Anyone fly into Palm Springs? +Other DL questions

I’m contemplating our family vacation (2 adults, 2 kids 6 + 10) for next spring break (last week of March/23) and noticed that our airport has a direct flight to Palm Springs. I’d really like a vacation in a warm place at a resort with amazing pools (waterslide, lazy river, etc) which Palm Springs seems to have plenty of. Then I checked google maps to see how far it was to Disneyland…

My questions:

  1. How is the drive from Palm Springs to Disneyland? We’ve only driven once in the US in the last fifteen years and it was between SF, Napa and Sonoma. Are the roads similar to that? DH wasn’t thrilled about driving there.

  2. Is the last week of March a good time to visit DL? We’d go mid-week.

  3. Comments on this schedule:
    Sun- Arrive in Palm Springs, check into resort
    Mon- Resort Day/Sightseeing
    Tues- Drive to DL
    Wed- DL
    Thurs- DL
    Fri- drive back to Palm Springs, check into resort
    Sat- Resort Day/Sightseeing
    Sun- Depart

  4. As expected the Grand Californian price seems ridiculously expensive. 3 nights in the cheapest room category + 4 day tickets (I’d probably just do 3) + genie+ + park hoppers are over 4k USD. Worth it?


I’ve made the drive from Palm Springs to DL. It is or can be very stressful. Southern California freeways are awfully crowded and people drive fast. However, if you’re not going there and back in the same day, it’s do-able. (We drove there and back on the same day.) There is a toll lane on one of the freeways. It could potentially save you a lot of time on the way into Anaheim. Might be worth figuring out ahead of time. One thing to note, is that the wind driving into and out of Palm Springs can be very intense. I have a small car and it felt like I was fighting to keep the car in the lane.

I would definitely consider an off-site hotel. All three on-site options are pretty pricey and some of the Harbor Blvd. hotels are just as close as Paradise Pier or Disneyland Hotel.


That week is also Spring Break for 4 University of California (Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego) in the Southern CA area.

I don’t think an onsite hotel is necessary, either.

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As you’ve probably seen, it is about 2 hours+. It can be much longer if there is traffic. I lost about an hour in the California desert a few weeks ago thanks to a backup on I-10.

I have made the drive from Phoenix many times (it’s 6 hours) and by the time we get to Palm Springs we feel like we are close, but I wouldn’t want to make that drive every day!

I would do fewer days at Disney and dedicated time at Palm Springs if that’s what you want. Like instead of 3 days at Disney from Palm Springs, do 2 at Disney (nearby) and then one day in Palm Springs only. Or something like that.

EDIT: I just read the rest of your post and it sounds like that is what you are planning. That should work!

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It will be Spring Break in places, so chances are you’ll run into crowds, but it will be doable. Go for it, I say.

What is the price per night? If it’s like $500-600 I’d book it. If it’s $700+ I would pass. Book a placeholder hotel (either Disneyland Hotel or a good neighbor) and then look for sales on Disney’s website. They typically do a 25% off seasonal sale, or they could lower the rates if the economy tanks, etc. It’s totally worth it if you can afford it. It’s my favorite Disney hotel.


We’ve done a PS/DL trip for Spring break twice now and it is one of our favorites!

We have flown into Palm Springs and flown back home out of SNA and highly recommend it if that is also a direct flight home for you. The drive is not terrible IMO (even when we did it on a peak Coachella return to LA-area morning) but it is still better not to do it twice (and avoid 3 check ins) if possible.

The midweek thing is kind of irrelevant since it is Spring break for many so don’t worry too much how your DL days line up with days of the week.

We have loved GC for the convenience and also theme (super subjective aesthetic thing there but my kids have a thing for craftsman style heh). As others have said, the good neighbor hotels are still super close so it’s just a personal value decision at some point.

The only thing I am considering doing differently next time is maybe doing DL first and flying out of PS. It was a little jarring for a second to go from a super relaxing pool and hiking focused vibe to all of the excitement of DL and I think the reverse might make more sense.

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Good suggestion to just fly into PS and then out of somewhere else. I’ll check on the connecting flights (when I last checked they required an overnight!). I agree it would be nice to do DL first and then PS. Thanks for reminding me to check when Coachella is too!

Thanks for the pricing info @Jeff_AZ . I think that this will be the only time we go to DL so I don’t mind paying for it if it enhances the whole experience!


I’m a bit confused about their early opening for hotel guests- is that actually not happening anymore? The website lists it under certain days of the week on the calendar.

Trying to figure out exactly what advantages hotel guests have. Seems to be much less than DW…

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Right now there’s really almost no benefit of being onsite at DLR, except for of course the built-in of being in the bubble & the theming of the hotels. They are supposed to be be bringing back early entry at some point “later this summer” but as of this minute no announcements yet.


They are supposed to have brought back a lot of things that haven’t materialized yet…


I’m guessing you already know, but yeah FINALLY they are bringing it back, just 30 min but at each park each day. I’m stoked- I have a trip in October and I love early entry especially at DCA.

We went to Palm Springs/Joshua tree last year (October). We drove from LAX area, as our daughter lives really close to Anaheim area. I would say the drive isn’t bad. There are alternate routes, and TONS to see and do. We are headed there again this October, but going to San Diego this time. I always just add a good cushion for traffic when I go to LA, and don’t worry a ton about it otherwise. There’s something worth exploring in all corners of the greater area. That’s awesome you got a good flight deal to Palm Springs- we basically are stuck with LAX (mostly.).


We just drove from Palm Springs to Anaheim (Castle Inn) July 31st! We left around 6am, made no stops and made it to the hotel by about 7:25am! Checked in fast and hustled over and made it to the castle just as the ropes dropped! It is an easy drive early in the morning.

I will say, if you are an adventuring type family…definitely take more time in Palm Springs to enjoy the area. Most importantly the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway It is mindblowing and has some fun short hikes with incredible views at the top. It was 105 in PS when we were there…but 68 at the top!! Get your tickets early as they tend to book up quickly. Also…pack a lunch and drinks, things are pricey at the top!

Also, Joshua Tree is about 45 minutes away. Such a beautiful and cool place. Our kids (12, 8) loved climbing on all the rocks.


Two of my favorite things in that area - the Palm Springs Tramway and Joshua Tree! Glad you made such good time. I’ve driven from the San Bernardino area to Anaheim and it’s taken me a lot longer than 90 minutes!! But that’s on a weekday. I think weekend days, particularly early, are much lighter on traffic.

Hope you had a great trip!


That week is spring break for much of the west coast-both college and school districts. DL will be busy!

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