Getting Around Walt Disney World

There is a lot to think about and plan for on your Disney vacation. Have you thought about how you plan to get to and from the parks…and any other place you plan to visit while there? You actually have some options, and as with everything when it comes to Disney….planning ahead will save you time and money.

Your options will somewhat 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 if you are staying off-site, will you need a rental car and/or 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. When considering the use of an off-property hotel shuttle, inquire about whether the shuttle is “shared” by several hotels, as you want to make sure that several hours of your vacation time are not taken up by sitting on a shuttle bus.

Even if the shuttle is free, you will still need to get there from the airport if flying. 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. Again, compare costs and travel time to decide the best option.

What if you don’t want to rely on shuttles, taxis, or even Disney buses? What if you are flying in or out of an airport that isn’t Orlando? What if you want to visit other theme parks, off-site restaurants, or shopping? What if you just want the freedom to come and go when you please, without waiting for an overly crowded bus or shuttle? What if you want to rent a car? Happily, you will have a lot of choices.

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, even for a day or two, if you would like to visit neighboring theme parks, convenient and hassle free. Plus, it’s easy to pick it up in one location, and return the car in another one.

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.

Nancy, her husband and college-age daughter live in the Baltimore MD area, but consider Walt Disney World their second “home”. She started her site, The Affordable Mouse, as a way to share ideas about how to plan affordable Disney vacations. Her favorite things at Disney World (in no particular order) are Soarin’, most of the food in World Showcase, Illuminations…and that “Disney magic”.

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Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends
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