When I was a travel agent, people would ask me if they needed to rent a car during their vacation at Disney World. Honestly, if you are staying at onsite Disney resort, renting a car is not necessary. Disney offers their resort guests flying into Orlando International Airport a complimentary bus ride to their hotel as well as delivery of their checked baggage to their room if their flight arrives before 10pm. Using Disney’s Magical Express is a great way to bypass the baggage carousel. But is it the best option for your vacation? In my opinion, if it fits in your budget, your best option is to rent a car.
Renting a car gives you freedom from waiting. Disney estimates that their buses run every twenty minutes. It’s awesome when your wait is five or ten minutes, but what about the times you have to wait thirty minutes or longer for a bus? Say you are traveling during a busy time of year to Disney World, and you have to get on the second or even third bus that arrives at the bus stop outside your resort. The buses can also get crowded to the point that you have to stand for a fifteen minute ride after spending all day in the humid, hot Florida weather. Like many people, I like to be in control, and renting a car puts me rather than Disney in control of my schedule.
Paying for a rental car does have its disadvantages: the cost of the rental, the cost of gas, and, if you are not staying at a Disney resort, the cost of parking. You may have to wait for parking trams and do a little walking to and from the park gates. However, renting a car opens up the rest of Orlando for touring, including the very popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld Orlando. You get to decide when you leave for the airport, instead of the operators of Disney’s Magical Express. Your car is always at the temperature you want it to be, and the only sweaty tourists you have to sit next to are your own family.
Tell me in the comments what you think! Do you waste money by renting a car for a Disney World trip, or do you save valuable time and stress by shelling out cash for your own ride?