Should You Rent A Car If You’re Going To Walt Disney World?

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.

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Could This Be A Replacement Of, Or An Addition To Disney’s Magical Express?

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…

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The Absolute Least Expensive Way to Travel Off Disney/Universal Property (Or Nearly Anywhere in Central Florida)

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…
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Fall Asleep In One City & Wake Up In Another, In A Moving Hotel!

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.

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Credit Card Benefits To The Rescue, WDW Chosen To Host Event, & More!

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.


* Feature photo By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

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