How will you get to Disney? Car, train, or plane?

Busses Disney, Orlando, May 2005

Image via Wikipedia

What is the best way for you and your family to get to Disney?  Should you get there by car, train, or plane?

Driving to Disney

As with many of the planning questions, a budget can help form your answer.  Many people find that driving to Disney is the least expensive way to get to their Disney destination.  The cost savings found from driving usually increases as the number of people to travel to Disney increases.  When traveling by car, there is no need to worry about extra costs for extra luggage packed (as you might find from a variety of airlines) and food and drinks can be brought from home to reduce other costs once at your Disney destination.

If you decide that you would like to drive your way to your Disney destination, be sure that the vehicle you will be driving is in shape for the lenghth of drive necessary.  Some maintenance you may want to consider: 1.  oil change, 2. tire rotation, 3.  air pressure in all tires.  Should you not have a vehicle that will comfortably get you to Disney, you may instead want to price the cost of renting vehicle that you can drive from your beginning destination to Disney.  Many local car rental companies offer discounts, remember to call the ones close to and far from your local airport as that may make a big difference in the price quote you receive.  Be sure to call them to inquire before searching online car rental facilities.   Some online car rental sites you can check include Priceline and Hotwire.

Train rides to Disney

Disney World

Many people enjoy taking a train to Disney.  This offers an adventure even before getting you and your family get to your Disney vacation spot!  You can climb aboard an Amtrak train from many eastern locations.  Be sure to visit to see if a train station is close to you.  Deals for these adventures can often be found on their site by visiting the Deals tab.

In addition to passenger trains, trains offer Auto Train rides where you can load your vehicle on the train and ride the rails.  Currently, Amtrak offers an Auto Train ride from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL.  Once in Sanford, FL, the drive to Walt Disney World is an additional 45 miles.  Many people enjoy this form of transportation to Disney for the adventure and for the convenience of having their vehicle at Disney without having to actually drive the entire way.  The Auto Train ride from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL takes approximately 17.5 hours.  If instead driven, it would take 12 hours to make that trip.  If either of these options are appealing, be sure to check of other offers available.


If traveling to Disneyland, you can use either Amtrak and Metrolink commuter rail which serve the Anaheim station.  These handy trains can help passengers travel from Disneyland to Los Angeles, San Diego, and other area attractions such as Legoland, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.  Additional information and deals can be found online.

Plane rides to Disney

Many find that getting to Disney is easiest by plane.  When traveling to Disney World, area airports include the Tampa (TPA), Sanford (SFB) or Orlando (MCO).  Orlando’s International Airport is the closest to Walt Disney World.  Also, if staying in a Disney World resort, free bus services are offered from MCO (only) to your Disney resort.  When traveling to Disneyland, Orange County (SNA) is the closest airport, followed by Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), Los Angeles (LAX) and Burbank (BUR).

When traveling to Disney, be sure to check all area airports for the best price from your airport.  Often times, Tampa offers the best price on flights.  However, the extra cost for renting a car versus using the free Disney bus system outweights the flight savings.

Some great places to begin your review for flights include:  Hotwire, Travelocity, and Expedia.  From many areas, Southwest offers great flight prices.  To get even better flight prices from Southwest, be sure to add Ding! to your computer or smartphone for daily alerts for better flight prices.

When planning to fly, be sure to check the baggage rules.  Extra costs of checked on baggage can range from $20 – $50 per bag.  Instead, consider packing lighter so only a carry on bag is needed or attempt to combine baggage among travel members to reduce the number of checked baggage.

To return to the original Planning your Disney Vacation post, click here.

4 comments for “How will you get to Disney? Car, train, or plane?

  1. June 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    We drive to WDW. It’s part of the exciting journey & 12 hours of anticipation.

  2. Jloosh78
    June 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    For a family of four like mine flying is the easiest and fastest but not very economical. It’d about $1200 round trip plus fees from the NY/CT area. Driving is about 18-20 hours with a cost of about $500 round trip. Big difference when your on a budget and plan on making numerous ADR’s! Great blog thanx for what you do!! 

  3. June 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    We found that driving and flying were about the same cost for our family – with four young kids, we weren’t going to be able to pound through the drive, so there would be hotel and road food costs to include, as well as insanely high gas prices. We could drive cheaper but the whole family would be exhausted and miserable by the time we got to Orlando. Here’s where I broke down the math for our family:

  4. June 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    This time we will be driving because we will be visiting family in Georgia, so going to Orlando is not to much farther. It just makes sense for us with 4 people to drive and save money, then I can spend more at WDW. An since we are DVC I dont have to pay for my room. that helps more than you know.
    thanks and I love to fly too..

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