When you think of travelling to Florida, it’s a common practice to hire a car for all of the journeys you will be making between your resort or villa and the theme parks and shops. We’ve often wondered if we should use the Disney transport, which is excellent, but we have always preferred the convenience of having our own car.
In 2007, Vikki and I travelled together to Disney for the first time. We got an excellent last minute deal staying at the Orlando Continental Plaza hotel. It included car hire, which I was a little dubious about. We arrived at the airport (Sanford), and had transfers arranged. That night we took a taxi into Disney, and again returned to the hotel in a taxi.
When we saw what the transfer times were for our hotel – once in the morning and once in the evening, I bit the bullet and decided that the car hire was a must.
Since that occasion, we have always hired a car. All our subsequent visits have seen us stay at different resorts. Admittedly, in our 2008/2009 stay over Christmas, a car hire was necessary because I was attending a conference at the Marriott hotel during the first week of January.
The first three holidays we had always booked a bottom end economy car – the smallest of the cars available. We opted for this because we found that when you arrive from the UK, typically in the afternoon, or early evening, many of the small cars are dispatched, and we’ve often given a slightly bigger car at no additional charge.
On our third trip, however, when we got married in Disney, we got speaking to the attendant, and paid for an upgrade to a sports car. Our stay at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West we booked a bigger car because we had family.
In 2007 we hired a Dodge Calibre on International Drive. It was our first experience driving in the USA, so the automatic gearbox definitely helped adjust to the
wrong left side of the car and wrong right side of the road!
This car is an SUV type, and had good space inside, especially for 2 people. The higher driving position meant that you would feel every bit of roll in the car as you cornered!
On the motorway it drove well, and was reasonably responsive. I did find that when we were parking, the wheels had a horrible tendency to scream at low speed – I guess American rubber is harder than our European tyres!
This holiday saw us staying three weeks at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort whilst I had a conference to attend with work during the first week of January 2009. This time we’d booked a small car, and our luck yielded this sporty number!
It was a lot more fun to drive than the Dodge, but this was because it was lower, and didn’t roll as much in the corners. It handled well, and had plenty of space for the two of us.
It is worth noting that the boot is quite small, so if you’ve large bags, this car may not be ideal for a family holiday!
Without doubt one of my favourite cars from our holidays in the States! An original muscle car, the Ford Mustang is a world renowned American power house! This car certainly didn’t disappoint.
We got offered a discounted upgrade to the Mustang because we were out for our wedding/honeymoon. You can imagine the smile on my face!
The convertible edition really iced the cake. We arrived when the temperature was 33c! Hitting the motorway with our bags stuffed in the boot (it did hold 2 large cases), and 2 in the back seat we were on our way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This car handled very well! It also had good acceleration was a genuinely fun drive! I recommend it for all petrol heads!
The Jeep Patriot was the mid-size SUV we hired whilst we stayed at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. Here we needed a car that was big enough for Vikki and I, as well as our son, and his grand parents!
We had arrived with a number of bags of luggage, and a pram. The attendant wasn’t certain that I’d get everything in. However, with some careful packing and holding smaller bags on our laps, we filled the boot and hit our resort.
This car drove great, and handled a lot better than the Dodge. We drove a lot, taking in Tampa and Clear Water. The interior was spacious and comfortable.
Most recently we’ve hired a Ford Edge. It’s probably the closest car to a Ford Kuga – although it’s not exactly the same. I really enjoyed this car – though I’m a bit of a Ford fan.
The boot was huge! We had our Stokke Xplory with us, and we simply retracted the handle, closed the wheels, and put the seat at the lowest setting (facing forward) and we could throw the pram into the boot! Awesome! The size of the boot meant it handled our multitude of bags with ease!
The car had tons of space in the front, with cup holders for putting your much needed drinks into. The back had plenty of space for the kids.
This car had some of Ford’s nice ambient lighting, which was a nice touch. Unfortunately it being a rental, the full features of the touch screen entertainment panel were limited.
The car performed great – in my opinion, the best handling SUV!
This car gets an honorary mention. Although we didn’t drive this car, affectionately known as “The Walton Wagon”, my father-in-law did. On the positives, the Grande edition had loads of space which comfortably accommodated 6 adults around Florida!
I guess the car does exactly what it needs to do – transport many people around. However, over the course of the holiday we did hear some remarks about the acceleration performance: “0-60 by lunch time”…