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LAX to Theme Parks

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Do you have A LOT of extra time on your layover? If you want to visit a theme park, you will realistically need at least 12 hours, since the bus trip from LAX could take up to 3 hours each way. Admission to a theme park can be expensive, so you will want to spend more than just a few hours there.

Shared Ride Shuttle:
For any of these excursions, consider a Shared Ride van, which is a service where you can share a ride with others who are traveling to the same part of the city. It is often less expensive than a private van. It will cost more than MTA public transportation, but it's faster.
Prime Time - Serves LAX, Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports.
Super Shuttle - Serves LAX, Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports.


Studio Lot Tour at Universal Studios, Hollywood. [Photo Credit: LAtourist.com] Studio Lot Tour at Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood is the world-famous movie studio and theme park featuring movie studios, tours, attractions, rides, restaurants and more. Get a behind-the-scenes look at special effects techniques. See what life's like on a movie back lot. If you're limited on time, Universal is a better choice than Disneyland.

Tip:
If you want to feel the atmosphere of Universal Studios but only have around 6 hours to spend, you could visit Universal CityWalk, which is located adjacent to Universal Studios. It is a shopping district with gift shops and restaurants, and there's no cost to visit.

Getting there:
From LAX, a bus/train ride takes 60-90 minutes each way (including transfers). From the terminal at LAX, take the Flyaway Union Station service to Union Station in downtown LA. Proceed to the Red Line Subway terminal and take the Metro Rail Red Line to Universal City Station. From there, take the free shuttle up to Universal Studios or CityWalk. (Use MTA's Trip Planner to find the best route for your departure time.)

To view bus/train schedules:
Click here to visit the Metro website
On the Metro website's home page, use the Metro Planner:
From: LAX
To: Universal

Time estimate:
Assuming that the bus/train ride takes 1.5 hours in each direction, and you spend at least 5 hours at the theme park, you will realistically need at least a 9-hour layover in order to visit Universal Studios. But five hours goes by very quickly at a theme park, and you will probably miss parts of the attraction. On planning for your return trip to LAX, don't forget to allow at least an hour to get through security and walking through the terminal at LAX.


Main Street in Disneyland. [Photo Credit: LAtourist.com] Main Street in Disneyland

Disneyland is the world-famous theme park that features Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and all the familiar Disney characters, as well as rides, kids' attractions, shows, shopping, theme restaurants and more. You probably will not be able to see everything at Disneyland during a single visit.

California Adventure is adjacent to Disneyland, however it requires a separate admission. You can get a Park Hopper ticket that allows admission to both parks.

Tips:
If you have never visited Disneyland before, skip the adjacent California Adventure theme park and concentrate on Disneyland.

If you want to feel the atmosphere of Disneyland but only have around 6 hours to spend, you could visit Downtown Disney, which is located outside the gates of Disneyland. It is a shopping district with gift shops and restaurants, and there's no cost to visit.

Disneyland Resort Express:

The Disneyland Resort Express - Southern California Gray Line bus service between Disneyland (and Anaheim area hotels), and Los Angeles International (LAX). Operates every day. Buses depart hourly or on the half hour, depending on the time of day. The bus departs from the Bus and Long-distance Van island (look for a green sign) on the lower level (Arrival Level of the LAX terminal). The trip takes around an hour each way. (Southern California Gray Line is a private transportation company and is not related to Metro public buses or trains.)

Public Transportation:
From LAX, a bus ride takes 120-180 minutes each way (including transfers). From the terminal at LAX, take the G Shuttle to Aviation Station. Proceed to the west end of the platform and take the Metro Rail Green Line to Norwalk/105/605 Station. From there, take Metro Bus 460 to Disneyland. (Use MTA's Trip Planner to find the best route for your departure time.)

Click here to visit the Metro website for bus schedules
On the Metro website's home page, use the Metro Trip Planner:
From: LAX
To: Disneyland

Time estimate:
Assuming that the bus ride takes 3 hours in each direction, and you spend at least 5 hours at the theme park, you will realistically need at least a 12-hour layover in order to visit Disneyland. But five hours goes by very quickly at Disneyland, and it's not enough time to visit the entire park. On planning for your return trip to LAX, don't forget to allow at least an hour to get through security and walking through the terminal at LAX.


Knott's Berry Farm is an amusement park with an emphasis on theme attractions and rides. There is an adjacent shopping district that you can visit for free. The park and the shopping district follow an old western (cowboy) theme, plus features Snoopy and other Peanuts characters. This is a good place for kids. If you're limited on time, Knott's is a better choice than Disneyland.

Getting there:
From LAX, a bus ride takes 120-180 minutes each way (including transfers). From the terminal at LAX, take the G Shuttle to Aviation Station. Proceed to the west end of the platform and take the Metro Rail Green Line to Norwalk/105/605 Station. From there, take Metro Bus 460 to the intersection of La Palma Ave and Beach Blvd. (Use MTA's Trip Planner to find the best route for your departure time.)

To view bus schedules:
Click here to visit the Metro website
On the Metro website's home page, use the Metro Planner:
From: LAX
To: Knotts

Time estimate:
Assuming that the bus ride takes 3 hours in each direction, and you spend at least 5 hours at the theme park, you will realistically need at least a 12-hour layover in order to visit Knott's Berry Farm. But the five hours will pass very quickly, and you probably will not have enough time to visit the entire park in that short amount of time. You might be able to cover most of Knott's in about 8 hours, though. On planning for your return trip to LAX, don't forget to allow at least an hour to get through security and walking through the terminal at LAX.

 


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