Friday, October 7, 2016

{Disney} Driving vs. Flying, Disney Transportation


Our August 2016 Disney vacation was booked during November of last year through a travel agency.  I booked all of our prior Disney trips myself and feel more than qualified to do so, but when I found a travel agency offering a fantastic deal, it only made sense to book through them.  We aren't completely spontaneous, especially when it comes to substantial vacations, but having a trip marked on the calendar that far in advance is not typical for us.  I was still working at the time and had plans to resign in 2016 but didn't know when.  We assumed I would stop working before the start of summer.  Even though it's hotter than the face of the sun in Florida in August, Disney at that time of year is appealing for a variety of reasons.   My kids are not in school and activities have not yet begun.  The end of August sees less crowds at Disney parks as many schools across the country are back in session.  Unfortunately, the school calendar for the 2016-2017 year wasn't available when I decided on the dates of our vacation so I wasn't completely sure of when school would start or the school open house date.  My assumed dates worked out just fine.

Rich is part of a monthly meeting that everyone schedules their vacations around.  This is the main reason why Rich flew down to Disney the day after we did.  And originally, we weren't going to fly.  I was going to drive Grammy and the girls so we would have our own car with us.  I booked this vacation to fit between Rich's meeting and the assumed date for the open house at school.  The rough draft of my travel plans had us leaving Boston four days before Disney Day 1.  This would have allowed us time to spread out those 1,300 driving miles over three days.  We also planned to stay at a hotel in Orlando for a night or two to rest before hitting Magic Kingdom.

This remained the plan until July, when we returned from our Michigan adventures.  It wasn't the driving I was concerned with, but the costs of being on the road.  Hotel rooms (in most cases, we would need two), food and while the cost of gas is fairly low, when you're driving 2,600 miles, you still need to include it in your budget.  In my head, I began adding up the expenses and wondered if flying would be that much more expensive.  Rich must have read my mind because a few days later, he said the same exact thing to me.  Rich's flight on what was to be Disney Day 1 was late in the morning and I didn't want to lose a vacation day so Grammy, the girls and I flew out a day early.


We've always had our own car while at Disney.  Yes, we've used the monorail and the boats, but this was our first experience with the bus system.  Admittedly, I was skeptical but overall, we had no issues.  In fact, Rich commented on how pleasant it was not having to drive.  I was impressed with the organization of Magical Express and how quickly they moved people along.  And yes, it was nice not having to claim our luggage and drag it through the airport.  At the end of our vacation, we were able to check our suitcases at the hotel, which was super convenient.  We never waited long for a bus and there were always plenty of seats.

That being said, we stayed at two resorts with non-bus access to three parks (Contemporary to Magic Kingdom, and Yacht Club to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.)  Excluding Magical Express, we needed to rely on the bus system only three times.  I also reminded Rich that our vacation was taking place during a known slow time, which meant fewer guests sharing the busses.

Would we go this route again?  Probably.  More likely than not.  Ask Rich and he'll say without a doubt.  The girls did not mind using Disney transportation and they much prefer to fly than to drive.  It's in Disney's best interest to make using their transportation pleasant as it keeps you in the Disney bubble.  No complaints here.



Sarah said...

We too had a great experience with Disney transportation for our June 2014 trip. We used buses to get to all parks, as we stayed at Carribean Beach Resort. We were there in peak season... Yes buses were crowded when/if we stayed until park closing, but we dealt with it. We are returning in June and plan to use buses again (staying at Port Orleans).

Jenn said...

We went at the end of August before schools in NC started back and I was surprised at how crowded it was. We normally go in May or September and it was packed compared to those trips. Plus we felt like we were melting. Never again in August!

BreezieGirl said...

I stayed on-site during Princess Weekend and it was CROWDED. My experience is clouded by the race without a doubt as transportation to the expo was slow and then to Disney Springs was EXTREMELY slow (and with a fussy baby felt even slower). Transportation to MK felt slow, but when compared to driving to MK later that week it seemed about the same.

I do not have enough good things to say about Magical Express though (especially for an out-of-town first-time visitor to Orlando and Disney World. Cost-wise, our group had a better time staying in a vacation rental house, but that weekend on-site in the Disney bubble was great and I'd totally do it again.