We live over 1,200 miles from Disney and I can honestly say that I have never really considered driving there – just too far for me (especially with the kids). Maybe someday I’ll pull a Robin Williams and rent an RV to drive across the country but for now there is always Southwest Airlines who have always treated us fairly.
Airfare – If you can’t drive to Disney then you will likely be looking to book a flight. Most airlines begin taking reservations 6 months in advance and with the fluctuating price of gas/oil it is a good strategy to book as early as you can. If the price goes down later you can always cancel and re-book earning a credit in the meantime. When it comes to airfare I generally plan on budgeting $800 for my family of four to fly. This price will vary depending on where you are flying from and what airline you are using. We prefer Southwest because we find them the cheapest but I have heard that JetBlue is very competitively priced as well. The time of year and even day of the week can affect price as well. If you are trying to book a flight to Florida during spring break (March) then you will pay a lot more compared to October. Also, I find that flying mid-week seems to be cheaper as well. We usually plan our trips to be Wednesday to Wednesday and find the prices are good for airfare.
Car Rental – We always rent a car during our Disney trips and I always go through Priceline.com (utilizing the name your own price feature) to get the best prices. This year I was able to get a full sized car for $19 per day when the advertised price was $30 per day. In years past I have gotten car rentals for as cheap as $11 per day using Priceline. This year I also signed up for their Visa card and got $50 off my rental cost!
Disney’s Magical Express – You don’t have to rent a car is you are flying into Orlando International Airport and you are staying at a Disney Resort then you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express Service. This is a FREE bus service that will take you from the airport directly to your resort. They even take your bags to the resort as well – no lugging your bags around the airport! Then at the end of your stay they will pick you up at your resort and take you back to the airport. You need to book this feature ahead of time so get the details here.
Town Car Service – There are numerous town car services in the Orlando area that will provide a ride from the airport to your resort/hotel. The only one we have personally used and therefore recommend is Tiffany Town car. One thing that they offer that is a real money saver is a 15 minute stop at a local grocery store so you can stock up on food for your stay. You’ll see why this is important when you get to the food section of this guide.