Planning a family vacation is always exciting, especially when visiting Disney World or Disneyland. In this guide, we will look at planning a trip from San Francisco to the Disneyland resort theme parks in Anaheim, California, USA.
If you live in the California Bay area, the question that most likely comes up is, “How far is San Francisco from Disneyland?”. The most obvious means of getting to Disneyland would be to fly from San Francisco SFO to John Wayne Airport SNA – but is it worth driving instead?
There is approximately 407 miles away from the centre of San Francisco, equating to around 6 hours worth of driving, to Disneyland Resort.
If you would rather avoid the long drive, you could go by bus or train. But which is the best method of transport to take to travel this 400+ mile distance? This article will assess different transportation methods and determine the travel time required to help you decide on one of the most important parts of your Disney vacation planning, getting there!
- Getting To Disneyland From San Francisco
- Final Thoughts
Getting To Disneyland From San Francisco
When travelling from San Francisco with your kids, there are four primary means of reaching Disneyland Park: by car, by plane, by train, or by bus. Here are the estimated times and costs of each:
Driving is a cost-effective means of reaching Disneyland from San Francisco. The easiest and most direct driving route between San Francisco and Los Angeles is via Interstate 5 (I-5 S). This may not be the most scenic route (mainly consisting of farmlands), but it gets you to Disneyland in the least amount of time.
Driving via the more scenic Highway 1 can add well over 3 hours to your route. Highway 1 is often preferred for its coastal vistas and unbeatable views over the Pacific Ocean.
Although driving may appear to be substantially cheaper than travelling by air, some additional costs are worth considering, such as the wear and tear to your car throughout the lengthy drive.
- Driving via I-5 S from San Francisco to Los Angeles will take you around 6 hours and 15 minutes, covering 383.1 miles.
- Driving via Highway 1 will take around 9 hours and 20 minutes, covering 454 miles.
According to Travel Math, the average cost of driving from San Francisco to Disneyland would be around $188.33 for a round trip, based on the current gas prices. Of course, this price will fluctuate depending on the type of car you drive.
For example, if the average cost per mile of an electric vehicle is $0.03 (according to Eco Cost Savings), it would cost you just under $30 for fuel on a round trip via I-5S.
However, this does not consider additional factors such as damage to your car, insurance costs, and parking fees. Parking at Disney California Adventure Park is $35 per night. Although small, this fee can add up if you spend several days at the resort.
If you decide to fly to Disneyland Resort from San Francisco, you have three arrival airport choices: John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Airport, and LAX. The estimated times and costs differ depending on the airport you choose. The distance between the airport and the Disneyland Resort theme parks can also make a big difference to your trip planning.
- San Francisco SFO to John Wayne Airport SNA takes approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes
- San Francisco SFO to Los Angeles LAX takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
- San Francisco SFO to Long Beach Airport LGB takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes
Flight prices are widely subject to change, so it can be difficult to determine the average flight price of a round trip.
- According to Expedia, SFO to John Wayne Airport SNA flight prices is around $138 for a round trip.
- SFO to LAX round flight prices are around $142, according to Kayak
- SFO to LGB round flight prices starts from $146, according to Expedia
John Wayne Airport (SNA) to Disneyland
John Wayne Airport is the easiest airport to reach Disneyland, being only 15 miles between the airport and the park grounds. Given this short driving distance, many families opt to get an Uber, which will cost around $30, depending on the day and traffic. If traffic is on your side, it should take about 20 minutes to reach the theme park by car.
Alternatively, you could take the Disney Express Shuttle, which offers fare discounts for groups that are over eight people. This shuttle service can be arranged when you arrive, but it is easier to put it online beforehand.
All forms of transportation will pick you up from the Ground Transportation Center, located nearby the baggage claim area. From here, you’ll be able to board a shuttle, taxi, or even a limousine.
Long Beach Airport to Disneyland
Long Beach Airport is 22.4 miles away from Disneyland, or a 24-minute drive, making Uber still an economical option. Several alternative transport options are available, including organising an airport shuffle with Pay Less before your journey.
If you don’t organise a private shuttle beforehand, you will be able to find a number of handy transport options around the Ground Transportation island. This area is located across from Donald Douglass Drivel, outside the baggage claim area.
Here, you’ll be able to find shuttle buses provided by Karmel Shuttle, limousines, and taxi cabs, each of which charges a flat rate to Disney California Adventure.
LAX to Disneyland
LAX is the furthest airport away from Disneyland Park at 34.9 miles, which takes approximately 48 minutes to drive between. If you decide to pay for an Uber or Lyft, you can expect to pay around $50, depending on the time of day and traffic. If you opt for a standard taxi outside of LAX, you can be charged upwards of $100 for your journey.
There are several shuttle bus providers that you can arrange transport with beforehand. Some of which, such as Super Shuttle Express, can provide you with transportation for as low as $17! Shuttles, taxis, Ubers, and limos can pick you up from the Lower/Arrival Level islands.
Alternatively, you could navigate your way across the city via the standard public metro and bus line.
There are no direct trains from San Francisco to Los Angeles, so travelling to California Adventure Park via train may be the longest and most difficult means of transportation. It often involves a few changes, which significantly adds to your overall journey time.
The best means of getting between SF and LA is to go from San Francisco Caltrain to San Jose Diridon Caltrain and then from San Jose to Los Angeles.
The train ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles takes approximately 13 hours and 20 minutes. The longest part is between San Jose and LA, which takes around 10 hours and 45 minutes.
This will take you to Union Station in LA, and from there, you’ll have to make your way to Disneyland parks via additional trains, buses, and taxis. There are 26.5 miles between Union Station and Disneyland Resort, taking 1 hour and 30 minutes to travel via buses and trains or 48 minutes in a taxi or Uber.
The estimated cost of the train ride between San Francisco and Union Station, LA, would be between $56 and at least $90. This does not include the additional cost between Union Station and the original magic kingdom itself.
Several discount bus providers can take you between San Francisco and Los Angeles, either overnight or during the day. The most affordable of which include Megabus and Flixbus.
The average bus ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles is 8 hours and 11 minutes.
According to CheckMyBus, the cheapest bus available between San Francisco, CA, and Los Angeles is $39.99.
What is the cheapest way to get from San Francisco to Disneyland?
If travelling with your entire family, the cheapest means of getting from San Francisco, CA, to all Disneyland fun would be driving, especially if you have an electric vehicle. For example, driving costs are significantly lower than paying for a bus fare for each family member.
Where do I catch the San Francisco to Disneyland bus from?
Most discount buses from San Francisco to Los Angeles leave from the Salesforce Transit Center or the SF Greyhound Station.
What is the fastest way to get from San Francisco to Disneyland resort?
The fastest way to get to Disneyland Resort from San Francisco would be to fly from SFO to John Wayne Airport and organise a shuttle or Uber to take you between the airport and the Southern California theme park.
There are plenty of travel options for travelling between San Francisco and Disneyland Park, each with its pros and cons. Despite the distance between San Francisco being significant, driving to the resort would be the most economical solution for a sizable family.
Although getting a Flixbus may seem to be the cheapest, having to pay for a ticket for each family member adds up to much more than you would end up paying for fuel for your car.
Check out these other fantastic articles about Disneyland, California!:
- How Much Do Disneyland California Tickets Cost In 2022?
- 21 Of The Best Hotels Near Disneyland, Anaheim (California)
- How Many Rides Are In Disneyland And California Adventure? Park Breakdown!
- Plan Your Ultimate Family Trip To Disneyland California With These 10 Top Tips
- Which Is Better, Disneyland Park Or Disney California Adventure Park?
- How Many Days Do You Need For Disneyland California?