You have a myriad of decisions to make when planning your vacation to Disney World: staying on-site or off-site, staying at a value vs. moderate vs. deluxe resort, and buying the park hopper option on your ticket. The list goes on, with each decision having a list of pros and cons.
It’s the same when it comes deciding whether or not you should rent a car for your Disney World trip.
Some folks can’t imagine not having their own rental car. Other folks can’t image why anyone would ever rent a car.
There are pros and cons to this issue, too. Let’s take a look at nine factors that might lead you to skipping the rental car on your Disney vacation.
1 – When You Can Use Magical Express
If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel and flying into Orlando International Airport, you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express bus service. While you do need to register for the use of this service with Disney in advance of your vacation, it’s still a pretty good deal. It’s free. You can check your bags at your home airport and Disney will deliver them to your hotel room. It’s free. You get a bus ride to and from the Orlando International Airport. And did I mention it is free?
2 – When Your Resort Is Well Connected
Not all Disney resort hotels are created equal. Of course, they have different price points and themes. But they also have different transportation connections. The hotels on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – all have easy access to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot via monorail. Nice. It’s easy to walk to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Many other resorts, especially in the area surrounding Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, are a bit removed. Getting around will take longer.
3 – When Your Budget Is Tight
If every dollar counts, taking Disney’s Magical Express will help you avoid paying for a rental car, and that is more money in your pocket.
4 – When Car Rates Are High
Like so many things these days, prices of things jump up and down as supply and demand varies. (We may even someday see this type of variable pricing for Disney World tickets, but that is another story.) Depending on the time of year and general market demand, the prices of rental cars around Orlando can vary significantly. If the prices are high, the convenience a car offers might not be worth the price you have to pay.
5 – When You Have A Large Group
If you have to move lots of people around, you may need to rent a large vehicle. That can be much more pricey than a standard rental car. Disney runs buses (or monorail or boats) wherever you need to go and handles large groups of people all day long.
6 – When You Hate Driving
Some folk just don’t like to drive. Navigating an unfamiliar city, together with lots of other lost tourists, can be nerve-wracking. If you don’t like to drive, skip the rental car.
7 – When You Won’t Leave Disney Property
Do you look forward to the “bubble experience” where you enter the perfect “Disney bubble” of outstanding service, cleanliness, and order – and don’t have to deal with all the messy details of the real world? If so, remember that rental cars definitely have their roots in the real world. If you want 100% Disney magic all the time, skip the car.
8 – When You Can Be A Bit Patient
Disney’s transportation network is generally well regarded as expansive and efficient. Until it is not. The truth is that sometimes it is can be slow. People have to wait. And you might have to make a transfer in order to get from where you are to where you want to be. If you can be patient – really patient – you may not need a car.
9 – When You Can Take A Taxi
Even if you don’t rent a car, it doesn’t mean that you have to fully rely on Disney’s transportation systems. There are plenty of private yellow taxis that hang all around the Walt Disney World Resort. If you would rather not take an hour – or even longer – to journey from your hotel to that special evening dinner at Disney Springs, you can occasionally spring for a taxi.
Do you rent a car when you go to Disney World?