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Disney Vacation Planner  >  Walt Disney World  >  Do you need a HireCar ?
Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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Do you need a HireCar ?

[ Disney Vacation Planner ]

At A Glance  

Most holidays include the "free" use of a hire car for the duration of the holiday, but not everyone can drive, or indeed relishes the prospect of driving outside of their native country, so you may well be wondering if you actually need a hire car, and if you're missing anything by not having one.

First of all, the car is never free, as you're led to believe in some brochures. The basic hire costs may be free, but the car is subject to so many hidden additional charges, that even without additional upgrades and extra insurance cover, it's still going to cost a few hundred dollars for the basic insurance, airport tax, state tax, etc.

One interesting point is that recent trends seem to indicate that tour operators are starting to acknowledge that there's no such thing as a free lunch (or a free car) and they are starting to include the real cost of the hire car within the package price up front, rather than suprising the guest when they arrive to collect their free car in Florida.

Whether you actually need a car or not largely depends on what you are planning to see in Florida, and where you are based. Many hotels in the Orlando area offer a free shuttle bus to the major attractions in the area such as the Walt Disney World theme parks, Sea World, Universal Studios, and the very low cost local bus service can also be used to get around, but you are unlikely to be able to get out to the Kennedy Space Centre, or Busch Gardens unless you're going with someone else that is driving. Having said that, there is still plenty to do and see in Walt Disney World alone to more than occupy a two week holiday.

Failing the hotel putting on a free shuttle, there are still options available to allow non-drivers get around relatively easily, including several companies that provide a range of vehicles with drivers for day excursions. Also companies like Mears regularly travel from hotels to the major airports for a reasonable price, so even without a car you're unlikely to be completely stuck, although you will be more restricted than you would be with a hire car.

The only drawback I've found in staying off-site and using hotel transportation is that the buses run fairly infrequently, and also there aren't very many buses put on after the parks close, which is when the most people are going to be trying to get back to their hotels. (Note this occasional lack of regular buses doesn't apply to the excellent Disney Transportation available to resort guests).

If you are staying on Disney property in one of the excellent Disney hotels, and plan to spend all your time in the Walt Disney Resort, a hire car may be a complete waste of time, although it will allow you to get into the surrounding Kissimmee and Orlando area to do some shopping at the many factory outlet stores, and flea markets. If you want to travel a little further afield however to the Kennedy Space Centre, Busch Gardens, or out to the Everglades or Florida Keys, then a hire car will be an essential ingredient of your holiday, but check out those additional hidden costs.

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