Enjoy your DLR trip! I am a WDW vet who went to DLR for the first time this summer. It was a great trip. But planning was so different for DL and I found myself with many questions for which I knew the answer if we were talking WDW.
DL doesn't have magical express, but there is the Disneyland Express which is transportation you can purchase for about $35/person/roundtrip. We didn't use that so I have no idea about the convenience of it. Depending on where you end up staying and how many in your party, you likely would be better off renting a car. If you stay on property and do not plan on visiting other local attractions, then you don't need a car other than to get to and from the airport and you would be paying the daily resort parking fee in addition to the rental costs so keep that in mind too.
We stayed at a Good Neighbor hotel because the DL hotels were not in our budget. It is definitely nicer to be on property, but there isn't as much of an inconvenience to being off property at DL as there is at WDW (anyone can get EMH at DL by purchasing a park hopper ticket online ahead of time and the distance to the off site hotels is a small fraction of what they are in WDW making it convenient for returning to the hotel midday). That being said, if GC is in your budget that would be my first choice! Also depending on the ages in your party consider DLH (with the new monorail water slide it is attractive to kids).
Have fun planning. I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to visit DLR. I still prefer WDW, but there are also things I like better about DLR.