For guests staying on property, Walt Disney World offers an all-inclusive internal transportation system. From the time your family arrives at the Orlando International Airport until it’s time to go home, you don’t have to drive at all. Still, there are some very important reasons you might consider taking your transportation into your own hands. Here is why Wayfinding TravelingMom Jennifer Kaufman and her family choose to rent a car at Disney World.
Why We (almost) Always Rent a Car at Disney World
With countless busses, monorails, boats, trams, Segways, and horses, Walt Disney World has an incredible internal transportation system for guests staying on property. (I’m sort of kidding about the Segways and horses. They have them, but you’re not really allowed to show up at the parks on horseback. At least as far as I’m aware.)
But what if you’re not staying on property? Or what if, like us, you just can’t stand to be on someone else’s timetable? Never fear, it’s easier (and probably cheaper) than you may think to rent a car at Disney World.
Here’s why we do it, even though we stay on property:
1. Time is Money
If this were the only reason I could give, we’d still rent a car on our trips. Despite traveling to Disney parks frequently, I will be the first to admit I’m a total grouch when I have to wait on someone else to get me where I want to go. Busses “come frequently,” but even still, it is suggested to give yourself an hour and a half trying to get almost anywhere, just in case. That’s an hour and a half I’d like to be doing other things.
2. Kids and Kid Stuff
We are mostly out of the stroller phase, since my youngest turned four last year. But if you do have a stroller, it’s so much easier to throw it (and everything that has found its way into it) into the trunk of a car at the end of a long day, than to hold everything in your hands while trying to fold and unfold the stroller for the bus. And not lose the kids.
(TravelingMom tip: If you don’t have a car, please note that the monorail at Walt Disney World and some of the boats will allow you to roll your stroller directly on without folding it. This is invaluable information when you have sleeping kids!)
As mentioned above, sometimes the kids need to sleep – perhaps especially at Walt Disney World, right? Even if they don’t, one of our most valuable bits of advice is to head back to your hotel or resort to, at the very least, get a change of scenery mid-day. If your child is nearing meltdown status, you’ll want to make your getaway as quickly as possible.
4. Fun Outside the Parks
Whether or not you’re staying on property, it’s worth noting that Walt Disney World is so, so much more than just four parks and a bunch of hotels. With two water parks, multiple golf courses (miniature and that other kind), Disney Springs, Disney’s Boardwalk, and much more, you should absolutely check out some of the things outside the parks. While there is generally transportation available to these locations one way or another, sometimes because they aren’t as high-traffic, the bus routes are combined and/or make multiple stops along the way.
No matter what you call your home away from home on your Disney vacation, the restaurants, tours, decor (especially at Christmas!), and entertainment at each of the Disney resorts on property should be on your radar. Anyone can visit the resorts – and with dozens of them to check out, I’m pretty sure you can find something everyone loves!
6. Side trips
We rarely actually leave Walt Disney World property when we’re in Florida, except maybe to go to Port Canaveral to board a Disney ship. But if you want to go to the Orlando Eye, Universal, the beach, or anywhere else outside the Walt Disney World gates, you’ll almost certainly need a car.
7. Grocery/Pharmacy Runs
Walt Disney World is absolutely doable without wheels of your own. More than any other place I’ve ever been, you can get everything delivered to you – from groceries and baby gear to medication. There are also on-property urgent cares, etc. should something go south while you’re on vacation. That said, it’s been very nice for us when we’ve had to make a pharmacy run (or seven, on our last trip) to have our own car. In addition to convenience, you’ll save money taking care of these errands on your own, especially if the need strikes in the middle of the night.
The Choice is Yours –
It’s certainly not a requirement to rent a car on a Walt Disney World vacation. In fact, many people I know absolutely relish the fact that once they drop their car off at their home airport, vacation begins – and that vacation may include absolutely no driving. Nowhere else I know of has such all-inclusive transportation, from the time you land at the Orlando International Airport until it’s time to go back home. I’ll admit that’s pretty special, but I also know far too many people who plan a vacation and assume they’ll just “pop on over” to the Magic Kingdom from their resort, and run about two hours later than they’d like during their whole trip.
A rental car may not be right for your family, but if any of our reasons resonate with you – especially the one about being particularly impatient (I know it can’t just be me!) – please at least don’t overlook the option. Whichever decision you make, you’ll be in the most magical place on Earth.
And even if I have to ride a bus, I’ll take that over being home almost any day.