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First Trip to Disneyland this summer

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by nbar, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. nbar

    nbar Active Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I've been a long time Disney World traveler and am planning my first visit to Disneyland this summer. I really only have one concern and that is which airport to fly into and whats the best way to get to Disneyland from any of the airports? Is there a DME type service? I wasn't planning on renting a car, but I'm not opposed to it. It is only myself a friend and my sister who will be making the trip. Also, we are flying from New York. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great! Thanks!
     
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  2. RMichael21

    RMichael21 Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on your first trip! I'm also a seasoned WDW veteran and I took my first trip to Disneyland back in 2014 and had a great time.

    There's three options for airports.

    1. LAX - More flight options because its the biggest of the three, but it's the farthest away and the traffic can be a nightmare. Because its farther, that means rates for cabs, Ubers, and town car services will be higher.
    2. John Wayne Airport - Less flight options, but this is the one we used because of its proximity to DL. You may have to connect through another city. We did a Boston -> Denver -> John Wayne route.
    3. Long Beach airport - I don't know much about this one, so someone else'll have to fill you in.

    As for transportation, there is no official DME-type service operated by Disney. But, there is a shuttle from at least LAX (not sure about John Wayne and Long Beach) that is endorsed by Disney.

    Also, you could take an Uber, Taxi or Town Car. I would recommend a rental car only if you're traveling to other areas such as Hollywood, the beach, etc. But if you're staying in Anaheim/directly around Disneyland, you can just walk everywhere and use a different method to/from the airport.
     
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  3. nbar

    nbar Active Member Original Poster

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    @RMichael21 Thanks for the advice! Yeah, we are looking at either LAX or SNA as our airport of choice. Its so much cheaper through LAX, but I've heard some pretty bad experiences traveling through there...guess that can be any major airport though.

    I don't plan on traveling outside of property. We are only there for a few days and want to spend it all at Disney.

    Anyone have any experience with the Disneyland Resort Express? I have read about it on other websites and am curious to know more about it. Seems kinda sketchy.
     
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  4. Schneewittchen

    Schneewittchen Well-Known Member

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    I'm a WDW veteran too, but I went to DLR with DH, DS and DD back in November. I planned the trip for Veteran's Day weekend with maybe 2 months notice.

    We're in the DC/Baltimore metro area. We took Southwest flights out of BWI to SNA (John Wayne Airport). We didn't get a direct flight either way, but I'm a Southwest fan (cheap and on-time makes me happy).

    SNA is a nice airport. Clean, not busy, easy to navigate. Very close to DLR.

    I pre-booked shuttles (SuperShuttle) from SNA to our hotel and then from the hotel back to SNA. That was quick and flawless. We did not need a car. We spent two full days in the parks and did not venture anywhere else.

    The Disney on-site hotels only had super duper expensive rooms left. We stayed at the closest off-site hotel that had rooms. The price was right and the beds were comfortable - Anaheim Plaza Hotel. Next time, I might try for the Best Western, it's a few feet closer to the Disney Esplanade....
     
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  5. rle4lunch

    rle4lunch Well-Known Member

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    John Wayne. Just be on the lookout for an errant Harrison Ford flyby... Seriously, John Wayne all the way. LAX SUX. lol. Lot less traffic at SNA. We'll be flying out of there in April back to the DC area.
     
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  6. LunaLand

    LunaLand Member

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    SNA, definitely. Don't bother with LAX. I personally hate the Disneyland Express bus. It takes everyone first to the Disneyland Hotel, where you sit for a bit, then drives everyone to their individual hotels. It can be pretty time consuming. Supershuttle is ok, cheap at $11 each way. But again, it can take awhile and we've had some issues with cleanliness and seatbelts with them. We did Uber for the first time in December and for $18-$23 each way we won't ever go back. We live in Seattle, fly down several times a year and have done the bus and shuttle many times. Done taxis and towncars a few times, too. Hands down, cheapest and most convenient option so far has been Uber.
     
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  7. BubbaQuest

    BubbaQuest Well-Known Member

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    I avoid LAX at all costs. Besides traffic, you'll probably need to add 2 hours to your travel time to make sure you can get through TSA.

    JetBlue does offer one flight a day from New York to Long Beach, not sure which NY airport though (EDIT: Looks like JetBlue now has *2* non-stops from JFK every day). From Long Beach, you can get a flat rate taxi to Disneyland for $45. Just tell the driver you want the flat rate. Uber still can't pick up at LB airport. It might be cheaper, but you have to walk to the cell phone lot across the street to schedule a pickup.

    I would highly recommend SNA or Long Beach if possible.

    Once you're at the DLR or a nearby hotel, you won't need a car. Plenty of food options available and easy access to DL if you at one of the nearby Harbor Blvd hotels.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  8. Texas84

    Texas84 DVC Fan Boy Premium Member

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    I take Southwest into John Wayne (SNA) then either take the Disneyland Express bus or a cab. The hours of operation for the bus are limited.
     
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  9. NeedMoreMickey

    NeedMoreMickey Well-Known Member

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    Another one for John Wayne Airport (SNA) and Disneyland Express. We stayed at Paradise Pier Hotel, quick and easy with the bus. One day decided to rent a car and drive up to Hollywood tourist sites, rental place right next to Downtown Disney. Bus picked up for the return back to the airport.
     
  10. GiveMeTheMusic

    GiveMeTheMusic Well-Known Member

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    You might find our megathread here helpful:

    http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/guide-to-dlr-for-wdw-veterans.875596/

    While digital Fastpass is expected to roll out this summer (called MaxPass at DLR), we don't know just when yet and it will still only be for day-of use.
     
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  11. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    I would look for the cheapest airline tickets between LAX and SNA.... I know people love to harp about the traffic when you use LAX but honestly I think it was only an issue on one of our trip there and it was when we were going back to LAX from Disney to fly out. We have made adjustments to our trips in the future so that we find a hotel near LAX for the last night of our trip and then just go there from Disneyland on the last night, it might sound like an inconvenience to do it that way but I also enjoy the fact that by doing it we avoid that last night of high Disneyland hotel prices because even the best hotel near the airport is going to be cheaper than the Disneyland Hotel.

    If your plan is to be in the park near 100% of the time you are awake then not having a car isn't a big deal.... We've done the no rental car trip once and were fans of it because we felt trapped and at the mercy of taxis... So we've always just rented a car each time. If you do rent a car know up front that unlike Disney World that allows you to park for free, Disneyland's hotels charge you a fee for parking...

    Oh... you didn't mention where you were staying in a Disney hotel or offsite.... If you plan on doing the maximum amount of your stay in the parks don't bother with the Disney hotels, they do give you that extra hour but will increase your hotel bill by more than 100%... Not really worth it unless you just want the complete Disney experience.... Howard Johnson's near DL is probably out preference for non Disney hotel as it is easy walking distance to the parks... If you want the full Disney experience then you should consider the Disneyland Hotel it provide the most Disneyish experience of all of them and is a short walk to the monorail that goes into Disneyland... If you want closets to the parks you would do the Grand California but to me it is just not that Disneyish and always seem more like a typical hotel/spa.

    And make your dining reservations asap.... Not sure what your preferences are but I would suggest the Blue Bayou, you can book 60 days in advance about the only other table place I would recommend is Cafe Orleans...... in DL you are really better off doing the quick service near where ever you happen to be rather than trying for specific places beyond Blue Bayou.... For the most part if you want more dining option you go to California Adventure, Downtown Disney or a Disney hotel.... but I would avoid at all costs Goofy's Kitchen in the DL resort as it is probably the worst place for food and service...

    Oh if you are into the character dining your best options Plaza Inn at DL for breakfast and Ariel's Grotto for lunch at CA

    I wouldn't suggest wasting any money on the dinner viewing or desert viewing options you have for Fantasmic or Mainstreet Electric Parade they aren't really worth the extra cost. Fantasmic used to be worth it because you got real chair and a very good spot but they eliminated that option and when to more of a thanks for the money here's a spot on the ground to sit on deal that made it pointless.

    I suspect if your going to be there for 3 days or more that you will be able to get an extra magic hour on one of the three days as a perk of buying the 3 day ticket, I think we've gotten one of those perks with the multi-day tickets even when we haven't stayed in a Disney hotel on any of trip... If that is the case then use it on the busiest day... if your staying over a weekend go for Saturday, otherwise the closer to the weekend the busier it will be....

    You'll be using the old paper fastpass tickets so choose wisely and you can get more fastpasses in a day...so if you are late getting to a popular fastpass like the Radiator Springs Racers that is in the evening don't waste your time on it. Try the next day for it and find a fastpass that has a morning opening.... Also you can do a fastpass for world of color that doesn't go against you since the only showing of it is the evening to begin with, so on the day you want to do that hit that kiosk early in the morning... It's located right near the Grand California entrance to Caliornia Adventure.... Indiana Jones (assuming it is running it has a habit of being down quite a bit) should be the first on your list in DL if your doing California Adventure the one to hit first is Racers or Soar'n.... Don't waste it on California Screaming as you can usually get a short line if you hit it when you first get there without a long wait.
     
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  12. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    I love SNA ( Santa Ana / Orange Country ) and LGB ( Long Beach ) for Southern California arrivals and departures.
    Even if you have to pay a little more in airfare to fly to one of those airports instead of LAX....DO IT.
    You WILL thank yourself ( and all of us ) later on.

    If you HAVE to use LAX, use it as a arrival airport ONLY...as in, you are flying IN and then departing via ground transportation to Anaheim.
    You may well have to deal with some insane traffic to get to Anaheim, but that will be nothing compared to the experience you may encounter going through the LAX security screening if you were flying OUT of LAX.
    Take my advice - book a flight to SNA or LGB instead and save your sanity and good standards.
    LAX has all the charm and ambiance of 'a third world prison built by Communists' as a fellow Forum poster here once elegantly stated.

    Now, unlike LAX, John Wayne/Orange Country airport has real charm and true ambiance - beautiful, functional, rarely crowded, and just a nice place to spend some time.
    This is a airport you WANT to hang around in for a while.
    Bright and friendly feeling with plenty of decent restaurants, snack places, services, and shopping options.
    It is about a 30 minute ride from SNA to the Disneyland Resort, slightly more if their happens to be a lot of traffic ( rush hour, etc. ).
    I highly recommend SNA as a great option for arrival and departures !


    Long Beach Municipal is a slightly smaller airport, but was recently renovated and is now downright classy.
    Since there are not as many flights serviced at this airport, there are little to no crowds.
    Another plus is you get to arrive ( or depart ) like The Beatles...and step off the airplane right onto the tarmac via a set of rollaway stairs.
    Sure beats the standard gate arrivals elsewhere!

    For ground transport, i recommend SuperShuttle.
    You can book your ride in advance via their website and be all ready to go once you arrive.
    I have found them to be very reliable, have friendly and helpful drivers, and most importantly very reasonably priced.
    You can knock the price down even further if you do a quick search online for current discount codes.
    ;)

    Disneyland does NOT have a 'Magical Express' bus service in regards to the service provided for Guests who room at one of the WDW Resort hotels.
    There used to be a 'Disneyland Express' run by Grey Line out in California, but i found the service to be very unreliable ( pick ups to return to airport ) and the price a bit above what i would consider 'fair'.
    Not sure if this service still exists....i heard recently they had stopped but another bus company is now handling the service.
    I would recommend SuperShuttle over them any day regardless.


    I hope the above helps some....and i wish you a fabulous time at Disneyland !
    You might well end up yet another 'Disneyland Convert' that gets a taste of the REALLY magical experience to be had in California and 'gives up' WDW...!
    Many folks have over the last dozen or so years ...self included!

    Enjoy!

    :D

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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  13. nbar

    nbar Active Member Original Poster

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    Thank you all for the help! I am going to try and finalize all these details this week. I appreciate all the feedback!
     
  14. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy your planning!
    I find it to be part of the excitement of coming to visit.
    Hope it is for you, too!
    :)

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  15. disneygeek90

    disneygeek90 Well-Known Member

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    I’m a WDW AP/Orlando resident and leaving for DL later today. Meeting up with my aunt/uncle/cousins to visit the west coast! I was there with my family in May 2013 and excited to re-visit. I also am flying into SNA with one layover in TX.

    Bummed that I see Pirates is closed YET again (was closed in 2013 when we were there) but overall excited to see and compare the two parks again. Really want to hit up the fantasyland area and experience the classic dark rides there.
     
  16. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    Have a great time, @disneygeek90 !
    Be sure to enjoy all the live entertainment Disneyland has to offer, too.
    The Park is just loaded with it and all of it is excellent.

    A lot of visitors are so preoccupied with rushing around trying to ride as many Attractions as they can that they miss some truly unique and fun offerings only Disneyland can offer.
    The stage shows, parades, and fireworks are of course worth seeing...but I'm talking more about the atmospheric musicians and performers you may encounter as you stroll about.

    Savor and enjoy!
    :)

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  17. disneygeek90

    disneygeek90 Well-Known Member

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    I was able to catch the Paper Boys in DCA twice. They were super fun!
     
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  18. Logan18

    Logan18 New Member

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    Have a wonderful time!!
     

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