Magical express verses renting a car

Trying to decide if renting a car is worth time savings on the Magical Express. I need a small-medium SUV and can’t find one of those $8 a day deals… and I’ve not been able to figure out of to sign up for a price drop alert that apparently would find me one. Having a car would mean more pool time and getting to sleep in a slight bit on the last day. Cons: having to drive from airport to resort and back, I’ve never rented a car from the airport and know zero about what to expect, the cost, having to take a car seat even though it won’t count as a bag/cost extra, and tolls on the drive.
I wanted to go to the outlet but not sure that’s going to be in the cards this trip.

Parking fees

And really, I didn’t save much/any time when I rented. I still arrived on property about 2 hrs after landing.

The renting part and driving part is very easy. And it’s very convenient having your own vehicle, I had to admit, but depending where you are staying it may not be convenient for parking at the resort and again, parking fees.

I got $7/day via Hotwire for a compact; the lowest I’ve seen for SUV has been $12/day. Go to the site, search for your dates, and then on the left there’s a button to click to be alerted to price drops. Don’t snag until you are 100% ready because it’s no refund. But the closer you get the better the pricing should get.

Personally, though, I would just stick with ME with a little one and let them manage the driving and luggage and just sit back and get into vacation mode.


We always rent a car because I don’t have the patience to wait for buses (I know people love Disney transportation–I just don’t). I like the freedom of having a car. It means we can pick up bottled water and snacks between the airport and Disney. It means we can go off property easily to shop or eat. Or run to Target when we forgot to pack something (and not pay inflated Disney prices).

We rent from Alamo and the kiosks make it easy and quick. You can drive from the airport to Disney without tolls. The toll roads are quicker and are about $4 in total.

You will have to handle your luggage when you arrive, but you can use airport check in at the resort so that at least on the return to the airport you won’t have to deal with your luggage.

I do have to admit that the new parking fees are making me reconsider whether I would rent in the future. May have to use Lyft or Uber or consider staying off property.

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We always rent a car, but we don’t use it on property, except when switching resorts for a split stay.

We use it for offsite stuff - grocery shopping, the malls and trips to Kennedy, Legoland etc.

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Do you fall into the group that would have to pay parking fees at the resort?

If so, that would answer the question right there for me if I ever considered driving (which I don’t - haven’t driven in 12 years, don’t plan to start with a rental car).

Don’t be ridiculous. Disney would never charge on-site guests for parking. There’d be uproar. Disney loves us too much to risk that.


I became a convert to the car rental last year when we stayed offsite and realized how much time we’ve wasted using Disney buses.

The drive from MCO to just about anywhere on Disney property is 30 minutes.
Getting your luggage & picking up the car may add another 30 minutes.

At the end of your trip, you will need to allot 3-4 hours before your flight for Magical Express. If you have your own car, 1.5 - 2 hours max. We went from the entrance of Animal Kingdom to our gate at MCO in 55 minutes on our last trip.

I’ve come to terms with the new parking fee only because time is more precious to me than their nickel & diming. I want the 60 day FPP window. I want the ease and convenience of controlling our drive to the parks. (10 minute wait for a bus on a good day + 15 minute drive to the park vs. no wait for a car & 7 minute drive to a park).


I love your humor :rofl:


We rented a car with Alamo last year and I was hugely impressed with the whole experience. You can do everything online before you arrive at MCO, so that all you have to do is literally choose a car, get in it, drive to the gate where they check your licence, and drive off. It’s so quick and simple.

Even when things went a bit wrong, it was fine. The car we chose turned out to have a very slowly leaking tyre, so we needed to swap the car out. No problem. We called the 1-800 number, which was answered very quickly. We drove the car to the Disney Car Hire center, gave back the keys and walked straight to the replacement car. Simple!

This summer I’m not hiring a car because I’m travelling alone and I’m not confident driving on the wrong (!!) side of the road. I’ll be using Uber/Lyft the whole time. I’m not using Disney busses. Not even DME, which seems to take far too long to get to the airport.

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Yeah right. Lol!!! I do wonder how this will effect transportation especially as we either pay more or ride the busses… or Minnie Vans.

My preference would definitely be to hire a car and drive. As I said, the Alamo experience was first rate, and I loved the first (leaky) car. But my friend did all the driving, bar one home-to-park trip, which I did so that I can say that I’ve driven in America. But I really lacked confidence — all the more so this year as I’d be on my own in the car.

Plus, with parking at $22 a day, the Uber/Lyft plan isn’t necessarily all that more expensive. And it’s more convenient — no tram journeys.


I’m just teasing you, man :wink:

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I can’t understand why. This year I’ve maybe made a couple of changes. At most. I can hardly remember them. I think I changed an ADR at one point. I think.


Oh that’s right. I must be mixing you up with someone else…


That would explain it.

I’ve remembered the changes I made. I decided to change my hotel reservation. I’m now staying at Six Flags Over Texas and skipping WDW altogether.

But that’s all.


I’m definitely in the rent a car camp - I like the flexibility, and the ability to stop off at a grocery story on the way from the airport to WDW to get breakfast, lunch, and snack foods, as well as adult beverages for chilling out in the room. The savings on all of this stuff usually covers the cost of the car. However, the new parking fees may change that equation.

The best way to find discount rates is to use - as you are not locked into the rate (like on the bidding sites), you just keep coming back and cancel/rebook when you find a better rate. Also, once you have a booking you can use to track rates and book a better deal when it appears.


Never heard of the site. Will check it out! Thanks!

Really? It has been heavily discussed in here in the past, but perhaps not very recently. For more info, check out

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