Cheap Flight Options (DisneyWorld)

Flying is a quick and easy way to get to see the mouse.  Flying into Orlando airport is the most common approach. Most major hubs have daily flights into Orlando (MCO) and the prices tend to be competitive with so many choices. Since we live in the Washington DC area, we have a choice of three major airports to fly out of (Reagan National – DCA, Dulles – IAD, and Baltimore -BWI).

If you fly into Orlando, you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express which will take you from the airport directly to your Disney Resort (if you are staying on property). This will allow you to skip getting a rental car and just use Disney Transportation while staying on property.

Unfortunately, you can’t take advantage of Magical Express if you aren’t staying at a Disney Resort. We have used the Magical Express in the past, but mainly rely on renting a car now. We enjoy the freedom of not having to wait on Disney Transportation to get around.


We use the following tools for finding cheap flights:


kayak and matrix should find all flights except southwest and jetblue.  Some of the options to use on these sites are:

1) Play with the dates of travel.  Can you fly in a day or two before or leave a day or two after you were planning?  The extra costs for hotel and food might be offset by greatly reduced airfare.  Take advantage of those extra days for shopping or relaxing by the pool.

2) Try different airports.  Don’t forget about the possibility of flying into a different airport. Tampa (TPA), Jacksonville (JAX), and maybe even Miami (MIA) might be worth exploring. Flying into Miami would definitely require renting a car and driving 3 or 4 hours, but you might save enough on airfare to make it worthwhile for your family.

I saw a great example of this recently.  A flight from Dulles to Orlando costs $300.  I found another flight from Dulles to Tampa for the same dates for $150.  Those savings really add up for a family of four.  You will have to rent a car to get from Tampa to Orlando, but we usually do so anyway.

3) Look at different flight times.  While it might be optimal to fly in at 10 am.  Consider taking that 6 am flight to save some money.  We’ve woken the kids up at 4:00 am to get to the airport for that 6:15 am flight, but hey, I got a great deal on them.  We’ve also arrived at 12:30 am into Orlando with a two year old that was now wide awake.  That wasn’t my smartest move, but again, I was looking to save money.

4) Get free (or reduced) airfare.  Have you been using credit cards to accumulate miles or points that you can convert to miles?  All the major airlines have credit card partners that are more than willing to dump points on you for using their credit cards.  Signing up for two credit cards for United should give you enough miles to get a family of four to Orlando and back home without costing you any money.  Plus, the credit card will get you free bags and priority boarding as well.

We don’t usually use miles to get to Orlando since I have always found tickets for $250 or less for most of our trips.  I save those miles for cross country trips to the West Coast that cost $350 and up.

You can also look for methods of getting reduced price gift cards for the airlines.  I’m aware of gift cards for Southwest airlines and American Airlines.  You can buy these with your favorite credit card that give you discounts at office supply stores or grocery stores and save some additional money or get points/miles.  You can also purchase Southwest Gift Cards at Target, getting a minimum of 5% off of those with a Target Credit/Debit Card.

You could also look through the gift card resale sites, and maybe find some savings on those cards.  Its not a typical avenue that we explore, but its still a possibility.



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