It’s a question that’s been asked a bajillion times ever since Walt Disney World (WDW) opened nearly 50 years ago – should you rent a car while there, or no? The answer is as complicated now as it was in 1971 because there are lots of things to take into consideration. Let’s go through them and it might help you decide.
Note: This article was written in December, 2018. Here are some pertinent updates since it was originally posted:
April 5, 2019 UPDATE: More info on the possibility of Virgin Trains connecting MCO and WDW
August 9, 2019 UPDATE: A look at MCO’s new train terminal
Disney’s Magical Express (DME) was founded in 2005 and is a private ground transportation and luggage service delivery for Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) operated by Mears Transportation Group. The service is complimentary and is only available to guests with reservations at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
It’s also, I think, one of the most ingenious ideas a Disney “think tank” person ever came up with. Prior to 2005, travelers arriving in Central FL had a choice of shuttle, taxi, car service or rental car to get to WDW – and when you factor in the cost, especially of that a shuttle or private car for multiple people in their party vs. the cost of a rental car, many opted for a rental car because it was about the same price and gave you more freedom to come and go as you pleased. But however they got to Disney back then, guests still had to pay for that transportation and, of course, transport their own luggage. DME, meanwhile, is a free service and they’re able to take your bags and deliver them to your room. Overall, DME has become a very popular mode of transportation to millions of people every year.
Of course, although it’s a free service to guests, DME obviously costs Disney a LOT of money – besides whoever/whatever they have to pay to do all that the logistical stuff, they also have to pay MCO a certain amount per person for allowing the service at the airport, Mears for transporting guests back and forth, and extra people to transport the bags to and from Disney’s resort hotels, as well. However offering a free service like that encourages people to not pay the expense of renting a car while in Central FL, which, in turn, quietly encourages them to not leave Disney property (beginning to charge for overnight parking in 2018 has been another way to encourage guests to not rent a car, as they now incur a fee to park it). Guests staying at Disney property means more money for Disney in terms of food, park tickets, souvenirs, etc. that might otherwise go to other theme parks, off-property restaurants and shopping areas, etc.
But what if a new mode of transportation was coming down the pike that could be cheaper for Disney than DME, and still encouraged guests to stay on property? Well, it could eventually be happening…
Going to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida is expensive. Airline prices are high (although you can look for cheaper prices if you check out this post), park tickets run over $100 per person per day (but you may get some small legitimate discounts through the links on this page), hotels are quite a bit of money (check out the hints on this page for some better prices), food costs a lot, and that’s all before you even think of souvenirs. If you intend to stay on Disney property for your entire trip, you can travel around for free, between Disney’s Magical Express transporting you between the airport and your Disney hotel, and then Disney’s onsite transportation system of buses, monorails and boats to get you to and from the parks and other Disney-run areas. And if you stay on Universal property, you have use of buses, boats and walkways to and from the parks, once you get onto property. But if you’re staying off site, or want to venture out to, say, another theme park, or I-Drive or the outlet malls, you’re looking at even more expense with the use of a taxi, Uber, rental car, etc., right? Well, not necessarily. There’s one more option that’s cheaper than all of those…
Continue reading “The Absolute Least Expensive Way to Travel Off Disney/Universal Property (Or Nearly Anywhere in Central Florida)”
In 2016, some entrepreneurs solved the problem of finding reasonably cheap travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They got a double decker bus, redesigned it with 23 sleep pods, and began a service where you can fall asleep in a private bunk in one city and wake up the next morning in another.
They call it Cabin.
Happy Sunday, y’all and we hope you’re having a great weekend! Sharon and I have come across a lot of interesting travel-related articles this week – here are some of our favorites.
- I know what it feels like to make a mistake with a travel reservation but nothing I’ve ever done is like the story Emily shared on Million Mile Secrets this week. I love reading posts like this, and not because I like the feeling of schadenfreude (It means “Happiness at the misfortune of others.” It’s German.). These stories are cautionary tales, reminding us that even experienced travelers can make simple mistakes if they’re not careful.
- Cardholders of the discontinued IHG Rewards Club credit card received a bonus points offer in the mail with an offer if they converted their accounts to the new Chase IHG Premier card. Miles to Memories breaks down the offer and if it’s worth it.
- I was happy and proud to read that Walt Disney World and Orlando have won the bid to host the 2022 Special Olympics Summer Games.
- Credit cards have many benefits that come with being a cardholder. You might know about a free checked bag or lounge access but some of the other benefits can occasionally come to the rescue. If this situation happened to me, I have another card I would have used in such an emergency so I never even looked into this particular benefit of this card.
- We’ve never stayed at a hotel near Heathrow Airport so I had no idea the hotels near it can’t have their own airport shuttle buses (like almost every other airport do). Tiffany from One Mile at a Time shows how you can get to your hotel for free instead of having to pay £5.00 for Hotel Hoppa bus.
- What if the chip just stops working in your credit card? If you’re overseas, you need to get it replaced ASAP. Here’s a story from Loyalty Lobby about getting an American Express card replaced while visiting Thailand.
- Robert from Theme Park Insider wrote a very interesting post about how changing demographics are changing the theme park business.
- Andy’s Travel Blog always features great photography and the images of the Stockholm Metro stations from his recent trip are stunning.
- Not travel related – Doctor of Credit details the new deals that Amazon Prime members can get when shopping at Whole Foods Markets.
* Feature photo By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2067974
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