As the crow flies, we live 434 miles away from the Disneyland front gates. I've checked. Many times. Driving, it takes me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler about 6 and a half hours with minimal stops for the basics - food, bathroom, gas. In the air, its a little over an hour flying time but when you factor in getting to the airport, getting there early, and getting from the John Wayne airport to Disneyland (by shuttle), that 1 hour easily becomes 3. We've done it both ways but for the last half dozen trips or so we've driven it.
The Pro's of Driving:
No restrictions on what you can bring. Bring all the clothes you want. If you run out of room in the suitcase, toss them in a plastic Wal-Mart bag. No matter how many clothes Mrs. DLT brings, she'll always have to do laundry at the hotel so we bring the laundry detergent and fabric softener as well. Bring all the food and drinks you want. We also bring coffee, sweetenter, cream, and a real coffee maker. The standard room in our favorite little hotel does not have a microwave. We don't bring a microwave but we certainly could. We do bring a table fan. No restrictions. Lesson learned: if you bring a lot of stuff, be sure to request a ground floor room with a minimum walk from where you park to the front door of your room. Also with driving out go time constraints, leave early, arrive late, whatever - it's your schedule not the airlines.
The Con's of Driving:
Since we live in California's central valley, we are primarily drive Interstate 5 from Sacramento to Anaheim and back again. It is the most god-awful boring drive this side of west Texas (which is way worse). There's nothing worth seeing 80% of the trip. Then there is the Grapevine, the mountain you climb over to get into the L.A. basin - it snows up there. And then there is the L.A. traffic - it's the nightmare everyone has heard about but only worse. Somewhere on an L.A freeway, day or night, you WILL coming to a complete stop. If you're lucky, it only happens once or twice. It's horrible (until you get to Anaheim where everything seems to improve). Yes, its only 6 and a half hours but between boredom and anxiety by the time you get to your hotel room, you're pretty much spent.
The Pro's of Flying:
It's hard to get in a car accident in the air. It's just plain easier on the nerves and the flight we usually take gets us to our hotel and then into Disneyland by 10:00am. Not a bad deal. Other than making flight times, a lot of stress is taken out because the transportation work is pretty much left to professionals. Show up to the right place at the right time and let everyone else take care of the work. Doesn't happen as much anymore but you use to be able to get some pretty good discount air faires from time to time. Now the expense of flying is probably just a bit more than than the driving.
The Con's of Flying:
Well you are limited to what and how much you can bring and it gets more limiting (and costly) all the time. Packing takes more time and consideration. And then there's Mrs. DLT, not one of the world's great fliers. Once you are on the ground in Anaheim, your are at the mercy of the infamous airport shuttle. They're pretty reliable but some of the shuttle operations seem to "run by the seat of their pants".
Well after thinking about it, if I was going down to Disneyland for a short or weekend type trip, I think I would opt for flying. Did that a few years ago where we flew down on a Saturday morning then came back on Monday evening. It worked out well. But if me and Mrs. DLT are going down to Disneyland, we are usually in it for the long haul - at least 5 or 6 days. In that case we drive because we can take everything but the kitchen sink and set up camp.