Hey beauties! I hope you are not sick of hearing about Disney yet, because I am just getting warmed up! In episode 1 of my Disney Guide, we talked about preparing for this trip. Now we are getting ready to plan the trip!
Once you decided when you are going, the next step is deciding HOW you will get there! Fly VS Drive?We flew this time BUT we are planning to drive next time. We flew with points and vouchers so it didn’t cost us anything. We did pay to check an extra piece of luggage both ways (lots & lots to pack for a Disney trip). We also did pay for a rental car & long term parking at the airport. The rental car was more expensive than normal because we also rented 2 car seats for the rental car. This all adds up very quickly. If you stay on property, you do not need to rent a car (more on that to come later in this post).
We plan to drive next time so:
- We can save our points for ARUBAAAAAA our fave island in the world
- Have our own car & car seats
- Eliminate the expense of renting a car and long term parking
The ride for us will be about 15.5 hours. I am used to driving from Brooklyn to Ft. Lauderdale at around 22 hours so this is nothing for me but hopefully the girls will sleep a good amount of the time.
Flying is obviously quicker, & if you stay on property & use Disney transportation, it may be the best choice for you!
This brings me to the next point of discussion, staying on or off property at a Disney hotel. There are many advantages to staying on property. I will list the biggest ones for you!
Staying on Property:
- Magical Express – Free Disney transportation (bus) to and from the airport.
- No need to rent a car, use Disney transportation to get around from the hotels to the parks.
- Dining reservations can be made 180 days from your trip for the ENTIRE trip, vs 180 days out EVERY day of your trip staying off property.
- Fast passes 60 days out vs 30 days out if you stay off property.
Here are the advantages to staying off property:
- Better deal on hotel. We paid $1100 for 9 nights at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek, which we booked through Vacation Strategy. We had a 2 bedroom room, with laundry, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a balcony, really like a full-stocked condo! It also had a sofa bed so really could have slept 10 people. The resort was amazing, multiple pools, lazy river, splash pad, slides etc. We were quoted $2700 to stay in POR (Port Orleans Riveride) in the Royal Room for 7 nights for a regular 2 bed standard hotel room. We saved $1600 and stayed 2 additional nights!
- Most hotels have shuttles to the parks (ours did but we wanted to rent a car).
You have to decide what your budget it and what kind of hotel you want to stay at. Disney has value hotels, moderate, and higher end hotels. We were very happy with where we stayed. The Wyndham Bonnet Creek is actually on Disney property (right near Disney Springs) but not technically a Disney hotel.
Another cool form of transportation at Disney is the Minnie Vans. They are vans that look like Minnie! So fun! They will take you anywhere around Disney for a fee. I am sure the kids would love to ride in it! Looks so fun!
Whether you are staying on or off property, BUY MEMORY MAKER. Memory Maker is the Disney photographers all over the parks, character dining, Disney photo pass studio at Disney Springs, etc. We got about 600 pictures from our Memory Maker alone! It is linked to your Magic Band (along with your ticket info, dining plans etc). When you see a Disney photographer at any of the places they are at, they will take your pic, then tap your band with their machine and boom you download all of the pics from the app! You have 45 days I believe from the time you download your first pic to download them all. It is such a great thing to have. Highly recommend the memory maker!!!!!
Another awesome thing we did is use Disney’s gift company to have a present delivered to the room for my girls waiting for us when we got there. Disney Floral & Gifts delivers to all Disney hotels as well as many other surrounding hotels (there is a list on the website). They have gift suggestions or you can create your own. We did the Minnie cooler bag with personalized bucket Minnie ears hats for each girl inside! The Disney Floral & Gifts website can be found here!
I think I covered a lot for today! Next I will cover building your itinerary so look out for episode 3 this week!
Do you prefer to stay on or off property, why?