The Savers Guide to Cheap Disneyland Flights
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It’s going to be the first, second or third most expensive part of your Disneyland Vacation. Flight to Disneyland can get pricey, especially if you’re booking a last minute trip. The last thing you want is to add more expense to what can already be an expensive vacation. While some of you out there are lucky enough to be able to drive to the resort, many out there will rely on an airline to get them there without having to drive a day or more. That where Cheap Flights to Disneyland comes in.
I’ve been working on this guide for years and am happy to say that I’ve had tremendous feedback from guests who have been able to save hundreds of dollars on their flights because they read this guide. I highly recommend you read through each section to absorb as much information as you can.
The #1 Way to Save on Flights
If you’re looking to fly for virtually nothing or some serious discounts with no restrictions on any particular airline then I highly recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Not only is it an amazing travel card (and one I use everyday) but it has THE best welcome offer that can get you a $750 travel credit with Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus all your travel-qualifying purchases will earn you 2x points for future travel.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been using this card for several years now and is the only card I trust for all my travel expenses. I did receive the welcome offer of 60,000 points and applied the entire $750 to flying my wife and 2 daughters to Disneyland on Southwest Airlines. I’ll tell you this: knowing that my flights were taken care of without digging into my own pocket was a huge relief! You do need to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to qualify for the offer.
And sense that first redemption I’ve gone on to redeem over $5,000 in free travel just from using my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. When you talk about cheap flights to Disneyland, this is the best way to go. Plus when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards using your rewards points you get an extra 25% value added. And Chase doesn’t charge or throw in any additional fees. You’d find the same price anywhere else.
I can’t say enough good things about this card. There are no blackout dates or expiration of points so you can hold on to them for as long as you want. Points can also be transferred to other travel partners with no fee including:
- British Airways Executive Club
- World of Hyatt Virgin
- Atlantic Flying Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- United MileagePlus
- IHG Rewards Club
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Flying Blue (numerous airline partners, including Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) and more.
Be sure to check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and see what it can you for you and your cheap flights to Disneyland.
Where Am I Flying To?
Great question. There are 3 major airports in LA and some of them are closer to the resort than others. Some of them also offer better flight deals on certain airlines and some of them can be crazy expensive.
My most favorite airport to fly into is Long Beach – LGB. It’s very close to Disneyland with a 20 minute or so drive, is newer, has great amenities and has most major airlines including Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and United who service it. Getting and Uber or LYFT from here is so simple and you’ll be at the parks in no time at all.
SNA – John Wayne Orange County is my next favorite airport. It’s bigger than Long Beach so more airlines service it daily but flights tend to be a bit more expensive for some reason. It is the closest airport to Disneyland with a 10-15 ride. It’s not new but it’s certainly not old and they’ve updated it with lots of good amenities.
Lastly you have LAX which is the biggest airport offering the most fights daily and tends to be the cheapest one to fly into. My only issue with it is the distance. It’s about a 40-60 minute drive from LAX to Disneyland depending on traffic (which there always is).
The Saver Airlines
If you’re not interested in a card offer like the one above the next cheapest way to fly is with a Saver Airline. These are going to be the cheapest airlines offer low-cost seats with restrictions. Airlines that fall into this category include:
- Spirit Airlines
- Sun Country
- Allegiant Air
- Alaska Air
- Frontier Airlines
There are more out there but these are the biggest Saver Airlines in the industry. Having flow on each one of them I can tell you that for the most part the experience is the same. You’ll find great prices from your airport to LA and start your booking process. Then you’ll notice that the price starts climbing up because you want to choose your seat ahead of time, print your boarding pass and bring a carry-on or checked bag.
It’s fee after fee with these guys and by the time you’re done you could have just booked with the big boys at the same price. My point is, Saver Airlines like these aren’t for everyone. If you need to pick your seat in advance, bring a carry-on (overhead bin space) or check a bag, these airlines can end up being pricey.
My best advice with Saver Airlines and getting cheap flights to Disneyland is that you fly bare minimum. If you can get away with just a packed backpack and taking whatever seat you’re assigned at check-in, you can save a ton of money. The last time I flew one on them was Sun Country from LAX to LAS and it cost me $35. What did I pack? Just a backpack that fit under my seat, and I didn’t choose that ahead of time.
So just be aware that Saver Airlines can look really good at first but can turn on you really quick when you start adding in basic things like baggage and seats. My way around this is using The American Express Business Gold Card that gives me $100 every year in airline incidentals including picking my seats and checking bags. Keep in mind that this is a business card and not a consumer card.
There are two airlines out there that I feel like fall between saver and big boys. I love flying them because they aren’t cheap on you when it comes to picking seats, carry-on bags, snacks and service. The two airlines are Southwest and JetBlue. There’s nothing confusing about these airlines because they are so simple. Here’s my tops tips for getting the most out of them.
- Grab the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card for a 40,000 point welcome offer after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus rack up more points as you spend.
- Book only when there are sales. Both Southwest and JetBlue are notorious for offerings sales almost every week. Sign up for their free email service and get notified right away when a sale is happening.
- JetBlue is one of the best airlines out there that still lets you choose your seat in advance for free. Their seating is typically 3 and 3 with all of their planes offer a small selection of Even More Space Seats for a nominal fee. Beyond this some of their more popular routes also have a Mint Class with Lie Flat Seats. This isn’t the best way to shop for cheap flights to Disneyland but it is comfort!
- Southwest is open seating so nobody chooses their seats before-hand. What this means for you is a small upgrade fee for Early-Bird check-in which gives you a better position in line so you can get the seats you want. There are some sneaky ways around this, especially if you’re flying a group who needs an entire row or two. If you don’t do the upgrade I would suggest checking-in the minute it becomes available.
While Southwest offers free checked bags for guests, JetBlue does not. So if you’re having to choose between the two and it comes down to luggage, Southwest may be your best bet, especially if you’re in the ballpark for cheap flights to Disneyland.
Either way I can’t say enough about these two airlines. I’ve held status with both of them and they treat their customers well. You’ll have a great experience with either one plus grab those cheap flights to Disneyland.
The Big Boy Airlines
These are your dominant airlines that have been around for a long time and make up the majority of the airline community when it comes to daily flights and routes flown.
If I’m being honest there’s always a chance you can catch a great deal with anyone of these guys. On the Hop Skip Jump flights you can pay less than $100 per way. There’s probably a lot of you out there who have some sort of status with these guys, usually through a credit card or maybe business travel. Be sure to cash in on your points for cheap flights to Disneyland if you do. Otherwise here are my tops ways to save with them:
- Grab a credit card with United (United Explorer Card) or Delta Airlines (Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card by American Express). All of them have great welcome offers including free points plus things like free checked bags and priority boarding just to name a few.
- Join their mailing lists to track sales on certain routes or out of your airport.
- Start earning status with them by joining their rewards programs. Not only do these points turn into free flights, they also can mean free upgrades.
Of course the ultimate way to get cheap flights to Disneyland is to find someone who works for the airlines. This could be a close friend or family member. They can sometimes offer buddy passes for standby which means really cheap flights for you!
Google Flights Search Tool
This is my favorite way to search for flights. Just by going to google.com/flights you can search for anything, from any airport to the big three is LA. Not only do they list multiple airlines and compare them in pricing, they also suggest others dates when you could potentially fly for less just by leaving on a Tuesday instead of a Monday.
You can look at a visual flight map if you want and see if another airport close by offers better pricing. One of my favorite tools to use is flight tracking. If you’re signed in to your Google Account you can pick the flight and dates you want and then have Google track that flight. They will email you anytime there is movement on the price whether up or down. That way when it’s down you can book and save some money!
Google will also tell you where prices lie at the time you’re looking to book. For instance if your booking a flight from Chicago to LAX and the price is $320 roundtrip, Google will tell you whether this is a good deal, average or high. If it’s a good deal then book that baby! If it’s high then wait for it to come down.
You’ll be amazed as much as I am at how much this free online tool can do. It does have some downsides, mostly that they can’t list every airline, specifically Southwest due to some restriction from the airline. Google will still list them but with no price so you know you can check their website. Tool wise though, this is the best way to get your cheap flights to Disneyland.
I highly recommend grabbing a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to help you book your cheap flights to Disneyland. Of all the things you can save on the most or potentially get for free for your vacation, this is it.
There are 3 major airports that service Disneyland and all three offer different things including serviced airlines, amenities and of course distance to the resort. It’s never a bad idea to search your flights to all 3 airports to see which one will be the cheapest.
There are 3 major airline categories (in my opinion) that include the Saver Airlines, the Inbetweeners and the Big Boys. Be careful with the Savers as they don’t offer standard things like a carry-on bag or choosing your seat for free. If you can land a flight on the Inbetweeners I think you’ve got it made. They tend to offer great pricing plus no additional costs for seats and or carry-ons.
The Big Boys can be expensive but it never hurts to check them out. They may surprise you with a deal you can’t pass up.
Lastly, use Google Flights to help you search and track the flights you want. It’s free to use and a very simple tool to figure out. It’s all just plug n play.
Be sure to check-out out packing guide to Disneyland if you’re wondering what you should bring with you. We also offer special discounts on Disneyland tickets and packages if you’re interested in booking them. We hope you enjoyed our guide on Cheap Flights to Disneyland! You could also score some free tickets to Disneyland using our tried and true method.
Park Savers has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Park Savers and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.