How I book trips to Disneyland Resort

A question I seem to hear often is 'how/where do you book your Disneyland trip?' because unlike Walt Disney World it just isn't as often advertised, there aren't adverts all over the TV and online from  Disney Holidays, Virgin Holiday and so on advertising those great free dining packages, in fact I don't think I'ever seen an advert from a company to book your Disneyland holiday with them, it all just seem so less known and mentioned.

My first trip to Disneyland back in 2009 was part of a larger West Coast trip but still booked in the same way I've booked my two more recent trips, completely DIY, meaning I booked everything myself and separately. Of course there is the option to use a travel agents but I enjoy both the search and fun of scooping out the best prices myself, it's always great to beat the travel agents prices by £100's and sometimes even £1000+, of course like WDW you can book hotel & ticket package through Disneyland's website, however the prices can be eye watering and don't come with the free dining luxury us Brits are so used to with our WDW packages, so if you're wanting to book a trip to Disneyland and not sure where to start then read on as I might just have the help and advice you're looking for.

So when it comes to booking flights my first two stops are Sky Scanner & Kayak, always, they'll search out the majority of airlines and also companies you can book with, all you need to do is pop in your airports & dates and they'll do the hard work for you. I tend to fly with Virgin Atlantic mainly due to them having a few direct London to LA flights per day, I like collecting their flying club points and luckily I've always managed to catch them when they're the cheapest or within a few pound of a cheaper option, however I don't always book direct with them, I'll select the flights I want via my Sky Scanner or Kayak search and then click to book with whoever is showing the cheapest option for the ticket, the last couple of US flights I've booked, that happened to be Netflights and within an hour of booking I had all my booking reference numbers and just as if I had booked direct with VA, I could log into my flying club account and link my flight, select my seat and all those little extras. I try to keep my flight budget around £400-450 and have always been lucky to keep within that, however I've also seen flights under £400 and over £450, the key is to keep searching and book when you see a price you're happy with, oh and never check again after that

If you're used to Walt Disney World and the fact that staying onsite is big bonus with proximity, resort transport or your other option being offsite and either needing a car, taxis and perhaps hotel transport to get to the parks and the parks definitely not being walkable from hotels, well unless you're lucky enough to be staying at the Contemporary, Yacht and Beach Club or Boardwalk then you'll find Disneyland very different, for starters the 2 parks are opposite each other, you can walk from one to the other within minutes and more importantly, you can walk from a number of local hotels almost as quickly. Disneyland has 3 onsite hotels and despite being a complete WDW onsite person, I have never stayed at a Disneyland hotel because there are so many cheaper options practically just as close.
I've had 3 trips now and each time stayed at a different hotel, my first trip I stayed at what is now the Anaheim Majestic Hotel (it was a Sheraton at the time) lovely hotel, great sized rooms but not walkable although they did provide a free shuttle but with so many hotels being within walking distance I don't think I'd go back to staying at one that wasn't, next was Desert Palms hotel & suites which has been my favourite to date and one that I always check prices for when considering returning, it's a 7 minute walk to the park gates, across from a CVS and walkable to a number of food options. If you want to stay very close to the parks but don't have the budget for Disney hotels then I'd definitely recommend it or check out hotels on S Harbor Blvd, there are so many options within a 5-10 minute walk of the two parks, quite a number of them are motel style but still got lots of positive feedback. A few that I've heard people really rave about are Howard Johnson, Candy Cane Inn and Sheraton Park and of course, because I love a comparison website (you have to when doing DIY trips and wanting the best prices possible) I always use Trivago to search for prices and who to book with, it works in the same way Sky Scanner does, I like to budget £80-120 per night for a decent hotel within less than 10 minutes walking distance from the gates

Of course there is the usual options of taxi and uber, or if you're able or like to drive then there's always the car rental option which is what I've opted to do 50% of the time, the other 50% I've used the Disneyland Express, unlike WDW magic express it isn't free and costs $30 one way or $48 return from Lax and makes quite a few stop at hotels surrounding Disneyland, some however you may have to walk a few minutes from to your hotel as apart from the 3 Disney hotels it doesn't stop at everyone but you can find a list, map and also book it here. Your other option is shared shuttles like Super Shuttle, I've never used them for Disneyland but they're probably your cheapest option although be warned they are likely to be your longest as they make multiple stops, after using them once in LA I don't think I'd opt to again unless I went for their private option as it just took so long

Unlike Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, tickets for Disneyland Resort aren't sold by so many UK retailers and I see quite a few people opting to just buy them direct because it can be harder to find a UK based company that sells them but there are some, two well known companies and both of which I've used for my DLR tickets are actually cheaper than buying direct, the most expensive of the two is Attraction Tickets Direct, they're around £10 more expensive than the other company I will mention but the bonus being you will receive actual tickets no need to mess around exchanging vouchers for your ticket when you arrive, if you don't mind a voucher and are simply looking for the cheaper option then I can also recommend Attraction Tix I was emailed my voucher straight away when I purchased from them and simply took my printout with me and once I arrived, headed to the ticket booth and had exchange the voucher for a real ticket in less than 10 minutes, a 5 day hopper ticket will cost you around £250 if booking through a UK company and a slight bit more booking direct with Disneyland/buying at the gates

Hope this helped a little if you're looking at booking a Disneyland trip and if you ever have any questions feel free to email or drop me a message on Twitter or Instagram

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