So indecisive about flights, help

I’m struggling with flight options and need a second opinion. Kiddo (10) and I are spending 3 nights at WDW before a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Port Canaveral. I’ve done this before, and even if I don’t do park days, we enjoy the pools, maybe a water park, mini golf, Disney Springs, etc. This time I would probably do at least one park day for SWGE. We’ve been to WDW a lot, but not yet to SWGE.

I’m arriving on July 2 and cruising on July 5. Will try to see 7/3 or 7/4 fireworks in some way, possibly from a park.

On July 2, the affordable (ish) flights to MCO are either 5 am or 5 pm, non-stop, both about 3 hours flight time. There’s a roughly noonish non-stop flight out that costs a bunch more. Or connections, most of which still cost more than the 5 am/pm option.

What would you do?

If it’s just me and my 10 year old, I’d probably do the 5am flight. By the time you get on the plane they’ll be asleep. (Hopefully!) Much easier for a solo parent to manage. Plus, there will probably be less ppl on board to bother you or vice-versa.

I’d plan on getting checked in, settled into the room, maybe eat lunch and having a nap right after. Then it’s business / play as usual!

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I’d do the PM.
Even with TSA Precheck you’d probably want to be at the airport somewhere around 4am.
What time would you have to leave your home to GET to the airport?
Also, what would you be doing before your room is ready (thinking of typical check in times.)

5pm just seems like it would be keeping with a normal schedule.


Yes, these are the two sides I argue. I have TSA pre, it’s about 45 minutes to the airport, economy parking adds another 20ish minutes, I will have to check bags because we’re going on a 7-night cruise in addition.

I have had issues recently with WDW rooms not being available before 4, though I have at times been able to check in a lot earlier.

I hate to arrive at like 9-10 pm and pay for a hotel night with no other benefit of being on property. But that’s such an early morning, and it would suck if we could not nap. Argh.

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I’d do 5pm.

I live reasonably close to the airport, and would probably leave my house at 3am to give some buffer for traffic/parking/tsa for a 5am flight. That’s a miserable start to vacation. No thanks.

I’d even pay an extra hotel night and come in a day earlier to not lose the full day rather than take that early a flight.

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We’ve done most of our flights at 5:30-6am. And it’s fine. We muscle through, but it takes a day or two before our rhythm allows for a late night fireworks viewing. Then we did a late afternoon flight and it’s glorious. I’m really becoming a fan of flying late and considering that first night a throwaway. Maintaining a normal sleep schedule for that first day changes the whole vibe of the trip for the better. This week we’re flying at 6 pm and I’ll have all day to be excited. One thing you may want to plan for is dinner. I eat one Cheerio at a time during the whole flight for my ears and DH can go days without food, so we’ll probably eat when we land. That may be too late for a kid though.

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For my July trip my MCO-bound flight is at 5:01am. I am staying at a hotel at JFK so I only have to get up stupid early and not are you f-ing kidding me early.

Last February I had an early morning (6ish I think) flight out of LGA and stayed at a Hampton Inn very close using points. For me, it is worth that extra little bit to not have to get up so early AND not lose any more time to travel than necessary.


5AM! Definitely.


Neither 5 AM or 5 PM departure. Push comes to shove, though, 5 AM, which would get us to MCO around 1:30 PM. We fly from California to the Florida. So, it will be “all day”, which includes the 3-hour time zone change. It’s just which part of the all day works for us.

Is there a time zone change in your 3-hour flight?

Flying at 5 AM means getting up at 1 AM. At that rate, we wouldn’t go to sleep and will be a mess when we arrive in FL and zombies the rest of the day and maybe into the next day, too.

We much prefer to arrive MCO around 7-8 PM, leaving around 10 AM California time. This gets us to the hotel to wash up and get to bed like a day in our normal time zone. Our bodies are tired from the flight and we go to sleep right away.

We’ve done early morning flights (7 AM). That means we need to be out of the house by 4 AM and up by 3 AM or so. We get into Orlando between 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. This is okay and gets us a similar result as flying mid-day in terms of sleeping times. It requires us to get up really, really early to leave home but we can get some stuff done when we arrive and we are not total zombies.

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We have always done the 6am flights and have done fine but this year There were only 5 am flights and that felt way too early so I opted to fly a day early! But I was also lucky that the flights had only a $10 price difference and Priceline had a good deal on a hotel.

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With a ten year old I would do 5. They will fall asleep on plane hopefully, then you get all day!


Devil’s advocate - it’s just the two of you? How much more is that noon flight compared to the price of everything else you’re paying, including your WDW hotel?

If you take the 5 am flight your child might sleep (or might not). Either way, it’s not likely you’ll be well rested and that will make for a horrible day for you. Maybe even a grumpy one. Not the best way to start a vacation. If you child doesn’t sleep, it might even be more horrible. A grumpy adult is one thing. You can power through, but a grumpy kid is just a grumpy kid who will want to nap when you do finally get your room, not take advantage of the amenities.

Now, if you do the 5pm, you’re right, you don’t get to use the pool or other things, but you’ll be rested. But you’ll also spend the whole day just waiting for that flight and wondering what you might have been doing if you had taken an earlier flight. Your child will certainly be waiting around.

Now, if you take the early flight, you might as well go to a park, because, as you said, you won’t have your room yet. You can get checked in and leave your luggage, but short of having bathing suits under your clothes, that’s a long time to just hang around. But will you be up to it for such an early flight?

So, we’re back to the more expensive noon flight. Unless it’s prohibitably more (and it might be), that might be the right flight for you.

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It’s still early to book. 60-90 days is the prime window. I’d wait to see if other flights go down.

I always opt for the earliest flight going to disney. I have a 5 year old and we’ve done it twice so far. Usually wake up time is 3 am. She is not a napper. For us, that first day we go to the park for a few hours then have dinner and right back to the hotel for an early bedtime. I’d always opt for more time at disney then less, and to me paying for a hotel room I’m not going to be in until 10 pm at night is not a good deal.

5AM definitely.

I’d pay extra for the noon flight or go at 5 pm. 5 am isn’t the time you’re getting up, you’d have to get up at what 2 am? Maybe if you normally go to sleep at 9 that works but for me that would be 2.5 hours of sleep so heck no.

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5am. Your hotel room may not be ready when you get there but lounge chairs by the pool will be available. Make that a chill by the pool day. Pack your swim stuff in your carry on. If your room is ready early that is a bonus.

We did this on one trip and the kids were totally fine. Plus we were all exhausted by bedtime and got a great night sleep before heading to the parks for rope drop the next day.

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5 pm over 5 am for me. How much extra is the noon flight? Might be worth it so you both are well rested to enjoy the rest of the trip.