Planning a Disney vacation for your family can be a huge task, but one that many of us endure so that our children can have this once in a life time experience. As such, we are super EXCITED to be able to welcome Carla Gesell-Streeter, a travel agent specializing in Disney travel for over eight years, to the Family Friendly Cincinnati site. In this second part of a five part series, Carla is sharing ideas and tips for planning a Walt Disney World vacation.
In my last Family Friendly Cincinnati post, we looked at ways to decide what time of the year to go on a Walt Disney World vacation. In this segment, we’re going to consider the different ways to get there.
Living in Cincinnati, there are really only two possible modes of transportation to Florida: flying or driving. But deciding between the two isn’t as easy as flipping a coin. There are many variables to be considered.
If you are driving, it’s approximately 900 miles from Cincinnati to Walt Disney World and takes about 14 hours of actual driving (not including stops). Atlanta is about half way between these two points if you take I-75 from Cincinnati to Ocala, FL where you can pick up the Florida Turnpike to the Orlando area. Personally, we tend to drive hard the first day and spend the night in Valdosta, GA and then it’s only a bit over four hours to Walt Disney World the next day. We also have gone down and/or back via Asheville, NC and Savannah, GA to mix things up. Both towns are great overnight stops.
You’ve probably heard or experienced for yourself that CVG has some of the highest (if not, THE highest) airfares in the country. The lack of a low cost airline and a high number of business travelers makes this a sad but true fact. But, depending on where you live, there may be another airport nearby that can offer you lower rates for airfare. Check out Lexington, Indianapolis, Dayton and Columbus depending on where you live and how far you are willing to drive.
Also, be sure the flights you are pricing are going into Orlando International Airport (MCO) and not Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) unless you’re planning to rent a car. If you are staying on Disney property, Disney offers complimentary motor coach transportation to your onsite Disney resort through a program called Disney’s Magical Express, but only from MCO. With Magical Express, Disney also allows you to check your bags at your home airport and then they collects them for you at MCO and deliver them to your room. If you are planning to rent a car, then check out Tampa (TPA) as well as Sanford for possible alternate airports in Florida.
The cost of each mode of transportation can also help you decide. Driving costs include gas, possible tolls, hotel stays, food and wear & tear on your vehicle. If you want to avoid wear and tear on your own vehicle, you may want to consider getting a rental car instead. Flying costs include airfare, possible bag check fees, parking or transportation to your home airport, ground transportation from the airport to your lodging in Florida and any possible meals while waiting at the airports.
There’s a great web site called BeFrugal.com that has a Fly or Drive Calculator (http://www.befrugal.com/
Finally, do you or any members of your family have a strong preference to one or the other modes of transportation? For example, does your youngest get car sick just going to the grocery store? Is your spouse afraid to fly? This one may require a family meeting to ask if any family members have strong objections to flying or driving.
The main thing to know is there is no right or wrong choice when deciding how to get there. All in all, there is only the best choice for your family on this particular trip.
So we’ve considered when to go to Walt Disney World and how we’re getting there. Now it’s time to think about where we want to stay. That will be in next post! Until then, have a magical day!