By guest blogger Cheryl Leung of Kids On A Plane
In my last post, I shared how to plan an affordable Disney World family trip.
After you’ve booked your flights and made your decision about accommodations, it’s time to consider renting a car. (Undercover Tourist now offers discounts on car rentals when packaged with tickets, in case you decide you do want to rent.) Before making a decision, here are a few things to consider:
1. How far away will you be staying from the theme parks?
Many off-site hotels offer shuttles to the parks, however, you are tied down to their schedule. Most off-site hotels do not provide airport transfers, and a rental vehicle costs a lot less than a transfer service.
2. How flexible is your schedule?
If you're visiting during the holidays or peak season, wait times for Disney transportation can be insanely long. Buses get full quickly and you may have to wait for two or three buses before being able to board one. Long waits in Florida heat with young children can turn into a very stressful situation! Having a rental car gives you the convenience of going anywhere at any time.
3. When do you need to be at the airport?
If you're staying at a Disney resort and are on an international flight going home and relying on Disney’s Magical Express® Transportation, I have to warn you that they will pick your family up at least three hours before departure. On our last trip, we were picked up at 3:00 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. flight!
With a rental car, we all could have all slept a little longer. Extra hours of sleep or extra hours at the park are benefits of having a car. Extra time with Mickey and Minnie is a VERY BIG deal when traveling with children (and even some adults!).
If you plan to stay in one park and need to pinch a few extra pennies, using park transportation could be a good option. For example, Disney Transportation uses motorcoaches, buses, boats and the monorail to take you everywhere and anywhere within Disney World property -- parks, water parks, Downtown Disney, all of the Disney-owned resorts and even the airport.
5. How patient is your group?
While park transportation may not be the quickest way to get from Point A to Point B (some trips require transferring from bus to bus or boat or monorail), it gets the job done. However, a trip from A to B can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes.
If you are staying off-site, I would say 100% yes. Rent a car. If your family is staying at a Disney-owned property, it just really depends on your family's travel style and budget.
These are the questions my family discusses when deciding whether to rent a car. What else should we consider? How does your group make travel decisions?
Cheryl, her husband and their 2 kids live in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Never one to pay full price, Cheryl spends her free time scouring the internet for discount codes or promotions for family friendly vacation packages or family entertainment deals. Yes, she probably needs to find another hobby. Her family can be found on a plane at least once a year and 90% of the time you can bet that their plane is headed to Orlando, Florida. Check out Cheryl’s blog Kids On A Plane (no, she’s never seen the movie Snakes On A Plane so there’s no need to ask her what her favorite part was) or chat with her on Facebook or Twitter.
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