It seems that every time I make a trip to Walt Disney World I ask myself the same question: should I rent a car this time? I used to think renting a car was a waste of money with the free transportation from Orlando International Airport to a Disney resort via Disney’s Magical Express and the complimentary buses, boats, and monorail on property. I thought why shell out an extra bit of money? Surely the extra cost outweighed the benefits. And then I took a trip that changed my opinion forever.
I was shown the light when I took a friend with my friend, Julie, on which we slept at all three All Star resorts. We decided that since we would be moving frequently a car was the way to go. I couldn’t believe how much faster it was to take our own car to the parks. We just hopped in whenever we wanted and headed back to the resort whenever we wanted without any waiting around. We didn’t have to face the long bus queues at park closing and it was great. It was easy to get to other resorts for dinner without having to make any transfers. And best of all, we didn’t have to be back at the resort three hours before our flights to catch the Magical Express. We could simply head out to MCO directly from the parks. It was I was let in on Disney’s best kept secret (and I’m not talking about DVC). It comes down to this: time is money at Walt Disney World. Every moment that you are waiting in line for the bus is time you could be strolling down Main Street or grabbing a fast pass for Soarin’. The convenience of having your own wheels is pretty awesome once you’ve experienced it.
I was all set to rent a car for my next trip in August. If there’s one thing for sure about August in Florida it’s HOT. So I thought having a car would make taking mid-afternoon breaks quicker and easier. The plan was to get to the parks for for rope drop, bang out as man attractions as we could, and then head back to the resort for a swim and/or a nap. Then, after our break I would take the bus back to the parks for the evening. If there is one thing you have learned from reading my blog posts for the last year or so it’s that I like to have a good time when I’m at WDW. And being the responsible mouseketeer that I am I’d leave the car at the resort in favor of a nice CM driving me back to Pop Century after a few drinks around World Showcase.
This all sounded so great until I tried to actually book a car. My first stop when renting a car is mousesavers.com. This site is great for anyone looking to save money on their Disney World vacation, and car rentals are included. The site lists each car company and any available discount codes at any given time. Simply apply the codes on a car rental company’s website to see the savings. I have found that Dollar often has the best rates so I always start with them. Imagine my shock when the cheapest option was $392 (with the discount applied) before taxes and fees. I am used to paying about $20 a day, but this was closer to $78 a day before all of the added fees. After my disappointment in Dollar, I spent hours trying to get the best deal with any company I could. Unfortunately, they were all about the same price. I realize that August is busy and therefore the prices go up, but this price made me rethink my whole strategy.
I haven’t given up all hope yet! Many of the discount codes available on mousesavers currently expire in June. I’m hoping for some new ones to crop up which will apply to my dates in August. Also keep in mind that a few friends and I will be splitting the cost for the car so that softens the blow. Oh decisions, decision…
Help! I could really use some opinions about what to do in this situation. Do you think its worth it to bite the bullet and rent the car? When does the cost of the car outweigh its benefits? Let me know what you think.
Next week I’ll give some packing and planning advice for the upcoming hot summer months…