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Planning a First-Time Disneyland Trip: Sheer Terror for a WDW Veteran. Part II: Transportation

If you missed my last story, I decided to visit an old friend in Northern California this October. I used my Disney Logic to determine that since Disneyland is only 600 miles from him it made perfect sense to work in a stop at the very first Park that Walt built.

In my last entry I discussed my hotel decision within walking distance to the park entrance. Now I need to figure out how to get there. With WDW there isn’t much of a choice. Which the exception of a stray airline or two MCO is the airport destination for almost all travelers.

I quickly discovered that things were quite different when flying to the west coast. The Los Angeles Area has several airports and there are three airports that were contenders for me. Los Angeles (LAX) is definitely the largest but Long Beach (LGB) and Santa Ana’s (SNA) John Wayne Airport are closer to the parks and had lower fares as well.

One of my favorite flight search engines is ITA Software. (http://matrix.itasoftware.com) Although it was purchased by Google not too long ago the website still is operational and it provides great results. I find the flexibility offered when searching to be the most helpful and if your travel dates are flexible the grid view of air fares by date is fantastic.

Note that this site does not actually sell airline tickets. You need to go elsewhere to purchase but I have found the flexibility of this search engine unparalleled. Almost every airline is included but there are a couple of exceptions so be sure to check your favorite airline’s site as well.

Taking the extra baggage and carry-on fees into account I decided to book a Jet Blue Flight into Long Beach. Smaller airports definitely have their advantages and the closer proximity to Disneyland put this option over the top for me.

Figuring out transportation from the airport is tricky. Most WDW Travelers know that having a rental car isn’t always necessary. With the numerous hotel options within walking distance to the parks, having a rental car for a Disneyland trip isn’t entirely necessary either. However, you are on your own with transportation to your hotel since there is no Magical Express service available. Parking fees of $15 to $20 per day are charged by virtually all hotels near Disneyland so having a rental car becomes somewhat of a liability. That makes a $30 Uber ride to the hotel a sensible choice.

Since I will need a rental car to continue on my west coast adventure after Disneyland I decided to rent a car upon arrival. Of course the rental companies in close cooperation with airlines determined since airfares are low at Long Beach Airport, then car rental fees should be high. Being financially minded I decided to take Uber to John Wayne Airport upon arrival at Long Beach. That $30 trip will save $350 on the car rental. Good deal.

52 Days to go!