Renting a car or enjoying the benefits of using the shuttle services. You will find extreme advantages to either option. We have used both methods and have enjoyed the different benefits to each:
First option is to use Shuttle busses and local transit. Although I do find this route the more expensive option, travelling to and from the airport via Disneyland Express or any of the other shuttle services is less stressful. It allows you to just sit back and enjoy your trip. You can visit and plan things while you are not pre occupied with driving. Shuttle services might be your only option if you are not interested in driving on those California freeways. Note we have used Disneyland Express many times, they have an offer for groups of up to five for one special price including return, that can be pre booked online. Another benefit to using the Disneyland Express; when the big Disneyland painted bus pulls up, the kids will get excited and you will get excited at how comfortable the bus is and that they have bathrooms on board. However If you are planning multiple places to visit on your trip, the cost of additional shuttle services or public transit will add up quickly. The Public transit can be inexpensive but, if you are interested in spending a day at a beach, the city bus could take up to three hours to make it there. A taxi can also be very pricey. If you are planning to just stay around the resort area the shuttle bus is likely the simpler straightforward way to go. Purchasing Airport transfers online in advance is cheaper than buying the transfers when you arrive. We have used the local city bus system around Anaheim to save money a couple of ways. A 20 min bus ride will take you to a great outlet mall near the Disneyland resort, or you can use the bus to pick up some bottled water or snacks from Target or Walmart which is only about 15 min from the park.
Finally, the rental car option is by far my favorite! It gives you the option to go visit some out of the way locations. I must say that I was surprised the first time I drove in and around Los Angeles and Anaheim. The traffic looks far more intimidating than it actually is. With a smartphone and GPS, we made it everywhere that we wanted to go without incident. For the record, after returning the rental car with a full tank of gas plus the car rental fee, the cost was literally one third of what we would normally spend on Airport Transfers and additional public transit. Check with your hotel as many hotels offer free parking with your stay.