Do you need a car at Disney World? This is a question we get asked a lot but one that has a complicated answer. In this guide we will compare staying off site to on property at Disney World as to the necessity of having a car, as well as give you some other tips and considerations to help you decide if you need a car at Disney World.
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Do you need a car at Disney World?
Before we can answer the question do you need a car at Disney World you will need to think about how you plan to get around the parks. And the biggest factors to whether or not you need a car will depend on:
- how are you getting to Disney World – driving or flying
- are you staying off site or on property
- what does your Orlando itinerary include?
How are you getting to Disney World?
It is probably obvious that if you are driving to Disney World that you will have a car with you and therefore you totally need to have a car at Disney World.
Therefore the question of whether or not you need a car for Florida Disney is a question for those who are flying to Orlando.
If you are flying to Orlando there are many car rental places at the airport that you will be able to arrange your car hire with.
Do you need a car if you are staying on -site at Disney World?
If you are staying on site at Disney World then chances are you will not need to have a car. All of the on site properties will have transportation to the 4 main parks at Disney World. And others will have ways of getting to the Disney Water parks such as Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach and Disney Springs.
Depending on which resort you are staying at you will likely have one or more options to get to and from the parks from your resort such as
Therefore if all you plan to do is go to and from the parks during the stay and you aren’t driving to Disney World you will find that you do not need a car.
However if you plan to add days in your Disney World itinerary to visit off Disney locations for example you want to visit Universal, Seaworld or Legoland to name but a few other attractions or even do something simple like go shopping you may want a car with you.
It is worthwhile adding up where else you are going on your itinerary and compare parking fees to uber fares to work out if it is worthwhile for you.
It is also worth noting that while there will be Disney organised transport for all the parks and hotels on property some resorts may require you to transfer to a second piece of Disney transport to get to the water parks.
For instance when we were staying at Port Orleans Riverside if you wanted to go to Typhoon Lagoon on Disney Transportation you would have to travel to Disney Springs and transfer to a secondary bus to get there.
I also think it is worth checking what type of Disney transport is offered by your hotel. I quite like getting the monorail or the ferry boat into the parks but really hate getting the Disney bus from a resort.
The reason is that we travel to Disney World with a toddler and on the bus we have to take down our stroller to use. This is really inconvenient if your toddler or baby just falls asleep as you arrive at the bus station. For more Disney stroller hacks check out this post.
When we were at Disney World, even when we were staying on site we rented a car and we were so glad we did. We used our car to go to the supermarkets and the shops and it was really helpful for when we had a rest day from the parks.
And if we were doing it again we would definitely rent a car again.
It can also be useful if you are doing a Disney World babymoon and are worried about the bus being crowded.
Do you need a car if you are staying off property at Disney World?
If you are staying off property at Disney World you may or may not need a car.
If you are staying at a Disney Good neighbour resort chances are that your hotel or resort will offer a bus shuttle to the parks. However depending on your hotel will depend on how long this will take, how regular they are and if you will need to make multi stops to get there.
Therefore if you are staying at an off property resort hotel you may or may not want a car. You will have to explore what your hotel offers to be sure however when we stay at an off site hotel we always like to have a car.
If you decide to stay at a house or a villa then I would recommend definitely having a car with you. These types of locations are self catered so you will need to go to supermarkets and also need to get to and from the parks.
It will be much simpler to have a car than rely on Ubers or lifts and we would personally not consider staying at a house in Orlando without having access to a car.
It is also worth noting however that even if you have a car at Disney World you may need to use Disney Transportation to get from the parking lot to the park.
For instance when we parked for Magic Kingdom we had to take either the Monorail or a Ferry boat to get from the parking lot to Magic Kingdom. However I still prefer these forms of Disney transport to the bus.
For parking at Magic Kingdom tips check out this post.
How much will it cost to have a car at Disney World
One of the main problems with having a car at Disney World is that the parking charges soon add up.
If you are staying at the on site resorts the parking charges are as follows:
- Basic Resort – 15USD per night
- Moderate Resort – 20 USD per night
- Deluxe Resort – 25 USD per night
and if you want to do valet parking it will double the above costs.
Note: the exception to this parking rule is at Fort Wilderness Campground where some accommodations will come with a parking space as part of your accommodation price.
Disney Vacation Club owners will also reeve complimentary parking.
However once you have paid at your resort you will not need to pay at the parks aswell.
The parks parking fee is:
- 25USD and
- 50USD for preferred parking.
Once you have paid these fees you can enter and reenter the parking lots as many times as you wish and can be used across all of the Disney World parks.
Top Tip: be sure to use the parking locator function on the My Disney App if you use Disney World parking as the parking lots are vast and it is easy to forget where you parked a rental car.
Note: Currently Magic Bands at Disney World do not store your parking information.
So knowing all of this what are the pros and cons of having a car at Disney World
Pros and cons of having a car at Disney World
So to break it down more clearly here are what we think are the pros and cons of having a car at Disney World. They are:
- Even if you are staying on property it is likely to be quicker to get to the parks and between parks rather than using Disney World transportation
- Greater Freedom – you can get to places outside of Disney World if you want to add these places to your itinerary
- it is expensive – those parking fees do soon add up and the toll prices are an extra add on.
- more walking – the parking lots are often a much longer walk than from Disney run transportation.
- Traffic – Orlando traffic can be bad and you will have to deal with it yourself.
Conclusion – should you get a car at Disney World
When we have stayed both on and off site at Disney World we rented a car. And we definitely would do so again. That is because the we like the convenience and freedom it gives you,
However if you are on property but are on a budget it might not make sense for you to get a car.
So there you have our answer to should you rent a car for Disney World! But we would love to hear in the comments whether or not you think it is necessary to have a car at Disney World. Let us know in the comments whether or not you like having a car for Disney Florida?