There are lots of areas in LA where it's pretty easy to get around without a car within the neighborhood, but it can be a challenge to figure out how best to travel between these areas without a car. One such challenge is getting to Disneyland for the day or to relocate to another hotel for a few days if you're staying in Santa Monica. Or the reverse. I would say – don't put Santa Monica and Disneyland on adjacent days of your trip, but sometimes it can't be avoided, and if you landed on this page, then you're probably already facing this challenge.
Disneyland is about 43 miles from the Santa Monica Pier, which I use as a reference, since most of the hotels are in this general vicinity.
How Much is a Taxi from Santa Monica to Disneyland?
A taxi from Santa Monica to Disneyland will probably cost between $113 and $140 dollars, depending on traffic. Orange County taxi rates are slightly higher, so it might cost a little more in the return direction – or less since you'll probably be returning during off-peak hours, which would be faster, even though the miles are the same.
If you have 3-4 people traveling, a taxi may be a good option. If you have more than 4, you can ask the taxi company if they have a vehicle that will accommodate you or take multiple taxis.
For 2 adults and 2 kids (or 4 adults with 3 in the back), you'll probably pay $226-280 round-trip for door-to-door service from Santa Monica hotels to Disneyland, or $56.50-70 per person for 4, $113-140 each for 2 people.
Santa Monica has 5 companies licensed to operate taxis in the city. They all use the same fare schedule, which is the same as the City of Los Angeles.
Personal Rideshare Apps
All three allow you to see what cars are available nearby, find out how much they will charge to take you where you want to go, book the car and pay for the ride all on a smartphone app. No cash changes hands. Read more about using Rideshare Apps in LA.
Disneyland Transportation Car Hire
If you want a little luxury, or just have more people than will fit in your average taxi, you might consider multiple taxis or a car hire. Vehicles range from 4 to 35 passengers, from limos to SUVs and vans. More on Hiring a Car and Driver in LA.
Disneyland Tickets with Transportation
After a taxi, rideshare or door-to-door car or coach service, the easiest way to get from Santa Monica to Disneyland if you're just going for the day is to buy a Disneyland Ticket with Transportation from LA area hotels, including Santa Monica. A bus will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Disneyland. One bus, and in an hour to an hour and a half, you're there.
The bus picks up passengers from Santa Monica hotels at a specified time in the morning (they specify, not you), and depart from Disneyland at 7 pm, with a 10 pm option in summer. It might take a while for multiple hotel pickups, depending on how many hotel pickups are scheduled.
If you aren't staying at one of the hotels, you can still get picked up at one of the hotels.
An additional limitation here is that they only sell single park tickets for either Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. You don't have the Park Hopper ticket option that gets you into both parks on the same day.
If you really want to cover a park, one park can easily fill up your whole day, especially with the shorter winter hours, but If you want the 1-day Park-Hopper ticket, you can buy that through Disneyland, and still book a ride on Starline's LA Hotel Pick Up Bus to Disneyland for $50-$55 round trip per adult, and $42-45 for kids.
2 adults, 2 kids = $182-$200
FlyAway plus Shared Ride Van.
If you only need a one-way trip to Disneyland, and don't need the return provided by the Starline bus, and you have less than four people to fill up a taxi, here's another option.
With the addition of the Santa Monica FlyAway service from Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to LAX, another option is to take the FlyAway from Santa Monica to LAX ($8), then transfer to a shared-ride shuttle like Supershuttle.com or Primetimeshuttle.com, that charge $15-21 for a one-way trip to the Disney Grand Californian Hotel (Has an entrance to California Adventure and easy walking distance from the Disneyland gate) or another Disneyland hotel. You'll have to wait for a few others to be picked up and dropped off, but the per-person rate comes down to $23-32, depending on which shuttle company you use.
Note that if you enter Disneyland, instead of a Disneyland Hotel into the shuttle search engine, it will calculate the rate differently. For example, to the Disneyland gate, instead of the hotel, Supershuttle is listing $41 for the first person and $11 for each additional person, which comes out to about the same per person rate for 4 people, and is a better deal if you have more, but it brings it up to $26 per person if there are only two of you. Also note: On the Supershuttle website, if you choose round trip, it shows you a one-way rate that will be doubled when you check out, but it doesn't say that anywhere. So for less than 4 people, getting dropped at the hotel is cheaper, even if you're just going to the park.
From 4 to 6 people, using the airport to Disneyland gate (not hotel) calculation on SuperShuttle is less expensive. For example, a group of 6 would pay one way:
FlyAway 8x6 = $48 plus
SuperShuttle: $41 x 1 + $11 x 5 = $96
Total = 144 /6 = $24 per person each way from Santa Monica to Disneyland.
For 7 to 9 people It's only $107 to book the whole van one way to a Disneyland Hotel -less if you're booking round trip back to the airport.
Since the price of booking the whole van is the same for 7 or more passengers, if you did have this scenario, you could also, for convenience, pay for the other 2 $11 seats on the shuttle to avoid waiting for it to find another 2 passengers, and you'd still be ahead.
Primetime offers a private 7 passenger van for $87.95 each way for Disneyland Gate or $82.95 for Disneyland hotels and $102.95 for a 9 passenger van.
Getting from Santa Monica to Disneyland by Public Transportation
If money is a bigger issue than time, it IS possible to get from Santa Monica to Disneyland on public transportation, and you only need to transfer once.
You can use ladottransit.com, socaltransport.org, Google Maps or Bing Maps to look at options. They each come up with different solutions.
Socaltransport.org has the most direct and fastest route, which is to take the Santa Monica Rapid 10 bus to Figueroa and 5th Street in Downtown LA, then walk a block to Flower and 5th Street to take the 460 Metro Express bus to Disneyland. That will take about 3 hours and cost about $4.
Prices listed were accurate at the time of publication but are for example only as prices can vary daily.