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camdensmom 12-30-2012 09:10 PM

How We Saved Money and Time on our Disney Trip
Hi Everyone,

We flew from Boston to Orlando for a long weekend stay in early December and stayed at the POLY. Typically we take the first flight of the day down, but this trip we changed it up a bit and I wanted to share our experience because I would highly recommend it to others.

Since this was a super-quick trip I didn't want to factor in a "travel day." My family consists of myself, DH, DS7 and our twin DDs3. An early flight would have meant getting up at 4:30 to get to the airport and I knew the day would be wasted so we decided to work on Friday and fly out in the late afternoon (I'm a teacher and Hubby left a few hours early).

Our flight was scheduled to land at 7:10 p.m. which would have meant that after the whole Magic Express and hotel check-in procedure, getting settled, etc it would be way past their normal bedtimes by the time they got to sleep and would effect the next day.


What we did was flew down and stayed at the Hyatt that is built into the airport. The rate was over $300.00 cheaper than the POLY would have been. We were in our room less that 15 minutes after walking off the plane and the kids were asleep by 8:00. We went to sleep soon after which was an awesome way to end a workweek and transition into vacation mode.

The next morning we woke at 6:00, headed downstairs, grabbed a Starucks coffee and bananas for the kids and went straight to Magic Express. There was NOBODY there except staff. Literally not another person.

I am so use to long lines, waits, crowded buses and multiple hotel stops.

Instead we walked straight onto the waiting bus and our driver immediately drove our family of 5 to the POLY. He said mornings are typically like that and he usually serves as a private chauffeur until around 8 or 9.

We checked in, dropped off our bags and had breakfast at the hotel. We were at the park for rope drop at 9.

I will purposely plan travel like this on future trips. Normally we lose an entire 1/2 a day traveling, dealing with lines at Magic Express and check-in and then waiting around for our room because it's typically too late to go to a park. Plus the fact that we saved so much on the hotel for the 1st night was great. The airport Hyatt was very nice and the staff was friendly. They have a nice rooftop pool and there are tons of shops and restaurants.

Anyway I just wanted to share because I don't know if I would have thought to do this or even elected to do it if we were on a longer trip, but it was a great way to save some $, save some time and start our trip refreshed and ready to take on Disney.

rizzo0904 12-30-2012 09:20 PM

awesome! we are traveling down on a friday after school. i think we'll do this instead of heading for the AoA at 830pm.

Wood Nymph 12-30-2012 09:24 PM

That's good to know. My daughter and her family were thinking of doing this, too. They weren't sure if they could get on the ME if they hadn't gotten directly off a flight, but I see that it isn't a problem. Thanks.

emilyindisney 12-30-2012 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by rizzo0904 (Post 47033338)
awesome! we are traveling down on a friday after school. i think we'll do this instead of heading for the AoA at 830pm.

This may not be a savings for you! I'm staying at AoA in a few weeks and have a similar flight situation. I was kicking myself after I read this story until I discovered the Hyatt was more money on the night in question on our trip! Of course, whose to say the convenience isn't worth the money?! (Especially if you're traveling with kids ;))

rizzo0904 12-30-2012 09:52 PM

$100 cheaper

emilyindisney 12-30-2012 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by rizzo0904 (Post 47033599)
$100 cheaper

By all means, snag it! No point in paying that much more just to sleep in a bed for a night!

iwannabeminnie 12-30-2012 10:00 PM

Did you check your bags and let them go on ahead of you? That would be my only concern, but I guess the "magic" part of Magic Express can deal with that.

patriciaofoz 12-30-2012 10:01 PM

Thank you for sharing! We commented how convinient the Hyatt at the Airport would be either for coming in or leaving. For our next trip we will definitely consider it. Great to hear that it worked really well for your family.

bumbershoot 12-30-2012 11:20 PM


Originally Posted by iwannabeminnie (Post 47033696)
Did you check your bags and let them go on ahead of you? That would be my only concern, but I guess the "magic" part of Magic Express can deal with that.

I don't think that would work, since they do not have the reservation on that day. I have heard that you can pay the Hyatt a little to have the bags put onto the ME luggage van, but if I were in that situation (and I have been, but with a rental car) I would just keep the bags with me. That's what Bell Services is for, to hold the bags if the room isn't ready yet.

the Hyatt's prices really jump around. We stayed there once at a rather low cost. We were *trying* to stay there in Feb, but the cost is too high. Probably not at Poly level or well above, but enough to say "nope".

We have done the cheap-night-before thing there, and also out at Disneyland. At this point, we're willing to pay for the night, even coming in after midnight. For us, right now, at least on THIS trip, the benefit of having our head on a Disney pillow when we wake up is worth it. (but again, that's mainly because the Hyatt is just way too much for this trip)

Have to evaluate all the costs and benefits, both financial and otherwise, for your family and specific trip!

stephm0188 12-30-2012 11:39 PM

We did something similar, but we stayed at a Marriott property nearby. We had enough points for a free night.We took the shuttle to our hotel, then took it back in the morning. Our driver dropped us off right outside the doors for Magical Express. It was perfect!

mlittig 12-31-2012 12:32 AM

Great plan, so glad it worked out for you :woohoo:

dreamcruiser 12-31-2012 06:00 AM

My sister and I always do this to start our trips..we drive down, stay at a DD hotel and then get up early the next day to check in to our Disney resort. :thumbsup2 In our opinion, we get more "bang for the buck" that way!

camdensmom 12-31-2012 09:56 AM

I probably should have mentioned that we only brought carryons. You will need to pick up your luggage and take it down to the ME in the morning.

However, if I was traveling at night and going straight to WDW I still think I would pick up my bags myself instead of having ME do it because it can take up to 3 hours to get to the hotel room.

Since ME is so empty in the early morning it would be no problem to put it on the bus and then just drop it off at the hotel. They brought our bags up to the room when we got back from the park.

I do love the ease of ME, but the wait/travel times can be brutal. We have had experiences in the past where we have needed to wait 20-30 minutes to hand in our tickets, 30-40 minutes to board a bus (where the family was not able to sit together) and then stop at 2 other resorts to get to our hotel. It made for a long morning of travel.

For me (because we have 3 young children) walking on the ME after a relaxing nights sleep and getting in a full Disney day with well-rested kids was priceless. The cost savings of staying at the Hyatt was the icing on the cake.

Hopefully, this works out for some others as well. Happy Travels!!

ThisIsTheYear 12-31-2012 10:56 AM

Great idea!

lolobug 12-31-2012 11:09 AM

Thank you do much for sharing. I am considering a stay in January and if it makes a difference in cost, we may just be able to go. Thank you, thank you!

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