Do You Need a Car at Disney World?

Dad likes having a Car at Disney World. But Dad is not always normal. (Not always?)

With that in mind, let’s look at the age old question, do you need to have a car on your WDW Vacation in order to have a Magical trip?

OK, I’m going to admit something I never thought I’d say. No, you don’t NEED a car at Disney World, but…

(For the purposes of this page we are going to interpret the word NEED as desire greatly and will take advantage of any reason to indulge.)

Disclaimer: This is from the perspective of a guy who’s lived in Oklahoma and Texas all his life where driving a car is a right of passage. The closest thing we ever had to mass transit was the school bus or the church bus. Shoot, Dad’s the guy who, for 3 years, commuted 105 miles to work each way every day.

Pros and Cons of Having a Car at Disney World

I thought the place to start would be to look at the Pros and Cons of having a car.

Let’s start with the pros:

  • Able to access the cheaper and more diverse dining options around the WDW area
  • Not have to rely on buses, shuttles (like Dad), taxis or someone else to get you from point A to point B
  • Not having to go to a bazillion different resorts when you’re coming from the airport
  • Be able to stock up on food, snacks, drinks and stuff for the trip (which you can take into the parks)
  • A quicker commute to the parks (for the most part)
  • Visiting other entertainment venues (like the one we never talk about) outside WDW
  • Public Transportation in Orlando is spotty at best
  • Great rental car location at the airport (no shuttles walk to the car)
  • Your bags arrive at your room when you do! (yes there’s a story there)
  • You can take off the Disney shackles and roam FREE!!!!! (No more of the all Disney commercials all the time.)

Now the cons:

  • Parking comes with added costs ($20 at Disney World theme parks, resort parking fees, etc.)
  • The cost of the car itself
  • The toll roads around Orlando (bring lots of quarters or rent from a company that includes a toll tag)
  • Orlando traffic (which at times is pretty annoying)
  • Having to lug your own luggage from the airport
  • You miss those cute Disney commercials

There are probably more, but those are what I can think of right now.

Who Needs a Car at Disney World?

Here’s who I think will need a car at Disney World:

  • If you drive to Orlando (Duh)
  • If you are staying outside of Walt Disney World you will NEED a car!

Who May Want a Car at Disney World?

Here’s who might want a car at Disney World:

  • If you, like Dad, prefer to drive yourself around
  • If you like to have almost total control of your schedule and don’t like to wait for buses, etc.
  • If you plan to stray offsite more than once during your visit you will NEED a car!

Who Should Skip the Car at Disney World?

Here’s who should let Disney do the driving:

  • If you don’t have a drivers license
  • If you are used to driving on the wrong side of the road (you know who you are)
  • You want to save some money and are staying on Disney property
  • You like meeting and talking to new people or love people watching

Alternatives to Renting a Car or Driving

So, what are the alternatives to having a car at Disney World?

Obviously there’s Disney transportation (we’ll talk about that in a minute) but there are some other ways to get around.

Who Should Use Disney World’s Transportation?

Disney’s own transportation is a big part of the car at Disney World equation.

When you get to Disney World, Disney transportation is incredible. Most major cities could take lessons from Disney. Buses, trains, monorails, boats, carriages, and just about any other form of transportation you can think of Disney uses it.

Disney will cart you from park to park, from hotel to the parks, from hotels to the shopping areas, from hotel to hotel… And the best part of all is they don’t charge any more money for the service. Aren’t they nice?

The only problem with Disney’s own transportation is Disney controls the timetable. Sometimes they make it pretty difficult to get from point A to point B.

Example: To get from EPCOT to Disney Springs, you have to take a bus, or a boat, to one of the hotels and grab a bus, or a boat, to Disney Springs. (Read about Dad’s trip from EPCOT to Disney Springs.) Depending on which hotel you pick, that could take from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

If you try to get from EPCOT to Disney Springs, Dad suggests to go to the Value or Moderate resort with the shortest line. When you get to the resort, you will then get in line for Disney Springs. The Value and Moderate Resorts have the most buses in service, but, on the bad side, they also have the longest lines.

Where to Rent a Car for Walt Disney World

Finding a rental vehicle in Orlando is really simple. The airport has all the major agencies and a few minor ones. Several companies actually have cars in one of the parking garages. (No shuttle bus.)

You can also get a car at Disney World, right on the property. At Disney’s Car Care Center, there is an Alamo Rental Car booth.

You could always bring your own car. Driving to Disney World can be a great experience. (Unless you live in Europe or something, then it might be a little hard.) There are numerous places to stop along the way and spend some quality family time.

Dad likes the freedom having a car brings. (Really he’s just too much of a control freak not to have a car at Disney World, but that’s another story.) You might not use it everyday, but it will come in handy. It’s a must if you are staying outside of Disney World.