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Old 09-30-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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Cars: To rent or not to rent - that is the question

My family and I are doing WDW for the first time the week after new years. I have been several times during the 'off' season without kids and have always used WDW transportation without much of a fuss or wait.

For this trip however we are considering renting a car due to the crowds and the kiddos. My questions are

1) Is it worth the extra $$$ for the time saved during crowded times
2) What additional costs are there? Hotel parking, parking at the parks?
3) Are there any DVC discounts for parking?

Any insight from WDW experts is very much appreciated

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
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If you are staying in a Disney-owned resort, including DVC, parking is free at the theme parks and hotels.

In general, driving to MK (parking at TTC and taking monorail or ferry) takes about the same amount of time *on average*, but driving will be less variable than the bus. Driving to the other three major parks is a little faster. Driving to anywhere else, including the water parks or DTD, but especially resort-to-resort, is a lot faster.

As to whether it's a good idea: What sounds more like a vacation?

A: Never having to wonder when the bus will come or if you'll get a seat.
B: Never having to touch your car keys.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:33 PM   #3
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I think a lot depends on what resort you're staying at too. I wouldn't dare stay at OKW without a car. The bus system there, IMO, is terrible (with the internal stops). But at any of the Epcot resports, you definitely wouldn't need one..
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:56 PM   #4
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After our first trip, I decided to never go again without a rental car. We eat most of our meals offsite and that alone more than pays for the car. I rent using the Costco rental site and there is lots of money to be saved. Check right up to the day you leave for best pricing. I changed my reservation 4 times the week before our last trip. We don't use the car for going anywhere onsite except to DTD. The restaurants in Kissimmee are varied and some are excellent. We have fallen in love with Cracker Barrel, none in our area.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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~We've decided not to rent, but I have thought about it. DH won't even consider it, he loves not driving for our entire vacation, and so do I. There are times when I have to call for a car, and so far that has served us well, so we'll stick to not renting. Typically, the week after New Years is not a busy time of year. Have a great trip!

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:43 PM   #6

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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car or no car

We fly into Tampa, so we get a car. We could give it up once at WDW, but we don't. We got to Epcot so quickly by car from POR and AK as well. We ALWAYS took the bus, however, to MK. It worked. I get a deal from work, so we got a Kia Sorrento for 187/week. If you have a car, it's handy to get to the store, if you want to go or to urgent care, if you NEED to go!
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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I swear by the rental car!
I've done Disney with and without a rental car and let me just say that all it took was one time without a car and a hour and a half round trip by Disney bus to and from DTD to make sure I never made that mistake again. I also like to go offsite and grab some groceries or go to the outlet mall so for me, I must have my freedom.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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We have done it a combination of ways. Have used the car services you hire (with the free grocery pick=up) prior to ME being offered. Have used ME and gone without a car for entire trip. Have used a combo of ME and a rental for a few days(picking up at car care center). And, have had a vehicle for whole trip.
DH's initial response to not having to drive was that he felt he was truly on vacation. But, then he found that he enjoyed having a car for part of the vacation-the ability to go the grocery store, stop and get forgotten items(we are a lot less anal about packing when we know we'll have a car to take care of anything we may have left behind), the ability for a day's drive out to the Gulf. And, our last trip, in January, I was able to score a car for a good deal for the entire 10 days. We both enjoyed the amount of 'choice' this gave us. We could choose when we wanted to drive to a park, or use the bus. At the end of that vacation, he said in the future, he would not mind having a car for the entire trip. Which I will do only if I can score a decent deal.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #10
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I agree with what someone said above about your hotel making the difference. We usually stay at an Epcot area place and so we never got a car before since you can walk to Epcot for the monorail or take a boat to HS. This time around we are trying AKV for the first time and with two small kiddos, we didnt want to worry about bus rides from so far away
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #11
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I think it's more of a vacation to not have to touch my car keys. I don't have to worry about parking spots. I don't have to worry about hot cars (not that it lasts long, but it does make a difference to me).

I have had some "not magical" experiences on Disney transportation... broken down monorails, waits for busses, and crowding all quickly come to mind. I'd still rather take those experiences over driving myself.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #12
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Wouldn't dream of visiting WDW without a rental, no matter the hotel. We spend a lot of time doing things off property (outlets, Tropicana Field, Kennedy, WWoHP, groceries) but even ON property, we always take the car. Here's why:

Free WDW resort and parks parking.
ALWAYS a parking spot
Back of rental car makes an EXCELLENT closet/cooler/etc.
Ability to make a quick stop ANYWHERE the buses don't directly go in between park or waterpark visits.
ALWAYS faster than WDW transportation. Yes, even to the MK. We tested this several times in 2007... or was it 2008... or 2009? You get the idea.
NOT having to leave the resort an hour to 90 minutes before a dining reservation at another resort.

The time saved on transportation is worth 10 times the amount we spend on the rental car and gas. It truly makes the time spent there more magical for us!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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We love renting cars when at Disney. For us its part of the vacation- it's like the ultimate test drive (and yes in the past I purchased 2 vehicles because I liked them so much as a rental!)

We usually do split stays and we like to eat at the resorts and not have to take a bus to a park and then transfer to another resort like some have already mentioned it takes too long.

To answer your question think about the things you want to do that would require a rental like going offsite, grocery shopping, visiting Walmart/Target,
eating at Cracker Barrel(I will be looking for that one next week )and late night snacking (yes we stay at MK to the end on EMH)and then head to Crossroads since everything is usually closed at the resorts
also look for discounts (try to see if it fits into your budget as well
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