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ala1873 Jun 18th, 2006 06:35 PM

A car or no car at Disneyworld in Dec?
We are flying to Disneyworld Dec. 15-23, and did not plan on renting a car. We're staying at the Coronado Springs at AK. I have been reading numerous posts and WDW guides, and now I'm wondering if we will have to spend a lot of time waiting for Disney transportation. This is our first visit - does anyone have experience with this? Any advice will be appreciated.
Thank you!

BayouGal Jun 18th, 2006 06:40 PM

We usually go in the off season and never get into our car until we're headed to a new locale. The waits never seemed to be very long. However, that time of year can be very busy. Hopefully soon an experienced, Christmas season WDW traveler will be along to tell you about their experiences.

travel_addict Jun 18th, 2006 06:48 PM

I always rent a car at Disney because I like the freedom it provides. It's nice to be able to go to an off-site restaurant, the grocery store, or another non-Disney attraction if you want. Parking is free at any of the Disney parks when you stay at a Disney resort and it's very easy to find your way around and park. (You simply can't get lost on WDW property!)

That said, I'm not at all a patient person, and waiting longer than a few minutes for transportation is a waste of precious vacation time to me. :)

ausc59 Jun 18th, 2006 06:50 PM

To me, one of the real perks of staying on-site is not having to get into my car to go anywhere. I find it a relief to let someone else worry about the traffic,etc. Just relax and enjoy the ride!!

amaclise Jun 18th, 2006 06:51 PM

I can't imagine needing a car. Disney makes a major effort to get people around not only efficiently but they also make sure you have fun doing it. This goes for getting from park to park too.

They don't want you to go to the non-Disney area attractions so they make it wonderful to stay completely on Disney properties.

iluvmyrott Jun 18th, 2006 06:52 PM

We have always went to disney in the middle of May, and we prefer to just take the Disney transportation, we have never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a ride. We loved not having to move our car until we were ready to leave. Of course, that was May so it may be a different story for the time you are going.

trippinkpj Jun 18th, 2006 08:26 PM

You should be okay without a car unless you plan to venture off Disney property.

tracys2cents Jun 18th, 2006 08:34 PM

Cars should be very cheap for that time period. If so, I'd rent one. Eight days is a long time to go without a car, you may want to take a day trip or two outside of the park, plus you'll save lots of money by taking a couple of trips to an outside supermarket.
Also, AK isn't the most convenient place to stay when relying on Disney transportation. The transportation is acceptable but not stellar.

Annabel Jun 18th, 2006 08:39 PM

We are leaving as you are checking in. We go to WDW the 2nd week of Dec and it is quite empty. The crowds start building when you check in.

You are much better off with WDW transportation than you are driving a car. There is a lot of traffic from locals and the bus transportation can get you where a car cannot. WDW will compensate for the heavier crowds and you will not wait more than 10-15 min. YOu do wait for transportation anyway...the monorail is approx 10 min wait too. It's a lot better than renting a car.

WDw is beautiful this time of year. I would recommend Mickey's X-mas Party too. The weather can be cold at night so pack layers and definately gloves. Last year we were there one of the nights it was freezing, it was in the 30's. You will have plenty of time to take it all in, so don't feel rushed and enjoy yourself.

Here's another site that may help you You don't have to buy anything but you can look up your travel dates for crowd level expectations.

ajcolorado Jun 18th, 2006 09:04 PM

We never rent a car. You sure don't want to take a car to Magic Kingdom. You park at the TTC and have to take the monorail or ferry to the gates. But the buses take you right to the gates.

offlady Jun 18th, 2006 09:32 PM

Don't waste money on a car rental. We drove into the WDW with our sister-in-law's car (she was with us), but used the Disney transportation the entire time we were there. Very convenient, frequent enough, and nice to "just catch a ride back" after a long day.
On the last day, we checked out early and spent a day at MGM, taking our car with us. Very inconvenient. We ended up parking our car in the large parking lot quite a distance away from the entrance. We had to remember where we parked, then catch a trolly to and from the park entrance. Be aware that Disneyworld is very massive in terms of land area, like a city in itself. Having your own car isn't always a time saver.

shelbyjosh Jun 19th, 2006 02:46 AM

We go at least once a year and stay at Old Key West (we are DVC members) and usually rent a car for part of the stay. We do not use it to get from park to park. WDW transportation is plentiful enough that you don't need to drive to a park! We use a car to go Sea World, the gulf, out to dinner, etc. Don't waste your time, gas, or money on getting a car especially if it your first trip. There is so much to see and do that the busses, boats, and monorails will take you where you need to go efficiently! Definately take advantage of the Magical Express. We have used a town car service for years and now we save ourselves $125 by using DME.

kswl Jun 19th, 2006 03:36 AM

You will be fine without a car since you are staying before Christmas. The real crowds come in after Christmas, and it's a zoo. Like all of Florida after Christmas!

signed, FormerFloridian :)

mikesmom Jun 19th, 2006 05:34 AM

We ALWAYS rent a car at Disney. I do not want to wait for a bus. I like the freedom a car provides. We like to do a little shopping, eat in restaurants outside of WDW, go into a grocery store to pick up some snacks, etc.

travel_addict Jun 19th, 2006 05:37 AM

It seems we're in the minority, Mikesmom.

bennnie Jun 19th, 2006 05:58 AM

We've been 5 times and have always rented a car and always make use of WDW transportation also. What we have found is that at certain times and for certain parks a car is more convenient and other times and parks the WDW bus is better. For example, when we stay at Coronado Springs and want to go the the Magic Kingdom, the bus makes the most sense. We rarely wait more than 10 minutes and usually less than 5. The bus pulls right up to the front of the park whereas if we parked we would have to take a tram, then the monorail or ferry. Bus is definately faster. Also when exiting the park its just a short walk to the bus stop where the bus is likely waiting for you. On the other hand if we want to go to dinner at the Boardwalk, a car is the fastest most convenient way of getting there.

Coronado Springs does not share bus service with any other resort and therefore the bus is very direct and usually not overcrowded. Also if you need to get somewhere that is inconvenient by bus, you can take a cab.

By the way, we love the CS. Been twice and won't stay anywhere else on WDW now. For the money it beats the Boardwalk, Contemporary and comes a close second to the Beach Club (which is hard to beat because of Stormalong Bay).

GoTravel Jun 19th, 2006 06:41 AM

We always drive to Disney, stay on property, and never see the car again until it is time to leave.

The couple of times we have flown, we've never rented. No reason to.

No reason to have one unless the thought of being without one puts you in a full blown panic.

I've been to Disney during peak and off peak times and never had a problem with public transportation.

mikesmom Jun 19th, 2006 06:49 AM

Travel Addict - We are definitely in the minority, but I stand firm - I want a car! I do not want to ride a bus on my vacation - period.

Brookside Jun 19th, 2006 07:46 AM

Ala1873 --

You've received lots of opinions from both sides. I think it would be helpful if we knew more about your particular family situation. Small kids? Elderly family members? Adults only? Is it a "Just Disney" vacation, or do you want shop and do other activities?

I've done it both ways. And the times I did not rent a car, I never felt like I had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for the Disney busses. They're clean, efficient and prompt.

Have you considered your meal situation? You're staying at WDW for an extended period. I realize you may have a meal plan, character meals, etc, but I can tell you that the resort restaurants/food courts can certainly get expensive - and monotonous.

The first time my family went, however, we DID rent a car. My kids were older and wanted to do Universal IOA and some other things in Orlando. BTW -- resort guests get FREE priority parking at the parks. And if you arrive early enough, you generally can avoid walking huge distances accross the parking lots. If not, the shuttles are prompt.

If you decide to rent a car, I suggest trying Priceline. I've used it every time I've rented a car in Florida and always get an excellent bargain.

Best of luck - hope you have a wonderful trip!

missypie Jun 19th, 2006 08:01 AM

I was a Cumpulsive Planner for our trip and decided it was best to rent a car and I'm glad we did. We stayed 5 nights at the Yacht Club and 5 at the Contemporary. After doing lots of research, I determined that it was best to us to drive to AK and Epcot from Yacht Club (wanted to be at the FRONT of Epcot at rope drop), best to take the boat to MGM and to take the bus to MK. From the Contemporary, we took the monorail to Epcot and the MK and drove to MGM and AK. There are lots of ways to get just have to plan your trip and figure out what works best for your plans.

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