Updated 9/16/18. You’ve got your flights booked, your hotels claimed, and you’ve got the perfect FastPass Plus reservations. Let’s face it; there is a lot to do when planning a Disney World vacation. One of the most overlooked pieces of the Mickey Mouse Trip-Planning puzzle is transportation.
How are you going to get around? Do you want to stay immersed in the Disney theme your entire visit? Do you want the flexibility of driving on your own schedule? Do you want to increase your speed while avoiding Disney’s transportation as a whole? This article covers all of those questions and more.
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We will cover two main options for driving in Orlando. The first being renting a car. The second, and more recently introduced option, is using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. By the end of this guide, we are positive you’ll be able to have a clear idea of exactly how you’ll be arriving to the parks, and how you’ll be returning home after a successful day at Disney World.
Renting A Car
Orlando is the largest market for rental cars in the entire world! A lot of the major car rental companies are located on-site at the airport, providing you with easy access to their fleet of vehicles, though the decision of whether or not you need to be renting a car at Walt Disney World relies entirely upon the type of experience you’d like. If you don’t like to wait and don’t mind driving during your vacation, renting a car at Walt Disney World is probably a great option for you!
If you are staying on property at one of Disney World’s many hotels, you may be more enticed to try their provided transportation system. Guests usually need to plan on at least an hour for the Disney provided transportation to take them where they are hoping to go. A rental car can take you much quicker from point A to point B. In fact, this is just one of the pros to renting a car at Walt Disney World. There are many more, so let’s take a look at some of them!
Saves You Money
While transportation in Orlando is oftentimes one of the most overlooked expenses in a Disney vacation, renting a car at Walt Disney World can be a decision that saves you some cash! If you plan to do more driving than just to/from the airport, your hotel, and the parks, then you could easily get your money’s worth out of a rental car rather than using a standard taxi or ride-sharing service.
One of the most expensive parts of your vacation often ends up being the food. A lot of families prefer to take snacks into the parks in order to keep their children, and themselves, from splurging on the many snacks and treats Disney World has to offer. If you fit into this category, you can take your rental car to a local grocery store to stock up on your items before you head to the parks! Even with plans to eat in the park, we love entering with extra granola bars, crackers, cookies, and water bottles to keep our stomachs happy throughout the day.
Saves You Time
With such a large resort, vehicles are essential to getting around from one park to another. Disney’s buses run at 20-minute intervals, and sometimes you need to hop on to a second bus in order to reach your destination. Many guests plan on at LEAST an hour to get from one location to another at Disney World. Driving yourself can get you there much quicker, resulting in more time to hang out with Mickey and his friends.
Sometimes the Disney transportation can be full, and you’ll have to wait for the next available monorail, boat, or bus. You’ll always have a seat in your rental car. If you are leaving at a peak time of the day, such as immediately following the fireworks, you can almost guarantee a flock of people all hoping to get on the next vehicle. At the end of a long day with children, “all Disney’d out”, fighting for that last available slot is the last thing you want to happen. The comfort of knowing you have your car ready to go is sometimes worth the price alone.
Speaking of comfort, what is more comfortable after an entire day of magical experiences than your bed? Even looking forward with excitement to the next day of your adventure, crawling out of your bed the next morning can be a struggle. With a rental car, you don’t need to plan the extra time that Disney transportation requires, and can spend just a little extra time in bed before you tackle another day at the most magical place on Earth. In a way, renting a car at Walt Disney World can get you a whole different type of “Extra Magic Hour”.
Allows For Flexibility
The flexibility that comes with renting a car at Walt Disney World can be a blessing sometimes. We love the idea of staying inside the “bubble of Disney” during your vacation, but we also understand that there may be other things on your to-do list during your stay! If you choose to spend a day at the beach or take a trip to Universal Studios, then you can do so without having to arrange, or pay, for the extra transportation. This amount of flexibility can add some peace of mind to your trip, and gives you the ability to add anything you’d like to your itinerary.
Cons Of Renting A Car
While there are plenty of positive sides to renting a car at Walt Disney World, there are certainly some drawbacks. Many guests don’t wish to be driving during their vacation. Driving can add stress to your trip. Renting a car introduces the drawback of parking. If you aren’t staying on property or an Annual Passholder, you can expect to pay around $20/day to park your car at Disney World. Added to that is the fact that your parking spot most likely will not be very close to the gate. You’ll need to walk there.
Time is money, and the cost of creating an efficient schedule can run rather high when you rent a car in Orlando. It’s all in perspective, and how much you value your time.
Most of the cons regarding renting a car in Disney World are solved by using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft, which we’ll cover in a coming section.
Rental Car Companies
At the Orlando International Airport, you are presented with a wide variety of rental car companies located on the A-Side and B-Side of the terminal on Level 1 (the Terminal on the Ground Transportation). These companies include the following:
Dollar Car Rental
E-Z Rent A Car
Hertz Car Rental
If one of the aforementioned companies doesn’t strike your eye, there are plenty of others located in close proximity to the airport. Including:
Ace Rent A Car
Aco Rent A Car
Action Car Rental
Bandago Rent A Van
Best Rate Rent A Car
Best Way Auto Rental
Carl’s Rent A Van
Florida Van Rentals
Fox Rent A Car
Green Motion Rental
Magna Auto Rentals
Nu Rent A Car
Priceless Car Rental
Sixt Rent A Car
Sutherland Rental Car
Tu Florida Rental Car
Value Car Rental
Companies Near Disney World
It might come up that you only need a car for a day during your visit. In that case, you can rent a car near Disney World rather than near the airport! The Walt Disney World Car Care Center features both an office for Alamo and National. It’s located near the Magic Kingdom, and even provides you with a shuttle to pick you up from any Walt Disney World hotel to go get your car.
Members of the Military staying at Disney’s Shades of Green Resort are able to rent from Hertz Car Rental.
Tips When Renting A Car
Online services tend to oftentimes make things so much easier! Using your laptop or phone, you can easily book a rental car for your upcoming vacation. It used to be the case that the further out you made your reservations, the better your rates would be. The game has changed, and now it can take a bit more strategic planning. Fortunately, there is a website that can do all the hard work for us! Enter www.autoslash.com. Auto Slash automatically applies coupons and other discounts to your reservation to make sure you have the best deal. What if a better deal comes along? Don’t worry, Auto Slash will automatically apply the new discounts and get you the absolute best deal it can find. Auto Slash can save you anywhere from a few to over a hundred dollars on your reservation!
Rent A Small Car
Hopefully, you won’t be spending a lot of time in your car during your trip, so why not take a smaller car? Smaller vehicles tend to be a little cheaper through car rental services, and you’ll also save on gas. Don’t forget that the air conditioner will also become effective much quicker in a smaller car rather than a larger one. That will come in handy during those hot summer days! Of course, comfort is important. Make sure to rent a car that will still comfortably fit your entire group.
Bring a Credit Card And Your Driver’s License
Though this one seems completely obvious, you might be surprised by how many people end up forgetting their driver’s license at home! Some choose to use their passport as their ID, only to forget they need their license to drive the vehicle. Rental companies cannot rent to someone without their driver’s license.
Also be sure to bring a credit (not debit) card, making sure you aren’t close to your credit limit. Though not all, some car rental services require you to make a credit card deposit when picking up your vehicle. This deposit may cover things like the rental, potential damages, or whatever else they deem necessary. This amount may be released back to you after the return of the vehicle.
Be Aware Of Local Laws
Different states have different laws while driving. Some states allow you to talk on the phone while driving, and others do not. Some states consider it a major offense. Before you drive anywhere (not just in Orlando), be sure to check out the local laws. It may be safe (in more ways than just one) to hand off the Google Maps to a passenger and allow them to navigate for you.
A lot of car rental companies will allow you to prepay for your fuel at a slight discount than what you might pay at a gas station. In order to get this offer, you usually have to pay for the entire tank, whether or not you use the entirety of it. If you know you’ll most likely use the whole tank, this may be a good option for you to save some money. If you don’t, you can easily fill up at a gas station before returning the car. Just be sure you don’t forget! You can easily be charged $1+ more per gallon than you’d be at the average gas station. There are gas stations you’ll find on the way back to the airport that have recently boasted lower prices than those near Walt Disney World.
Check Age Restrictions
For most families, this won’t be a problem. If you are organizing a trip for another type of group, be sure the designated driver is of age. Some companies will rent to individuals under the age of 25 (while still older than 21) for a certain fee, while others stick to that 25 years of age threshold.
If you’ve read this far, it’s obvious that you are one that likes to be prepared. Going with that, be sure to have your app of preference (be it Uber or Lyft, or better yet- BOTH) downloaded and installed on your mobile device. Open it up and get familiar with the user interface. Any questions you have beforehand can be answered before the big day comes.
Renting A Car At Walt Disney World
Well, there you have it. Whether you’ll be sticking to the Magical Express, renting a car, or if you’ll be utilizing an exciting and new ride-sharing service, we hope this guide was able to inform you to the point you are confident with your decision. And congratulations on having yet another aspect of your Disney World vacation covered!
Book Your Disney World Hotel
The very best way to book your Disney World resort vacation is to create a travel package by working with a travel agent.
We work with Get Away Today, Disney’s travel partner of over 29 years. MickeyVisit.com has been working with them for 3 years now and have been blown away by their customer care and ability to find discounts. We negotiated an exclusive rate just for our readers which you can secure by either visiting their website directly and putting your vacation together yourself, filling out our VIP concierge support here (all free of charge), or calling 1 (855) 438-2929 and asking for the Mickey Visit rate.
More Disney Hotel Planning Help
We are currently expanding all of our Disney World planning guide content here on MickeyVisit.com. Below you can see all of our fantastic content about planning a Disney Vacation on the West Coast at Disneyland.