Pack the Car, WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!
Where does one start when it comes to getting your family from your house to Disney World? You’re either driving or flying. So when you’re sitting down to figure out the travel aspect there’s really only two (2) angles to work here. How many people will you be traveling with and how far are you from Orlando, FL? These two points could be the easy deciding factors in how you’ll plan to get your family to Disney. If you’re coming from Portland, OR it isn’t a practical option to even consider driving. So here we would have to figure in how many people are going to Disney World with us and scout for the BEST DEALS POSSIBLE! Sadly, this is where everything Disney has to offer falls short. Although when planning through Disney’s travel companies they all suggest Jet Blue and Enterprise Car as the best option(s), Disney doesn’t actually have a contract with any airline or car service company. The only real discounts you’ll receive will be via the Airline/Rental Companies and WHEN you book your flights (if you choose to fly); And occasionally third party discount companies like Living Social will offer rental car deals. Maybe you don’t need either and you can pack everyone in the family Lamborghini and drive down to Disney. If you and your family can hack the trip, you’re going to save HUNDREDS of dollars by driving your own vehicle. Unfortunately with my family, sitting in a car for 16 or so hours will not work with a 2 yr old. Without making this a long drawn out entry, I’m just going to highlight tips I found EXTREMELY useful in my research travels that I’d hope will help you because ultimately this isn’t about what works for me. It’s about what works for you and your family.
Traveling With Your Own Vehicle
If this is easiest for you than great! You’re going to save money (hopefully)! It may not be entirely true, because you can only estimate the base costs. It’s what you may or may not spend along the way. Depending on which resort you’ll be staying at if you are staying on Disney’s ground, there’s complimentary Magic Expresses that transports you to all the parks so you won’t really need your vehicle while your there. And lucky for you; ALL DISNEY RESORTS HAVE FREE PARKING!! If you choose to park at any Disney Theme Park than for MOST vehicles you’ll only have to pay $17 for all day parking.
Traveling With A Rental Vehicle
Depending on which car you chose, you could potentially save money here as well, depending on what service you go with. My only piece of advice is to be observant of what is being offered on third-party promotional sites like Living Social and Groupon. Having memberships with Travelers Clubs could help you tremendously here; ie. AAA.
Traveling By Air
Without going into extreme detail on all the research I did and the studies I did in trying to find the absolute best prices in airfare, I’ll just point out the parts I feel are important to know. If you’re not going to book your flights a half a year ahead, than you’re going to face some of the biggest fluctuations in prices leading up to your vacation. For the most part the average fare should be ~$250. If you hold out and book your flights six weeks before you plan on leaving. This is where you’ll find the deepest savings. This would be my biggest piece of advice. Either book six months ahead or six weeks. And secondly, understand that airline companies release their ‘specials’ on Mondays. Most competitors are scrambling and by Tuesday you SHOUDL see rock bottom prices that steadily increase throughout the week. Some studies showed that Saturday & Sunday were the new Monday & Tuesday, but I didn’t find any of that to be true when booking with Jet Blue. We booked on a Tuesday night, six weeks before our departure date and only paid $219/person. Saving ourselves nearly $40 per person. Depending on where you’re flying out of, the standard price may be higher or lower, but the purchase windows are all the same. I promise you’ll only save money if you keep a general rule and do a little price researching on your own. And LUCKILY for you, Mickey doesn’t want to keep you waiting at the airport. You can schedule a Magical Coach to pick you and your family up at the airport FREE OF CHARGE! Who really needs a vehicle at Disney anyways with all the free transportation! Unless it’s cheaper for you. I would still keep your vehicle parked and utilize the free transportation during your stay.
That’s it. With a little luck in oil prices; maybe you’re close to Orlando; maybe Mickey sends you for free. One way you’ll get there and I just hope that I’m able to clear the air a little and help guide you to more savings. Always remember to do your own research and plan what works best for you. Create your own magic and save as much money as you can without skimping on the memories!
Also, make sure to catch up on all our latest Walt Disney Wednesday posts: