Say goodbye to the Disneyland Express bus service

December 18, 2019, 12:11 PM · Flying to the Los Angeles area to visit the Disneyland Resort? Your ground transportation options just got more limited.

Two long-time travel options from local airports are shutting down in the new year. Earlier this month, SuperShuttle announced that it will stop running its iconic blue vans at airports across the country. And this week, Coach USA Southern California announced that it will stop running its Disneyland Express buses from LAX and Orange County's John Wayne airport after January 7.

Without a "free," Disney-run Magical Express service, as many Walt Disney World visitors rely upon in Florida, the pay-per-use Disneyland Express service was a popular option for many families who did not wish to rent a car to move between the airport and the Disneyland resort, especially if they did not want to deal with car seats in a taxi or Uber. Now, without either that option or the SuperShuttles, more visitors will end up taking Lyft or Uber, expensive taxis... or just renting a car.

It's a shame, because if you're visiting Southern California just for a Disneyland vacation, having a car at the resort is not only unnecessary, it's a burden. Not renting a car not only saves you the car rental cost, but also the nightly parking fees that every hotel near Disneyland charges. If you are staying on site, you never will use your car while you are at Disneyland, as everything within the resort is walkable. Even if you are staying at a nearby hotel, you might find it easier just to walk to the resort, as well. (Pro tip: If you are staying south the convention center on Harbor Boulevard, consider walking to the Toy Story lot and picking up a Disneyland shuttle from there.)

Perhaps Disneyland might start its own Magical Express bus service some day. But until that happens, I would recommend using Lyft to get to and from the airport when visiting the Disneyland Resort. Heck, if you have more than two people in your group, that's often cheaper than buying tickets for everyone on the Disneyland Express was anyway.

Even if you are visiting other locations in Southern California and want a car to do that, wait to pick up your rental car until after you are done at Disney, to save on the parking costs. Just use a Lyft to get to your car rental location near Disneyland. (Or dump the rental before going to Disneyland, if that's at the end of your California trip.)

Disneyland tickets Need Theme Park Tickets? For discount tickets to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, visit our officially authorized Disneyland tickets page.

Replies (10)

December 18, 2019 at 12:55 PM

It sounds like this service was ending because it wasn't that popular. Magical Express works because it's subsidized by Disney (you could say every on-site guest contributes to its operating costs through their hotel rates), but there just aren't enough guests staying at the few on-site Disneyland Resort hotels that would need such an option.

Also, who is taking a vacation to LA, and just spending time at the Disneyland Resort? Three days there is probably enough, but even 4 or 5 days at Disneyland is going to leave a couple of extra days in a typical week-long vacation where guests will be going elsewhere. We spent 15 days in Southern California, with just 3 at Disneyland/DCA, so those 3 nights of parking our rental car was a pittance compared to the savings and freedom of being able to drive around to the rest of our destinations. I think there is an extremely limited market of guests visiting Disneyland that are going to spend their entire trip at the resort, meaning this bus service was living on borrowed time or the hope that Disney would eventually add enough rooms to make it profitable. That day just isn't coming anytime soon.

SuperShuttle is going out of business because of Lyft and Uber. They simply couldn't compete with the flexibility and cheaper costs that the ride-sharing services offer. The blue vans were pretty revolutionary when they first started, allowing travelers greater flexibility in their schedules without the costs of an expansive hired car or limo. However, the service eventually met its match just like so many private taxi companies. FWIW, Uber and Lyft allow you to request vehicles with car seats, and for those with older children that don't require Baby Yoda-level protection, there are some pretty clever booster options out there that are easy to travel with (we use a product called "Bubble Bum", which is an inflatable booster that is about the size of a travel pillow when deflated).

December 18, 2019 at 12:57 PM

As a parent with 3 carseat riding children, this is a big blow. We chose these options so we wouldn't have to lug those things with us. Now, it looks like we might have to do that.

December 18, 2019 at 1:27 PM

I'd be curious to know how many folks book trips to the Disneyland Resort specifically, and do only that, as opposed to folks who simply add Disneyland onto their trip, as Russell did. My suspicion is the majority do the latter. The two times I've taken the Disneyland Express the buses were practically empty. The first trip was solo last Fall from Orange County and I was one of three people on the bus. The second was from LAX in November and I was one of about 10 people of the bus, 1 of which was my then-girlfriend but now fiancee! (I have to work that into every comment now :-) )

December 18, 2019 at 3:06 PM

I agree with Russell Meyer, when we go to California, we do other things outside of Disneyland as well. Yes, we usually stay at the Grand Californian, but we also visit other places in and around LA. I’ve used the Disneyland Express before, but it wasn’t cheap. It was expensive per person.

For my family and I, it’s easier to just rent a car from the airport. We usually fly into LAX, and have flown into Long Beach. But when we want to go someplace else outside or Disney, it’s easier to just use the rental car, then relaying on Uber, which can get expensive....especially with the LA traffic.

December 18, 2019 at 7:26 PM

I did three 4-day Disneyland only trips from the Midwest this year. We snuck in a day at Knott's on one of them. I guess I would be an exception, not the rule :0

December 19, 2019 at 10:11 AM

I used some sort of bus service to Disneyland this past August because I was attending a Haunted Mansion event. Not sure if it was this one though. Cost me 18 dollars, but as I did not intend to leave the area and didn't want to rent a car, that was fine. Don't think it was the special Disneyland shuttle though.

December 19, 2019 at 5:56 PM

Lyft and Uber have carpool options in areas where the amount of rides requested to areas within a couple of miles is very regular. Usually big downtown areas, but I will bet you all they will realize the disney to LAX or John Wayne haul is going to have a high enough density to request 4 person rides all day long with these 2 services going defunct. So. It won't be all that different. Uber and lyft pool even do have drivers with 10 person vans for larger groups. That is unless the voters of california are stupid and vote down the ballot provision that the ride share companies are putting on the ballot to take away the onerous and very expensive rules that the democrats in california passed. If that actually goes into effect the cost of ridesharing will literally double overnight making it just as expensive as taxi's traditionally were.

December 20, 2019 at 1:25 PM

We had never even heard of the Disneyland Express. Maybe their lack of advertising and making it a charge is what really killed it. The Magical Express in Orlando is a great way to start and end your vacation - a nice convenience to not have to worry about driving or dealing with the luggage. Making that a free service for the Disneyland resort, then also having a rental company kiosk on-site, with cars being brought to your hotel when you wanted to use that, would be a great customer service.

December 20, 2019 at 2:51 PM

Having taken the Express recently, I get why its shutting down as there were only a few people going from the airport to disneyland and disneyland to the airport.

However, for folks who only planned on visiting Disneyland and with little kids, it was really useful.

@Russell, from what I've seen Uber only offers car seats in New York City
https://help.uber.com/riders/article/uber-car-seat?nodeId=3abcbae1-132b-42a9-8277-0dab00fa3879

December 21, 2019 at 3:42 AM

mmmm, perhaps...
If there was GOOD public transport in LA (every corner of LA) , the problem would not even exist in the first place.
Like, the problem does not exist in Paris.
Like, the problem does not exist in London.
Like, the problem does not exist in Berlin.
Like, the problem does not exist in the Netherlands (complete country).
Like, the problem does not exist in Denmark (complete country).
lik, like like ...
:-)

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.



Discounted Park Tickets

  Orlando attractions

  Southern California attractions

Get Our Newsletter

Read Robert's Book

Stories from a Theme Park Insider