Travel Tips and Information
There are many airports to choose from for flying into the Orange County area. The airports closest to Disneyland are:
- John Wayne Airport (SNA)
- Long Beach Airport (LGB)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Ontario International Airport (ONT)
- Bob Hope Airport (BUR)
- San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Keep in mind that the Disneyland Express Shuttle only picks up from Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport. If you are flying into one of the other airports, you will need to arrange different transportation to the resort.
As mentioned before, Disneyland Express is a bus service from airport to resort. It is serviced through the company Southern California Gray Line. It is different from the bus service at Disney World, as it is not free for those staying at the resort. Also, you must bring your luggage to the bus. This service also requires advanced reservations and payment. If you are using this service with young children who still sit in car seats, you do not need to bring a car seat or booster for them. The bus is very comfortable, air conditioned and easy to load and unload. This service only drops passengers at the three Disneyland resort hotels. To contact them for information and reservations, call (714) 978-8855.
If you are driving to Disneyland, keep in mind there are parking fees at each Disneyland Resort hotel. Some travel companies and agencies can give you free hotel parking if you use them to book your trip.
Walt Disney World
The main airport near Disney World in the Orlando International Airport. One of the benefits of staying on property at Disney World, is the complimentary Magical Express Service from the airport. If you are flying certain airlines (list below), your luggage is tagged as Magical Express and goes straight from airplane to bus. Once you check in at the Magical Express, your bus will take you to your resort and your luggage will arrive shortly after to your room. This service can take up to 3 hours to receive your luggage. Airlines that participate in the Magical Express Resort Airline Check-In are:
- AirTran Airways
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- US Airways
If you aren’t flying one of these airlines, you simply have to bring your own luggage and load it on your bus. This service does provide roundtrip service, but reservations are required. To make reservations, call (407) 939-6244.
|When you make reservations with Magical Express, you will receive special luggage tags for your suitcases. These flag your bags when they arrive in Orlando and send them to the Magical Express buses. Once they arrive at the bus, Disney has a very organized barcode system for tracking and managing all the luggage coming to all the hotels.|
If you are driving to Disney World, keep in mind there are parking fees at each resort as well as parking fees for each park. Disney World buses, ferries and monorail system are meant for guests of the Disney World Resort hotels. The exception to this is the monorail system at the TTC (Transportation & Ticket Center) where guests of the Magic Kingdom park and take the monorail to the front gates.
For ideas on what to pack for your kids for travel, click here for our blog post on Travel Backpacks for Kids.
Getting Around The Parks
Disneyland is a very simple resort to get around and park hopping is very easy. Disneyland and California Adventure are located right across from each other than can simply be done in an easy walk. Also, Downtown Disney is right next door to both parks. A walk through Downtown Disney will take about 10-15 minutes. If you are staying on property, you will find everything is within a simple walk.
Walt Disney World is a huge resort and theme parks and hotels are spread out across thousands of acres. Understanding the transportation system at Disney World can take awhile. There are three ways to get to theme parks: monorail, bus, and boat ferry. Guests staying at hotels located on the monorail loop can take the monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot (hotels include the Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian and Grand Floridian). Guests staying at hotels located near Epcot can walk to Epcot, and also take a boat to Hollywood Studios (hotels include Beach Club, Yacht Club and Boardwalk Resort). Some hotels only have bus service to all theme parks. When you arrive at your hotel, it is helpful to pick up a Transportation Guide from the front desk that explains how to get to each theme park.
Buses for each resort, including Downtown Disney, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, arrive at resorts every 15-20 minutes, roughly. Some resorts share bus routes so your pickup might be the first or last of a few stops. The bus transportation is not a perfect system. Buses can be crowded, especially in the morning and evening. Tired children can be cranky and may not enjoy the experience. And sometimes it can take longer than you would like for the bus to arrive at your desired theme park. When planning your Disney World trip and making dining reservations, keep travel time in mind as you won’t be able to always get to your destination as quickly as you would like.
TSA Guidelines for Traveling with Children
These guidelines are accurate as of 2012. If you want more details, please visit the TSA’s website on traveling with children. They have different videos for each age group. For screening procedures, here are new guidelines for children:
- Children 12 and under can leave their shoes on
- Children can make multiple passes throuhg the metal detectors or imaging to clear alarms
- TSA will NOT separate parents and children
- Babies need to be carried through the metal detector and taken out of an infant carrier
- All carry-ons will be screened, including kids bags
- All baby/kid gear must go through the x-ray machine (i.e. stroller, car seat, boosters)
- Infant and small children can be carried through the metal detector. If a child can walk independently, they can walk through the metal detector on their own.
Here are new guideline for liquids for children:
Medically necessary liquids and gels, such as formula, baby food, breastmilk and juice, are exempt from the 3-1-1 rule on liquids. They do not have to be in a ziploc bag.
|If you are traveling with a toddler who may need juice for comfort or for ear pressure, consider asking your pediatrician to write you a note that it is necessary for your child.|
The screening process can be intimidating for small children. Talk with them about what will go on before you go through screening so it isn’t quite as scary. Also, try to stay positive and happy so they don’t get worried.
Last Updated June 2013