Car Masters Weekend 2014 - Lightning McQueen

To Drive or To Fly to Disney World: That is the Question

It seems to be a very common question: is it better to fly or drive to Disney World?

The best answer is, “it depends”.

It depends on several things – not least of which your location but also cost, time, and convenience. With many low-cost airlines now offering affordable non-stop flights to the Orlando area, it’s an even harder question to answer.

Today, we’re going to look whether it’s better to fly or drive to Disney World.


Whether you’re flying or driving, the time that it takes obviously depends on where you’re coming from.

From the northeast, Disney World is about a 17 hour drive. From the mid east coast states including the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky, the drive would be around nine to ten hours. Even a little farther south like Georgia and Louisiana, the drive can be six to nine hours. Add another couple hours for rest and meal breaks, and the drive can be upwards of 20 hours round-trip.

A non-stop flight even from as far away as the northeast, a flight can be as short as just over two hours. Even wen you add on arriving to the airport an hour early and the 30 to 45 minute drive to Disney World, the round-trip could be eight hours give or take a couple.

Based on this analysis, flying is usually a time-saver.

Winner: Flying

Is it better to drive or fly to Disney World?
Is it better to drive or fly to Disney World?


Flying can be expensive though. Even with tickets as low as $30 from neighboring southern states, when you add on taxes, airline fees, bag fees, endless up-sells, and parking at the airport, the cost can really add up. If you’re coming from the north, tickets can cost well over $100 one way.

What’s more, you may want to rent a car or get an Uber or Lyft to get to the resort or travel off property, which adds even more costs.

In addition, your car, truck, or van can probably transport the entire family for the price of gas and wear-and-tear.  You have to buy a ticket for each passenger.  The more people you need to move, the more you may save by driving.

Even when you add the cost of meals during stops and parking at the resort, it often costs less to drive – especially for larger families.

Winner: Driving


For ultimate convenience in flying, you must fly into Orlando International Airport (airport code MCO) since Disney operates Disney’s Magical Express from this location only. This service is free for guests staying at one of the Disney resort hotels. If you choose to fly into Sanford International Airport, you’ll have to rent a car or take a shuttle or taxi to your hotel.

However, Sanford allows for faster security check and Disney’s Magical Express requires riders to leave the resort three hours before domestic flights and four hours before international flights, which can really cut your vacation time short.

If you’re looking for convenience in transportation and a faster commute time, MCO is better; if you’re looking for saving time at the airport itself, Sanford is better – but you’ll have to provide your own transportation.

Winner: Orlando International


So is it better to drive or fly? I think the answer is still “it depends.”

You can save time by flying or money by driving. It’s up to you to figure out which is more important to you!

Do you drive or fly to Disney World?