Travel Tips

Packing Appropriately

On average, April is a temperate month in Florida, offering comparable weather to mid-Summer in Pennsylvania. More specifics about weather expectations are available here

 

Pack as if you’re taking a trip to the beach (shorts, polos, t-shirts, bathing suits, etc.) with a few options for cooler nights (jeans, long-sleeve shirts, windbreakers, etc.). Bring comfortable shoes to enjoy the Parks (tennis shoes, sandals, etc.) and close-toed shoes for less casual settings like restaurants.

 

Disney resort hotels have community laundry facilities, so there is no need to over-pack. Despite temperate April weather, Florida heat and sunshine can always become intense, so also pack protective items like sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen.

Guests traveling with younger companions may also wish to bring their own strollers, which should be easily transportable (e.g., foldable and lightweight). Single and double strollers are also available for daily rental at all theme parks.

 

You may wish to bring a backpack or tote to store certain items when you visit the Parks. You are allowed to bring outside food and beverages (except alcohol) into all theme parks. All bags are subject to security screening before Guests may enter the Parks. Review Disney's list of prohibited personal items prior to your visit, and Guests traveling by plane should also consult the TSA mobile app to verify the permissibility of items they plan to pack. 

Traveling By Plane

The duration of flights from Pennsylvania to Florida is approximately two hours. The nearest arrival airport to Disney is Orlando International Airport (MCO). Sanford International Airport (SFB) is another nearby option. Most airlines only offer direct service to MCO from another major airport, like Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

 

At any airport, you should arrive at least two and a half hours prior to your scheduled departure to allow time for parking, transport, security screening, etc. 

Airport Parking

PHL offers two parking options: Economy and Premium. Rates start at $11 per day. Economy parking requires Guests to park in a disconnected lot and shuttle to the airport. Premium parking allows Guests to park in a covered parking garage connected to the airport.

 

Alternatively, some nearby hotels offer Guests with paid reservations to remain parked for free (or at a minimal charge) during their trip and use the hotel's shuttle service to/from PHL. 

TSA Screening

All airlines typically allow the carriage of one carry-on bag (approximately 10” X 16” X 24”) and one personal item (backpack, purse, etc.) per person into the cabin of the plane, with all other luggage needing to be checked with the airline. Consult your airline to learn specific restrictions on the measurements and weight of your luggage.

 

All luggage must be screened prior to boarding. The TSA offers a mobile app and website that allow you to search for common items and determine what is allowed in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, both, or neither. 

Recommended Airline

For first-time flyers or those without a preferred airline, the couple recommends Southwest Airlines for its flexible booking options, family seating accommodations, and low-cost fare. Flights booked with Southwest may be modified or canceled up to ten minutes prior to boarding without penalty. Unlike other airlines, Southwest allows each passenger to transport two checked bags for free, in addition to their carry-on and personal items.

 

Southwest also offers a unique group-based boarding system, where passengers are assigned to Group A, B, or C to board the plane, and passengers line up according to their assigned position outside the gate and board sequentially (Group A boards first, followed by Group B, then C). "Family Boarding" allows up to two adults traveling with at least one child 6 years old or younger to board together between Groups A and B.

 

Non-family travelers may opt to purchase EarlyBird, which automatically checks you in for a boarding position assignment 36 hours prior to departure, improving your position. Otherwise, passengers must manually check in everyone in their party when check-in opens 24 hours prior to boarding (the sooner you do, the better your position number). You can learn more about Southwest’s boarding policies here

Transportation from Airport to Disney 

You have several options to make the trip from your destination airport to Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Those flying into MCO and staying at a Disney resort hotel may take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, a complimentary bus service that shuttles Disney resort hotel Guests directly from MCO to their hotel (and back at the end of their stay). Provide your flight details online or by calling (407) 827-6777 to book this service. 

 

Traditional and on-demand taxi services like Uber or Lyft are also available, as are car rental agencies at your destination airport. National and Alamo have on-site locations at Walt Disney World Resort, so it may be worth considering either of these agencies to make vehicle pick-up/return easier. 

Traveling By Amtrak

Amtrak is another great option for those not fond of flying or driving. This direct-to-destination train service will get you to Florida in just under a day, traveling non-stop. Service runs directly from Philadelphia to Orlando, with connecting bus routes from Scranton to Philadelphia provided by Amtrak. You can learn more about this alternative here.

 

Traveling By Automobile 

For purposes of evaluating costs between driving and other means of travel, assume you'll need to re-fuel your vehicle approximately 3 or 4 times each way. Toll roads, etc. may be an additional expense.

Recommended Routes

Guests driving to Florida should prepare for a trip taking 16-24 hours to complete, depending on traffic conditions and frequency of rest stops. The total length of either below route is approximately 1,100 miles. 

Option 1

 I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95 to I-4

Option 2

I-81 to I-95 to I-4 

Avoiding Traffic

To reduce traffic along your route, it is generally best to avoid traveling on weekends and aim to depart overnight (e.g., 2AM). This way, the majority of your drive will be completed during off-times and you'll be able to schedule your rest stops during periods of heavy traffic like morning and evening rush hours. For those traveling with younger companions, this will also help ensure children rest for a good portion of the trip.

Road Trip Essentials

Pack a cooler filled with snacks and refreshments as well as an emergency kit and essential toiletries in case a rest stop is unavailable when needed. Remember to bring cash for vending machines and tolls, just in case. 

 

An excellent resource to have on-hand is The Next Exit, which is a popular travel directory that provides a comprehensive list of all exits and points of interests (food, hotels, gas stations, etc.) along any interstate route.

Pennsylvania (3 hrs) Maryland (0.5 hrs) West Virginia (0.5 hrs) Virginia (4 hrs) >

North Carolina (2 hrs) South Carolina (3 hrs) Georgia (2 hrs) Florida (3 hrs)

Pennsylvania (3 hrs) Maryland (1 hr) Virginia (3 hrs) 

North Carolina (3 hrs) South Carolina (3 hrs) Georgia (2 hrs) > Florida (3 hrs)

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