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  1. #1

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    Question Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    I'm a regular visitor to WDW from the UK, but this August will be my first ever visit to the "original" park, taking in the D23 Expo too. As I don't know when I'll be able to get back to CA again, I want to cram as much into seven days as I possibly can, and I plan to take a day-trip to SF to see the Walt Disney Family Museum too. I've been doing lots of online research, and am a member of several online forums, but this is my first visit to MiceChat's forums, which seems to be a great community for Disneyland-specific information. So I may have a few questions!

    I've now decided on Weds 17 August for my trip from Disneyland to San Francisco. I can fly from SNA (John Wayne) or LAX direct to SFO for similar cost. From LAX I can fly Southwest or Continental for exactly the same price, and with much the same time options. Looking at around 6.45am, 7.25am or 7.50am flights to give me as much time in SF as possible.

    I'll be staying at one of the nearby hotels to Disneyland, but probably not actually on-site by then (I think I'll do two 'splurge' nights on-site on Sunday/Monday, and then five nights at somewhere like the Candy Cane Inn, Park Vue, etc).

    So the question is, which airport? Several people here have said they prefer LAX, but I thought that SNA was much closer to the Disneyland area? I'd like to keep my travelling time (and cost, but time especially) to a minimum - especially with those flights at around 7am! What time would I need to leave my hotel for the easiest/quickest/cheapest journey? Would transfer shuttles run at that time of day, and if so would I need to catch one horribly early, or better to just swallow the cost and get a cab? (shuttle2lax.com want to pick me up at 3.25am for a 7am flight from LAX!!! I was hoping for nearer a half-hour journey and a lot more sleep!)

    See, I said I would be asking a lot of questions! Many thanks for any help you locals can give me.

    Andre

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewilley View Post
    I've now decided on Weds 17 August for my trip from Disneyland to San Francisco. I can fly from SNA (John Wayne) or LAX direct to SFO for similar cost. From LAX I can fly Southwest or Continental for exactly the same price, and with much the same time options. Looking at around 6.45am, 7.25am or 7.50am flights to give me as much time in SF as possible.

    I'll be staying at one of the nearby hotels to Disneyland, but probably not actually on-site by then (I think I'll do two 'splurge' nights on-site on Sunday/Monday, and then five nights at somewhere like the Candy Cane Inn, Park Vue, etc).

    So the question is, which airport? Several people here have said they prefer LAX, but I thought that SNA was much closer to the Disneyland area? I'd like to keep my travelling time (and cost, but time especially) to a minimum - especially with those flights at around 7am! What time would I need to leave my hotel for the easiest/quickest/cheapest journey? Would transfer shuttles run at that time of day, and if so would I need to catch one horribly early, or better to just swallow the cost and get a cab? (shuttle2lax.com want to pick me up at 3.25am for a 7am flight from LAX!!! I was hoping for nearer a half-hour journey and a lot more sleep!)

    See, I said I would be asking a lot of questions! Many thanks for any help you locals can give me.

    Andre
    Go with SNA, and use the "Disneyland Express" shuttle run by grayline. (Make sure it's the Grayline one, some other companies run similar named shuttles). The biggest advantage of SNA is it's a smaller airport, and the security lines are MUCH smaller than LAX. (LAX can be a PITA to use) usually SNA costs more, which is why more people do LAX, but if they're the same (or close) I always go SNA, plus it about a 15-30 min drive, LAX is about an Hour or more drive time.

    http://graylineanaheim.com/docs/DRE%20Brochure.pdf

    How they run is there are two buses running all the time, they pickup/drop off at all of the area hotels. (Most on schedule, if not, call them and they'll make a special stop). The buses then go to the Disneyland Hotel, then you split up and pay for your ride (you can prepay on the website, or grayline has a guy with a credit card machine right there). One of the buses goes to LAX, and the other to SNA. I've done this a couple of times, and it's a great service, on nice clean coaches, with a friendly staff, and moves VERY efficiently.

    It's quick, the buses are "coaches" with video and music...) and they move quite well. They also have a family pricing, and "round trip" pricing.

    Anyhow, they'll take you right to the terminal... best way to go, and being a bus, they move past most traffic in the special HOV lanes.

    Once you get to SFO, there is BART and other public transportation to get around. As much as I have a love/hate relationship with SF, they do have a very decent public transportation system that can get you anywhere in the city.

  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Thanks for the info. I think SNA it is then - that's where my thoughts were going anyway, just needed someone to confirm I wasn't bonkers.

    Not sure about getting to SNA for a 6.45am (or maybe 7:24am) flight though. Much as I'd like to do it cheaply, the weekday timetables for the bus service seem to start a bit too late for getting to the airport. Might have to be a cab to the airport, and then a transfer service back I think. Do you reckon leaving from the hotel at 5am would give me enough time for the 6:45 flight if I check in online the night before? I want to make the most of my bed before a very long day! LOL

    I think I've got the SFO end worked out: Arrive 8.30am, BART & bus to the Presidio (10am), see WDFM museum, see golden gate bridge from beach nearby (2-3pm), get a cab to the fisherman's wharf area and get a bite to eat, then cablecar back up to Powell Street (6-6.30pm) and BART back to the airport for 8.35pm flight back to SNA. Phew!

    Actually, I probably am bonkers, but WTH.

    Now, to work out what Disneyland area hotels to stay at...

    Andre
    Last edited by andrewilley; 06-20-2011 at 08:52 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Thanks again for the tips. I just booked the 6:45am flight from SNA (John Wayne) airport which gets me into SFO at 8:18am, and coming back again at 8:35pm. That should give me the best part of 10 hours in SF itself.

    I reckon I can be out of the hotel by 5am or so as a one-off (especially as I expect I'll still be a bit on UK time at that point).

    Andre

  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    You made the right choice with SNA. LAX is a nightmare to get to, and you have to get there early to check in, so you'd be wasting time there. SNA is nice and close to DL and you shouldn't have any problems if you leave the hotel at 5, you might even have time to eat breakfast at the airport....and I hope you have a great time here.

  6. #6

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Breakfast would be good otherwise I'll spend the day eating on the run I suspect.

    So if I plan to fall out of bed at 4.30am, get a really quick shower and be ready for a cab at 5am, I think that sounds like my best plan - I rather doubt that any of the other transit options would get me there for the 6.45 flight...

    Andre

  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    For trips on the west side of the USA, John Wayne can get you just about everywhere.

    Heck, I will advise the following, even though You've probably already booked:
    1. Fly into SFO from UK.
    2. Stay a few days there.
    3. Take a flight to SNA (John Wayne/Orange County). Do your DL stuff.
    4. Fly back to SF.
    5. Fly home.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    If you do not want to rent a car, consider, too, flying into Oakland instead of SFO if the timing and fares are much better. I often find it easier and cheaper to fly from SNA to OAK, then take the BART shuttle to the BART trains and ride into the city. Southwest has a lot of convenient flights between SNA and Oakland.

    BART routes and schedules can be found here: BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit

    If I was doing a day trip, I might consider taking a flight to SFO or OAK, then taking Bart to the Powell Street stop, riding the trolley to Pier 39, then taking a cab over to the Disney Museum and anywhere else you might want to go. There's a lot to do and see in SF in one day, though: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39, the Coit Tower, Lombard Street, and plenty more.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    My flights into and out of LA were booked some time ago (flying from the UK, via Newark) and are to LAX. If I'd had a bit longer, then flying into SFO for a few days first would have been a great idea - but sadly SF is just going to have to be a one-day trip and I'll have to make the most of it.

    Locally, I've gone for the SNA to SFO option. I did look at SNA-OAK, but the price (Southwest) was a little more expensive at the time - and I also wasn't sure whether the BART/etc transportation would have been easier from OAK or from SFO, and no one seemed to be mentioning OAK as an option. Seems like there are a lot of ground transport options in SF, but none of them seem to cover everywhere quickly, so it'll be bit of a mix-n-match.

    My plan at present is to go direct from SFO airport to the Presidio area and see the WDFM first (plus see the golden gate bridge, maybe from the beach near the WDFM?) and then come back the scenic route via the Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 area, then take the Hyde/Powell trolley car up to Powell St/BART and from there BART back to the airport.

    From the airport to WDFM, do you think BART and then cab would be best, or BART and then the #43 bus? And returning from WDFM to the Fisherman's Wharf area, would you suggest cab or other options?

    Andre

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    OAK is not bad. It's a longer BART trip (plus a shuttle to The BART station), and I think there are a lot more options to OAK.

    The 43 bus will get you close enough.
    Then, go to the Palace of Fine Arts and The Exploratorium. then walk to the Wharf. Then, take a cable car to Union Square. Or, if it's nice out (I cannot guarantee this -- see Mark Twain quote re SF), you can take the F Trolley, which has a few restored, working trolleys from around the world.
    Last edited by sediment; 08-03-2011 at 09:20 AM.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Just worked out a cunning plan on the transport front for LA...

    On the day before my San Francisco trip I was thinking of maybe going to Burbank to visit the Studios, and that is also the day when I change hotels from the Disneyland to the Candy Cane Inn.

    So I'm now thinking about hiring a car for that one day only, which would also help me in getting my luggage over to the new hotel, and I can drive over to Burbank rather than trying to use public transportation. Then I'd plan to drop the car off at SNA airport on the Wednesday morning ready for my 6.45am flight to SFO (and get a shuttle-bus back to the DL area and the Candy Cane in the evening). Having looked at the maps at satellite images, the drives to Burbank and to SNA airport both seem pretty straight-forward (just follow the freeway!).

    I can do that for about $50 including gas, which is about what a cab would cost me anyway, and it'll give me a lot more flexibility on the Tuesday too. Does this sound like a good idea?

    From what I've read, Alamo would seem to be my best choice for collecting from Disneyland and dropping back on-site at the airport - or is there a more convenient/better option? Want to avoid too much trekking about to collect/drop off the car. Leave hotel around 5am to get a 6.45am flight?

    Andre

  12. #12

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewilley View Post
    Just worked out a cunning plan on the transport front for LA...

    On the day before my San Francisco trip I was thinking of maybe going to Burbank to visit the Studios, and that is also the day when I change hotels from the Disneyland to the Candy Cane Inn.

    So I'm now thinking about hiring a car for that one day only, which would also help me in getting my luggage over to the new hotel, and I can drive over to Burbank rather than trying to use public transportation. Then I'd plan to drop the car off at SNA airport on the Wednesday morning ready for my 6.45am flight to SFO (and get a shuttle-bus back to the DL area and the Candy Cane in the evening). Having looked at the maps at satellite images, the drives to Burbank and to SNA airport both seem pretty straight-forward (just follow the freeway!).

    I can do that for about $50 including gas, which is about what a cab would cost me anyway, and it'll give me a lot more flexibility on the Tuesday too. Does this sound like a good idea?

    From what I've read, Alamo would seem to be my best choice for collecting from Disneyland and dropping back on-site at the airport - or is there a more convenient/better option? Want to avoid too much trekking about to collect/drop off the car. Leave hotel around 5am to get a 6.45am flight?

    Andre
    Be advised, the drive to Burbank is much farther in real life than it looks on a map. The traffic is brutal getting up there in the morning. and even worse getting back in the evening. You have a good 1.5 hour drive in each direction. Then you plan on rushing to the airport the next morning early - Don't forget you need to be at the airport about 1.5 hours before your flight to get through security, same for the flight back. You are setting yourself up for being very very tired. Also, take a look at Enterprise Rent-a-car - They will drop off the car at your location and or pick you up.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Is there a "best time" to head from the DL area to Burbank, and similarly for coming back? Or is there a better way than driving (going to places like Disney Studios and also Mickey's of Glendale)? I guess I'm just going to have to accept it will be a long day, but anything I can do a minimise waits?

    I assume morning driving to SNA at 5am will be quieter.

    Andre

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Do you have a way to get into the Studios and Mickey's of Glendale? If not, I wouldn't take the time to drive up there because you won't be able to see much aside from the Studios water tower and the hospital right across the street from the studios where Walt passed away.

    As far as San Francisco goes, I live in the Bay Area and would like to shed some light on public transit and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Even with the high cost of gas, I always drive to the museum. From a BART station, you will have to take MUNI buses to the museum, which involve multiple connections from BART to MUNI before you're at the museum. Public transit to the museum is a challenge. If you don't want to rent a car, I would take a taxi from BART to the museum and back to BART. It will be more expensive, but a far lesser hassle.

    Now, as far as the museum goes, I strongly recommend treating it like a day in one of the Disney parks. I visit the museum multiple times a year and still feel like I have only just scratched the surface of all the museum has to offer. The only other place with that much Disney history in it is the Archives at Burbank and most people can't get in there. I was fortunate enough to get to spend 15 minutes in the lobby of the Archives once. One could spend 4 hours in the movie studios part of the museum and still not come close to seeing it all.

  15. #15

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    Re: Disneyland to San Francisco for a day-trip - local travel advice?

    Agreed. If you have no way of getting onto studio property, then you've wasted a trip. Go to Hollywood or The Getty Center or Universal, if you're going to drive that far, on the wrong side of the street (!).
    Even better: Drive up to Mt Wilson, and look down on the air that you breathe.
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