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The Ins & Outs of Travel: Car Rental


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One-Stop Shopping for Car Rental Deals

TheMouseForLess.com has partnered with RentalCarMomma.com to bring web site visitors convenient, one-stop shopping for rental car deals. If you just don't have the time required to visit various car rental web sites and type in numerous discount codes, RentalCarMomma has everything you need all in one place. Visit RentalCarMomma's Hot Deal page for discount coupons, exclusive company discounts, and codes built-in for each of the top car rental companies. Because we feel RentalCarMomma is a great resource for our readers, we are happy to have them as an advertiser and recommend them to you. Visit our Marketing Disclosure page for more details.

 


Do You Need a Rental Car?

If we're just talking about need, the answer to this question largely depends on what you want to do after you get to Walt Disney World. In general, if you don't plan to visit other Orlando area attractions during your stay, it really isn't necessary to rent a car.

Pros of Disney Transportation: Disney offers complimentary transportation, for both you and your luggage, to and from the Orlando International Airport via Disney's Magical Express. This service is free and available to all guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Disney-owned hotel. A reservation is required prior to arrival at the airport. Call Walt Disney World Travel Company at 407-934-7639 to make a reservation or ask your travel agent.

We've heard more than one park visitor comment that "navigating the roads of Walt Disney World resort can be a bit challenging at times," especially for first time visitors. In spite of numerous signs, the multiple lane highways transversing the property with a myriad of exits can be confusing, and guests often make wrong turns trying to get from place to place. Additionally, roads leading to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom, can be jam-packed early morning.

The good news is that Disney also operates an extensive on-property bus transportation system that is complimentary for resort guests. Buses pick up and transport guests to and from the theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney, and other resort areas. In addition, boats (water taxis, ferryboats, etc) and/or monorails are available from some theme parks and resorts. Ask for a Walt Disney World Transportation Guide at the front desk of your resort or click here to view an online map.

In short, from the airport, around the entire Walt Disney World Resort and back to the airport, Disney has you covered. Just sit back and relax, let Disney do the driving, and don't worry about the price of gas! If money is tight, foregoing a rental car can be a great way to save while visiting Walt Disney World.

Pros of Renting: On the flip side of the debate, there are a few reasons you really might want to consider renting a car.

There are a few resort locations on Walt Disney World property that can take a huge bite out of your vacation time if you depend solely on Disney Transportation. The cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness resort and campground can take considerable travel time to get almost anywhere using Disney transportation. If you've reserved meals at resorts other than your own, trips between resorts often require using a theme park connection, requiring extra travel time. Direct trips between theme parks or to Downtown Disney can take quite a lot of travel time using Disney Transportation.

For an estimate of travel times from each resort, consult our Resort FAQs (look for the "transportation" link at the top of the resort page).

Holidays and peak seasons can be insanely busy, and park transportation suffers during these periods. Waits can be long and buses are sometimes jam packed with riders. Riders may find themselves unable to board the first bus to a park or resort, and during park closings or after evening firework displays, riders may wait for 2 buses or more before being able to board. Additionally, those with issues standing for long periods of time or who have small children that need to be carried may also want to forgo Disney transportation. There is never a guarantee that you will get a seat on a resort bus, monorail or boat, and guests sometimes have to stand for the entire trip. Others may find the convenience and flexibility that having a rental car offers during their vacation a necessity they can't do without. If you fall into one of these categories, you may want to rent a car.

Traveling Off Walt Disney World Property
If you plan to visit one or more Orlando attractions during your stay, a rental car definitely becomes a more attractive option, although not the only option. Orlando has a host of transportation offerings, and visitors can use shuttles, taxi cabs, private vehicles for hire, and Orlando's public Lynx bus system to commute beyond Walt Disney World Resort boundaries.

• Public Transportation: Lynx is the most economical way to get to attractions like SeaWorld and Universal Studios Orlando. The "Link 50" bus runs directly to SeaWorld every 30 minutes, seven days a week from pickup points at Walt Disney World Ticket & Transportation Center (about 40 minutes to SeaWorld with stop at DTD) and Downtown Disney's West Side (about 20 minutes to SeaWorld). The cost is $2 per one-way fare. Transfers are free within 90 minutes. Drivers do not make change and exact change will be needed. The bus ride to SeaWorld takes about 30 minutes. Visit the GoLynx web site for more info on this route.

Using Public transportation to get to Universal Studios can more difficult and requires transfers. Using the Lynx routes and connections can vary depending on dates and time of day. If you know when you will visit Universal Studios in advance you can use Lynx's route planner. Just input "Ticket & Transportation Center" or "Downtown Disney" as your starting point and "Universal Orlando" as the destination, along with times and dates. There is no extra fee for transfers (limited to 90 minutes), so the cost will be $2 one way and typical travel times are about 90 minutes to 2 hours. You can also use a combination of the public bus and trolley system. To get to Universal Studios Orlando catch the same Link 50 bus at T & TC and get off at SeaWorld (which is I-Ride stop 33). From there catch the main Green Line I-Ride Trolley running up International Drive. The Green Line route will take you to the Doubletree across the street from the entrance to Universal (Green line stop G4). From there, it is possible to walk to Universal Studios, but you're probably looking at a 1/2 mile walk. This is not recommended. The Green Line trolley runs every 30 minutes from 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. and costs $1.25 for adults, $0.25 for seniors 65 and over and free for kids 12 and under with a paying adult. Drivers do not make change and exact change will be needed. The combined fare for Lynx and I-Ride trolley will be $3.25 one way. Typical travel times using Lynx and I-Ride run about two hours.

The I-Ride Trolley can be a great way to see the sights on International Drive in Orlando and for shopping. The Red Line starts at Orlando Premium Outlets International Drive (stop 1) and travels south to the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall Vineland Ave (stop 42), covering a vast concentration of factory outlets. Stops for areas of interest along the way (in geographical order) include Fun Spot Amusement Park (stop 6), Wet N Wild (stop 9), Pirates Dinner Show (stop 13), Ripley's Believe It or Not (stop 17), Pirates Cove Adventure Golf (stop 20), Wonderworks (stop 23), Pointe Orlando (stop 24), SeaWorld (stop 33), and Aquatica Water Park (stop 34).

For Lynx information, call (407) 841-5969 or view route maps online. For I-Ride information call toll-free (866) 243-7483 or view route maps online.

• Shuttle Transportation: Another option for venturing off Walt Disney World property without a rental car is to reserve a shuttle. Mears Transportation offers shuttles that will pick guests up at their Disney resorts and transport them to area attractions. The roundtrip fare for Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld is $20 per person. Fares vary according to attraction location. For a complete list of Mears Transportation's 2014 shuttle pricing click here. You must reserve the shuttle 24 hours in advance. Ask the front desk at your resort to call or dial (407) 423-5566 from your room or cell phone. Mears accepts credit cards as payment over the phone or cash upon pick up. Legoland offers a shuttle for $5 per person from the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Ave.

• Taxi: Taxis can be a great option for short trips off property or even as means of transportation to a late dinner at another resort on Disney property. Rates run at $2.40 for the first quarter mile, and 60 cents for each additional quarter mile. A 10-mile cab ride costs $25.80, plus tip. The trip from a Magic Kingdom resort to SeaWorld will run about $30, plus tip. The trip from a Magic Kingdom resort to Universal Studios Orlando will be approximately $40, plus tip. A taxi picking a couple up at the Boardwalk Inn and transporting them to the Grand Floridian for a romantic dinner at Narcoossee's will pay about $18 in cab fare each way, plus. Taxis can be found at the front of all theme parks and Downtown Disney. At Walt Disney World resorts, the front desk, concierge and valet services all have the numbers of taxi service and will make the call for you. Recommended taxi companies are Yellow Cab (407-699-9999), City Cab (407-422-2222) and Checker, all owned and operated by Mears Transportation. Please note to use only Mears, as any other cab is independently owned and have been know to charge exorbitant prices. Mears has a handy online taxi fare calculator that allows web site visitors to enter their starting and ending destinations. Fares will vary depending on the route taken, time of day and traffic conditions. Groups of 5 to 7 should request a van taxi. As a general rule, tips should be approximately 15 percent of the total fare.

• Charter Bus Tours: To venture even further off Disney property, consider using on of the local Bus sightseeing tours such as GotoBus, GrayLine Tours and Florida Dolphins Tours. Half-day, all-day and overnight tours are available to destinations such as Clearwater Beach, Cocoa Beach, the Everglades, Kennedy Space Center, Miami and more. Tour companies pick up at Disney's All Star Music Resort and The Swan Hotel. Walt Disney World Resort guests can use Disney's free transportation system to get to either of these resorts from any Disney theme park or Downtown Disney.

• Transportation Included with Admission: Universal Studios has begun offering advance purchase admission tickets that include roundtrip transportation from Walt Disney World resorts to Universal using Mears Transportation. A 1-Day / 2-Park Universal Studios ticket with round trip transfers cost $142.71 ages 10 and up and $136.32 for ages 3 - 9.

To learn more about these tickets or to purchase tickets, visit our Universal Studios Discount Page.

• Private Transportation: Private transportation can be arranged from a number of Orlando transportation companies via Towncars, SUV's and private limos. Most can transport up to 6 guests for a one-price charge. Private transportation companies provide round trip transportation to and from Orlando International Airport, as well as from resorts and hotels to area attractions.

Click here to see a complete list of exclusive TheMouseForLess discounts on private transportation.

• One-Day Car Rental: One final option, should you wish to venture beyond Walt Disney World property: Reserve a rental car just for the day! This can be done very conveniently while staying at Walt Disney World with rates running under $50 per day plus fees and sometimes as low as $30 or less. Alamo and National have pick-up/drop-off centers on property located at the Car Care Center near the exit of the Magic Kingdom parking lot (location code: ORLR72 Alamo/ORLR02 National) and at the Dolphin Hotel in the Epcot area (location code: ORLR74 Alamo/ORLR13 National). For the best possible rate, try to make your reservation online using one of our discount codes, even if you're currently at Walt Disney World. Just remember that online reservations must be made at least one day in advance. After reserving a car, a shuttle can be requested to transport you from your resort to the Car Care Center by calling the Car Care Center at (407) 824-3470 up to 24 hours in advance or ask the front desk of your resort to request the shuttle. You can also request for a shuttle to drop you back at your resort after returning your rental car. The car rental at the Dolphin Resort can be reached by calling (407) 934-4930.

If you are staying at one of the Downtown Disney hotels there are a few pick-up/drop-off locations for various car rental companies located there as well. National at Buena Vista Palace (location ORLR03) can be reached by calling (407) 827-6363. For information on other car rental companies at Downtown Disney hotels, see information for individual hotels listed on our Downtown Disney hotel page. Most Downtown Disney hotel car rental agencies (particularly Avis, Dollar & Enterprise) will provide transportation from other hotels and resorts if requested.

Those in the military, on active duty or retired, with appropriate ID, may use the Alamo and National car rental (location code: ORLR82 Alamo/ORLR12 National) at Shades of Green on Disney Property, near Disney's Polynesian Resort. For reservations, call (888) 826-6893.

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What You Should Know Before Renting

Many travelers prefer the convenience of a car once they arrive at their destination. This, of course, entails renting a car for the duration of the vacation. Years ago, one only had to pick up the phone, rent a car that was available, arrive to pick it up on time, and drive off. There were very little worries about hidden fees, extra information to bring along, or even a driving record check. If you had a license and a credit card, you could rent and drive a car off the lot. Today, those worries do exist, and every rental company is different. Also be aware that when you are quoted a "base rental car rate" it does not include rental coverages, sales taxes, airport taxes, airport/concession, vehicle license fees and miscellaneous surcharges that could boost the rate you are quoted an average of 25% or more. The following is a list of possible additional charges taken from a public publication provided by the FTC.

  • Additional Driver fee: If both spouses are planning on driving a rental car or any other qualified driver, you will need to pay this fee

  • Airport Surcharges: Airport authorities impose this fee for airport use even when rental car companies shuttle you to an off-airport site.

  • Drop-off fees: Refers to charges some rental companies impose for dropping a car off at a different location from where it was picked up.

  • CDW and LDW/LOU (in states where they are allowed): see Insurance below

  • Deposit or Refundable charge: see below

  • Fuel charge: see Fuel Charges below

  • Mileage fees: A cents-per-mile charge or a flat fee when a driver exceeds the allotted free mileage cap. Look for unlimited mileage offers if you'll be driving a great distance.

  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): A per day charge that pays a death benefit and portion of medical expenses if a drivers is in a collision; if you don't need it, don't buy it.

  • Personal Effects Coverage (PEC): Another per day charge for loss of personal belongings in the event of theft. Don't leave valuables in the car and forego this charge. Sometimes combined with PAI and called PAE

  • Taxes: Everyone has to pay them. Florida's sales tax is 6.5% and it's not applied to that attractive base price you are quoted. Sales tax is calculated after other fees are applied.

  • Underage Driver fee: These fees are applied when a driver is under the age of 25.

  • Out-of-State Charge: A fee applied when a vehicle is driven out of the state in which it was rented.

  • State/City/Airport/Rental Company Charges:
    • Florida charges car renters a $2 per day state surcharge.
    • Orlando International Airport charges a 8.7% Airport Access Fee on the rental cost for customers who shuttle to an from off-airport car rental companies and a 9.8% Concession Fee Recovery Charge for those renting at the airport. If you rent your car at the Car Care Center in Walt Disney World, your won't fare any better. At that location the Airport Access Fee and Concession Fee Recovery Charge are replaced with a Landlord Concession Fee Recovery of 10%.
    • Vehicle License Recoup fees are typically 40 - 60¢ per day but can be more.
    • Orlando International Airport implemented a Customer Facility Charge of $2.50 plus tax for each day of the car rental to a maximum of $12.50 plus tax. All clients collecting cars from Orlando International Airport (On Airport) rental desks will incur this charge at the time of collection. This new charge is implemented by Orlando International Airport directly and NOT by the car rental companies. This fee shouldn't show up on rentals made at Alamo/National on Walt Disney property. They can be found at Buena Vista Palace Hotel (ORLR73/ORLR03), Walt Disney Car Care Center (ORLR72/ORLR02) and the Dolphin Resort (ORLR74/ORLR13).
    • Other charges we've seen from Orlando car rental companies are Energy Recovery Fee of about 50¢ per day and a Tire/Battery Fee of a few cents per day (sometimes included in the State Surcharge)


  • Equipment Rental fees: You could pay this one just for requesting a car seat, some rental companies charging almost $10 per day. Alamo is currently charging $9.99 per day for any type of child seat. In Florida children younger than 4 years of age or less than 36 inches in height must be restrained in a car seat. When shopping around, note that some companies will place a "maximum" on car seat rental charges. National charges $7 per day for a car seat but has a maximum rate of $49 per rental.

Insurance: When renting a car, you may be offered a collision damage waiver (CDW) and/or a loss damage waiver (LDW or LOU). A CDW is an optional charge of $9 to $13 a day which guarantees that the rental company will pay for damages to your rental car. Technically, this is not true collision insurance. If you decline this waiver, you accept responsibility for any damages to the rental car. An LDW/LOU ensures that the rental company will recover any "loss of use" costs due to damage of its property. Before opting for either fee, contact your insurance agent, credit card companies (especially on Gold & Platinum cards), and even your homeowner's insurance to see if your current policies or contracts covers them. Most car insurance companies already cover your personal liability should you be involved in an accident. Some insurance companies also cover rental-car damage (CDW), although some specialty vehicles such as SUVs or convertibles and others are often excluded. Very few states, however, require "loss of use" (LWD/LOU) coverage, a charge the rental company could levy for its lost income when a vehicle is taken out of service. Unless, you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island or Texas where insurance policies cover "loss" of use, or you are sure your credit card will cover it, purchasing the LDW/LOU waiver may be a very good idea. If you already have all of the liability and collision insurance covered, don't purchase them twice, and make the rental company confirm that you haven't inadvertently signed (or initialed) for them in the fine print before driving the car off the lot. Some companies require that you show proof of insurance.

Fuel Charges: Don't pay for more fuel than you'll actually consume. Staying on Walt Disney World property often means short drives alternated with the use of Walt Disney World transportation. Often, renters are given a choice between paying for a full tank of gas in advance and bringing the car back empty (which eliminates the need to make gas station stops on the way to the airport) or refilling the tank themselves within a short distance of the airport. If you don't think you will use a full tank of gas and will be remaining mainly on WDW property, you probably shouldn't pay for gas you may not use in advance.

Florida Toll Passes: Most major rental car companies now offer their customers the option of including tolls with the credit card used to rent the vehicle. These rental car customers can use Florida's toll roads and not worry about carrying cash or stopping to pay for tolls using the the SunPass ONLY, E-PASS ONLY and LeeWay ONLY toll lanes. Please note that many of these companies use an "automatic" opt-in policy when you use the express lane, inadvertently or not. Furthermore, using the lane once can result in a daily fee charged to your credit car whether you use the express lane again or not! Of the major car rental companies located at Orlando International Airport, only Dollar and Thrifty us OPT-IN or DECLINE at time of reservation or at the rental counter. While National, Alamo and Enterprise do use an automatic opt-in policy, these three car rental agencies charge your credit card a fee only on days you incur a toll, plus the cost of the toll and offer the best deal for Florida visitors on a one-time vacation in the area. Visit www.sunpass.com for more information on the toll pass offers for various car rental companies. Paying any toll services fees can be completely avoided by carrying a handful of quarters when you rent your car. Please note that many entrance and exit toll collections are unmanned and exact change is necessary.

Refundable Deposits: Some companies require a refundable deposit when picking up a rental car. The charge varies, but may be hundreds of dollars. Most rental companies make the charge to your credit card but do not process the amount unless you do not return the car as specified in your rental contract. Until you return the car, however, the spending limit on your credit card may be reduced by the amount of the deposit. This may be important if you plan to charge other items to your credit card and are near the credit limit. If you do not have a major credit card, or you do not want to charge the deposit, ask if the deposit can be paid in cash.

Background Checks: Ask if there is a driving background check and what it takes to be qualified if there is. Many car rental companies now run such checks to lessen the chances of accidents over a bad driving record. If your record won’t pass muster, consider allowing another driver traveling with you to rent the car. For instance, if you have a series of moving violations or other traffic related difficulties on your record (including accidents), but your spouse doesn’t, let your spouse rent the car for the family vacation. Just remember that the person who rents the car must also be the person who drives the car.

Watch the Clock: Be aware of the "24 hour clock rate" most rental car companies use with rates, and you should allow plenty of time to return your rental car. This means if you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, you are charged for one day only if you return it within 24 hours of renting it. The policy for most companies is that an additional hourly rate is charged for the first several hours after 24 hours. Returning the car after this short "hourly rate period" means a whole extra day is usually charged. The late-return fee varies by company--some charge a flat fee and others adjust your entire rate or both. Justification is that the terms of the contract were violated. If you'll also be purchasing airline tickets, it will be worth the trouble, and will most likely save you money, to make sure you pick flights that will allow you to return your rental car at approximately the same time of day that you picked it up.

Credit Cards: Most rental car agencies accept only major credit cards and do NOT accept debit cards or cash. If the car agency accepts debit cards, there are additional requirements and/or location restrictions. Alamo accepts debit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logo and a Round trip air ticket, but restricts certain locations. Dollar requires an acceptable credit check with debit cards.

Upgrades: Edmunds.com offers the following advice concerning vehicle upgrade offers from car rental companies: "Sometimes, rental car companies will offer free or low-cost upgrades to larger vehicles. They do this mainly because compacts tend to be in high demand. This sort of upgrade may seem like a great deal for you, the renter. If having a larger vehicle will genuinely enhance your rental experience, then take the upgrade. But if you have no real need for the extra space, it's cheaper to decline. Larger vehicles burn more gas, so that 'free' upgrade isn't really free, and you'll wind up paying for it at the pump." Sometimes the upgrade is offered because there are no cars left in your category. In this case, it's best to ask about your original rental first and if the upgrade being offered isn't free, insist that it should be.

Last Minute Details: Ask for any extra key. Many companies will supply one which can come in handy if you lock yourself out. Inspect the vehicle with the attendant for scratches, dents or other damage before leaving the rental lot. Any dents or scratches should be noted on the contract before you leave the lot. Some companies may enforce a hard line policy regarding having prior damage noted in writing.

International Drivers: Beginning in January 1, 2013, Florida law requires all drivers from abroad — including Canadian and British tourists — possess an international driver's permit in addition to their regular license. Millions of international visitors drive in Florida each year, and state legislators thought the international driving permit — a standardized document that translates the license details into 10 different languages — would help law officers interpret foreign licenses. The permit seems notably more important for visitors from locations such as Quebec and Brazil where English is likely not the language of their credentials. The new law, however, applies to any non-resident and to those renting cars as well, although it is unclear whether car rental agencies would ask for the permit. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has said it is looking to "clarify the law" so that English-language licenses would be acceptable. The next legislative session begins in March, and the soonest any change might happen would be July 1, 2013. Canadians can pick up an IDP at a local CAA office for $25, plus the cost of passport photos. It's valid for one year.
Update: The Florida Highway Patrol will no longer be enforcing a state law requiring Canadian drivers to carry an international driving permit along with their drivers license. The CAA is working to find out whether the same applies to local police forces. If not, it's possible Canadian drivers could be arrested for driving without a valid license. Also, there remains concerns about insurance coverage in Florida since for the time being the law states that without an international driver's permit Canadians do not have a valid driver's license. "We've heard conflicting signals from the industry on whether they'd honor policies or not," said CAA spokesperson Ian Jack. "In the interim, Insurance Bureau of Canada, strongly discourages any insurer from using the amended Florida statute as a reason to deny coverage on the basis that the non-resident driver was not authorized to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Florida." As to whether car rental agencies would require the international driving permit, Budget car rental as said the permit would be required along with the driver's license to rent a vehicle in Florida, while both Hertz and Enterprise in Orlando have said that only a valid Canadian license would be required for car rental.

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Getting the Best Deals

Now that you understand the basics and all of the fees and charges that may apply to your car rental, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of saving money and finding the best deals.

Research Tip: Before renting a car, research the make, model and year for fuel efficiency. The difference between a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon and one that gets 30 mpg can add up.

Using Bargin Price Web Sites:
• As with most travel expenses, some of the best deals that can be obtained for car rentals are found on the Internet. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity can be great for comparison shopping, as long as you are sure each quote includes all taxes, fees, and applicable charges. Also, while deals are often appealing, you may do better in the long run reserving on the car rental company's own web site. There are some disadvantages to booking on such sites. Payments must be made in advance, locking shoppers out of last minute deals or changes - one of the best ways to get a bargain when renting a car. Most do not support express service options or the benefits afforded by any frequent renter programs you may belong to.

• If purchasing on a name-your-own-price site like Hotwire or Priceline, beware that you will not be able to pick your car rental agency and often won't know what agency you are booking with until after you have accepted the deal. Additionally, if you return your Hotwire or Priceline rental even an hour late, you are in violation of the terms of rental price and can be charged the regular full rate on your great deal. Remember, car rental companies have your credit car on file. Still good deals can be found on these sites. To get the best deals, it pays to have a good idea of what a good rate would be before entering your bid.

Understanding Rates: If flexibility can be built into your advance planning, rent in the off season when rates are cheaper. Also, opt for making your initial rental on the weekend, specifically over Saturday, and reserve your rental car for an entire week. Most car rental deals will include a Saturday overnight keep to qualify for the discount. Weekly rates tend to be better than daily rates, with seven days sometimes yielding the best price. Five days should be the minimum whenever possible. Also, if you've been charged a "weekly" rate, don't assume you can save money by returning your car early. If you fall below the minimum days for the rate, you can be charged a fee and have your rate default to regular daily rates. Weekend rates of 1 to 3 days also beat daily rates. A Saturday night keep is also involved and a penalty or default to daily rate can occur if the car is returned late.

Rent Without Fear: There is no need to wait until the last minute to reserve a rental car. If you find a deal you like months before you travel, book it! And don't be afraid to change your reservation to take advantage of any last minute specials that may become available. Car rental companies seldom charge cancellation or change fees except on pre-paid rentals. Use this to your advantage, even after you have reserved a car keep looking! If something better comes along take it. Just be sure to know your existing cancellation policies and whether advance notice must be given. Also make sure the rates you are comparing show all applicable fees and restrictions such as unlimited mileage.

Last Minute Specials: Last minute specials sometimes offer great deals, but are often more restrictive and more common at off-peak travel times. Generally, last minute deals are released two weeks prior to expiration and are based on how many vehicles remain available on a specific car rental lot. Alamo, National, Hertz, Dollar and Budget offer last minute deals and discounts on their websites.

Frequent Renter Programs: Join car rental "frequent renter" programs, such as Quicksilver for Alamo or Emerald Aisle for National. These programs offer great benefits, even to one-time renters! Most offer extra discounts and periodic specials on rentals. Signing up can also save a lot of hassle at the airport, allowing members to by-pass lines at the counters. You'll have to give the car rental your information in advance such as drivers license and credit card, but you'll also be able to select insurance options too, which can ensure that there are no misunderstandings at the counter. Learn more about specific frequent renter programs on our specific car rental discount pages (listed below).

Discounts for Specific Groups: Next search out discounts and be prepared with promotional and company codes. In addition to the most recent discounts located in our Car Rental Discounts and Codes for the General Public section, check the web sites of any Credit Cards (Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express), Insurance Companies (Geico), Auto Clubs (AAA, CAA), Discount Clubs (Costco, Sam's Club), Hotel Rewards (Marriott Rewards, Hilton HHonors), Rewards Programs (Borders Rewards Perks), Special Groups (AARP, Military) and Frequent Flyer Programs you may belong to. This is pretty easy to do using Google. Just sit down and prepare a list of all that you belong to (some examples are given above). Use the name + "car rental discount" in your search. If you work at a large company or educational institution check with your benefits office to see if any discounts are available. Discounts exculisively for TheMouseForLess web site visitors and group members are listed below.

Orlando Car Rental Companies & Discounts: The car companies available at the Orlando International Airport are numerous. Car Rental Companies at Orlando International Airport are located at Terminal A and Terminal B on the Ground Transportation Level (Level 1). The following is a list of car rental companies located at the airport with links to the current discounts and specials for most companies.

Off-airport car rental companies are just as numerous and offer courtesy shuttles from and to the airport. A complete list of off-airport car rental companies can be found on OIA's web site (bottom of page).

Safeguarding Your Great Deal: One final word about car rentals. Once you find a good deal and book your rental, if your reservation was made online, be sure to print your confirmation page and take it with you. Those making reservations by phone can request that a confirmation be emailed on faxed. If any disagreement about price, options or any other aspect of your reservation should arise at the rental counter, your confirmation can help settle the dispute quickly and easily. Without it, you may be at the mercy of the car rental company at a time when walking away if you're dissatisfied can be difficult.

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Exclusive The Mouse For Less Discounts and Benefits

TheMouseForLess has negotiated exclusive offers through corporate accounts for some of the leading car rental companies. Benefits vary by company but can include bypassing the counter, free rental days, waver of fees or other special discounts. Corporate accounts available to members are:

Visit our Group Benefits Page for details. You must be a member of TheMouseForLess Group to receive these offers and discounts.

TheMouseForLess web site visitors can now get any edition of Entertainment Book! with free shipping. The The 2013 Entertainment Book is valid now through November 1, 2013, with most car rental coupons valid until June 30. 2014. All editions of the Entertainment Book include multiple car rental discount coupons good for Orlando car rental companies AND online e-coupons(click the "Travel" tab) that can be printed immediately upon purchase and are sometimes better than coupons in the book. To see the Orlando edition, simply click on the link above and then click the "View All Books" tab at the top of the page. Visit our Entertainment Book page for a detail listing of the car rental discounts available in all editions of the 2013 Entertainment Book.

 

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Other Helpful Information

Airport - Walt Disney World Resort Routes
Know your route a head of time and have change ready for toll booths. Almost any route taken to Walt Disney World will encounter toll roads in the Orlando area. Walt Disney World property is conveniently located off of all major roadways including Interstate 4 (exit #68), SR-417 (Greenway), and US-192 (Irlo Bronson Highway / Vine Street).

Use this handy toll calculator to calculate tolls along your route. The Expressway Authority's 2012 Toll Schedule is published here.

The shortest route coming from Orlando International Airport to is to take the airport's North Exit to Route 528 (Beeline Expressway) heading west toward Tampa. Take I-4 West to the Walt Disney World exits. There are two tolls on Route 528. It is not recommended that first time drivers to the Orlando area use this route due to the frequent traffic jams.

The least congested route coming from Orlando International Airport is to take the airport's South Exit to Central Florida Greeneway (SR417). Take State Road 417 south to Osceola Parkway (Exit 3). Turn right on Osceola Parkway heading west to Walt Disney World exits. There are 3 tolls from Orlando International Airport taking SR417 to Walt Disney World; the third is at an exact change booth. While this route is a longer drive, it could save time if driving during peak traffic hours.

Driving from Sanford Airport, take Lake Mary Blvd west to SR417 South. There are 5 tolls on this road. Signs for Walt Disney World can be seen at exit 6. Continue on SR417 to exit 3 (Osceola Parkway West). There will be another toll. Turn right at off-ramp to Walt Disney World exits.

Orlando Airport - Seaworld or Universal Orlando Resort Route
Take the airport's North Exit to Route 528 (Beeline Expressway) heading west (Exit 1B) to International Drive There will be 2 tolls. Exit at SeaWorld for the International Drive area. At International Drive the right (slow) lane has two branches - right goes to the main part of I-Drive and the left lane takes you to South International Drive towards Sea World area Hotels. If going to Universal Studios area, stay on the Beeline to I-4 and head east for Universal Studios and downtown Orlando.

Gas: Anyone who has filled the tank of a rental car at the station located just outside the car rental zone of a major airport knows that you pay top dollar for gas. These stations realize they are your last chance in a rush to make flights and take advantage of the situation through price-gouging. Most companies require only that you bring the car back with the gas tank on full. TheMouseForLess veterans have reported using the Hess gas stations located on WDW property to fill their tanks before returning to the airport with no problems. One Hess station is located at Downtown Disney across from Pleasure Island and another in the area of Disney's Hollywood Studios just before the Boardwalk Inn entrance. A third Hess station is located on the right side of World Drive as you exit the Magic Kingdom. Hess gas stations offer very competitive gas rates with Disney veterans reporting getting excellent prices. Hess stations are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Groceries & Supplies: A Wal-Mart SuperCenter is located at 1471 East Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee. This location is accessible coming from the Orlando International Airport via the Greeneway (417). From 417, take exit 14 south to Osceola Parkway. On Osceola Parkway turn right. Wal-Mart will be located on the left. Returning to Walt Disney World from Wal-Mart, head west on Osceola Parkway and continue to Walt Disney World exits. For more information concerning groceries and alternative routes in the Orlando area, click here.

Everything Else About Driving: For information on saving money on gas, Florida driving laws, Walt Disney World parking, Walt Disney World road maps and exits, and other issues relating to driving visit our Transportation Driving Page.

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