First time to DL! Ummm how do we get there?

Hi everyone!

Longtime WDW enthusiast here, booking our first-ever DL trip, staying at Grand Californian for 4 nights, last week of April.

I’ve spent a few days now trying to find the best way to get to the hotel from LAX and I’m surprised it’s not so straightforward. No desire to rent a car since we’ll just be on property the entire time and won’t make any use of it.

Do any of my fellow TouringPlans friends have some suggestions or tips? Haven’t booked flights yet but will likely land at LAX in the 9:00 am hour on a Monday.

Help me please! Thanks in advance!

They have a “version” of Magical Express ran by a third party. I believe it’s $38 each way. Hours of service are limited, though. I think they only run until 8PM. I found this out the hard way last year my first time to DL. Was meeting up with my sister who flew in from a different state. My flight was horribly delayed, so I didn’t get to LAX until 9PM, when I was supposed to be there at 11AM. I didn’t know “Magical Express” only ran until 8 because my sister had booked that part of the trip. Lesson learned. I need to be involved with every aspect of planning. LOL! I ended up doing a ride share. Very intimidating because I was in the car with two unknown males. Worked out ok though meaning I got to Paradise Pier safely. It was $45, I believe. Long story short - you can take the fake Magical Express, but have a backup plan. There’s also a city bus service for just a few bucks - but that scared me.
As I learned from a fellow traveler at the airport. LAX is not the best option. There is a closer, more convenient airport. The name escapes me …


SNA. John Wayne airport.
We then used a limo to our hotel. I will see if I still have the name.


Anaheim Town Car
Great service, reasonable price.


We usually fly into SNA or LGB and take Lyft/Uber, they are 15-20 minutes away. LAX is not close to DL and traffic is bad. Really bad. We have flown into LAX on occasion, but it is not ideal. When we have we have rented a car and then drop it of at DL, there is an Alamo location inside Paradise Pier hotel so very convenient. Supershuttle was a popular option, but they have gone out of business just last month.


LAX is to be avoided at all costs. Believe me. I lived in LA County for 45 years and I avoid LAX at all costs…Confusing terminal/baggage claim…HORRIBLE Traffic on that side of LA…Don’t be suckered by the lower fare that LAX may offer. BEST CHOICE: fly into Long Beach (LBG) if possible…best small airport in SoCal and closest to DLR. SW and JetBlue are the big carriers there. You can easily Uber/Lyft to the resort. 2nd choice SNA (aka John Wayne Orange Co). This is a big airport but better than LAX and closer to DLR. I don’t know if it offer any “Magic Express” but I think not. Uber…If you have to use LAX, use the Magical Express that you have to pay for; it’s pretty cheap.


If at all possible, fly to SNA or Long Beach. If it’s too late to do that or too expensive, try the Magical Express (which I’m not familiar with).

A couple of months ago LAX implemented something called LAX-It - a central location for all Uber / Lyft / Taxi pickups. You cannot get a ride share directly from the terminal. You have to walk or take the internal shuttle to LAX-It and it is a literal zoo - hundreds of cars coming in and out and up to an hour wait for the internal shuttle to get there. Good news is once you are actually at LAX-It, getting a ride share and leaving the terminal is quite quick and a smooth process. It just sucks for the Uber drivers.

If you must use Uber, I recommend walking to LAX-It. It is closest to SWA terminal (3 minute walk) so if you are on SWA you are best positioned to walk. If you have a ton of luggage to pull, you’re screwed.


We’re in the same boat. We’re headed to DLR for our first trip in July.

Magical Express stopped their service to DLR on January 7th.

Here are some additional suggestions from MouseSavers


Oh my gawd I love this community!! Walked me through a hurricane trip last fall, and now this!!:heart:

So seems like that paid LAX kinda, sorta official bus option went defunct this month.

Thinking after reading your responses that I should avoid LAX. Would love to!! But the direct LAX flights so desirable in time and price. I am going to take a look at SNA flights now, and hadn’t even thought about the LGB option till now.

You guys are the best. Thanks and keep it coming as I continue to research. Disneyland is so weirdly difficult to get to from points east, it’s kind of fascinating!!


It’s almost worth it to have a layover to avoid LAX. It is seriously so bad getting in and out. Like you’d probably have less stress flying to LAX and then taking a flight to Long Beach (but it would probably take longer). Factor in at least an hour commute from LAX to Disneyland, up to 2 hours during rush hour.


Good advise as usual Jeff from Z…SFO recently cleared up its ride share troubles with a quick walk to the main parking garage (which is right in front of the terminals) and meeting your Uber on the top deck in an assigned spot…The part, you mentioned, about the luggage reminded me of landing in Burbank last June and having to haul too much luggage to the rental car counter which was described to me as a short walk over a few bridges to the parking structure…LOL…The bridges were so damn looonnnggg! Never again!


Doing my first trip to DLR in 250 days! I debated flying to LAX to save money, but with a little patience I was able to find tickets to SNA (The closer airport - a.k.a John Wayne Airport) that were only about $100 more. That’s worth it to me to avoid a 2+ hour car ride to Anaheim. I plan on using Uber/Lyft from the airport for $20 and 20 minutes.


I have tended to land at LAX fairly late at night and to leave on a Saturday. Traffic has never been horrible at these times. If you arrival/departure line up with lowe traffic times, skipping the layover could be worth it.

That said I hate LAX ever since i almost got run over trying to catch a shuttle bus. The sidewalks in the median are so narrow. No one would move so I could get to my bus. Stepped into the road on the other side without thinking. Cars do not move slowly through there. Luckily a heads up driver stopped in time :frowning:


SNA is a compact airport and SO much easier and less time consuming to get to from DLR. It is worth the $100 to fly into SNA vs LAX.


Obviously there is not a lot of love for LAX here, but we have flown into it several times and not had issues. I don’t think it’s an amazing airport, but it wasn’t the disaster I was expecting. We have rented a car from LAX to get to DL and we have done Super Shuttle (not an option now I know). We planned for awful traffic, but just haven’t had it. I would love to fly into SNA but there are no direct flights for us and the cost is just too high.


It’s nice to have a little balance in this conversation! Despite my criticisms, I do fly into LAX regularly for work. It’s not the worst airport (LaGuardia is worse, for example). The worst part is traffic and getting in and out. If you can overcome those obstacles (avoiding rush hour, renting a car, using a shuttle, walking to LAX-It, etc.), it’s a totally workable solution.

For me personally, I’d pay about $100 per person more to fly into SNA or LGB. But I wouldn’t pay much more than that.

Rush “hour” is about 7-10am and 3-7pm on weekdays. I’ve also heard that Sunday evenings at the airport are quite busy, but traffic won’t be as bad.


I definitely agree with that statement.

I might for 1 or 2 but not for the 5 of us.


We typically fly into LAX too and don’t have any issues with it, but we also always rent a car. LGB and SNA aren’t really feasible anymore (for us) coming from the east coast. We used to fly JetBlue to LGB but now the flights are red eyes. Flights to SNA are usually not direct plus they’re more expensive.

I also prefer LAX to LGB :grimacing: It could’ve changed, but there was always only one tiny food stand after security, which doesn’t cut it when you’re flying 6 hours home!


I’d add Miami and Atlanta on that wicked list! LAX has done significant upgrades and is trying hard to figure out what to do with ride shares, but the last time I used LAX was in route to Tahiti so I was in zen mode.

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Definitely Atlanta too