Getting to Disney

Some people drive, some fly and some take the Amtrack Auto Train. It’s really a personal choice that depends on your time and budget. I prefer to fly but this year had thought about driving. But once I calculated the cost of gas (who knows what it will be this summer?), lodging and food expenses, it really was only a little less than getting a good price for a flight. We did take the Auto Train one year to return home, but it often costs more than a flight. There’s the convenience of having your car with you, but you need to be prepared for a less than restful night’s sleep. The food was good and they have movies and activities in the lounge. Watch for specials in the summer where kids travel free.
Flying is always my first choice.
I usually book my airfare on my own regardless of whether I book a package through a travel agent. I spend a lot of time checking airfares, watching for the price changes and then pounce like a cat on a mouse when it gets to that magic price I have in mind. If your dates are flexible, you’ll save more by flying during the week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be the days with the lowest fares. Make sure you know what you’re getting into when you use lower-cost airlines where you don’t reserve your seat when you book. With Southwest Airlines you have to check in online 24 hours before your flight. You’re then giving section (A,B, or C) on your boarding pass. When you arrive at the gate, they load the plane beginning with section A, so if you’re unfortunate enough to have section C on your boarding pass, you likely won’t sit with your travel party. You also need to remember to go to the resort concierge desk 24 hours before your return flight home so they can print your boarding pass. This actually seems like too much work to me for the little savings you get. I prefer my vacation be all play and no work so I choose an airline that allows me to choose my seat when booking.
Disney makes it even more convenient to travel by plane. Several years ago they created a transportation system that takes Disney Resort guests to and from the airport when they fly with participating airlines. It’s called Disney’s Magical Express. Current airlines participating include American, Air-Tran, Continental, Delta, Jet-Blue, United, Northwest and US Air. And even if you don’t use a participating airline but you’re staying in a Disney resort, you can contact Magical Express, register with them your flight times and bring them your baggage claim tickets and they’ll collect your luggage. When using a participating airline, you’ll get luggage tags from your travel agent or in the mail if you book through Disney Travel. The tags will have your Resort Area and names to attach to your luggage. When you arrive at the airport to leave for vacation, wave goodbye to your luggage because you don’t have to go to baggage claim when you arrive at Orlando International Airport. Disney will collect and deliver your luggage right to your room, usually within a 3 hour window of your arrival. If you have an early flight and your room isn’t ready, they’ll keep your luggage at Bell Services at your resort. When you get off the airplane, you head down to the ground floor of the airport where a team of very cheerful Magical Express people greet you and get you on the bus that will take you to your resort. The day before your scheduled return flight home, you’ll find a Magical Express envelope at your door. This letter will tell you what time to be ready to be picked up by the Magical Express bus and taken back to the airport. This is a huge cost-savings if you’re not planning on leaving Disney property during your stay. And the best part is that Disney’s Magical Express service is free!

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