I get many questions from people who are thinking about visiting Walt Disney World and want Disney World vacation tips and suggestions. Disney vacation planning can be very involved and confusing as well, so the goal of this series is to start at the beginning, and look at everything you need to think about, in the general order you need to think about it. Each week’s post will be numbered and link to all the others so that, when complete, you will have a guide with all the steps and information you need to plan your own Disney magic.
So once you get to Walt Disney World, how are you going to get around? What kinds of transportation options do you have for an affordable Disney vacation?
Basically, your options will depend on whether you are staying on Disney property and can take advantage of Disney’s free transportation from the airport and to the theme parks…or will you need a rental car and/or rely on other transportation options.
If staying with Disney, you will have access to a great transportation system consisting of buses, boats, and monorails. Disney’s Magical Express provides travel from Orlando International Airport to and from each of the Disney resort properties. Especially nice with this, is the fact that you can even have Disney handle your luggage, allowing you the chance to get to the parks quicker. All of this is no-cost, reliable, and relatively hassle-free. While there are circumstances where Disney transportation is not the most efficient use of time (the buses do typically service more than one resort property at a time, and going from one hotel to the next can be time consuming), by and large, if you are staying on Disney property, you really don’t need the additional cost of a rental car.
If staying off-property or in a vacation home, then you will need to make other arrangements. Many hotels near Disney World offer free shuttles to the theme parks. But you will still need to get there from the airport if flying. And if there is no free shuttle, then you will need a rental car.
Taxis and limousine services can prove, believe it or not, to be an affordable option to get from the airport, as can a shared airport shuttle. As for getting around once you are at your hotel, there are a lot of choices for rental cars.
If you decide to rent a car at the Orlando airport, you will have the choice of 8 different car rental companies. In addition, you will find that there are car rental locations on-site in Disney World as well as at several hotels in Downtown Disney. This makes renting a car for a day or two, if you would like to visit neighboring theme parks, convenient and hassle free.
The best way to get a good rate for a car rental is to be persistent and check the rental companies’ rates on a regular basis. Register for the “preferred renter” option at each company in order to save time when picking up your car, and to get money-saving discounts. Don’t be afraid to book with a company when you see a good rate: if you get a better one later on, there is no penalty for cancellation. Doing this can, over time, save you several hundreds of dollars if you are keep trying. Be sure to check sites like Travelocity and Expedia to compare rates. And feel free to check the cost for a larger vehicle than you think you need: sometimes the companies have more requests for small cars than they can handle, and so the larger vehicles are seriously discounted as a result.
As with most everything when traveling to Disney World, if you want to have an affordable Disney vacation, you need to do some research and be sure to plan well in advance to save the most money.