San Diego and Disneyland are about 100 miles apart, and both are popular family destinations in Southern California. If you look at a map, you'll see that they're separated by mountains and the Camp Pendleton military base.
If cost is your first consideration, try the bus. A train is a little more expensive but with more room to move around. The Pacific Surfliner also boasts some of the best views of any train in the USA. For either option, you'll have to change to another means of transportation to get to Disneyland once you reach Anaheim. If you're traveling with a lot of luggage or a family, it may be more convenient to go by car, and the cost difference is only a small fraction of the cost of a Disneyland ticket.
How to Get from San Diego to Disneyland
- Train: 2 hours, $30
- Bus: 2 hours, $8 to $15
- Car: 100 miles, 1.5 to 2 hours, no tolls
This article covers all the common ways to go, but in case you think of others and wonder why they aren't included, this is a rundown:
Van-type shuttle services only run between airports and hotels or private residences and can't be engaged to go from a hotel in San Diego straight to Disneyland.
Uber is also a possibility for making the trip, but rates are quite high, even if you have a vehicle full of fellow passengers.
San Diego and Orange County both have airports. If you search online, airlines will even offer flight options between them, but none are practical. There are no direct flights, and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars, taking 5 to 10 hours bouncing around and making connections to travel just 100 miles.
Getting from the Station to Disneyland
Both trains and buses from San Diego arrive at the ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center), about two miles from Disneyland.
After you get to the Anaheim transportation center, the easiest way to get to Disneyland is Anaheim Resort Transit. You can also take an Orange County Transit bus, a taxi, or a ridesharing service. If you have luggage, you may need to stop at your hotel on the way to the park.
Amtrak is the only train service that runs between San Diego and Anaheim. Their Pacific Surfliner route runs between Old Town or downtown San Diego and ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center), Get fares and schedules on the Amtrak website.
If you're arriving at San Diego Airport and taking the train straight to Disneyland to start your vacation, ask for directions to Airport Station. From there, take San Diego MTS Route 992 bus to Amtrak's Santa Fe Depot downtown.
Greyhound bus lines run from downtown San Diego (near the baseball park) to the Anaheim bus station at ARTIC. Some buses stop in Oceanside and Santa Ana. They take about two hours and don't get delayed by traffic jams. The tickets are very reasonably priced, especially if you buy them online in advance.
Flixbus runs from several San Diego locations to ARTIC. They are a low-cost option for one or two travelers and run buses several times a day. You can take one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag per person.
I-5 runs between the two cities and is the only practical route to get into Orange County. Once you get there, the local freeway network gives you lots of options. Use a GPS to find the least-busy route, but keep in mind that Highways 73 and 133 are toll roads.
If you shop around for a low rate and you are traveling in a group of four or more, a one-day car rental may be your cheapest way to make the trip.
Transportation from Disneyland to San Diego Attractions
If you are staying in Anaheim and don't want to change hotels, you can get bus tours that will take you on a day trip from Anaheim to most of the big attractions in San Diego. They pick up at most major hotels and usually 10-11 hours. For most of them, the price of an admission ticket is not included in the tour price.
San Diego - Disneyland for the Day
A few companies offer a day tour to Disneyland from San Diego. Search for "day tour san diego to disneyland" to find the companies currently offering that service. It sounds like a good idea if you're going for the day, but take a closer look, and you'll see why they're not. Their rates are high, and their schedule limits your time at Disneyland.
What to Do at Disneyland
If you're planning a trip to Disneyland, you probably already know more or less what you're going to do there. The trick is to do it like a smart traveler, avoiding standing in long lines, and staying away from crowds. Use the Disneyland vacation planner to find out what you need to know.