Driving to Disneyland A Dessert Road Trip from Nevada

Driving to Disneyland A Dessert Road Trip from Nevada

We love when we are able to get away to the west coast, because we just love California and hey, when the winter in Ohio is still going strong for the fifth month in a row, getting away to warmer weather is a bit essential for our sanity. And frankly, a Disneyland Road Trip may be just what you need when you’re ready to travel again. This Disneyland Road Trip was all about wide open spaces from Las Vegas to Disneyland, check out what we did and where we stayed.

From Nevada to Disneyland

For this trip, we flew into Las Vegas. There are a couple of reasons we did this, but the main reason is that there were no direct flights to anywhere in California from any of the airports we would usually fly out of. We are pretty big non-stop flight snobs.  And unless the layover is long enough that we can get out and explore we will not be sitting in the airport waiting for a connecting flight.

So we flew into Las Vegas. Got our rental car and headed to Seven Magic Mountains. Seven Magic Mountains is about 10 miles from LAS and about a 20 or so minute drive. If you’re headed to California from Vegas, its an easy stop. If you’re not familiar with what Seven Magic Mountains is, its an art installation in the middle of the desert by Ugo Rondinone. Honestly, they do just look like large stacks of painted rocks, but they’re kitschy and fun and we loved taking pictures there.

After we were done there, we headed to Anaheim! The drive from the Las Vegas Airport to Anaheim took us about 4 hours with traffic and stops and its mostly a drive through the desert. Not difficult. So if you’re flying into Vegas, download yourself a playlist and you’ll be there before you know it.

Things to Do in Anaheim, California

Our first day in Anaheim, we just explored a bit of the city and found one of our new favorite food spots, the Anaheim Packing House. If you’re visiting Anaheim on a non Disney day or trip, be sure to check this place out. While some people online said its basically just a glorified food court, we thought we were in Food Heaven. Lots of foods to try and the entire building itself is just beautiful. They have everything from fried chicken sandwiches to hot pots to ramen bowls. Lots of fun options for sure! We especially loved Mini Monster for fun drinks and the Crepe Coop for delicious crepes and pastries.

Downtown Disney in Anaheim 

Afterwards, we checked out Downtown Disney, which reminded us a lot of the old Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World. Now Disney Springs. Its a great place to start your trip off if you have a limited number of days on your tickets.


The next day, we started our Disneyland vacation! Let me tell you, I have heard a LOT about Disneyland. And not all good things either. So I tried to go in with no expectations whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised to be honest. Yes the castle is small. But in the cutest way! And the rides there are so much better simple because they’re always able to be refurbished. 

Its such a nostalgic Park and we loved that it was familiar but different.

We visited for Pixar Fest. While this was just a summer thing, it gives you an idea of the kinds of special activities all over the parks in the summer.  If I had one piece of advice no matter when you visit- try all the churros! So good.



California Adventure

Yes, this is technically the 2nd park ( Disneyland is the first one). So, we continued with our Disneyland trip at California Adventure and got to see our first ever Paint the Nite Parade! So magical! With small touches of the Main Street Electrical Parade, I was definitely starting to remember why I had loved that parade so much in the first place.

A Day Trip to Laguna Beach

If you know much about us, you will know that we need a break from the crowds. And Disneyland sure has some crowds. Wow. So we took a break from the Parks for a beach trip to Laguna Beach. I’ve been to Laguna before and I love it, so why not get some sun and sand time, amirite?! And we were able to hunt down our very own Rapunzel-esque tower!


You don’t have to stay on Disney Property

We stayed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in case you want a little getaway from Disneyland yourself. Its located in a canyon and was really the perfect resort to relax and refresh! We also shared some other Disneyland lodging options in our on-property of off-property post.



The Disneyland Hotel

When we returned to Disneyland to finish out our trip, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which was a complete surprise for G and I loved her reaction to the surprise! I luckily was able to snag an OK deal using hotels.com. It wasn’t cheap, but it was a heck of a lot cheaper than if I had booked directly.

Our last two days there, we tried to get in as much Pixar Fest fun as we could and seeing the new Together Forever fireworks show at Disneyland Park was high on the list. Such a fun show, especially for you Pixar fans!

Disneyland Road Trip to Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

If you remember the first part of this post, we never mentioned the other reason we flew into Las Vegas. We have been wanting for a while to see Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. We love hiking and exploring, especially off the beaten path places, and this Park has had our interest for a little while now.  Its about an hour from the airport, so that made it super convenient for us to spend our last two days there.

If you’re into hiking and nature, this should be on your must do list. Such a cool place with landscapes like nothing we have ever seen. Did we land on Mars?! Maybe! Complete with pink and red sand, this place was just stunning.

We had so much exploring and hiking this area. There’s basically no cell service there so honestly it was a great escape from everything. And did I mention the views?! Ahhhhh

So that sums it up! Another great trip in the books and lots of new information we will be passing along to you all! Thanks for following along!

Thinking about driving to Disneyland? It may just be your safest bet and why not get some outdoor hiking in while you're at it! Check out everything we did from Nevada to Disneyland for a great Disney and Dessert Road Trip. #disneyroadtrip #disneyland #familyvacation #roadtrips #polkadotpixies




Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .

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