Is it Worth Renting a Car at Orlando International Airport for a Disney World Vacation?

Orlando, Florida is synonymous with the magic of Disney World. Every year, millions of visitors, from wide-eyed children to nostalgic adults, flock to this enchanted kingdom. One of the first dilemmas faced by many of these visitors, especially those arriving via Orlando International Airport, is the decision to rent a car or not.

So, is it worth renting a car at Orlando International Airport for your Disney World vacation? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Pros of Renting a Car:

  • Flexibility: Having a car at your disposal allows you to come and go as you please. This is particularly useful if you want to visit attractions outside of Disney World, such as Universal Studios, SeaWorld, or the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Convenience: Depending on where you’re staying, having a car can be a real time-saver. Even if there are shuttle services offered by your hotel, they might not always align with your personal schedule.
  • Comfort: Florida can be swelteringly hot. A personal car gives you the luxury of air-conditioning on demand, a place to store purchases, and a refuge for tired feet.
  • Cost-Effective in Certain Scenarios: If you’re traveling with a large family or group, renting a car might be more economical than taking multiple cabs or rideshares. Plus, many rental deals include unlimited mileage.

Cons of Renting a Car:

  • Cost: Renting a car can be expensive. You’re not just looking at the rental fee, but also parking fees, insurance, fuel, and any additional costs like GPS or child seats.
  • Traffic and Navigation: Orlando, especially around Disney World, can be congested. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, navigating can be a challenge.
  • Parking Fees: Some hotels in the Disney area charge for parking. Disney World itself also has parking fees, which can add up over multiple days.
  • Disney’s Transportation System: If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you’ll have access to their extensive transportation system, including buses, monorails, and boats. This free service can make a car redundant.

When is Renting a Car a Good Idea?

rent a car for a Disney World vacation

  • Staying Off-Property: If you’re not staying at a Disney resort, having a car can be incredibly beneficial. It bridges the gap between your accommodation and the theme parks.
  • Exploring Beyond Disney: If you have plans to explore more of what Orlando has to offer or even go further afield in Florida, a rental car is essential.
  • Late-Night Activities: Disney’s transportation system is efficient, but it doesn’t run all night. If you plan on enjoying Orlando’s nightlife or early morning activities, a car is indispensable.
  • Special Needs and Comfort: For families with special requirements or those who simply value the comfort and convenience of their vehicle, renting is the way to go.


The decision to rent a car while visiting Disney World from Orlando International Airport boils down to your personal itinerary, budget, and preferences. If your trip revolves solely around Disney, and you’re staying at a Disney property, the benefits of renting might be overshadowed by the costs and potential inconveniences.

However, for those looking to extract the most from their Orlando visit, or those prioritizing convenience and flexibility, a rental car can be a worthwhile investment.

In any case, planning ahead and being aware of all the associated costs will ensure your decision is well-informed and aligns with the magical experience you seek.

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