We live in the San Antonio area, so our visit to the happiest place on earth always starts with an airplane ride. Once we get to Orlando, we have options on how to get around the area. True, Disney has some great transportation. For example, The Magical Express will get you from the airport to your hotel, provided you are staying in one of the Disney Resorts. There are buses that run from park to park and you can also take advantage of the monorail and the ferry. At first glance, you might think there’s no reason to have a rental car… but here are a few things to consider that might help you answer the question: Should you have a car at Disney?
No matter what your destination, Alamo offers some great options for getting where you need to go and offers valuable tips, information and real-talk travel advice from people who have been there.
SHOULD YOU HAVE A CAR AT DISNEY?
Are you staying off the Disney property?
If you’re staying at a non-Disney resort, you’re probably on your own to get from the airport to the hotel. Most area hotels do not offer airport shuttles. Many of the more upscale properties in Orlando offer complimentary transportation to the parks. If you get further away from the parks to get a deal on a room, you might be on your own to get to the parks, too. For a family of four, you’re looking at $60 and up each way to get from the airport to a resort hotel. Your time on vacation should not be spent waiting for taxis and shuttles. The best way to go is having a rental car to allow you to hop in and go whenever you’re ready!
Whether you’re driving or flying or a combination of both of those things, you definitely want to stock your parenting survival kit with things to keep your kids entertained. If a Disney vacation is in your future, be sure and check out the to find the best deal on a rental car.
Are you planning on going to other Central Florida attractions?
Sure, Disney is a big draw for visitors to Orlando, but there’s also a ton of other attractions outside the theme park experience. There’s the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, The Kennedy Space Center and Gatorland, just to name a few. If you’re going somewhere besides Disney, even if that’s just out for dinner or to pick up groceries and snacks for your room, you may want to consider a rental car.
If your plan consists of going from your hotel to the Disney parks, repeat, repeat, repeat, then you may not need a rental car. If you’re going to explore the area, you’re probably going to want to have a little more autonomy as far as your mode of transportation goes. Also, if you plan on eating dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants located at a Disney resort, you will have to go through the transportation center. This means going from one Disney resort to then have dinner at another Disney resort could take you over an hour in travel time.
Also, if you’re planning on combining your trip to Disney with a Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral, be aware that transportation from the Disney Resorts to the port is NOT included in the cost of your cruise or hotel stay.
Are you flying into an airport other than MCO?
Most people are going to fly into Orlando International Airport, MCO, but an increasing number of flights are going in to Orlando Sanford International Airport. If you’re really scoping out the best airfare or seeing other things in Orlando besides the Disney parks, you may want to check out flights going into and out of Melbourne or Daytona Beach. Flying into an airport other than MCO takes the Magical Express off the table.
If you’re looking to rent a car to help you get around at Disney, Alamo has four Walt Disney World resort locations that make it easy for you. Visiting Disneyland resort in California? No problem! This list includes the three locations that conveniently service Disneyland California, too.
How much time do you have?
No matter what the answer to this question is, there is never enough time at Disney World. While the bus transportation between parks is clean, comfortable (see also air conditioned!) and reliable, you may experience long waits to get on. My family and I waited almost 45 minutes to get on a bus from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If we’d have had our own car, we’d have hopped in and drove to Hollywood Studios in less than half that time. Sure, there’s traffic and parking and walking, but having your own wheels definitely puts you in control of things. If you’re spending a full week at Disney, a long wait in line to get from park to park may be no biggie but for families who are trying to squeeze as much magic as they can into a couple of days, having your own car may be what works best for your family.
Not going to Disney? That’s okay!
Your upcoming vacation plans might not include Disney but if you are planning your next family vacation, be sure to check out Alamo’s Scenic Route as part of your travel planning process for inspiration and advice!
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