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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Thinking of going to Disneyland? First you have to get there

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to start a series of tips related to my recent Disneyland trip this May.  I spent about six days in sunny (really sunny and hot) Los Angeles, and managed to get in a few days at Disneyland and California Adventure.

As I planned for this trip, one immediate difference struck me between this trip and my past trips to Walt Disney World.  It was so obvious that I really took this major difference for granted -- how was I going to get there?

Well, duh... I was going to fly.

As I said, this was so obvious that I just took this decision for granted, but as I started to research further, I quickly found that this was not so simple - where was I going to fly to?

You may not be aware that the greater Los Angeles area has not one, but five airports - all served to some degree or another by airline carriers.

The main airports are the Los Angeles International Airport (better known as LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) and John Wayne International Airport (SNA).  Smaller airports are the Bob Hope Airport (BUR) located in Burbank and the Long Beach Airport (LGB) located in Long Beach, as the name implies.

While LAX is, by far, the largest airport in the LA area, it is not the closest to Anaheim.  That would actually be the John Wayne International Airport, located in Santa Ana.  From this airport, Disneyland is about a 20-40 minute drive, depending on traffic, whereas the drive from LAX to Anaheim is at least twice that long, if not much longer.  The Long Beach Airport is a close second, while the Bob Hope Airport is the furthest away.

So as you can see from the map above, in terms of distance, John Wayne or Long Beach are the best airports to fly into if you're going to Disneyland.  But... there's more to consider -- airfare.

Depending on what airline you fly, you might find a cheaper fare to LAX or ONT than SNA or LGB.  The good news is that Delta has many regular flights to SNA, which were cheaper than flights to LAX or ONT.  It all depends on what airline you use and what day and time of year you're flying.  The best thing to do is go online and check airfare for all the LA airports and see what you can get... and then check it again, and again, and again until you think you're found the best price.

Another benefit to John Wayne is that it's a MUCH smaller airport that LAX, which means it's far easier to get into and out of than the behemoth that is LAX.  Anyone who's been through LAX knows what I mean.

Before I wrap this up, I'll add one more variable to the mix.  Don't discount San Diego.  Yes, it's about a 90 minute drive to Anaheim (assuming no serious traffic issues), but it's a beautiful drive up I-5 and I've often found flights into San Diego (SAN is the airport code) can be even cheaper.  Remember, Disney don't provide any free ground transportation from any of the airports, so you're likely renting a car anyway.

Every Disney Parks fan needs to visit Disneyland at least once (I recommend visits every few years), so I hope these tips will come in handy whenever you start to plan that trip out west!

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