Transportation at Disneyland can be a bit more complicated than at Walt Disney World, where guests staying onsite simply hop aboard a bus, boat or monorail that deposits them directly at the Park gate. But at Disneyland, because of the more petite footprint, there are several other options that can really help you maximize your time.
Unlike the vast and spread out Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort is smack-dab in the middle of a bustling city! On one side of the front gates are motels, freeways, sidewalks, parking lots and traffic. On the other side of the gate exists the “Disney bubble” with a transportation system of its own! So how do you quickly get from one to the other? By using a combination of transportation systems, you’ll soon be on your way.
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Here’s an important overview of transportation at Disneyland
1. Parking Structure or Parking Area
There are hundreds of hotels in the Anaheim area, so if one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels is booked or if you’re looking for a more budget option, seek an offsite hotel. This means you’ll need to consider how to get to the Parks each day. If you are planning on driving your car in each day, depending upon the direction you come from or which lots are available, you’ll have several parking options. The cost will be $20 per day for cars & motorcycles, no matter if you choose the structure (garage) or area (parking lot).
Mickey and Friends Parking Structure is located on Disneyland Dr. and has a large capacity (which can be a good or bad thing). After descending the escalators, you’ll be funneled into a waiting space for a Disney resort tram. Early in the morning the wait is minimal but come just around Park opening and you may find yourself waiting as long as 30 minutes for a tram to take you to the Park entrance. These open-air trams will deposit you at the end of the Downtown Disney District, near the front entrance to the Parks.
At the end of the day, you might find that the wait for the tram to take you back to the parking structure can be upwards of a half hour. You’ll be required to fold up your stroller and hold packages on your lap. Waiting in line for the tram you can be guaranteed to see several sleeping kids, many grouchy parents and lots of people who are pushy to get the next seat on the tram. Time your exit knowing that getting a seat on the tram back to the parking structure can be a long and challenging process.
Toy Story Parking Area is located off South Harbor Blvd. Once parked here, you’ll be shuttled on a Disneyland Resort bus directly to the front entrance. There is also the Pumbaa Parking Area, located on Disney Way. It’s a bit smaller of a lot and just off the freeway so it generally fills up quickly. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to catch a ride back on one of the buses in the same location and be taken back to your vehicle.
We’ve always had better luck with wait times for transportation back to the Toy Story parking area (less than 10 minutes) versus the Mickey and Friends parking structure (upwards of 30 minutes). For me, parking in the lots is ideal to the parking structure, though traffic getting in and out can be more difficult because you are located on busier streets.
For more information and a map of the different parking locations, click this link from the Disneyland Resort.
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2. Take the Bus
Local bus transportation, including Greyhound, Los Angeles Metro or Orange County Transit Authority is available if you are further away and need a ride to the Parks. Anaheim Resort Transit (ART) is a convenient and cost-effect method of transportation from area hotels to the Disneyland Resort or convention center.
If you are staying at a Good Neighbor Hotel, many of them offer shuttle service from their hotel to the Disneyland Resort, so check when booking. Guests at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel can take a complimentary shuttle ride to and from the parks on the “Dream Machine”.
Check out more via this link from the Disneyland Resort about bus service.
3. Catch the Monorail
Already have your valid resort ticket and want to jump right in to the heart of the Disneyland Park? You can get quick access via the monorail from the Downtown Disney District station. This is a great option for those staying at the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel or for those who are staying off-site but walking to the parks through Downtown Disney District. There is a security check at this entrance and you do need your valid resort ticket on hand.
Please note that the monorail’s 2.5 mile route only has two stops, one in the Downtown Disney District and one in Tomorrowland inside Disneyland. The monorail does not stop at Disney’s California Adventure park.
4. Drop off/Pick up
If you have the ability to have someone drop you off and pick you up at the front entrance there is an area on Harbor Blvd. If you want to take a taxi or Uber/Lyft back to your hotel, this is where you’d be able to pick up a ride.
Sometimes there’s nothing more reliable than your own two feet! Choose a hotel that’s close-by (easy to do in Anaheim) and you can be out the door and at the front gate in a matter of minutes! This makes it easy to take a mid-day break for swimming or napping if you can quickly walk back to your hotel.
Fortunately the two Parks of the Disneyland Resort (Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure park are located just a short esplanade away from each other. Once through security check, you’ll be able to pass back and forth between them (“Park Hop”) by just walking across the esplanade. No bus or transportation needed for Park Hopping at the Disneyland Resort!
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | How Planning a Trip to Disneyland is Different Loop:
- 1st Stop – Saving Up for Disney | Important Advice to Know About Transportation at the Disneyland Resort
- 2nd Stop – This Roller Coaster Called Life | Disneyland Resorts & the Distance to the Parks
- 3rd Stop – Rolling with the Magic | Wheelchair Access at Disneyland & Walt Disney World
- 4th Stop – Trips with Tykes | Value & Convenience of Off-Property Hotels at Disneyland
What is your favorite method of transportation at Disneyland Resort? Share with us in the comments!