Should You Rent a Car for Your Southern California Visit?

by MTT Nancy, Nancy Julian

There is so much to do in the area of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, you might decide on renting a car to explore the area. But should you?


Disney makes it easy for you to venture off site. There is an Alamo car rental office in Downtown Disney, so renting and dropping off right there is simple. Consider, however, the rental and gas cost and the stress of southern California driving, plus the hassle and cost of parking where you decide to go.

There are several viable options to explore southern California and leave the hassle of it all to someone else.


First, did you know that your travel agent can handle all of this directly through Disney? There are options to add full off site experiences, or transportation only, to your Disney vacation booking. There are many options to go to places such as Universal, Sea World, Knott’s Berry farm, Universal Studios, San Diego Zoo and so much more. As an example, a day trip to Universal Studios, including transportation and ticket, comes in at $110.00 per person.  Considering that a 1 day ticket at Universal runs $84.00, your transportation cost is pretty reasonable. You can also utilize this service for transportation only, if you happen to find a great deal on tickets.

Other options are to use a tour company. Two reputable and well known ones are All Anaheim Tours, and Grayline. These companies also offer options that include tickets or just transportation.

Sample pricing:

All Anaheim: Sea World package, $99.00 per person (a one day Sea World San Diego ticket is currently $84.00)

Grayline: Universal Studios package, $100.00 per person.

We used All Anaheim for a recent trip to Sea World. We were picked up promptly at our hotel, then picked up passengers at several other locations and then were all dropped off in a big garage type place where we were shuffled off to other busses depending on where we were heading. This was a bit confusing as they didn’t have enough staff in their tiny office to handle this, and it wasn’t clear exactly how to go about getting on your proper bus. We arrived at Sea World right at opening, the drive was pleasant and the driver did some talking about the area. At the end of the day, we all gathered at the pickup place at the time appointed, but the bus was pretty late. I understand traffic, but it was a bit of a problem keeping the nine kids in our party occupied while waiting on the sidewalk outside the park. On the drive back a Disney movie was played. There was some confusion about where we were to be dropped off, but were finally let out at our hotel. Overall, this was a fine experience and I’d do it again.

The main negative of taking a tour bus is that you have a set time to come and go. If you want freedom of when you arrive and when you leave, then you would most likely want to rent a car. If driving in heavy traffic and figuring out your own way to get places is not stressful for you, then you might still consider a car rental. However, taking a tour bus is quite economical…certainly cheaper than the cost of renting a car, buying gas and paying for parking, so if you can handle the schedule limitations then a tour bus is a great option.

– Nancy

Contact MTT Nancy at 575-430-1119 or to book your next Southern California vacation! For more information about family travel, join Nancy’s Facebook page:


  1. Janet says

    We rented a car to go to the Reagan Library, very easy drive north. And also rented a car once to go to Magic Mountain. . .again, the drive was direct and simple. Of course there was traffic, but it was weekend traffic so never terrible. I had pre-booked the car so it was ready, very simple – just walk around the corner from the Lego store and there you are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *