Using a car at Disney World

Even though Disney makes it easy for you to leave the driving to them, many people still prefer to use a car at Disney World.

If you plan on driving (or are thinking about driving) on your next Disney World vacation, here are some resources you might find helpful if you plan to use a car at Disney World.

Let's get started...

Renting a car at Disney World

You can rent a car at the airport or many locations onsite at Disney World. This is super handy for may people. To learn more, check out our complete guide to renting a car at Disney World.

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Parking and driving at Disney World

Having initially been terrified to drive at Disney World, I finally took the plunge and had a car during a month-long trip and was shocked how easy it was to navigate and park at Disney World. Well, most of Disney World anyway.

Check out our parking and driving guide for more info on what to expect.

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Where to stay at Disney World if you have a car

One of the things that doesn't get talked about much with regard to resort suggestions is the resorts that are most convenient with a car.

In general, Value and Moderate resorts are easier to get in and out of with a car because in most of those resorts, you can pull up very close to the building where you're staying.

This is also true at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs Resorts.

Deluxe Resorts, on the other hand, generally have 1 main parking lot that you have to walk to so it's not as quick to get in and out.

Check out our pros and cons of Disney World resorts for more info.

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Jason

On a recent trip to Orlando, we discovered you can save a lot of time by being enrolled in the rental car company loyalty programs. When we arrived at the Budget area, there was an extremely long line, and very few agents working at the counter. But we happened to notice a sign directing FastBreak members directly to the garage. I had signed up for the program just a few days prior so we followed the signs and were in our car less than 5 minutes later.

Marie-Luise

Hi and thank you for this great article! Answered every remaining question that I had so far in terms of driving around DW. However it raised a new probalby odd question. Coming from Europe I won’t have any possibility to get my hands on coins since the bank is only changing as low as 1$ bills. So now I am kind of worried to be stucked on a toll road. What are you supposed to do when you come to an unmanned booth with only bills? Thanks everyone for trying to help a lost European here 😉 And I wish… Read more »

Dorothy Z.

Why is parking not good at MK? I’m driving down with my mom who uses a seat walker(she has a handicap sticker) and we’re staying off site. What is the best thing to do?

Jessica

Thank you, so helpful! I have a question about parking at a resort for dining reservation (we will not be staying at resort). In the post you wrote, “If you are visiting for dining reservations or to tour, etc., you can park up to 3 hours for free”
How do you get that parking pass? Book it ahead of time, day of?
Also, can anyone take the monorail even if not staying on property or going to the parks that day, (just using it for transportation for dining)?

Brandi

We are going in December and renting a van for the trip down from NC. We will be staying at Shades of Green, if we decided to drive to the parks would we have to pay at each park or can you just pay 20$ for the whole day?

Megan

You pay $20 for the whole day, e.g. if you pay for parking at Hollywood Studios in the morning, then go to Animal Kingdom at night, the parking receipt from Hollywood Studios would be valid at Animal Kingdom. I hope this helps 🙂

This has the full Disney parking policy: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/parking/

Rebecca

Hi Brandi, my husband and I drive from Savannah several times a year and stay at Shades of Green. It is great! They have buses to all the parks and, if you are comfortable with a 15-minute walk, you can walk from Shades to the Polynesian and use the monorail from there. Just thought I’d chime in and let you know it is SO convenient!

Clint Pressley

We have taken 3 Disney vacations with our boys, and tried money saving methods (flying into Sanford the first time, and renting a car and staying off-site last year), which always seem to backfire. My advice is to just book everything through Disney, stay on site, take the Disney shuttle from the Orlando airport, enjoy the Disney transportation, and relax! You’re going to spend money no matter what, so enjoy your vacation and don’t add unnecessary stress. If you must rent a car, do NOT rent from Sixt Rent A Car. We rented a van for a family Disney vacation… Read more »

Paul

We always used the bus transportation and stayed at a Disney Resort. On our most recent trip we stayed off property due to having extra people with us. We ended up staying at the Carib Royal hotel and suites, what a great place. I might just stay off property from now on, my suite was alot less than Disney property and was 1200 sq ft and free parking. Anyway we used the bus service and the first day was a disaster, over an hour each trip. So for the first time we decided to drive and made it in no… Read more »

Dorothy Z.

Hi Paul! You mentioned being able to park in handicap being a disabled vet, thank you for your service! Can you please tell me about the handicap parking at a magic Kingdom? I’m taking my mom down in June and she is also handicap and utilizes a seat walker. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Holly B.

Hello. I’m new to your site. We are traveling to Disney in October with myself (34), my husband (33) and our two kids (8 and 2). I have recently been diagnosed with pretty severe arthritis in my hip. I am planning to try my best to get myself prepared (lose weight, get used to walking more, etc) to try to avoid an ECV. That being said, I’d still like to reduce “extra” walking if possible. As for the amount of walking, are you still better off to drive to the parks except MK?

Thank you!!!!

Tammy

Just a quick question about the Sun Pass. I just received our transponder and I’m wondering if the rental car already has one, will it charge that one or mine? How can I make sure the toll doesn’t go on the rental car’s transponder? I wouldn’t want to have a surprise with the bill.
Thank you so much for all your amazing work on this website, sooooo helpful!

Tammy

Thank you!! 🙂

Kelly

Do you think it’s possible if we drive our car for my husband to drop me and the kids off at the gate and THEN go park the car and meet us back at the gate?

Heather

No, you can’t do this. Only trams & buses are allowed close to the main gates, which is even more true at MK where public traffic is confined to the other side of the lagoon.

One late night we were leaving a park and got confused by the cone configuration in the area. We ended up in the tram lane, and quickly got pulled over by an Orange County Trooper who admonished us with threats of big fines, etc. After explaining, he was very cordial and helped us out of the area.

Tina

Hi- I recently returned from a family trip to Disney World, and although my family has been there before this was the first trip where we rented a car and we loved it! It will definitely be something that we budget for on our next trip too as it worked out so well for getting us to the parks bright and early, park hoping and dinning reservations at some of the other resorts. Because we were traveling with a group of six we decided to still take the Magical Express to our resort, Art of Animation. That way we didn’t… Read more »

Jodi

I always rent a car. I like to be in charge and have the pure convenience of going where I want to when. I feel like there is a lot of wasted time waiting on Disney transportation. It depends on what time we land if we take I-4 & avoid the toll road but I always have change with me for toll roads. Also, I normally fly into Sanford because it’s a short drive from home to the airport & a 2 hour flight. Don’t forget to include driving to/from Sanford too! 🙂

John

I’ll always drive to every park except M.K. For all the other parks, my driving time beats the bus significantly. However, last Feb. I thought I had left plenty of time to make it from All Star Sports to M.K. for a fastpass return time at Seven Dwarfs. Just missed a bus, had to wait 15 minutes, and then also stopped at Music. Still made the return time with 10 minutes to spare. As for gas prices, there always seems to be a station price gouging on 535, between I-4 and Hotel Plaza Blvd. I saw a $5.99 price on… Read more »

Elise

Shannon, I’m such a nerd. Just looking at your shots of the road signs for Disney gives me goose bumps! 🙂 ha!

Elise

So sorry, Heather! Just noticed YOU wrote this one!

Sarah

I loved driving to/from the Disney parks! We stayed nearby (Windsor Hills) and found it incredibly easy to get to whichever park we were visiting that day. We rarely waited long for trams, even on busier days.
One important point not mentioned: you don’t pay twice for parking, if you have park hopper and visit another park later that day. Make sure to keep your receipt though!!

Betsy S

I disagree with not choosing to drive to Magic Kingdom. We just returned from our first trip in October. I had read that tip over and over again, and my children wanted to take the bus because they thought it would be fun. We live in a very rural area 🙂 We stayed at CBR, and we found it to actually be much longer, and just as much walking as driving there. Our bus pick up location was the 2nd farthest away (we arrived before rope drop everyday and had great parking locations at all the parks, so great that… Read more »

Julie

This post is fantastic information. We will have our car, but we’ll probably use Disney buses most of the time there. The exception is our Epcot day when we’ll want to be there at rope drop but be in the park for Illuminations as well. Thinking about driving in the morning, grabbing lunch when World Showcase opens at 11, then driving back to AoA for the afternoon to rest. Then we’ll take bus back for dinner and fun in the WS until the Park closes. Is this a reasonable plan?

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