sad to give it back to Enterprise. 

Our Southwest Airlines Experience:
I would be remiss if I did not tell you about the experience we had with Southwest Airlines flying out of Dallas Love Field. Our day started like this: we awakened at 2:00 A.M. to leave the house by 3:00 A.M. so we could be to the airport by 5:30 A.M. in time to make it through security and grab some breakfast before flying out to Las Vegas at 7:40 A.M. 

It was going to be a great day! The plan was we would arrive in Las Vegas at 8:35 A.M. (PST) and drive to our Anahem, CA hotel and check in before heading to Laguna Beach, CA.  We would spend the afternoon at the beach and then head back to the hotel for some much needed sleep since our day started really early.  That WAS the plan. How nice it would have been if only things had worked out that way...

I SHOULD have known something was awry when I looked at the gate we were flying out of, Gate 6.  Now that would not have been a problem on a typical day but we were flying on Southwest flight 66. Talk about a sign of the day that was to come. 

By 7:00 A.M. our plane had not arrived from the origination city, San Antonio, TX.  I knew if we were going to leave on time, our plane should have already arrived.  To make a long story short, we spent the next 8 HOURS being told a plane was coming to pick us up in 2 hours.  Yep, Southwest kept saying in 2 hours your flight will depart and then it did not.  We heard the same thing multiple times, "Your plane had mechanical issues & we are sending a new plane in two hours".  We were finally moved to Gate 3 and flew out of Dallas at 3:30 P.M.  We waited 8 HOURS, not counting the 2 hours we arrived early!! We landed in Las Vegas 8 hours late.  We then had to drive to our hotel in Anaheim, CA some 3.5 to 4 hours away.  We finally arrived in Anaheim around 10:00 PM and got into bed close to midnight (PST). 
Grand Canyon from Southwest Flight 66

Now for the good part...
Because our flight was delayed for what seemed like FOREVER, Southwest offered future flight vouchers to the passengers of flight 66. How surprised was I to see $200 worth of vouchers for each of us! That was more than I paid for the round trip tickets from DAL to LAS. Yippee! Where was I going next? That decision would come later, after I got home.  Suffice it to say 1gr8vacation will be flying Southwest next summer to an all new destination, subscribe to my blog so you can find out more. Oh, did I mention Southwest also gave us $30 worth of meal vouchers since we were stuck in the airport during lunch time?  Do I love Southwest? Would I fly Southwest again?  The answer would be yes to both!  Did I love waiting in Dallas Love Field Airport for 8 hours and NOT getting to go to Laguna Beach?  NO, I did not like it much at all BUT I do like that my vacation next year will have free airfare! 
Anaheim, CA - The closest I would come to Laguna Beach, CA

In the coming weeks I will post about Disneyland & Southern Utah.  Subscribe to my blog so you do not miss a single post. If you have any questions or comments post in the comments section below.

May God bless you on your next adventure.