View Full Version : What would you do? Fly or stay at GF?

11-12-2004, 09:09 AM
I had it all planned....we were going to drive to Orlando from Huntsville (about 10 hours, I'm guessing) and stay at GF for our last big bash to Disney....will probably go again in about 10 years but will take a long siesta.

I had considered flying but the airfare was prohibitive...now they have a special for $140 RT (There are 5 of us) but that would mean I would need to change our hotel...we've stayed at AKL, Poly, and OKW and want to try something different...I had picked GF because of the monorail and knowing once the kids are over 9 I'll never be able to afford two rooms because we'll need the space.

So, do you switch hotels (going Jan-28/2-4) and fly or stay at the GF and drive? Thanks for your help!


11-12-2004, 09:34 AM
If that was my only option I would just drive and stay at the GF. We are about 7 hours here in Pensacola and it is not bad . We bought a Portable DVD and bought the kids a couple of new movies to watch and the drive went fine.

11-12-2004, 09:52 AM
I'd also drive. We also have a 10 hour drive from NC and have done it twice and it wasn't so bad (flew for our other trips). The GF is a great hotel and you guys really should get a chance to stay there.

11-12-2004, 10:09 AM
I agree!! Drive and enjoy the GF, 10 hours is'nt so bad.:sunny:

11-12-2004, 10:12 AM
GF is totally worth a 10 hour car drive. Especially since this will be your only chance to stay there. Have a wonderful time.

11-12-2004, 10:13 AM
If you do not normally mind driving then I go along with the others and say go ahead and drive. But if driving is really a pain and you'd much rather fly than drive, then see what you can get at another resort - hold that ressie, do not cancel GF and see if the good fare and flight times are still available. Then cancel the resort you will not need. You'll only be holding 2 ressies for a day or so, not months.

I know as much as we might want to stay at a certain resort, when money, time or simply making life easier means staying elsewhere...well, in the end I think I'd enjoy the vacation more no matter where I stay - as long as it is a Disney resort and not off site :)

Good luck and please keep us posted on what you decide?

PS what will the weather be like for driving the end of January?

11-12-2004, 10:18 AM
If driving 10 hours is the only way you can stay at GF, then I say DRIVE:teeth:

11-12-2004, 10:44 AM
Skip the drive to the airport, the having to get there early, flying, dealing with airport baggage, and getting to WDW!!

DRIVE and then have a great time at the GF!!!:bounce: :Pinkbounc :bounce: :Pinkbounc

11-12-2004, 11:38 AM


11-12-2004, 11:48 AM
Here's our September flying timeline
Driving to airport, parking at Park-n-Fly: 2 hours
Early arrival at airport: 2 hours
Flight (including boarding & disembarking): 2 hours
Rental car pick-up: 1 hour (long line)
Drive to WDW from MCO: 30 minutes

Total: 7 1/2 hours

We have about an 11 1/2 hour drive. For a chance to stay at the GF I would have happily spent an extra 4 hours driving. I don't think we'll fly again.


11-12-2004, 11:57 AM
I can't tell you what you should do, but I can tell you that we have chosen a 23 hour drive (over 3 days) in order to stay at a monorail resort over flying and staying somewhere less expensive. We're stopping in Destin on the way home so that when we're done with Disney we still have something to look forward to other than just a long drive. It will be an adventure for us, and will give me a chance to show the kids such things as the Vicksburg battlefield as well. They've never seen a civil war site, they've never seen the ocean, they've never seen WDW. It's going to be quite an experience for all of us! Even though I know the drive itself is going to be a pain, I can't wait to hit the interstate!

11-12-2004, 12:06 PM
Y'all are making me feel much better about driving. The longest drive we've taken was 7 hours to New Orleans....they did pretty well. And now they're even older ( 5, 6, 9) so it shouldn't be so bad. The weather at the end of January is usually pretty mild (50's) but every now and then we get a weird ice storm around that time...just have to hope for the best...luckily it's interstate all the way. Mapquest says it'll take 10.5 hours so we figure we can do it in less time...stopping every 3 hours to stretch play and run at rest stops. The greatest part is I haven't told them where we're staying! No one knows but me! :) Well, and you guys!

If any of you have neat off the road historical spots or cool tourist stops from Atlanta (not much from Huntsville-Atlanta) down to Orlando...let me know!

11-12-2004, 12:14 PM
Mentone is neat for a picnic. You can get to ATL from HSV through Mentone. Slightly slower, but interesting. That's all I've got.

11-12-2004, 12:20 PM
Definitely drive. 10 hours is nothing... we drove 17 last spring. :)

11-12-2004, 12:25 PM
For me it would depend on where you would end up staying instead of the GF. If another one of the monorail resorts is available for close to the cost of the airfare, or even the WL, then it might be worth it to switch. If you'd move down to one of the moderates, if it were me, I'd probably drive. Incidentally, if one of them is not crib size, not all of the resorts will allow 5 in a room.

A 10 hour drive, particularly if at least 2 of your 5 travellers are potty-trained children, is really a test. I agree with the others who say that from a time perspective, you won't save much time over flying, depending on the length of your drive to the airport. (Although you will save some -- upwards of 6 or 8 hours roundtip; depending on how efficiently you drive.) Still, flying is much easier. It may take you 7 hours door to door to fly, but it's 7 easier hours. Part of depends, I think, on what value you put on those few extra hours that you'll have less time at WDW.

Some of the advantages of driving though. (1) You don't need to fret as much about packing. This saves time, particularly when you're ready to leave the resort. Just toss stuff in bags in the car if you need to. (2) You save on a rental car. (Although that's probably offset by the price of gas.) If you wouldn't rent a car if you flew, then you're saving time by not always having to rely on Disney transportation. (3) You can bring your own groceries!

11-12-2004, 12:45 PM
I would drive in a heartbeat if I were you.

Besides getting to stay at the GF, you'll have your own car which is a big perk. Much faster to drive to all the parks (except MK of course) from the GF.

You won't have to worry about weather or "equipment" delays or long security lines at the airport. You can leave both your own home and the GF on your time frame not the airlines. You could even leave the resort on the late side on your last day (have to check out earlier of course) after enjoying the parks, pool or beach and drive a few hours and stay at a cheap place on the way home.

If we lived just 10 hours away, I believe we would drive every time.

All Aboard
11-12-2004, 01:37 PM
I'll be a lone voice here... You said you won't be going back for 10 years, so nows the time to just plain splurge. Fly AND stay at GF. You'll spend $700 in airfare, but you could save up to about $200 in gas and tolls and another $100 or so in mileage depreciation on your car. The towncar roundtrip will cost you $100.

So, assuming that the incremental cost of flying is $500... 20 hours behind the wheel v. 4 hours in a plane. It's worth it to me. Depending on the flight times, you'll get up to an additional 12 hours at WDW. Another whole half a day.

Go all out, you won't be back for 10 years.

11-12-2004, 02:42 PM
Oh I would drive no doubt.

I live in MI and it is like 22 hours (around in there) and we drive all the time. For us it is either drive and go or don't go because we couldn't afford airfare for 4 and go to Disney without extensive saving.

11-12-2004, 02:49 PM
You are speaking my language! :) Believe me I am soo tempted to just fly and do GF...but I have a set budget I have to stick to because we're moving for the last time (our house will be finished Christmas week) and we need a new refrigerator, bed, mattresses, and all the extras that go along with moving out of state. We haven't sold our home here in TN yet....if I knew that was sold then I'd probably buy them...but that airfare rate probably won't last until we sell it...so believe me we are living it up to the extent of our budget....I'll have half the trip paid for before we go and am relying on tax return to pay the other half...so I'm already STREEEETCCHHED! :) This coming from the lady who was thrilled to get Beach Club for 209....then with the slide being closed went to CR Tower...then figured...what the hey stretch the budget another $200 for the GF. So I'm so stretched my pursestrings may pop! :)

We've got a big trip planned for England the next Spring so I've got to start saving for that one and don't want to have to be paying off this trip after we take it! :) Can't wait for my retirement years where this won't even be a question! :) Well, atleast we hope so! :)

11-12-2004, 04:18 PM
It can actually be fun and educational! We drive 22hrs every time. The trip home seems longer, but we try to break it up, that helps.
Hey, Jalva22...where are you from? I live in Muskogee?!!:sunny:

11-12-2004, 08:42 PM
scanmom, I live in Chandler. My inlaws are over near your neck of the woods though in Morris. We always make it up to Muskogee when we visit to eat at your El Chicos! They've got a white sauce for chips there I've never had anywhere else!

What do you think is the best driving route? I was planning on taking the Indian Nation down to Paris TX then Shreveport, Vicksburg, Hattiesburg and over. Debated I-40 to Atlanta and down though. East bound and down as the song goes!

11-12-2004, 09:10 PM
Drive. It takes us 16 hours to drive and it isn't bad at all.

11-12-2004, 09:21 PM

DRIVE OR DON'T GO!!!!!!!!!!!

That is our moto because were a family of 5 and can't afford to fly. We are a 22-24 hr drive from Canada and it is not all that bad. Get some c/d's for the ride and pack the kids there own goody bag of stuff, play I spy and count the different licence plates you see that are from each state. Bring some pillows and blankets and take cat naps and you'll soon be there. I've only seen pictures of the GF but if I could afford it I would go there in a flash. Have fun and enjoy the scenery on your drive.

:Pinkbounc :bounce: :bounce: :Pinkbounc :bounce:

11-13-2004, 08:10 AM
I'm in the same predicament (if you can call planning your WDW trip a 'predicament'). After 2 drives to WDW from San Antonio my husband said this time we're flying. I still have 6 months or so that still may be in the cards...but I'm leaning towards driving any way so we can afford a deluxe rather than a moderate. There are trade offs for sure - driving means less time at disney, means we're exhausted when we return home, means we also sleep in a motel on the way over and back from Orlando (we don't drive straight through). But the practical side of me says that paying airfare for 5 of us could be money spent on nicer (and roomier) accomodations which will make us happier while on vacation.

My hunch is that airfare won't be coming down much in the next year - not like we've seen in the past couple of years. I can't seem to find anything that is less than $1300 for all 5 of us...that just seems outrageous - and that's not even flying from SA, that's from a Houston departure. SA is more like $1700!! My husband is open again to driving and I'm relieved - I might even actually commit to a resort knowing I have more $$ to play with. We purchased a great portable DVD player last year from RadioShack with a 10" screen and that occupied the kids for most of the trip. We also had plenty of snacks, drinks, activity books, etc to take on the road.

Having said all that (sorry so long) - When I was a child my parents divorced and there were no family vacations whatsoever except the occasional trips to visit relatives. It thrills me to spend time with my family on a road trip. I think the time on the road with them will be just as much a part of their fond memories of family vacations as the destinations.

11-13-2004, 08:17 AM
I would drive! We usually do and we're about 8.5 - 9 hours away. One main reason we choose to drive is so that we'll have a car while we're there. Also, you mentioned you wouldn't be going back for awhile (hmmm...how can you wait 10 years???) and if that is the case I would definitely blow it out and stay at the Grand.


11-13-2004, 09:27 AM
I agree....drive and stay at the GF. Especially if it's your big bash for awhile.

This will probably be my last major deluxe stay as well, as my children are now the age that I have to pay for them to get in the parks, so it cuts into the budget now.

Have fun!!!

11-13-2004, 10:36 AM
I wish i was only a 10 hr drive away from WDW. 10 i could handle, my 20 hrs ---NO! Aren't portable DVD systems great!


11-13-2004, 12:08 PM
We thought we'd save time flying last trip down. (We're in Auburn.) Left Auburn at noon. By the time we drove to Atlanta, waaaiiiiiitttttteeeddd in the Atlanta airport, went through security, waaaiiiiittttteeeeeddddd on the runway for an hour once we were already on the plane, flew to Orlando, got our rental car, got lost on the way from the airport to WDW, and finally arrived, it took us, guess what???? The same EXACT amount of time it would have taken us to drive. (It takes us 8 hours to get there from here. We arrived at our resort at 9:00 p.m.) We will never fly to Orlando again.


11-13-2004, 12:46 PM
Realistically, estimate the time at the airport, baggage check, check-in, security and boarding and then the flight. How much of a difference is it to drive? I'm guessing we're talking about a 5 hour difference.

Drive and stay at the hotel you enjoy.

11-13-2004, 01:28 PM
Drive...more room for all those souvee's you're going to have!:p Seriously, 10 hours is not bad at all.....it takes us 20...and it's the 20 BACK that really stinks. Everytime we job search and have a nibble that would require relocation...we always see how far of a drive it would be to WDW. We are nutty like that!
Enjoy your trip...sounds heavenly!


11-13-2004, 01:37 PM
Well, I appear to be in the minority.

But I would fly and stay someplace else. (Of course I am not a fan of the GF)

11-13-2004, 07:26 PM
I'd drive and stay at the GF. That was one of my choices for our trip to Disney this holiday season. We are driving from DFW to Orlando and that's an 16 hour trip and staying at the Boardwalk. Enjoy no matter what you decide