Tag Archives: Southwest Airlines

Getting to Disney World from Orlando International Airport

For those of you who have never flown into the Orlando Airport and tried to get to Disney World, I will give step-by-step instructions.

The central place.
The central place.

Upon arrival, depending on what airline you arrive on, you walk past the arrival gates and come to a central area with shops and a few restaurants. You then board a tram which takes you to another building.

Here's the tram.
Here’s the tram.

Upon arrival at the main building you walk past the airport security on your left and arrive at a central area of the Hyatt hotel.

The central area of the Hyatt.
The central area of the Hyatt.

You have a choice of going to Terminal A or Terminal B. You need to veer to the left and go through Terminal B.

Terminal B.
Terminal B.

You then look for an escalator or elevator and go to the first floor where there is ground transportation (There are signs that say ground transportation). If you are renting a car this is where you would find the car rental desks. If you are taking The Magic Express (a free service provided by Disney World, which I would heartily endorse) you go to the end of the ground transportation area on the first floor and this is where you will find the Magic Express bus service to the resorts. You scan your magic band or present a ticket Disney sends through the mail to you. A friendly Disney employee then directs you to the line you should wait in. It is usually a short wait before they tell you which bus to board. The bus driver places your carry-on luggage underneath the bus.

These helpful Disney/airport cast members will direct you to the right bus.
These helpful Disney/airport cast members will direct you to the right bus.

If you do take the Magic Express bus service, you may wait on the bus for up to 20 minutes, but the time goes by fast as your anticipation of arriving at Disney World grows. The seats are comfortable and they play a video of information about Disney World and some cartoon shorts.

It takes about 25 minutes to arrive at Disney World. Depending on how many stops your bus makes before the bus arrives at your resort, it takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes to actually pull up to your resort. Upon arrival, the bus driver gives you your carry-on luggage and someone at the resort greets you by name and leads you inside to the check-in desk.

Disney World! HURAH!
Disney World! Hoorah!

Another perk I must mention: if you checked any luggage, you don’t have to wait at the airport to pick it up and take with you on the Magic Express. Disney will make sure your luggage arrives at the resort and will either hold it at bell services or they will bring it to your room.

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Eating “Cheaply” at Walt Disney World.

Is this even possible you may be thinking. I guess the word cheap is a relative thing but we have managed to eat reasonably inexpensively at Disney World for several years now. One of the first tips my husband posted on: the refillable mugs. This alone makes a huge difference. Even in any setting whether a beach destination, Disney, or even at home; drinks are a huge part of a food budget when eating out. The refillable mugs are a great price saver when staying at the parks for more than 3-4 days. The longer the stay, the bigger the price savings. The mugs can be refilled as many times as possible with soda, Powerade, lemonade, tea, coffee, and hot cocoa. The length of stay mug costs $17.99 which sounds like a lot but if you are staying even 7 days and fill the mug 5 times per day that is 51 cents/ refill. If you stay 14 days like we have that is 26 cents/ refill. You must fill the mugs at the resorts as there isn’t a place in the parks to fill them but we fill ours before every trip out, which is usually twice per day

I always want to come here to eat when we come to EPCOT. They have great Mexican food and nice inside seating.
I always want to come here to eat when we come to EPCOT. They have great Mexican food and nice inside seating.

For food, we eat at the quick service restaurants at the parks and at the Contempo Cafe at The Contemporary Resort. We stay at the Bay Lake Tower a lot and the Contempo Cafe has reasonable prices and good selection with some nutritious choices. We have stayed at other resorts and found their quick service restaurants pretty good and usually more relaxed than at the parks.

At Epcot there are many quick service options that are both reasonable in price and filling and good.
At the Land in Epcot there is the Sunshine Seasons restaurant that has 5 food choices like a mini-food court. The Mexico Pavillion and many of the countries offer good food at reasonable prices.

This is the Pinnochio Village Haus, my favorite restaraunt in Magic Kingdom. They serve some of the best flatbreads in all the parks.
This is the Pinnochio Village Haus, my favorite restaraunt in Magic Kingdom. They serve some of the best flatbreads in all the parks.

At Magic Kingdom both Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Pinocchio’s Village Haus have good choices for about $10/ person per adult and less for kid’s meals. Ray’s has a huge 1/2 roasted chicken meal with great mashed potatoes and green beans for $10.99. ( We buy two meals and get an extra plate and feed all three of us). Ray’s has 3 food choices with different lines; one for chicken, one for sandwiches and burgers, and one for soups and salads.

At Animal Kingdom Flame Tree Barbecue is good and not too expensive. Pizzafari is okay but nothing special.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. From the seating area pictured here you have a great view of the fireworks.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. From the seating area pictured here you have a great view of the fireworks.

Hollywood Studios has a dearth of quick service options. What is there is sub-par in my opinion.

If you fly with Southwest, you can check two bags for free. This leads to another way to save. Pack an entire suitcase full of snacks and food. We did this for Christmas and saved money this way, especially since we like to snack quite a bit.

In summary, eating cheaply at Disney World isn’t possible but eating cheaper is.

Money Saving Tip: Southwest Rewards

Today, my money saving tip for travel to Disney World concerns a strategy for one aspect of a Disney vacation; travel to the parks.  We live too far to drive without an overnight stop-over; so, we started flying.  We live in a city that offers a direct flight to Orlando aboard Southwest Airlines.  Recently, I opened a Southwest Rewards credit card that offered 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in the first three months.  Miles can be redeemed for future flights, and, for us, 50,000 miles translates into about 4-5 round-trip tickets.  You can also shop through the Southwest shopping portal and earn points which translate into miles.

This strategy, with Southwest, may not work depending on where you live, but, all airlines offer credit card reward offers.  There are other cards that offer points as well.  This is one area where I have done a lot of research, and I use it for our family.  In upcoming “Money Saving Tip” posts, I will give the scoop on another way to amp up savings even more with Southwest Airlines, as well as a few of the best offers I have found.

*disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Southwest Airlines

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