Sunday, June 5, 2011

Magical Moments - Mouse-Money & Disney Transportation

It never fails! At some point during a conversation about Disney vacations, I always hear how expensive everything is. Though spending a week at Disney, purchasing accommodations, meals, and park admission may add up rather quickly, Disney vacations can be affordable; if you simply know what is available and how to take advantage of it all. Over time, we will address many of these inexpensive "goodies" available to us all. However, today I want to discuss an often overlooked feature that, if used correctly, can save time, hassle and money.

There are numerous benefits to staying on Disney property, but one in particular provides a great savings - the Disney Transportation System. The Disney Transportation System includes the Disney Monorail, ferry boats, steam boats and buses. Though each of these are available to resort guests, Annual Pass holders, and Park Hopper ticket holders, I want to focus on the not-so old-fashioned buses.

Depending on how you arrive in Orlando, the savings from using the buses begins almost immediately. Though Orlando is a "reasonable" driving distance for many along the east coast and in the deep south, other guests may be forced to fly into Orlando. In that case, many then proceed to rent a car to help them "get around". For the sake of discussion, let's say that you plan to stay for 5 days. Using the current average rate for a mid-size rental, this would cost around $230. Even a taxi ride would average $65 for the 33 mile trip from the airport to Walt Disney World. That would total $130 for a round trip. If you are staying at a Disney Resort, this is a wasted expense!

Disney's Magical Express is a complimentary transportation service from the airport to your resort. This service allows you to check your bags prior to boarding the plane and have them taken directly from the Orlando airport to your resort. And, since you are a Disney Resort guest, your bags will not only find their way to the resort, but once there, will find their way to your room after check-in. This allows you to start enjoying the parks immediately.

This service also allows you to check your bags at your resort for the return flight (for most major airlines). When flying, we often check our bags early in the morning, and return to the parks for one last day of worry-free fun. That is, until we are forced to return to the resort and hop the Magical Express back to the airport.

Traveling from the resort to the parks is when you may encounter the other buses in the Disney Transportation System. These buses will pick you up from one of many designated locations throughout each Disney Resort, and drop you off at the entrance of any Disney Park or Downtown Disney.
It is quite possible to visit the Disney Parks, get around the entire property, including all parks, resorts and Downtown Disney, without spending a single dollar. Due to Disney logistical magic, wait times are minimal, even during the most crowded times. When ready to leave the park and return to your resort, arrive in time for dinner reservations at other resort locations, or visit a different Disney park entirely, simply scan the easy to read board at the bus terminal area to find which line to stand in (it is Disney after all), hop on-board, and off you go.

But wait, there's more! If you would have chosen to rent a car, or even if you were to drive your own car, parking at the Disney Parks will run $14 for cars, $15 for campers, and $18 for buses or tractor trailers. For a 5 day stay, that would be a minimum of $70 for parking alone. I don't know about you, but I usually don't pay $70 for something I can get for free.

So, for this Disney fan, the savings of time, hassle and money translate into one thing - value! This convenience is truly a Magical Moment that maximizes the Disney experience.

Now, let me think about how to spend that hypothetical $300 mentioned above...Disney Dining maybe?

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