If you are planning to fly in to Orlando, one of the first things you'll need to consdier is whether or not to rent a car for your stay at Disney World. To intelligently make this decision, you need to look at your overall plans - are you staying onsite (at a Disney owned hotel) and focusing primarily on Disney parks? If the answer is yes, then you probably don't need a rental car.
Disney's onsite transportation is top notch - each Disney hotel offers a bus pickup area, with busses that regularly run to each of the parks, as well as to other Disney hotels (which can make attractive dining options when you tire of hamburgers and fries in the park every day). Disney bussing is free and very convenient. Also, there is the option of riding the monorail between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and the monorail services several of the major Dinsey resort hotels (the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary Resorts). If you stay for more than a couple of days, its worth it to ride the monorail a least once.
The final advantage to staying onsite and not renting a car is that you can take advantage of Disney's Magical Express Service. The idea here is that you check your bags in your hometown airport, and don't bother with them again until you reach your hotel room - no waiting for baggage in the airport... Dinsey handles it all for you! Once in Orlando, you follow a Disney representative to a motor coach, and they take you to your resort. Likewise, when you check out, Dinsey takes your bags, provides you with transportation back to the airport, and you don't have to deal with anything until you reach your home airport. Even better? the Magical Express Service is free - this knocks a good $100-200 off your bill for a family of four.
However, if you are staying at an offsite hotel, or if you plan on takig in some of the non-Disney attractions in Orlando (Sea World, Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove, Universal Studios, etc), then the answer is yes, you probably do need to rent a car for your vacation.
Many offsite hotels offer shuttle services to the Disney parks, but beware - these shuttles are often expensive (a parking pass to a Dinsey lot is only $8 - don't be taken in by the claims of astronomical fees), and can waste a lot of your time as they typically run one shuttle to visit all parks, meaning that you can spend well over an hour riding a shuttle before you ever arrive at the park of your choice.
If you do rent a car, expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 per week. Beware of ads that claim a $30 per day rate - after taxes, this typically climbs closer to $50 per day.
Most rental car companies (Avis, Budget, Dollar, and National) have desks at the Orlando airport. Others (Alamo and Hertz) do not, and require a seperate shuttle ride.
Finally, you can get around Orlando without a car and without using Disney transportation. Cab fares to the Universal Studios / Sea World area average around $40, and fares to Disney run about $50. The Mears shuttle service is a round trip fare $29 for adults and $19 for kids, with no tip expected... but if you have two or more in your party, a cab will cost you less.
By Author. All Rights Reserved. Date
August 17, 2006
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