Unless you stay within walking distance, your first “ride” every park day will be to Disneyland in a vehicle. Disneyland provides two large parking areas for guests on either side of the resort. Depending on where you are coming from, you’ll want to learn where to park at Disneyland when you arrive.
The biggest and most obvious parking structures are the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals garages, located at the northwest corner of the resort. This parking is best for visitors coming south from the Los Angeles area. There is a ramp that leads directly from the Interstate 5 freeway into the tandem garages. Or if you are coming from the west, it’s two easy right turns off of Ball Road just before you hit the freeway overpasses.
Pixar Pals Parking Garage (Photo by Kristina Valcarce)
You’ll enter through the bottom floor of the garage, pay your daily fee at a booth (Disney gift cards are accepted) and be directed to the level Disney is currently parking on.
The garages are massive – together they hold about 16,500 cars. Each level has escalators and elevators to return you to street level near the tram stop. You’ll go through bag check and metal detector before boarding the tram.
Your second ride of the day — a Disneyland parking tram
The parking trams take you from the Mickey and Pixar garages past the backside of Downtown Disney, dropping you across from the World of Disney store. From there it’s a two-minute walk to the Esplanade. To return to your car in the evening, retrace your steps back to World of Disney and catch the tram where you were dropped off.
The other major parking area for the resort is the Toy Story lot southeast of the resort. This lot isn’t as well-known or as easy to access from the freeway, but it is great for locals or those coming from the south, like San Diego. Guests of off-site hotels closer to this lot than the front gates are allowed to walk onto the shuttles here too.
This IS the parking you are looking for
Toy Story parking is accessed from Harbor Boulevard. The lot is surrounded by trees and not immediately obvious. Look for the “parking” sign and arrows at the intersection to turn in.
As with the Mickey garage, you’ll pay at a booth and then be directed by the parking cast members to your row.
Before boarding your blue bus, you’ll clear security and bag check
This lot only starts running buses one hour before the park opens, so it’s not a great choice for those with Magic Morning access who want to be standing at the Disneyland gates right then. Park with Mickey instead.
These bright blue buses exit out the north side of the sprawling lot and eventually end up on a marginal road on the west side of Harbor Boulevard. The trip from this lot can take a little longer as the buses are subject to traffic lights. The buses drop you off on the east end of the Esplanade, a very short walk from the bag check area. To return, follow the crowds leaving toward the east and look for the “Disney Parking Shuttles” and the Toy Story character names.
Mark your parking receipt so you can find your car at the end of your Disney day
The drivers on the morning buses and trams will remind you which lot you parked in and to make a note of it. The parking Cast Members can help you find your area if you remember roughly what time you parked. Disney runs a whole herd of buses and trams at opening and closing hours to get everyone efficiently in and out of the resort.
All buses and trams will require you to fold up your stroller. Handicap boarding is available at all lots as well.
*There are a few smaller parking areas, including resort hotel parking, Downtown Disney parking (validated with some purchases). Most area hotels charge for parking, and street parking is highly regulated. For more details on how to get to Disneyland and where to park, you can visit the Disneyland website section on driving and parking.
Which lot do you park in when you visit? Share your Disneyland parking tips in the comments.
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