By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
So you've booked your Disneyland® Resort package. Now comes another question: how do you get there? If you're more than a few hours away, you're likely going to choose to fly. Unlike flying to Walt Disney World® Resort where you're pretty much locked into Orlando International Airport, the Los Angeles area has a ton of different airports to choose from. Let's examine the three most likely candidates for a Disneyland Resort trip:
LAX (Los Angeles International Airport)
This airport is probably the default for a lot of people, because people think "L.A." and automatically think LAX. It does have some limited advantages-- you'll have a multitude of choices for flights, particularly if you're flying internationally. But it's also got a lot of downsides: it's HUGE. Allow at least an hour to get from your gate to baggage claim and your ground transportation. On your return trip, getting through security will likely be an ordeal, as lines are almost always lengthy.
It's also the furthest of the three airports I'll discuss here; while theoretically it's possible to get to Disneyland Resort from LAX in about 45 minutes, let's be realistic: this is Los Angeles. 60-90 minutes is more likely, depending on traffic. But on the transportation plus side: there's a shuttle bus (the Disneyland Resort Express) that runs fairly regularly to Disneyland Resort until 8:00 PM.
The Lowdown: May be your only option if flying internationally. This should be your last choice of airport, if you have other options. While it can be inexpensive, you'll waste lots of time waiting on baggage, waiting in security lines, and waiting in traffic.
SNA (John Wayne Airport)
Also known as the Orange County Airport or the Santa Ana Airport, SNA is a great choice for Disneyland Resort travel. It's several orders of magnitude smaller than LAX, while still having a decent number of airlines serving it, giving you lots of choices for decent, inexpensive flights. Baggage claim and rental car service are a breeze, and security lines, for the most part, are short.
SNA is just 15 miles from Disneyland Resort, making it a fairly quick and easy drive of about 30 minutes, depending on traffic. The Disneyland Resort Express also serves SNA, but Uber or Lyft are also viable options (don't forget a car seat or booster seat if you're traveling with kids!).
The Lowdown: SNA is the sweet spot of having lots of airline choices and convenience. It's the closest of all the airports, it's fairly easy to navigate the medium-sized airport, and you won't spend a lot of time waiting on anything.
LGB (Long Beach Airport)
I have a soft spot for LGB. It is TINY. To give you an idea of how tiny it is: on my first flight into LGB, I deplaned (none of those fancy jetways here; you walk down a staircase onto the actual runway!), got my bags, walked to the rental car counter, and was actually in my rental car within ten minutes. On your return flight, you'll encounter virtually no security lines; I've flown from LGB at least a dozen times, and can't recall a time I waited more than five minutes. Being small, though, it doesn't have nearly as many flight options as SNA or LAX.
Your transportation options are a *bit* more limited than LAX or SNA, but not by much. It's about 17 miles from Disneyland Resort, making the drive time fairly equal to coming from SNA. There's no Disneyland Resort Express, but cabs are plentiful and relatively cheap. Uber & Lyft are also options.
The Lowdown: if flying into LGB is an option for you, this is the airport to go with. By far the tiniest airport, which translates directly to less waiting and quick navigation.
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I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.