If you’re wondering if there’s a train from San Diego to Disneyland, the answer is yes. I’ve taken Amtrak to Anaheim Station multiple times, and it is much easier than driving to Disneyland.
I’ll address frequently asked questions below that I receive from readers when they’re trying to decide whether to drive or go by rail. They typically want to know how long the journey takes, what it’s like onboard, how to get to Disneyland from the train station, and more. Based on personal experience, I’ll lay out what I know here.
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San Diego to Disneyland Train FAQs
How do I offset the cost of train tickets?
Buy discount Disneyland tickets from an authorized seller. Keep in mind that you’ll avoid paying for parking at your hotel near Disneyland or for day parking in one of the Disneyland parking lots (at the time of this writing, the day cost is $25/car).
You will save money on gas and by not having a rental car. At least one person can relax (perhaps with a glass of wine in-hand) on the train in lieu of driving.
How far is Anaheim CA from San Diego?
Anaheim is about 95 miles from downtown San Diego.
How long does it take to get to Disneyland from San Diego?
It takes about 2 hours on the train. The exact time depends on where you catch the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train and how many stops the train you choose makes as not all trains stop at every station along the way.
Your station options for catching the train to Disneyland in San Diego are Santa Fe Depot (downtown), Old Town, Solana Beach, and Oceanside.
Tip: Santa Fe Depot and Old Town stations are fairly close to each other. The train starts at Santa Fe Depot, which means that you’ll have a better chance of securing the best seats by boarding here.
How close is the Amtrak Station to Disneyland Resort?
It’s about 3.5 miles between the train station and Disneyland. The drive takes roughly 10 minutes.
What is the easiest way to get from the train station to Disneyland?
Uber works very well in Anaheim and will be the quickest option. However, you can present your valid Amtrak ticket (paper or mobile) and take a bus for free.
Anaheim Resort Transit Route 14 or 15 bus (there is a bus stop at the station) will take you directly to the Disneyland Resort. This bus trip will take about 30 minutes.
Can you take Metrolink to Disneyland?
The Orange County Metrolink Line actually starts in Oceanside. From here, it stops at multiple stations (conveniently near some of our favorite Orange County hotels) before reaching Anaheim.
Rail 2 Rail® Metrolink monthly pass holders can take most Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains or buses at no additional charge but will need to adhere to the trip limits of their pass.
What are the best seats on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train?
You want to sit on the west side of the train because the ocean views as the train roars up the coast are stunning. I prefer Amtrak business class simply because the seats offer more space and the cars are quieter.
What else can I expect onboard?
Free WiFi is a nice benefit of taking the train from San Diego to Disneyland. You can get a little work done or catch up on email. Note that it’s not the fastest and can cut out intermittently. Every window seat in coach and business class has a surge-protected electrical outlet.
If you’re carrying luggage, a standard carry-on can fit on the racks above each seat. Space is tight, so if you’re used to pushing the limits of your airplane carry-on, that bag might be too big. I have a carry-on suitcase that is 21.5 x 15.8 x 9.1,” and it fits fine. The dimension you have to pay attention to is the depth. I’ve seen plenty of people have issues with suitcases that are too fat.
Larger luggage can be placed on luggage racks in each train car. You’ll need to be comfortable with the fact that it will be out of your sightlines. Lots of people leave large luggage here. Just be sure that yours is locked and labeled with your contact details.
Head over to the cafe car with items for purchase if you’d like a sandwich, snacks, or a beverage. Yes, they do serve wine and beer. Business class passengers receive a complimentary beverage and a snack box. These are handed out at certain times in the journey. I’ve received it in San Diego and not until Los Angeles during other trips. If you sense that the snack box isn’t coming your way, ask the staff member who patrols your cabin.
How early do I need to arrive at the train station?
All you need to do is be at the platform exactly when the train arrives. I try to get there a little bit early so that I have time to figure out which platform I need to be on and walk to it (this can be a little confusing at Old Town Station, for example, where there’s an underground walkway to the opposite track).
The conductor scans tickets on the train but will check business class passenger tickets before allowing them on to the business class car.
Does the train get delayed?
The train is the most reliable way to skip San Diego and Orange County traffic at any time of the day. The train is efficient and very rarely delayed by more than a few minutes.
I will say that I was delayed by a few hours once on a train from San Diego to Santa Barbara due to a car on the tracks. So, while can’t guarantee you’ll arrive on time with 100% certainty, it’s more reliable than driving which is why many San Diegans use it to get to Los Angeles and Orange County.
How long is the drive from San Diego to Disneyland?
Without traffic, the drive should take about 90 minutes. The drive time depends on where your starting point in San Diego is, of course. From Carlsbad hotels, the drive from San Diego to Disneyland is shorter at around 75 minutes. From La Jolla and downtown San Diego, you’re looking at about 90 minutes.
There can be a considerable amount of traffic in North County San Diego, around Oceanside, and it can also start in south Orange County in Mission Viejo. If you are driving to Disneyland, leave before or after morning rush hour traffic or in the evening after 7 p.m. for your best chances for a speedy drive. It’s not uncommon for traffic accidents to throw off a drive at any time of the day, however.
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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