Budgeting next WDW trip....driving vs. flying (2500 miles), on-site vs. off, off season vs. high sea


Longs for the feeling of sandy salt water in her k
Oct 27, 2000
Hi, we are going to WDW next week and we are sparing no expense (just about). But I think the next trip will be more BUDGET like.

We are flying for about $1100.00 (3 seats & an infant). I was thinking about driving next time. But that would be one or two nights in a hotel each way, we don't love the idea of 24 hours in a car each way, the wear and tear on our car is a cost consideration, plus gas. Is it really worth driving vs. flying at $1100.00. Next time baby will have a seat, so it's be likely $1500.00 flying (Canadian Funds)

We are staying on-site this time and it's costing $$$$$$. We think next trip will be more beach-like and about three nights in Orlando. We are thinking about one of those $40.00 USF night hotels and a Universal trip. What do you think? Will we be spoiled staying on-site?

Time of year: I read that September and January are inexpensive. I like the idea of mid/late Jan. or even February. What do you think?


1975 - off site
1977 - off site
1987 - Indian Rock Shores
1990 - Holiday Inn International Drive/Daytona Beach
1998 - KIDS VILLAGE, GIVE KIDS THE WORLD, Make-a-Wish trip with 4.5 year old daughter born ill),
2001 APRIL - CBR - ON SITE FIRST TIME! YIPPY! With dd 7 years old, ds 15 months old!
We have driven and flown. Living in central Indiana it's still a pretty good drive. We find for us anyway, even though it cost a little more to fly it is worth the money to 1) Save the wear and tear on the car, 2)Save the wear and tear on the kids, 3) Get to Disney/vacation quicker. We'd rather look at saving money by staying in a budget hotel and eating off site than cut out flying.
We have looked at renting a vehicle for the drive. This is still cheaper than flying but not enough to sacrifice the time saved.
Headed to Disney in November and can't wait. Have a good trip whatever you decide.

If the distance is 2500 miles, that would be a lot more than 24 hours driving time. What you may want to consider is driving to the nearest city served by Southwest and flying from there. If you watch their Internet-only specials, you should be able to get a ticket for under $200 per person.
Hi Sandra: we are flying out of southwest this trip and our family of 5 is paying $1225 Cdn. It saved us over $1000 than flying out of Toronto. Now our past 6 trips we have driven. We always drive straight through bacause my favorite time to drive is when everyone is asleep. Our time ranges from 22 -27 hours coming from Peterborough. Our gas bill is always under $200 Cdn. I just booked a hotel through priceline for friends for $25/ night and they loved it, so I might give that a try on our next trip. Actually I would combine that with a stay on-site to get my resort fix. Also driving saves you the rental car money. You are also doing alot of character dinners this trip that you could scale down for your next visit

95- offsite
97- Nikki bird
98- Holiday Inn M.E.
99- Days suites
00-ASM and HIFS
00- DL and MOWC
01- Animal kingdom lodge and HIFS
I'll chime in on the off-site part of your question. I love staying off-site for good value. A nice, new, well kept, hotel suite that includes breakfast, and all day drinks can be had for under $100 a night, even in the high season. We're going in August and paying $76 a night. Add in a rental car for $113 a week, and you are in business!
We usually try to visit WDW at least 1-2x a year, so one of our trips we fly and one we drive. I actually look forward to the driving trip more than the flying one lately because I have two girls (soon to be 3 girls) and it's a little hard to keep everyone happy and quiet on the airplane. In addition, lugging 2 carseats and gate checking the stroller, while trying to get our girls, carry-ons, etc. onto the plane has gotten to be quite a spectacle.

In our van, we have a TV/VCR combo unit and room to stretch out (to a certain degree). We've also invested in a camper type port-a-potty and we schedule an overnight stay for each leg of the trip -- coming and going.

Priceline has made our recent vacations very affordable. We have 11 nights of lodging for our upcoming trip (9 in Orlando and 2 on the road) for about $200 including all taxes and fees. We also don't have to rent a car in Orlando which saves us about $175.

Generally speaking, when we fly the trip costs about 1 1/2 to 2x more than when we drive.
Been there driving....will NOT do it again. $800 for tune up on the vehicle plus gas (slight heart attack here)...not to mention extra time spent driving, food on the road, etc. FLY by all means. With priceline, etc out there you can get decent rates and spend 3-4 quality days more at Disney. Just my opinion, but we drove last summer and regret it BIG TIME. Have a great time!
SandraC, just to let you know January weather can be very "iffy" at best. We spent 16 days between WDW (OKW) and Vero Beach, and our time at WDW was on the cold side (frost some mornings). Two yrs. ago we went the first two weeks in Dec. and it was great! No long lines and the weather was nice. If you are thinking of going this year, they are talking about major plans for events from Oct - Dec. which may make WDW more on the crowded side. From the Buffalo airport (except one time in 1997), we have never paid over $200 US for flights (mostly in the $150-185 range).
Fantasia- which hotels/suites have you been staying at? I am planning our next trip and want all info. Last year we stayed at the vistana and paid 110 per night and that was divided with another family. So for 55 per night-not bad. I would love a place with breakfast and drinks included. Thanks for any infor- Christine


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