So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Walt Disney World! While of course, the dream is to just live a short drive away from Disney World that isn’t always possible. Back when I lived in New England we would almost always fly to the most magical place on Earth. So for those of you a plane flight away from Disney here are our top tips for flying to Disney World.
Be Sure to Check Baggage and Other Policies Before Booking
Step number one is to do your research before you even book your flight. I would encourage you to look into the airline’s policy and see all costs involved. On some airlines, bags fly free like Southwest, while almost all other airlines charge. You have to watch out because some airlines even charge for carry-on bags too.
Other policies to pay attention to are change fees and cancellation fees. Things happen and sometimes you have to move or cancel your trip. If you don’t get travel insurance you are going to have to pay out of pocket for any of these fees.
Pro Tip: remember Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are usually the cheapest days to fly.
Make Sure you Fly into MCO Orlando’s International Airport
Picking your airport is important and there are several in the area. Your closest airport is going to be Orlando’s International Airport aka MCO. Flying to MCO is the only airport to give you the Magical Express transportation to your Disney World Resort. Note that this complimentary Disney Resort service will end on January 1st, 2022.
If you don’t care about being close or the Magical Express service you do have a couple more airport options. The first is Sanford International (SFB). It’s only served by a few minor airlines, the most of popular of which is the low cost airline Allegiant. It’s about 50 miles from Walt Disney World and since you would mainly take I4 to get to Disney World you should expect some heavy traffic on your journey making the trip well over an hour and depending on the day perhaps two hours.
The second option is flying into Tampa Airport (TPA). Again you should expect to hit traffic on your journey to Disney World. This airport is about 1 1/2 hours away.
Pick the Proper Shoes
This is always a big one we stress for your days in the parks, I mean who wants blisters on your vacation? However there is an ideal shoe for the airport too. You will want to wear shoes that are easy to get off and on at security. I like slide on clogs or flats since I can still have some sort of sock on and don’t have to touch the gross security line floor.
Recommended Flying Outfit
Disney fashion starts the second you leave for your trip! Just kidding this is a flight and you want to be comfortable! Stretchy pants, loose top, and dress in layers. Then if you get cold or hot on the flight you can easily adjust.
While it’s tempting I recommend avoiding jewelry and belts if possible. This helps make going through security a breeze.
Pack Properly for Flying
Pack medicine and other valuables in your carry-on. It’s important to remember that bags can get lost or delayed during your travels. You will want to have anything on you that you can’t live without or would be an extremely expensive loss.
If you want to minimize the risk of your luggage getting lost we have a few tips for you. First make sure you have all old airline tags removed (remember this for your return flight home too!). You don’t want things getting mixed with an old flight. In the event something does happen it’s also a good idea to include a tag with your information inside the suitcase as well.
Pro Tip: If you plan to visit the parks the second you roll up to your hotel then you will want to make sure you have your Disney Parks bag packed and ready!
Also I recommend to pack things to keep the kids entertained on the flight. iPads are a great source of entertainment. Especially if you are on a shorter flight and your plane doesn’t have a TV option.
Wear Those Masks
Masks are required to fly. Make sure you wear one that’s comfortable and pack extras in your carry on. Especially if traveling with children. If you are looking for comfortable recommendations check out our list here.
Bonus tip: I also put our extra masks and MagicBands in a ziplock bag. This way they are easy to grab and I have a bag to throw the dirty ones in and keep separate from the rest of my items.
Keep your MagicBand Handy
Make sure MagicBands are in your carry on. You will need to scan the band to board the Magical Express. Plus these bracelets get you everywhere these days. You can use them to open your door once you arrive at the resort. Then you can use your MagicBand to pay for items throughout your stay as well as scan to enter the park. The long story short, wear those band, keep them handy and DO NOT put them in your checked luggage.
Prepare the Kids
Especially if your kids are new to flying this is an important step. Before you even leave to the airport you should explain what’s going to happen at the airport (like going through security) as well as what the experience of flying itself is like.
If your kids seem nervous about flying you can try picking up a book like this classic, Maisy Goes on a Plane. Or my favorite as a kids (disclaimer I grew up pre iPad) is the fun activity books like this one.
Once you arrive make sure there is plenty of time to go through security and have kids use the bathroom before the flight. Also, grab any snack you or your kids may need once through security as food and beverage service was limited on the flight.
Pro Tip: The hardest time on kids is typically takeoff and landing. With the big pressure changes, this is when ears will hurt. To avoid the pain of the built-up pressure little ones suck can on a bottle. Older kids can chew gum, or suck on hard candy.
Recent Flying Changes
Just as with everything else the current pandemic has changed how things work at the airport. There is currently no luggage service to your Disney Resort.
You will need to get your luggage from the baggage claim before you go to the Magical Express. If needed Bell Services will still be able to hold luggage for you at your resort.
Don’t Forget the Tip
Something a lot of people forget about when getting to Disney is tipping is welcome. Cash to tip the driver of the Magical Express is always recommended. If you are using a car service or even a ride share service you will want to plan to tip there as well.
Also if you plan on using Bell Services at your resort you will want cash for that too!
Overall Thoughts on Flying to Disney World
Flying is a quick and efficient way to get to places far away and Disney World is no exception. While there is a learning curve to flying once you are armed with the ropes getting to your destination is a breeze. Let me know in the comments below what your top airport travel tips are when flying to Disney World.
Krystal Gresock is an Authorized Disney Travel Planner with Magical Travel. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. They love traveling to Disney World, Disneyland, and taking Disney Cruises. You can reach her to book your next trip at Krystal@magicaltravel.com or follow her at https://www.facebook.com/magicaltravelbykrystal/.
Krystal Gresock is an Authorized Disney Travel Planner with Magical Travel. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. They love traveling to Disney World, Disneyland, and taking Disney Cruises. You can reach her to book your next trip at Krystal@magicaltravel.com or follow her at https://www.facebook.com/magicaltravelbykrystal/