My family isn’t fortunate enough to reside in Orlando or the surrounding areas so when we make our pilgrimage to Disney World Resort in Florida it’s usually by plane. Luckily, Jet Blue has a straight flight from our city to Orlando and we can usually save up and purchase our tickets for our family of 3. For those of you with more children, driving to Disney becomes an attractive option when you consider what you’ll save on air fare so won’t have to rent a car while you’re in Orlando. If you choose to be a road warrior and drive to Disney, this article isn’t for you but for those of us who are “leaving on a jet plane” you’ll need to decide whether or not to rent a car. There are a couple factors to consider when choosing to rent or not to rent.
1. Are you staying on property at a Disney resort? If so, which one? All Disney properties provide ample transportation via Disney Express to the parks but depending on which resort you choose, you could spend significant time waiting for busses to pick up and deliver you to your destination of choice. If you are staying at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts, then you’ll have special access to the parks via monorail, boat and bus, the first two being quite fast. Moderate and value resorts have only bus access which can eat away at your precious vacation time. It’s nice to have a rental car so that you can leave the park for a grocery or drugstore run plus have easy access to the parks. Added Bonus: Parking is complimentary if you are staying on property.
2. If you’re staying off-property, ask if your hotel has complimentary transportation to the parks. Parking at Disney costs $18 a day unless you are an annual or premium pass holder then it’s free! If you’re an annual or premium pass holder then you won’t have to cough up $18 a day for parking but if you aren’t, make sure you budget for this additional cost. If you have kitchen facilities in your hotel/timeshare/condo, then you’ll want groceries – so in that case, you’ll need a grocery-getter!
So, here’s the bottom line. If you can afford it, having a rental car is a nice luxury and sometimes a necessity when visiting Disney World. It’ll save you time and even let you escape the “magic” to take in a meal or visit a local store in the “real world” offsite. If you’re staying offsite, you don’t have to take your car into the park every day, I’d recommend using your hotel’s transportation into the parks if you plan to stay an entire day but if you’re planning on park-hopping, you might consider taking your rental car to minimize time wasted waiting for the bus. There are a hoard of rental cars available in Orlando Airport (MCO) and I’ve seen them for as cheap as $9 a day on priceline.com. Orlando Airport rental car service works as a finely-oiled machine so you won’t waste time picking up or dropping off your sweet ride.