16 October 2012

31 Days:: Transportation Part 1- Getting There

{Booking Series}
Welcome to today's topic: Transportation: Part 1- Getting There! Now we all know there's a few options on how to get to Disney- plane, train, car, bus... we all know how to book those, of course. I'll just mention a few ideas that I toss around when getting there and how they factor into the budget. I'll also link you to some of my favorite transportation services!

Disney's Magical Express servicing MCO airport to and from all Disney resorts

  • Consider the extra time to get to and from the airport as well as checking in, this could be time spent at the parks instead, usually the first and last days of the trip are a wash or really hectic
  • Factor in the high costs of tickets and baggage fees into your budget
  • Consider the convenience of no driving to the World, you'll instead be able to spend that time interacting with your family
  • Consider the potential inconvenience of small children and large airports! I'll admit, it's a bit daunting that we'll be flying with an infant...
  • Consider that airplanes are germ central... recirculated air, possibly sick passengers, etc. If anyone in your family has a compromised immune system, this may be a factor to seriously consider. In either case, you may consider bolstering your immune systems before flying (at least that's what we do, take some zinc starting about a week before hand through a week after the trip!). I'm also a bit germaphobic, so take that as you will ;)
  • Unless you'll be using solely Disney's transportation and/or shuttles upon your arrival in Florida, consider the additional cost of additional transportation 
  • My personal recommendation for finding the best price for flights is Kayak.com
  • Our favorite airline is definitely JetBlue!! They are often the cheapest. They have more legroom than most airlines. They have free satellite radio and 36 channels of television in the back of the headrest in front of you. Your first checked bag is free! They're service is second to none, too.
Personal Vehicle
  • One year, my family drove to Disney from NJ with a stop overnight about halfway through the 20+ hour drive. Although it was a LONG time in the car, I still remember that trip! We actually brought our babysitter with us (family friend) so my parents could have a night or two out by themselves. 
  • Bring plenty of activities for kids to play with in the car. On the way there, they're likely to be antsy with excitement of getting to Disney! On the way home, they may just sleep the whole time, tuckered out from a fun-filled trip :)
  • Consider gas costs and parking fees into your budget
  • Consider the possible inconvenience of having to do a lot of driving all yourself
  • Additionally, consider that you'll have to be doing the driving in an unfamiliar area
  • Consider the additional mileage, wear, and tear that you'll be adding to your car

Train or Auto Train
  • One year our family took the overnight auto train to Florida. Another trip I remember fondly!! Honestly, if you have the time, I'd highly recommend it! You have the convenience of having your own car while at Disney, as well as not having to do the drive down there yourself (save your car the mileage and yourself the time behind the wheel!). 
  • Convenience of being able to stretch your legs during the trip to Disney and not be behind the wheel the whole time, and you'll be able to spend more time interacting with the family!
  • Convenience of letting someone else do the driving to Florida!
  • Possible inconvenience of sleeping in a cramped reclining seat if it's an overnight trip (we had a sleeping compartment with fold down beds on the trip there and economy seats on the way home)
  • Save on costs- train will frequently be cheaper than planes
  • Inconvenience of potential train delays and various stops along the trip to refuel and/or acquire additional passengers
  • Convenience of saving money by bringing your own food on board, you can also pack your kids favorite foods in case the dining car doesn't have what your wee ones like
  • If you do not take the auto train, you will have to arrange additional transportation upon your arrival in Florida to get to your hotel. Depending on the station you go into, some have rental car services onsite.
  • Check out MouseSaver's article {here} for additional tips regarding train travel to the World

Rental Cars
  • If you're staying on-property, parking at the 4 main theme parks is complementary
  • Factor in extra time at the airport or other location to pick up and drop off your car
  • Consider rental costsgas costs and parking fees into your budget
  • No time constraints- you'll be free to drive whenever where ever
  • No break from driving- you'll have to do all the driving
  • Research various locations where you can rent from and compare costs (at the airport, near the airport, on Disney property...)
  • No additional mileage, wear, or tear on your own car!
  • Remember proof of auto insurance if you choose to rent a car, if you're covered in a rental
  • Consider that you'll have to be doing the driving in an unfamiliar area
  • My personal recommendation for finding the best rental car price is Kayak.com

  • Consider the inconvenience of waiting on their pick-up/drop-off schedule
  • Consider cost as well as the generally accepted tipping costs for the driver at $1+ per bag and/or per person per ride
  • Mears is Disney's favorite shuttle service, as well as ours. In our experience, they were flexible about changing pick-up/drop-off time as long as you gave them a 2 hour heads up- this would be convenient in the event that your flight time changed. Check out check out their website {here} to see further details about which airports and hotels/resorts they service.  
  • Disney offers a complementary shuttle, "Disney's Magical Express," to and from the airport for persons staying on-property
  • Convenience of letting someone else do the driving! We loved not having to worry about driving in an unfamiliar area.

I hope this helps you better evaluate how you may get to Disney. There are definitely perks and drawbacks no matter how you arrive. That said, no matter how you get there, be prepared to have a magical time once you do arrive!! Come on back tomorrow when we start our Dining Mini-Series and I share with you my Meal Planner printables! 

NOTE:: The above recommended websites and services are solely my own personal recommendations. I have not received any compensation in exchange for recommending them!

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