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View Full Version : Staying onsite - rental car vs. Disney transportation?


werfamily
07-22-2007, 05:00 PM
We're planning a trip for Feb '08, a full eight years since our last WDW vacation! On our last two trips (1999 and 2000), we stayed onsite both times. After the first trip (stayed at the Contemporary) we decided to rent a car for the next trip because of the frustrations with the Disney transportation. We really enjoyed our second trip more (stayed at Wilderness Lodge) - no waiting for monorails, buses or boats, except the ferries from WL to MK, which was obviously more convenient that driving. I'd estimate we saved an average of 45 minutes a day.

So my question is, is it still easy to have a car at WDW? Back in 2000, theme park parking was free for resort guests, and resort self-park was also free. Is this still the case? Are there still preferred parking spots for AAA members?

BTW, we're thinking of WL again, or maybe BC. Thanks so much for any insight into this!

cmwade77
07-22-2007, 05:13 PM
I really think a car is a hinderance at WDW, for the following reasons (assuming you are renting at the airport):

Rental car costs about $45 a day when you include the insurance (and don't try renting without it they will nickel and dime you when you return it)
You must pay for tolls to drive on the roads between the airports and WDW
You have to know the best way to drive from your resort to your desired location, if changing locations you need to know the best way to do so and get back to the park
You have to fight traffic, I live in LA, so really it's not too bad there, except when leaving at park closing at night, but I do enough fighting with traffic on a daily basis, I don't want to do so on my vacation.
You can not take the Magical Express (one of the best systems I have seen in all honesty)


Although on a plus side, parking is still free to resort guests, just show your room key.

usfantoo
07-22-2007, 06:02 PM
We have rented cars for the last several years. If you have the extra dollars to rent a car it will save you some time moving around in Disney. We usually drive to the parks that are not close to our resort. It is really nice to drive to the waterparks too...no waiting with wet clothes for a seat on the bus! Disney has great signs leading to each desired location too. We also like going to Downtown Disney on the day we fly home too. We go to DQuest, shop, and enjoy the sites downtown and we don't need to return to our resort for transportation back to the airport. Either way I am sure you will have a great trip. Parking is free for resort guests, your resort will give you a paper to place in your car window that will be valid at any parks and resorts. If you book through AAA they will include a AAA diamond card that gives you AAA parking at the parks. It usually is a little closer to the entrance than regular parking.

dopeynme
07-22-2007, 06:08 PM
Hi! I can see both sides of the issue. Last trip, we used ME and Disney transport for the first few days. We had planned to rent a car just for one day so that we could have dinner at Emeril's at Universal City Walk. It was pretty easy....The rental agency picked us up at the contemporary (after our Chef Mickey breakfast!). We ended up keeping the car for the remainder of our trip after the Emeril dinner! We had had enough of the crowds and standing on the bus on tired feet at the end of a long theme park day! Plus, staying at All Star, our bus was the farthest one away from the exits!

Hwever, for our next trip (36 days and counting!:cool1: ), DF and I don't plan to rent a car. We are staying at French Quarter, so the buses should be a little closer and it is only for 5 days, so hopefully we will not lose patience with Disney transport.

I do agree with the pp who said that ME is a good system. We have used it 3 times and never had a problem. It is so nice not to have to hit the liggage carousel!
have fun, whichever you decide and happy travels!

MrsPMC00
07-22-2007, 06:22 PM
We're planning a trip for Feb '08, a full eight years since our last WDW vacation! On our last two trips (1999 and 2000), we stayed onsite both times. After the first trip (stayed at the Contemporary) we decided to rent a car for the next trip because of the frustrations with the Disney transportation. We really enjoyed our second trip more (stayed at Wilderness Lodge) - no waiting for monorails, buses or boats, except the ferries from WL to MK, which was obviously more convenient that driving. I'd estimate we saved an average of 45 minutes a day.

So my question is, is it still easy to have a car at WDW? Back in 2000, theme park parking was free for resort guests, and resort self-park was also free. Is this still the case? Are there still preferred parking spots for AAA members?

BTW, we're thinking of WL again, or maybe BC. Thanks so much for any insight into this!

Glad you are going back to WDW!!!! We rent a car every time we go for the same reasons you mention. Yes, it is still easy to take a car, and parking is still free for guests. We have young kids, and like the ability to go to our car and go back to the resort anytime we want without waiting for a bus. Obviously the exception is the MK...TTC makes a car much more difficult there!! There are preferred spots for AAA people who book thru AAA...we use them every year as well, and have never had an issue with getting one of the diamond spots. Good luck!! :thumbsup2

OKW Lover
07-22-2007, 06:27 PM
We almost always rent a car.

We check the various codes on www.mousesavers.com and can just about always find a good rate. Be sure to check all the codes, you should be able to get a car for under $200 for the week. And don't bother with the "insurance" they try to sell you unless you don't own a car of your own. If you do own a car, your insurance probably already covers you in a rental (check if you aren't sure), and many credit cards (check there too) will cover you.

We don't mind driving, but we do mind waiting for the bus. Our car is parked near our room, goes directly to the park, other resort or even off-property, exactly when we want to go. With the exception of the MK, we drive to each park. We love to visit other resorts for shopping or meals. So a car is a valuable asset for us.

Of course, others have a different view. You need to decide what's important to you.

raven69david
07-22-2007, 06:36 PM
Yes, it is still easy to take a car, and parking is still free for guests. We have young kids, and like the ability to go to our car and go back to the resort anytime we want without waiting for a bus.


Exactly. We always rent a car as we also like to explore Orlando a bit after we're done with the parks. It's nice to explore a new area of the world a become familiar with the area. We know the WDW area almost like the back of our hand in regards to getting to/from the airport and around the touristy parts of Orlando. A rental car is about $115 to $160 for about a week depending on when you go. We rent a minivan and the price is about $225 to $300, again, depending on time & season you visit.

Disney MAINEiac
07-22-2007, 06:54 PM
We rent depending on where we stay...if we stay at a BCV or BWV we do not rent (can walk to two parks) if we stay SSR, or other DVC resort we rent just for convenience. us ME to get from airport though and then rent from alamo near TTC or at Swan/Dolphin. Alamo will pick u up and drop u off with a shuttle. Also onsite resort guests get free parking at parks and hotels

hbg4
07-22-2007, 06:55 PM
I myself prefer to rent a car. I can get more done in a day with the car when I have multiple places to go.

Mousesavers usually has multiple codes to get a rental car at a discount and if you keep checking the rental car website you may get an even better deal.
Last time we went to WDW I got a fullsize car for a total of $22 per day.

As long as your staying on site parking is free at all theme parks. If your offsite parking is still free at downtown disney , the water parks and the resorts if you have a dining reservation.

Having a car saves time especially if travelling between resorts, water parks and downtown disney. I hate wasting time waiting on transportation when it only take 10- 15 minute to go to DTD or a water park from the Epcot resorts. Ever tried the bus???:headache.

I do prefer the disney transportation between the resort and the theme parks though. I don't have to look for parking and take the shuttle etc.

dcgrumpy
07-22-2007, 07:00 PM
I have to disagree

I really think a car is a hinderance at WDW, for the following reasons (assuming you are renting at the airport):


Rental car costs about $45 a day when you include the insurance (and don't try renting without it they will nickel and dime you when you return it) You can get a rental car for a lot less than $45 a day. I have a minivan reserved for 8 days for $242. I've gotten cars for as low as $110 a week. You're most likely covered by your personal car insurance or your credit card. I've never bought the insurance and I've never been "nickel and di8med" when I returned it.
You must pay for tolls to drive on the roads between the airports and WDW. Tolls are only a few dollars.
You have to know the best way to drive from your resort to your desired location, if changing locations you need to know the best way to do so and get back to the park. That's not true at all. I've never had to look at a map or try to figure out how to get somewhere. There are signs telling you how to get everywhere.
You have to fight traffic, I live in LA, so really it's not too bad there, except when leaving at park closing at night, but I do enough fighting with traffic on a daily basis, I don't want to do so on my vacation.I've never encounterd any traffic inside WDW. Maybe once or twice we sat in line for 2 minutes waiting to get in a parking lot
You can not take the Magical Express (one of the best systems I have seen in all honesty)I still use DME. Dh picks up the rental and I take DME with the kids


Although on a plus side, parking is still free to resort guests, just show your room key. actually you get a sign to put in your window so they just wave you right through

I thought WDW transportation was fantastic until I rented a car and realized I could go from BW to the Poly for dinner in 5 minutes instead of it taking up to an hour.

It is easier taking WDW transportation to the MK instead of parking at the TTC.

jrogalny
07-22-2007, 07:07 PM
We used magical express once and did rely on Disney transportation. It was very frustrating waiting for a bus when the park's closed. Busses were full and we couldn't board. The next year we rented a car and LOVED it! We had so much freedom and didn't have to wait for anything! We shop for the best deal on-site at MCO.

Good luck!

werfamily
07-22-2007, 10:04 PM
Wow, thanks so much for all the great feedback! It sounds like renting a car is the way to go for us. Nice to hear that not too much has changed at WDW in this regard.

bab31
07-22-2007, 10:22 PM
I liked using ME and in the future that is what I would use again. We stayed at CSR and had no problems with the busses.

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
07-22-2007, 10:38 PM
Whenever my family and I are in WDW we always have a car by default. The reasons are during the summer we drive down there, so obviously we are going to have our own transportation and we use it for going to places which are offsite from WDW and when going to Downtown Disney. In December we fly down but after WDW we go to Clearwater Beach, so we obviously need a rental car. The only time we use WDW Transportation is when going to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM and Animal Kingdom. However like I said before for everything else we see and do, it's good to have you're own transportation.

clombardi
07-22-2007, 10:40 PM
I thought WDW transportation was fantastic until I rented a car and realized I could go from BW to the Poly for dinner in 5 minutes instead of it taking up to an hour.




That is exactly what happened to us. We always used Disney transportation. It felt like the Poly was an hour away from the water parks and DTD.

The first time we rented a car a few years ago, I was shocked at how quickly we arrived at DTD and the water parks. My youngest daughter actually asked if they moved DTD because she remembered the trip taking so long on the bus.

I always use the codes on mousesavers to get great rates. I coudn't get a good one for August, so I tried priceline. I got an Alamo full-size car for $14/day. the total with taxes and fees is $143 for 7 days. Can't beat that! The added bonus is that we will stop and get a case of water and some breakfast foods for our kitchen at SSR. I thought about using a delivery service but just didn't want to bother coordinating a delivery time.

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
07-22-2007, 10:46 PM
That is exactly what happened to us. We always used Disney transportation. It felt like the Poly was an hour away from the water parks and DTD.

The first time we rented a car a few years ago, I was shocked at how quickly we arrived at DTD and the water parks. My youngest daughter actually asked if they moved DTD because she remembered the trip taking so long on the bus.

I always use the codes on mousesavers to get great rates. I coudn't get a good one for August, so I tried priceline. I got an Alamo full-size car for $14/day. the total with taxes and fees is $143 for 7 days. Can't beat that! The added bonus is that we will stop and get a case of water and some breakfast foods for our kitchen at SSR. I thought about using a delivery service but just didn't want to bother coordinating a delivery time.I have always thought that the buses to Downtown Disney from the Magic Kingdom Resorts both going and coming back to where you're staying have always been very slow. So like I said before when my family and I go to Downtown Disney we always have our own transportation and we always say to ourselves, look how much faster we got here compared to taking a Disney Transport Bus from the Contemporary.

JanineandMike
07-23-2007, 05:04 PM
we always rent a car as well. it's a great feeling to get back to the car at the park, put the a/c on, kick off the shoes and be on your way without waiting in another line. you are waiting on lines all day, in the parks, at the restaurants and when we leave the park we just want to jump in the car and go. i dont know how much time it saves, but saving any amount of time is a plus for me. then you hear people complain about the walk from the bus stop to their resort room, that is another aspect we just dont have to worry about.

we like to go to 2 parks per day and have dinner at another resort or in epcot, so being able to bounce from resort to park to park to resort within 5 or 10 minutes is great. everything is easy to find and there are so many signs leading you everywhere that if you do get turned in the wrong direction you can easily get back on track.

i think it is well worth the extra expense and you can really find a bargain if you are patient. we are paying $175 for our 8 day august rental.