lost weekenders

Getting From Your Hotel to The Park

Basics, Beginners, HotelsStephenComment

Planning your Disneyland trip comes with many hurdles, one of which involves your hotel and the park.

In a previous post about choosing a hotel I spoke a bit about choosing a hotel based on price, relative proximity to the park and park entrance, and the never ending decision about how to navigate your morning. 

Pre-trip planning

We try to stock the car with simple daily use items that are cheap, aren't perishable, can get used on subsequent trips, and have usefulness in everyday life. If you're flying, I'd recommend a quick trip to Target or CVS, both of which are close to the park.

  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled Water
  • Packaged granola bars or nuts or some other protein rich small snacks
  • Canned Energy or Coffee Drinks
Disneyland Hotel Signage

Transportation to Disneyland

Driving is always an option, but unless you have an Annual Pass, daily parking can run you $18 and up. Chances are you're also paying for nightly parking at your hotel and not driving is an easy way to save some cash. Also be aware of the time it takes to park and ride or walk to the park. Typically we plan to arrive at Mickey and Friends 1 hour before park opening. Disneyland also has off-property parking lots such as the Toy Story Parking Area. This parking lot utilizes shuttle busses to get you to the park entrance plaza. During extreme weather days, this isn't so much fun. 

If you are staying at a nearby hotel, there are multiple ways to walk to Disneyland.

Hotels directly to the North can use the walkway that leads to the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and use the tram.
Hotels to the South and East can enter on Harbor Boulevard.
From the South and West, walk North on Disneyland drive and use the walkway to Downtown Disney that is between Paradise Pier and AMC.

Anaheim Resort Transportation is an independent transportation authority that has a surprisingly large reach. These busses pickup at most every hotel or in densely built areas, a common space between hotels. A single ride is $3 but multi-day and child passes have large discounts. 
Although depending on the route your hotel lands on, you might only get 2 buses an hour, it's helpful to expand your choice of hotels to stay at and frees you with the ability to return for a midday break. 

start in the room

No matter the size of your group, having the loosest of plans for getting onto Disney property goes along way. 

  • Be aware of the day's temperature range and bring a costume change to avoid a sweaty day or a chilly grumpy night. 
  • Apply your first layer of sunscreen during your morning routine to save precious morning time 
  • Think about caffeine, energy and snacks. We bring a snack bag that is stocked with DoubleShots that get thrown in the fridge the night before. When you're at a loss, Downtown Disneyland has two Starbucks locations, both of which accept mobile ordering. 
  • Breakfast is important for your multi-mile day. Take advantage of your hotel's free cereal or that well planned box of granola bars.
  • Hydrate. Even though you might not be thirsty, drinking a couple glasses of water when you are first waking up helps get your body moving and refreshes overnight dehydration. 


Remember one of our always mantras: there will always be more time. There's nothing worse than starting a day out in a bad mood because your plan didn't work out the best it could.