Should You Rent a Car?

Should You Rent a Car?

Scenario

You’re flying into Orlando International Airport and are looking for the best way to get both to and around the Walt Disney World Resort. You really have two primary options: Disney transportation and “something else”. The “something else” option we want to look at today is renting a car. When does it make sense for you to rent a car for your WDW vacation?

Expert Answer

We compiled data from fourteen Disney expert sources to answer this particular question. Sourced articles are listed at the end of this post.

Top Answer: 93% of Disney expert sources say it makes sense to rent a car if you plan to visit non-Disney attractions in the Central Florida area.

  • FEATURED ANSWER: WDW Prep School

    If your vacation includes a trip to anywhere off property you'll need a way to get there. You can take Uber, a taxi, or shuttle service, but if you are planning multiple trips off property a rental car might be a better (and more economical) option.

Runner-up: 64% say it makes sense to rent a car if you want to reduce your travel time to and around the resort.
  • FEATURED ANSWER: Traveling Mom

    Busses “come frequently,” but even still, it is suggested to give yourself an hour and a half trying to get almost anywhere, just in case. That’s an hour and a half I’d like to be doing other things.

2nd runner-up: 57% say it makes sense to rent a car if you want maximize flexibility in your dining options.
  • FEATURED ANSWER: Play Party Plan

    We wanted to do a couple of Disney character dining meals...If we wanted to take Disney transportation we would have had to walk to Epcot and take a bus to either resort. Instead, we jumped in our car and drove right there, saving us a ton of time.

Other Disney expert-cited reasons to rent a car include:

  • You want maximum control of your schedule (43%)
  • You're staying off-site (36%) or onsite but further away from parks (21%)
  • You need car storage space for stroller, etc. (21%)
  • You plan to take mid-day breaks (21%)
  • You're traveling with young children (14%) and need a car seat (14%)
  • You are traveling with a party of 5+ (14%)
  • You plan to park hop often (7%)
  • You find a good price on a rental (7%)
  • You hate standing for the duration of the ride on a bus (7%)
  • You want to avoid waiting in bus lines (7%)

Our Answer

We always rent a car when we vacation at WDW. Here’s why: 

  1. Life is unpredictable. Life with children is somehow even more unpredictable. The idea of going to WDW with my two children and not having access to a car to quickly handle any unanticipated needs (e.g. grocery / pharmacy / urgent care run) adds a stress that threatens to overrun our fun. 
  2. If you’ve ever tried to bus it back from a park to your resort at the end of a long day, you know it’s not the most enjoyable experience in the world. After making this mistake a few times (especially leaving the Magic Kingdom post-fireworks), I’ve determined really any alternative beats a seemingly-long bus ride with 100 other folks crammed in a tight space. Throwing a stroller into the mix doesn’t help either. 
  3. This isn’t a great revelation, but, yall….buses are slow. Note this next time you pass one in your rental car. They do, however, make up some of that time by dropping you off at the front-entrance
  4. With the system we’ve perfected over the years, we can get from Orlando International Airport to our resort in a little less than an hour. From our previous experience, it’s a longer process using Disney’s Magical Express (read “bus service”)….both going and coming.
  5. The ability to break mid-day and explore the resort while the kids nap is one of our favorite things to do.
  6. At the end of the day, we just like the peace of mind knowing that, at any time, we can hop in our rental car and go or do anything.

Your Answer

Do you typically rent a car for your WDW trips? Let us know in the poll below. Also, let us know why you do (or don’t) rent in the comments section.  

Experts Surveyed

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