Emma's been to Disneyland and Disney World many times and has lots of tips to share with you for your own Disney Parks adventure.
If you are planning on visiting Disneyland from out of state, you have a decision to make that can impact your trip in a number of ways: what airport should you fly to? When it comes to choosing the best Disneyland airport, you have more options than you might expect!
There are three airports that are close to Disneyland (and another two besides those) that you might consider, depending on what your other travel plans are. So, here are some of your options, including drawbacks and advantages of each one to help you make your decision.
Of course, price may be the largest factor in any decision you make, but when you are comparing flight costs, it is worth your while to check each of your airport options. At times, flying into one airport can prove to be substantially less expensive than the others depending on where you are flying from and what airlines have special relationships with particular airports near Disneyland.
John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport (SNA), also known as the Orange County Airport, is the closest airport to Disneyland. Located in Irvine, CA, it is only 12 miles away and shouldn't take you more than a 30 minute drive to get to the theme parks even in heavier traffic.
If you decide not to rent a car, the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) buses can get you to Anaheim very cheaply. You can also take an airport shuttle or taxi, if that's your preference.
The Orange County airport isn't as large as Los Angeles' airport, so you might find it difficult to get a non-stop flight arriving here. But if your closest airport doesn't service LAX non-stop, then you might want to check flights into John Wayne since you'll have to do a connecting flight anyway. Sometimes the regional airports can be cheaper to fly into than major airports like LAX.
John Wayne Airport to Disneyland
Long Beach Airport (LGB)
Long Beach Airport isn't too far away either, at 18 miles. The drive is about 40-45 minutes, depending on traffic. The small size of this airport is great for getting in and out of the airport and getting through security quickly. Jet Blue flies here so it's convenient for any travelers who live in a city that Jet Blue serves.
The one major inconvenience of the Long Beach Airport is the extremely pricey car rentals. Renting a car from any of the car rental services located at the airport will cost you about three times as much as it would if you were to rent from LAX or from a location off-site.
The last time I flew into Long Beach, I did rent a car from a location off-airport, but I wound up having to change my flight so I would get in early enough. All of the off-airport car rental services near Long Beach close at 6 p.m. If you don't mind paying exorbitant rates though, you can get a car right at the airport at any time, as soon as you exit the terminal.
Long Beach Airport to Disneyland
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX is about 30 miles from Disneyland, but your drive time can vary wildly depending on what time of day you arrive. Expect the trip to take anywhere from one to two hours. Traffic in this area is horrible.
Still, LAX is the largest airport in the region and for most people it is going to be the best option to fly into for your Disneyland vacation. The smaller size of the other airports means connecting flights in many cases, but it is usually easy to get non-stop flights into LAX from most cities in the US.
Renting a car at LAX here will also be cheaper than at the other airports too. Or you can not worry about the traffic, and take an airport shuttle to Anaheim instead.
If you do decide to fly into LAX, my advice is to arrive before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. This will help you avoid some of the worst traffic on the nearby interstates and will keep the drive closer to one hour than two.
LAX to Disneyland
Two additional airport options are Ontario Airport (ONT) and Burbank Airport (BUR). Ontario is 32 miles away and Burbank Airport is 40 miles away. One thing in Burbank's favor is the drive is a straight shot down Interstate 5. This is a small airport just like Long Beach, so it is very convenient to get in and out of here.
Also, in my experience car rentals at Burbank are cheaper than they are at Long Beach. So if you have an option of flying into Burbank, you may want to to consider it. Especially if you are planning on visiting Universal Studios and other attractions in L.A. as well as going to Disneyland. Universal Studios is no more than a 15 minute drive from the Burbank Airport.
JULIE HALFEN on March 24, 2020:
THE TIME FOR DISELYND
Julie on September 27, 2017:
To time the fly for disneylind
gerrielynn on August 08, 2017:
Good info! Thanks so much.
Suzanne on January 17, 2012:
We are taking a trip to Disneyland. This information us very helpful! Thanks!
Sherry on July 15, 2011:
Lat time we went to Disneyland from LAX Airport, I got Stretch limo with very affordable price, that was fun for kids.
givingfairy from some place in the Big Apple on September 12, 2010:
Now that's what I'm talking about! Interesting information for people like me who's in the process of planning a family trip to Disney Land. This is very useful information especially the tidbit about arrival times to LAX should it be airport of choice and car rentals. Thanks