When planning your upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, one of the first considerations should be how you are going to travel from your home to Orlando. After you’ve chosen between driving or flying to the parks, if you’ve opted to fly, you’ll then need to book your transportation from the airport to your hotel or resort. Keep reading as we share with you everything you need to know about getting to Walt Disney World from the airport and how to make the start of your vacation hassle-free.
Which Airport Are You Flying Into?
The majority of visitors to Orlando will fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO). This is a huge international airport that attracts millions of visitors each year and is well geared up for anyone visiting the local Orlando theme parks. On the other hand, you may find your flight comes into Sanford airport, which is a little further out from Orlando. It’s a greater distance away from the theme parks and downtown Orlando, so you’ll want to keep this in mind if you are opting to hire a car or use a rideshare service. The airport is much quieter, which has some advantages, but naturally has fewer amenities for travelers. MCO has a lot more options when it comes to transportation to the resorts in Orlando, but you’ll find that Sanford can offer many of the same options, just usually at a higher cost.
Honorable mention: The Magical Express Ending in 2021
One of the best perks when staying onsite in Walt Disney World was Disney’s Magical Express service. This free motorcoach takes you from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your Disney resort, and it always made for a quick and easy start to your trip. If you are visiting before the end of 2021, you’ll be able to continue using this service, which can be found within the airport itself. Sadly, Disney announced they would be discontinuing this service next year, which hasn’t been a popular piece of news with Disney fans. There are many other options on offer, though, so let’s take a look at what you need to consider when selecting your new transportation option.
Things to Consider When Choosing How to Get to Walt Disney World
When booking your transportation to your resort, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Firstly, the size of your family or travel party will play a big part in choosing the right option for your trip. If you have a large family, you may need to use multiple vehicles or rent two or more cars, which could become incredibly costly. For this type of party, consider using a shuttle bus or another private car service. If you are traveling with little ones, ensure the cars are equipped with car seats to ensure they are safe on your journey. Your budget will have a huge impact on the transportation mode you opt for, but the good news is that there are some very budget-friendly options on offer.
The Top Options for Traveling to Walt Disney World
Let’s take a look at some of the best options for traveling to Walt Disney World if you aren’t able to use Disney’s Magical Express service.
1. Rideshare Services
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services are plentiful in the Orlando area, and you’ll have no problem finding someone to pick you up at MCO. If you regularly use these services, you’ll know that the size of your party will have an impact on the price of your journey. Uber and UberXL will allow you to fit up to six people, but an UberX or Uber Comfort only accommodates three passengers. Lyft has similar categories, and you can simply choose the one that offers the best pricing and seating arrangement at the time of your journey. If you fancy upgrading to arrive in style, opt for Uber Black.
One of the biggest considerations with rideshare for families is the need for a car seat. The good news is that in Orlando, Uber offers the car seat service, but you’ll need to specify when searching for a ride that it’s something you need. This may add a little extra to your journey but shouldn’t set you back too much. Rideshare is a great option for smaller families without too much luggage but will be very costly if you are arriving at Sanford airport. It does offer you much more flexibility with your arrival, as you can just book your journey once you are ready to head to your resort.
My absolute favorite way to get from the airport to the resorts when it’s just my wife and I is using UberXL Black. They have nicer SUV’s, professional drivers, and it’s just a great experience feeling like a VIP. Understand this can be almost double of UberX, so be aware. I only do this for special occasions.
2. Shuttle Bus Services
If you are arriving at MCO for the next year, the Magical Express will offer you this service for free. However, Mears will be continuing this service as Mears Connect next year, offering you an inexpensive option for heading to the resorts. For solo travelers and couples or very large groups, this can often be the best value for money solution when arriving in Orlando. One consideration with shuttle bus services is that they often make multiple stops before arriving at your resorts. If you aren’t lucky enough to be the first one dropped off, you may find this service to be quite frustrating. However, if you aren’t in a rush, you can sit back and relax until you arrive at your hotel.
Currently Mears Connect is offering a “getting to know you prices” at roughly $16 each way per person. They do offer a premium version which could get even more expensive.
3. Hiring a Car
Choosing to hire a car for a Walt Disney World vacation is something that many families consider before heading to Orlando. Whether you need a car or not for your vacation is a very personal decision and one you’ll want to consider well in advance of your trip. Disney offers many great transportation options, so many people don’t feel the need to pay for parking at the resorts in order to use a hire car. However, if you are heading offsite on your Disney trip, you may enjoy the flexibility that renting a car offers. You could also just consider doing a one-day rental if you think this will help you out with transferring to your hotel and grocery shopping.
In Orlando International Airport and Sanford airport, you’ll find a good selection of car rental companies, although MCO offers more options. You don’t even have to take a bus to pick up your car here at MCO, so it’s a quick and easy start to your vacation. The price of hiring a car will depend on many different factors, so shop around online before your trip to find a good deal. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay more for a child safety seat. On top of that, you’ll be charged for Disney’s hotel parking fees each day, starting at $15 for Value resorts, $20 for Moderate resorts, and then up to $25 for Deluxe and Deluxe Village resorts. Your parking will be free at the theme parks if you are staying onsite, but these resort charges can add a lot to your vacation.
4. Taxis and Private Car Companies
Finally, you’ll also have the option of hiring a taxi or a private car company. Most taxis are a lot more pricey than rideshare services, which is why they are used less commonly today. If you have a large group or need car seats, these will certainly add to the costs. Private car companies can be arranged in advance of your vacation and will vary in cost depending on the company you are using. These could be a good option for a very large party, as they often have vans that will accommodate a larger group.
As you can see, there are many great options when it comes to planning your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. By choosing an easy transportation option to travel between the airport and your resort, you can start your vacation without any stress and hassle. There are many future developments coming to the Orlando area when it comes to transportation, such as the Brightline train, so we hope in the next few years that we’ll have more options to make this process even quicker and easier than before.