Flying to Disneyland? Some Los Angeles officials would like you to switch airports

October 22, 2009, 7:40 AM · A consultant hired by the Los Angeles-area airport authority is floating a plan to encourage more Disneyland visitors to fly into the LA area using the Ontario, California airport, instead of LAX.

On Monday Peggy Ducey pitched a suggestion to offer discounted theme park tickets and/or hotel and airfare rebates to visitors who flew through Ontario, which is located about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, on the I-10 freeway.

LAX is waaay overcrowded at times, and in desperate need of an overhaul. At the same time, passenger volume is dropping in Ontario, which is a relatively new and efficiently designed airport. (Both airports are controlled by the same authority.)

Ducey's plan isn't anywhere near happening, though. A Disneyland spokesperson acknowledged the suggestion, but reacted cooly to the pitch.

"We were pleased to listen to Los Angeles World Airports’ regional plan and we are always interested opportunities that might benefit our Guests," Disneyland spokesperson Suzi Brown replied to me in an e-mail. "However, we have made no commitments and it would be extremely premature to discuss any details."

The majority of Disneyland visitors these days are locals, with an estimated 800,000 annual passholders in the Southern California area. Disneyland does not release attendance data, but airline visitors are thought to make up only a small percentage of Disneyland visitors. And most of those visit a variety of other attractions in the Los Angeles area, many of which are on the city's west side, far away from Ontario.

How far is Ontario? This week, the Los Angeles Lakers played an exhibition game in the new arena there, located across the freeway from the airport. It took the Lakers two and a half hours to get there by bus from their practice facility on the west side.

If air travelers are looking for a more convenient option for visiting Disneyland, Orange County's John Wayne airport would seem the more logical choice, being only 14 miles from the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Replies (10)

October 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM · Not many direct flights to Ontario compaired to LAX. If they offered a free shuttle to and from Disneyland, and free tickets, then I would consider it
October 22, 2009 at 9:46 AM · John Wayne is super-convenient for flying to Disneyland or the Anaheim convention center-- I highly recommend it
October 22, 2009 at 9:49 AM · It's also more expensive to fly into Ontario on most carriers. That said, it is a nice, empty airport... but far from most things to do. John Wayne is the best if you're going to DL, though the best flight deals will usually be to LAX.
October 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM · That delay on the freeway for the Lakers was a fluke and not the usual scenario at that time of the day. There was a major accident on the freeway and a brushfire that caused the delays. People staying in Ontario can get to Disneyland within 30 minutes, downtown LA within 60 minutes and the West side within 90 minutes. When you consider that you have to be at LAX a minimum of 3 hours early for your flight compared to 1 hour at ONT, the hotel prices are considerably cheaper and it is not nearly as congested, ONT and Ontario are not a bad choice.
October 22, 2009 at 1:50 PM · I dunno. I seem to hit a lot of "flukes" whenever I drive toward the Inland Empire.
October 22, 2009 at 2:16 PM · We always fly to John Wayne when we go to Disneyland.
October 23, 2009 at 12:53 AM · This is very bizarre. Why would anyone want to fly into Ontario on a LA vacation? Business trips I can understand, but for pleasure, no way. That airport is so far removed from the central area of Los Angeles, it's pointless. The only people who should use that airport are those that leave east of the 5 freeway.

John Wayne is a much closer airport.

I do agree that LAX can be overcrowded and extremely busy at times. It's a major airport, that was built on cheap land, and was surrounded before a decent expansion could happen.

October 23, 2009 at 10:51 AM · John Wayne Airport Is The Best Way To GO...You Get To Your Hotel Withing 15 Minutes Or Less....Super Shuttle Is Always Quick And Convient When U Arrive At The Airport...John Wayne Is Less Crazy Busy... Its The Only One We Fly Into When We Go To Disneyland Every Christmas... Also Southwest Does Have Awesome Rates To Fly Into John Wayne Usual The Same Price At Burbank Or LAX
October 23, 2009 at 1:07 PM · I live just North of Ontario and I make it to Disneyland in under 45 minutes. So I suppose if you're taking a BUS (Which, last I checked, generally drives about 20 MPH slower than your average So. Cal driver) and hit bad traffic, or a bad accident, it could take two hours. But if you're staying in Anaheim you only make the drive twice on the ends of your vacation, so is it really THAT big a hassle?

Besides, Ontario is a wonderfully quick airport. I greatly prefer it to LAX which takes a good thirty minutes just to get in and out of - if you're lucky.

October 25, 2009 at 6:36 AM · I'm firmly in the John Wayne/Orange County camp. Disney should BUY that airport and make it the exclusive feeder to the theme parks. They should even consider extending the monorail to the airport for direct access between the air link and the California parks (much like the Central Florida high-speed rail initiative currently being wrangled in Orlando).

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