Crazy Idea

Just got back from WDW and am eagerly looking to go to Disneyland. We are flying to LAX in April with a flight layover from 11am to 11pm. Is it crazy to think I can do a one day trip for one park each way. We have layover’s both ways of the trip and there isn’t much else we can do besides wait.

Well, maybe I’m crazy too, but why not? You might only have a few hours, but it would be better than waiting in the airport! You could probably be there by 1:00 or 1:30 and stay til 8:00 or so. I would do it! But I took my girls into downtown Salt Lake City during a four hour layover one time just so they could say they’d “been to Utah”! (We don’t count airport layovers if you don’t leave the airport. LOL)

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Definitely crazy but I am in support of most crazy things when it comes to Disney. Would I do it? It would depend on a few things:

  1. How long it had been since I was last at DL and when would be the next feasible opportunity to go?
  2. How willing am I to pay (or how flexible is our travel budget to spend) the very crazy amounts of money it would be to pull it all off?

Some of the costs right off the bat that become astronomical with the limited amount of time you’d be spending include:

  • Transport to & from LAX-Anahei (probably an Uber/Lyft will get you there the fastest to maximize your time but they won’t be the cheapest option- Super Shuttle would be but with the limited time, I would for sure go for speed over cost
  • Park admission. If the 2 days are within 2 weeks of each other and neither of them is considered a value day on the pricing calendar (2020 has yet to be released so I can’t get an idea if anything in April would be a value day, but I highly doubt it), then buying a 2-day ticket takes the cost-per-day slightly down but it’s still $112.50 per each day. Combine the the limited hours (12:30-8:30pm at best case scenario or 1:30pm-7:30pm at worst case scenario) that you would have in the park and you’re sitting at $14.00-18.75/hr which seems steep to me, even by Disney standards.

Another thing to consider with this idea is that LAX can be a super headache timewise to get to & from, especially if there’s been an accident or rush hour traffic & it’s not unheard of to be in 2-3 hr standstill traffic. If both of your days are weekdays then the times of your layover should have you avoiding rush hour, but that doesn’t guarantee there won’t be an accident that causes major delays on the way to or from the airport cutting into your park time and especially on the way back I would be super cautious & err on the side of not missing your flight and be leaving the parks by 7:30pm to have plenty of buffer time to get back and not miss your flight. You could probably push it to 8pm or if you’re monitoring traffic updates on your phone & see no issues, even up to 8:30pm to avoid the downtime of sitting around the airport.

Bottom line: I definitely wouldn’t sit at LAX for 12 hours with so much to see & do in Southern California but I might look for other things closer in the LA area that would interest me over the stress of getting out to Anaheim & back in time for the flight (even before considering if cost were an issue). I would maybe consider it if I knew I wouldn’t be back in Disneyland for a very long time to come.

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Also adding another consideration to the value of your time and money spent that I just thought of:
These hours would be peak crowd hours of the day & so the lines will be longest/Fastpasses less available (depending on crowds the most demand rides may already be out for the day or past the time you need to leave for the airport) decreasing the value of the time you have. This is of course compared to a full day’s touring (which I realize isn’t an option you have here), but if you have another option to do a trip that included full days for Disneyland (or at least partial days that included either/or the advantage of lower crowds of the early morning or later evening times), I would for this reason alone defer the trip to Disneyland to a time when you can be there with a better ROI on your time in the parks.

I think you would have to get your luggage and then check it back in again. But I’ve never done that so double check that info. It might mean more luggage fees etc.

I’ve never done a layover that long but to my understanding anytime I’ve had a layover the luggage is moved by airport staff from one flight to the next without any interaction/input required from me and there were no conditions about my leaving the airport that required me to grab my bags before leaving & re-checking them in upon my return. The logistics of informing the airline I would possibly leave during the layover & have to come get my bags & re-check them would be way too complicated IMO.

Now, if the tickets were booked as 2 separate flights then, I could absolutely agree that bags would need to be collected and re-checked for the next flight which would also cut into the time available for the park. But in that case, I would also consider not checking a bag (if possible).

This does remind me of another consideration though: As your carry-on luggage would have to come with you, in order to enter Disneyland Resort would need to be searched by security (so pack wisely because they will most definitely require that rolling bags be checked, dirty laundry or no). Also, you wouldn’t be able to bring any wheeled luggage into the parks and lockers large enough to store even a carry-on size may have been removed from outside the parks and deven if not, are very limited. I do know that they may make accommodations for you to drop off your carry-on to package drop-off in order to enter the parks. However, it’s not guaranteed and you may need a back-up plan (i.e. not have a rolling carry-on but maybe instead a tote/backpack and consider renting a locker inside the parks to store most of what you don’t want to shlep around the parks).

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I think your best transportation option is to rent a car for one day. That solves the transport and the luggage problem because you can leave luggage in the trunk. That is what I would do. And often you can find a one day rental for under $50 which is way cheaper than uber or a shuttle since you’d have to pay per person and round trip.


Thanks everybody. We may try and rent a car and see how far we get. My only hesitation is that we’ve never been to Disneyland and even though its just the hubby and I, want to make sure we get to really experience it.

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As tempting as it is, I wouldn’t risk it. Driving to LAX from Anahiem can be stressful. Last time it took me over two hours due to traffic mid-day on a week day. There are lots of things to do closer to the airport that I would seriously consider before going to DL.

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