Choosing a Disney vacation (Part 1)

What Disney vacation to take? Random family - Orlando-ish International Airport.
Random family – Orlando-ish International Airport

Now that you’re caught up on our family’s vacation status, it’s time to get down to determine what Disney vacation to take. Truthfully, this is harder than I expected it to be. There are so many topics we could cover and it’s hard to know where to start.

What Disney vacation…

That said, let’s begin at the very beginning. Will our vacation destination be Disney World, Land, Potatoland, or Cruise? At some point down the road we may add an international destination to the list, but that seems like a pipe dream reserved for the legit Disney bloggers at the moment.

Talking Logistics

I mentioned in our first post that my family lives in Alabama. By car, that puts us roughly 9 hours from WDW, 10 hours from DCL’s port in Cape Canaveral, and 29 hours from Disneyland. By direct flight, (BHM to MCO), both WDW and DCL are roughly 1.5 hours away. Anaheim (BNA to SNA) is 5 hours away.

If you add in the time from our driveway to destination (drive to airport + return home to get forgotten item + luggage check + luggage reload due to overweight bag + TSA family shake down + Second TSA shake down to check 6 month old for firearms in diaper + flight delay + embark + debark + luggage pick-up + rental car pick-up + toll booth x infinity + drive to destination + miss exit to destination that we miss on every visit) we’re looking at around 4 – 5 extra hours depending on our destination.

For example, the earliest we ever arrive to Epcot (or EPCOT Center for the confused fan community) from our house is 9:30 am. This is leaving our driveway at 3:30am and catching a 6am flight. Point it, there is a lot of lost time around that “quick” 1.5 hour flight.

Disneyland Travel

Let’s cover Anaheim briefly. If we’re going to Disneyland, we’re obviously flying. Two days of riding in a car from Alabama to California is just this side of insanity. Our outbound airport options are Birmingham (BHM), Nashville (BNA), and Atlanta (ATL). Inbound options are San Diego (SAN), Anaheim (SNA), and Los Angeles (LAX).

There are no direct flights from from BHM to California. To give you an idea, we’d be on plane roughly 8 hours if we decided to fly from BHM. Even with 5+ hour direct flights, both ATL and BNA aren’t much better with an extra 2 hour drive time to get to those locations from our house. This on top of the extra 4 – 5 hour “lost time” I mentioned earlier.

Talking inbound, SNA is way more convenient than SAN and LAX but the available inbound flights are much more limited. If we fly into SAN or LAX (which is a good possibility given the increased inbound flights vs SNA) we add another 1.5 hours drive time to Anaheim.

And we’re done

How about we end the Disneyland talk for now? As I’m walking through this information, I’m reminded just how significant the travel requirements are for traveling from Alabama to California. The 5 to 8 hours of travel time in the confined space of a plane with a one year old (on top of the travel around the flight) is making my stomach hurt just thinking about it. It’s a bit different than a car trip where we can break from time to time.

We haven’t even touched on the other factor – cost. If we go with Southwest, which we have in the past, the flight cost for our family is around 1K to get to Anaheim. We’ll hit the topic of travel costs more in-depth in later posts. We’ll also go way more in-depth on the details of physically getting to Disneyland when it looks like a better trip option for us.

Result?

So what have we accomplished regard what Disney vacation to take? Well, we took Disneyland out of the mix for a fall trip simply based on travel requirements. With that, it looks like we’re down to WDW and DCL as our best options for the moment. In our next installment, we’ll see if we can further narrow down our options to one. From there, we’ll need to settle in on some dates.

What about you? If you live near the Pacific coast and have a baby, what does it take to get in on plane for a trip to central Florida? Let us know in the comments.

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