A perfect Disney Vacation can be ruined if you become stressed at the beginning and the end of your trip because of difficulties getting to and from your home, the airport and Disneyland itself.
An important part of your Disney vacation planning is to organise such travel in order to save yourself any hassles. In this Disney Planning Tips article I’ll look at some ideas for getting to and from your chosen Disney Resort.
I’ll not dwell on the most obvious forms of transport, for example, if you actually live within a few hours drive of a Disney Resort then it stands to reason that you will drive to your destination or make use of public transport. Instead I’ll concentrate on Disney guests travelling from overseas.
Disney Planning Tip: Make an overnight stay in a hotel close to your departure airport. This has several benefits not least of which includes the fact that you can take as much time as you like getting to the hotel the day before your flight departure – No stress! Choose well and you can book a hotel with spa facilities allowing you time to relax and unwind prior to a long flight – it’s almost like being on vacation before you actually start the real vacation!!
Many hotels close to airports have special long term parking deals that can be booked in combination with your stay. These hotel and parking packages can offer substantial savings to purchasing hotel and car parking separately, on many occasions the package works out cheaper than just paying for long term car parking! Check with your Travel Advisor or online for last minute or combination deals – they are almost always available and surprisingly well priced.
Booking an extra night on the return leg also allows you to unwind and relax after a long flight and in the process alleviates potential jet lag problems. The minimal extra cost in using a hotel at either side of your trip is well worth the money.
Top Secret UK Planning Tip: Make use of cheap railway First Class upgrades on a Sunday. A little known fact for UK train travellers is that, when travelling on a Sunday, most routes allow you to upgrade to First Class by paying a super cheap $10 -$20 extra.
NB: This cannot be pre-booked – it is something you have to do in person on the day of travel. Simply hop on the train and speak to the Guard (or “Train Manager” as they’re now known) and ask if there is a Sunday Upgrade available – 9 times out of 10 there will be.
You’ll be amazed by the number of occasions I’ve travelled by train on a Sunday where it was standing room only in “Cattle” Class with people sitting in the Isles. I meanwhile have been relaxing in an almost empty First Class carriage reading the papers and drinking as much free tea and coffee as I can possibly consume. This is probably one of the best kept train travel secrets ever – but since I don’t live in the UK right now I don’t mind sharing it.
Extravagant Top Tip: Book a limousine or chauffeur driven car. OK, so this one is a bit extravagant but think about it for a minute. Providing the distance you live from the airport is no greater than 3 or 4 hours, this can work really well. When you calculate the cost of fuel, hotels, parking and transfers etc – the cost of a limo doesn’t work out all that much more expensive.
How cool is it to be picked up from your home and driven straight to the terminal in a luxury car? Just tell the kids that a taxi is coming to get them and then watch their faces when a chauffeur driven limo or luxury car pulls up to your home – It all adds to the overall Wow factor of your trip.
When it comes to car rental there are a few points to consider. Costs vary widely so it really does pay to shop around for the best deal. Don’t just opt for the first deal you are given – ring around and play the companies off against each other. Perhaps one company will give you a free upgrade for the same price for example…ask and you will likely receive.
Sometimes you can get really good deals when renting a car as part of a hotel or flight package and these combination deals will be a lot cheaper than you can get on your own. Also check prices for any one way hire deals.
Once You Reach Your Disney Destination, onward travel options from your point of entry vary depending on the type of Disney Vacation Package you have booked. In general, if you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, or some of the larger off site hotels, transfers will be included for you.
If you intend to take a taxi from the airport just be aware of the universal taxi scams that always seem to apply. Try to do some research beforehand so that you have an idea of the route you will be taking and the approximate cost to expect.
Top Tip: Always ask the taxi driver approximately how much your journey will cost before getting in the cab – if you can kid the driver that you know what you are doing and where you are going you are less likely to get ripped off.
Of course the limo option also applies at the other side and it is nice to arrive and have someone waiting to collect you and deliver you to your accommodation in some style.
When it comes to car rental and if you are really brave, you might consider taking the risk of waiting to book your car rental until you reach your destination, this can sometimes work out a little cheaper – bit of a risk though! Remember to check car rental prices at the airport in comparison to the nearest city or town. Airport prices can sometimes be more expensive – and don’t forget to cheekily ask for your free upgrade.
When collecting your rental car from Orlando Airport, you won’t be given a set of keys to a car. All hire cars there have the keys in them at the collection point and you are directed to the area where your particular grade of hire is parked to choose a model of your liking.
Orlando Car Rental Tip: Don’t be tempted to try and upgrade yourself by sneakily taking a higher grade car without asking. When you get to the exit point you will be found out and then have to suffer the embarrassment of unloading the whole family and starting all over again – I’ve seen it happen so be warned!
And that just about wraps up My Disney Planning Tips for travel options to and from your point of departure and arrival. Remember to check for combination deals on hotels, parking and car hire and don’t be instantly dismissive of public transport – there are some amazing deals to be had. For the extra Wow factor consider taking the chauffeur driven option.
If you have any additional ideas, tips or advice of your own that you think might be worth a mention or that I have missed, I really would appreciate your comments to share with others.