How to Get to Disneyland

By Leah Rendon

Explore different modes of transportation for reaching the Happiest Place on Earth

How to Get to Disneyland

Speeding down the Matterhorn in a bobsled, floating on a riverboat on the Jungle Cruise or flying through hyperspace on Star Tours – Disney's iconic rides can't be beat – but battling traffic on your way to the world-famous theme park is a ride all its own. Whether you’re driving, taking public transportation or riding a monorail to reach the park, uncover useful travel tips to make your commute as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Go green: take public transportation

Amtrak and Metrolink, Southern California’s commuter rail service, provide indirect service to Disneyland with numerous lines offering daily stops at the Anaheim train station. From there, catch the Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) shuttle, which operates seven days a week and runs to Disneyland every 20 minutes. The ride takes about 15 minutes, depending on traffic. Shuttle tickets are available via the ART app, online and self-service train station kiosks, as well as onboard the shuttle when paying with exact cash. The ART shuttle runs one hour before the park opens and one hour after it closes. Numerous Orange County Transportation Authority buses provide service to the resort as well.

Route recommendations: exploring your parking options

Disneyland’s main lot, the massive Mickey and Friends structure, is accessible via the I-5 freeway’s Disneyland Drive exit. The lot is just five minutes from the resort via the complimentary tram ride or 15 minutes on foot. The Simba lot, located off Disneyland Drive and behind Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, does not offer tram service but is just a 20-minute walk from the park. Disney also operates two off-site lots: the Toy Story lot, one block south of the resort and about 10 minutes away by tram, and the Pumbaa parking lot, set on the east side of Harbor Boulevard and a 15-minute walk from the resort. You’ll reach the two off-site lots when you exit Harbor Boulevard off the I-5 freeway.

Dealing with Disney’s crowds

Sunny skies and mild year-round temperatures mean severe weather rarely discourages crowds at Disneyland. The theme park is particularly packed on weekends and during summer, winter and spring break. On holidays during this period, such as 4th of July, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, it may take up to an hour to get from the freeway off-ramp to the parking lot. The park will even close its doors on days when it gets too crowded. Save time by buying your parking pass ahead of time online and try to beat the crowds by arriving when the parking lots open, which is usually one hour before the theme parks open.

Enjoy your experience: hand off driving duties

Make the most of your Southern California vacation by leaving the driving and traffic battles to someone else. Many Anaheim hotels provide free shuttles to the resort. Speak to the front desk staff to see if your hotel offers such a service. The Disneyland Resort also allows taxis and ride sharing companies to drop off and pick up guests at two designated spots: near the Downtown Disney District limited parking lot, and on the west side of Harbor Boulevard, between Manchester Avenue and Disney Way.

Travel by monorail

A unique methods for arriving at the park is onboard the Disneyland Monorail, a high-speed railway that runs along a 2.5-mile elevated track. Board the monorail at the Downtown Disney District Monorail Station and travel through the park before disembarking at the Tomorrowland station inside Disneyland. Guests must have a ticket to Disneyland in order to board the monorail. If you’re trying to return to the Downtown Disney station in the evening, keep in mind, the monorail sometimes closes during the park’s nightly fireworks show.

About the Author

A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.