Every day thousands come to visit Disney’s Anaheim Resorts, from Disney’s California Adventure, to the Disney Grand Californian Hotel, to the O.G. Disneyland.

Disney does not offer complimentary airport shuttles to the Disneyland Anaheim resort area (apparently this is different than Florida’s Disney World). You don’t need to rent a car, though, if you’re going to be staying in the Disney hotels or nearby, the Disney parks are walkable and many hotels offer shuttles. So you really just need to get from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to your hotel.

MouseSavers.com recommends the Disneyland Resort Express Bus for $48 round-trip between resort area hotels and LAX (with 1 free 11 and under child per adult). MouseSavers.com also notes the SuperShuttle is $32 per person, round-trip.

However, it’s possible to get from LAX to the Disneyland resort area for $2.75 per person using (as Disney notes on their website) LA Metro Public Transit. That’s right! $1 for the TAP card and $1.75 fare! You can spend that extra $30 to $50 on some awesome Disney merchandise instead (or more realistically, over-priced water bottles while standing in line).

The downside: 2+ hours average travel time. After a long flight that might not be possible for young children. To be fair, a shuttle might not be that much shorter but it will certainly be more comfortable. The drive is 35 minutes with no traffic; in traffic the drive can easily be 1 hour and 20 minutes.

You’ll want to make sure you can catch your hotel shuttle from the Disneyland Shuttle Entrance if your hotel isn’t walkable. Disneyland has their own hotel shuttles (and there’s the monorail reopening in June 2017) and Anaheim has a transit system as well. NOTE: LAX is in the LA County Metro service area but Anaheim and Disneyland are in Orange County which has a separate transit system: OCTA. (the fares are not interchangeable).

Simple Directions for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Disneyland

  1. Take free LAX “G” Shuttle (Green Line Shuttle) [ unscheduled; live map ] from LAX terminal to Aviation Station. ~10-20min
  2. Purchase TAP fare and board Norwalk bound train to Norwalk Station (last stop). ~26min
  3. At Norwalk Station you will transfer to 460 Metro Express Bus to Disneyland at street level. (not the bus to downtown LA).
  4. Ride the 460 Disneyland Express Bus [PDF Schedule] to Disneyland (last stop). ~60-90min

CUSTOMIZE: Google Maps link for Transit from Aviation Station to Disneyland East Shuttle Area (Harbor Blvd).
Warnings: Google Maps sometimes suggests OCTA Buses 721 > 30 > 43, AVOID that route. Don’t use Metro’s Trip Planner, they’re still working out bugs.

DETAILED Instructions on Getting from LAX to Disneyland Resort
Public transit can be intimidating. Let’s walk through it step-by-step including purchasing fare and places to stop.

  1. After you grab your luggage it’s time to start your Public Transportation adventure! It’s important to have the right attitude for any adventure on public transportation because sometimes it’s just tedious.
    1. You will be going from bus to train to bus. Organize your luggage so it’s easy to move. (Metro stations offer elevators but escalators and stairs are often closer and faster).
    2. There are no bathrooms at any of the stations along the way. 🙁 You’ll want to use the restrooms at LAX.
  2. EXIT the terminal on the bottom level (there will be signs to Shuttles).
  3. Then BOARD the free LAX “G” Shuttle (usually mid-size white buses). The shuttle boards from the center island (there are signs and in some places benches). The LAX “G” Shuttle will take you to Aviation / 105 Fwy Station (the station is also called LAX/Aviation Station) after stopping at the other terminals in the airport. This will be a 10 to 20 minute ride.
  4. At Aviation Station (Green Line) you will EXIT the LAX “G” Shuttle.
  5. You’ll see the outdoor station in front of you, on street level there will be TAP Vending Machines. You’ll want to PURCHASE a TAP Card with “Stored Value.” The Vending Machines accept cash, credit or debit cards! Choose the option to PURCHASE TAP CARD + STORED VALUE. [ Metro Fares ]
    1. Each person needs a TAP card except children under 5 (two children ride free per adult).
    2. We recommend purchasing at least $3.50 in stored value on each card. That’s two trips on LA Metro. NOTE: The only easy way to load fare onto the TAP card is at a TAP vending machine, you’ll want enough fare for a return trip.
    3. Save Your Card! It’s reusable. Treat it like a reloadable gift card.
  6. The TAP card will be dispensed below. Grab your TAP Card and you’re now ready to travel.
  7. BOARD the NORWALK green line train. You’ll need to tap your TAP card at the turn-style gate and go up the escalator. There’s an elevator in the middle of the station, simply tap your card and the gate will open. Once on the platform the NORWALK trains usually arrive on the south side (furthest from the Freeway bridges), sometimes construction means trains board on different sides. The front and sides of the train will say “NORWALK” on electronic boards.
    1. Any troubles? Pick up a red phone for help.
  8. Once aboard the NORWALK train you’ll ride till the end of the line, about 26 minutes. You can find space for your luggage near the bicycle holding areas. During rush hour these trains can be pretty full but you’ll usually be able to find seats. You’ll be riding the train all the way to the last stop Norwalk Station.
    1. If you must stop along the way we recommend these two. You’ll be charged an ADDITIONAL FARE $1.75 to reboard a Green Line train (Metro’s free transfers don’t allow reboarding — you can reload at the TAP Vending Machines located in all stations).
      1. Crenshaw Station – just southeast of the station there is a Starbucks, Quiznos, Wendy’s and other stores; you’ll see the first successfully landed SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on display just down Crenshaw Blvd. Short walk crosses 105 Freeway on-ramp.
      2. Willowbrook-Rosa Parks Station – just southwest of the station there’s a Denny’s, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC in the Kenneth Hahn plaza just southwest of the station.
  9. At Norwalk Station EXIT the train and walk toward the “Buses” upstairs — you’ll go up the stairs or elevator to street level.
  10. At street level you’ll want to locate the 460 DISNEYLAND bus bay on the curb (currently bus bay #2) a short walk from the station entrance. ( 📷 The station theme is Beehive, there is some great bee art to raise your spirits! Get your camera ready!)
  11. Then BOARD the 460 DISNEYLAND Metro Express Line [PDF Schedule] for “DISNEYLAND” (make sure it says Disneyland and not Downtown Los Angeles, that’s the northbound bus, they board at the same location) heading south toward Disney. You’ll use your TAP card to board, tapping the blue “TAP Here” pad when you board. This will be a free transfer!
  12. You’ll RIDE for 60-90 minutes (depending on the time of day) on the bus (54 stops). There aren’t any special compartments for luggage, just do the best your can. Disneyland is the last stop so it’s best to keep the aisle clear, if possible. The ride has been described as “grueling” — this bus isn’t actually an Express Bus at this point — there is more stopping. It isn’t very exciting except…
  13. At Disneyland, the last stop, DEPART from the bus and let the Disney Magic begin. [ See Disneyland 460 stop on Google Maps ]

Enjoy your adventure!

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