As you start planning your trip to Walt Disney World, a question comes up pretty quickly – can I visit Disney World without a car? Unless you’ve been to Disney World before, this is one question that you won’t know the answer to. It’s a question where I would give you the exact opposite answer for a visit to California’s Disneyland. This is a subject I know well. Why? Because I made a mistake during my very first trip.
There are so many unique ways to get around Disney World. Be sure to check out my post with the scoop about Disney’s Minnie Van service.
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Disney World Without a Car
Why would you want to visit Disney World without a car? The first thing that comes to mind is cost. A Disney World trip is not inexpensive (though there are many ways you can save money). Whether you rent a car, hail a taxi, or use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft, the transportation costs can add up quickly. Let’s examine whether you need a car at all and I’ll share the mistake we only made once. Never again.
Driving to Disney World
If you are driving to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you already have a car for the duration of your vacation. Will you need that car once you get to your accommodations? That entirely depends on where you are staying.
If you are staying on-site at a Walt Disney World resort hotel or a nearby hotel, chances are you will not need your car for day to day transportation. You will likely want to use either complimentary Disney transportation or a local hotel shuttle. More on that later. If you are renting a home, however, you would use your car daily and pay parking fees daily too.
Directions to Disney World – Check out the Best driving routes to Walt Disney World.
Flying to Disney World – Do I Need a Car?
How far is Walt Disney World from Orlando International Airport? Approximately 30 minutes away, depending on where your resort is, as Walt Disney World is larger than you can imagine. Just getting around inside the property takes time.
With Disney World being a bit of a distance, transportation is something to be on top of.
Disney World Mistake and Lesson Learned: My first Disney vacation was as an adult with my husband. As Disney newbies we had spent so much time planning our week-long vacation. We got the best ticket deals. We made reservations at the most incredible restaurants. We booked a room at Disney’s flagship resort – Disney’s Grand Floridian resort and spa. Yet we didn’t know the first thing about transportation (inside or outside). When we landed at the airport, we gathered our luggage (big mistake) and hailed a taxi (another big mistake).
Do you know why those were mistakes that cost us money? Read on as I’ll share why staying on-site at a Walt Disney World resort property has the most fabulous perks.
If staying on-site at a Walt Disney World resort property – Do I Need a Car?
If you have a booked reservation at a Walt Disney World resort property, Disney provides complimentary shuttle service from the Orlando International Airport to your resort and back to the airport when your trip is over. This service is called Disney’s Magical Express and it is completely and totally free.
I might also add that if you arrange things in advance, Disney’s Magical Express will also grab your checked luggage for you and have it delivered to your resort room within a few hours of your arrival. I always recommend making sure to have a carryon of essentials like medicines and a change of clothes so you can begin your trip without waiting on your luggage.
So that very first trip where we hailed a taxi to and from Disney World cost us an extra $150 that we didn’t need to spend. Get to know Disney’s Magical Express!
As for transportation within Walt Disney World, there are many options (most complimentary) to get you around from your resort to restaurants and especially theme parks. We are talking about the monorail, shuttle buses, various boats, walking paths, and the new Disney Skyliner. Of course if you run into an issue on time and need to get somewhere quick, you can always pay for Disney’s Minnie Van service – something I guarantee the kids won’t soon forget!
There is no real need for a car at all if staying at a Disney World resort hotel and you certainly wouldn’t want to drive your car to the four different theme parks as daily parking fees can really add up.
If staying off-site?
Most hotels near Walt Disney World offer free shuttles to not only all four of Disney’s theme parks, but to Disney Springs as well (a shopping, dining, and entertainment hub within Walt Disney World). Depending on how often your hotel offers shuttles, you may or may not want to take advantage of that. One off-site resort we have stayed at in Kissimmee, Florida (about 7.8 miles away from Walt Disney World), Westgate Town Center, provided complimentary shuttle transportation, but you needed to make a reservation to use it.
For a week-long vacation where you will be taking advantage of free shuttle transportation daily to parks, I would recommend just utilizing a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft to get your family to and from your off-site hotel. That way transportation costs for your trip will be low as compared to the daily cost of renting a car plus any hotel parking fees and daily theme park parking fees.
Using Disney transportation is part of the magical experience, so use it as much as you can.
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