The majority of travellers who have been to Orlando before will have differing opinions about many aspects of a Disney World Holiday, and the best way to organise and plan it. However, the one consistent piece of advice is that car hire is a near essential for any holiday to Florida; it is simply too large (and too expensive!) to navigate without one.
If you are staying outside of Walt Disney World, car hire is something almost non-negotiable. Sure, a lot of Hotels offer a free Shuttle to and from the Theme Parks, but a lot of the time these shuttles are twice a day, at times which don’t necessarily suit (and if you miss it and end up taking a taxi, it will cost a lot!). However, what if you’ve chosen to stay in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel? Do you really need a car when you’re on-property and so close to all the action?
When you book a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you are offered a couple of very enticing transportation freebies; Disney’s Magical Express and Disney World Transportation. Disney’s Magical Express is your airport transfer. You can book onto the bus that will pick you up from the airport and drop you to your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. Once there, free shuttle buses, running about every 10-20 minutes (depending on how busy it is) will depart from your Resort to each Theme Park, Water Park & (Downtown) Disney Springs. You can then hop back on a Resort bus at any area at the end of your day to take you right back to your Room. From some Resorts to certain Parks, you may even have the options of Water Taxi, Monorail or a Footpath (yes, that’s right – so close you can walk!).
Technically, if you stay in a Walt Disney World Resort, you shouldn’t need car hire at all.
All this free transport works nicely – until you decide to (gasp!) leave Disney World for a day. The minute you decide you want to see Universal or SeaWorld, have a look at the Outlets or Florida Mall, or go to Kennedy Space Centre, you’ll find yourselves a bit stuck. There are many ways to navigate to all these attractions; taxis, i-ride trolley or even transportation included in your ticket price (particularly applicable for Kennedy Space Centre). However, these options can end up either costly or time-consuming and in the end opting for Car Hire can work out the more practical option.
Similarly, sometimes having a car even when you’re a Resort Guest and not leaving Disney can be handy. For example, if you decide to book any early morning breakfasts at another Resort (Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary springs to mind), you can find yourself up very early in order to catch a bus from your Resort to a Theme Park in order to board the Contemporary Resort bus. Having a car handy for mornings like this can be easier and allow you a little more sleep. With Walt Disney World Resort Guests being offered free parking throughout Disney World, including the Theme Parks, you’ll find mornings or evenings where driving will make a little more sense. If you are planning to travel to Disney at a more busy time of year and stay in a park until Park Close with younger kids, it can sometimes be a lot less hassle to walk back to your car and drive to your Hotel instead of waiting in a long queue for a packed bus.
For each and every trip we’ve made to Walt Disney World Resort as a Resort guest, we’ve always chosen to car hire as we find it practical to have one. However, we have noticed that each and every trip sees us use the Walt Disney World transportation more and more, and there are very little faults to the system. We’ve never had to wait long for a bus and the stops, both at the Resorts and Theme Parks are convenient and easy to locate.
Personally I believe whether or not you choose car hire comes down to the holiday you are planning to have; people looking for days outside Disney or lots of early morning Resort breakfasts may find hiring a car makes their holiday a lot easier. Those of you looking to do just Disney and not explore anywhere else may find a car unnecessary and a waste of good spending money. For those of you unsure about how much a car may or may not be necessary, you could always decide to hire one for part of your holiday, letting you plan in a few days of activities which require a car. This also works out less expensive than hiring a car for your full holiday if you think you won’t get full use out of it on a daily basis.
Car Hire is a choice just like every other aspect of your Walt Disney World holiday; there is no right or wrong and whichever option works best for your travel party is the right option for you. And, if you’re very ensure as to whether or not you’ll need a car, my last piece of advice is that you can always add car hire on when you arrive if you opted to not hire one and have now decided it will be needed! There are a number of Car Hire centres on Walt Disney World property and the cast members at Guest Relations are more than happy to help you organise hire and pick up.