This is a story about saving – saving money, saving time, and saving oneself from unnecessary stress. Like all Disney stories, it has a happy ending. I get to be the heroine of this tale, and I hope you get to be the hero(ine) of your travel experience as well.
Rather than stressing about a car rental at the airport, I’ve hacked the system instead by hiring a driver to pick me up right outside of security. And no, this A-list service doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.
When I first planned my Girls’ Weekend trip to Disney World with my Orlando-dwelling granddaughter, I did the typical travel to-do’s: booked flights, reserved our hotel room, and rented a car. The last task I rethought, and thank goodness I did.
Walt Disney World Swan Reserve has everything you could possibly need on its resort, plus it’s an easy (free) boat ride away from Hollywood Studios and a short walk from Epcot, the parks my granddaughter and I were going to. They also offer a free shuttle bus service to all of the Disney parks. My rental would spend most, if not all, of its time parked.
Why I Skipped Renting a Car: The Math
Four days in a Nissan Rogue from Alamo would cost at least $249.24 before fuel and toll fees. The privilege of parking at the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve costs $34 per day plus tax, $44 per day plus tax and tip to have a car valeted. That all brings the out-of-pocket minimum, to $389.24. Minimum, as in not counting the insurance they might try to sell me, or the dents and dings that could happen while the vehicle was in my care that they might charge me for.
With Jayride, my roundtrip cost was $155. By opting for Jayride over the car rental, I saved more than $239.24.
Girls’ Weekend at Disney (Some Background)
My eldest granddaughter is 6 and she lives near Orlando, Florida. Theme parks spike my daughter’s anxiety. Besides, she and her boyfriend do not get many weekends off from parenting duties. With my daughter’s approval, I planned the Grandma and Granddaughter Girls’ Weekend. Due to flight, school, and work schedules, it worked best for her parents to bring her to me at the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve at dinnertime. We could all dine at one of their restaurants together before my granddaughter and I went into full-on Disney mode.
Like most apps, my Jayride experience started with a form. What airport would I be landing in? Where did I want to go from the airport? Travel date? Flight time? Number of passengers? After checking the Return Box, it requested my return travel date and flight time. The form took only a minute or two to complete, and booking round-trip rides required less than 10 minutes of my time. They scheduled both of my rides with Elife Limo.
On my initial travel day, after my flight landed at Orlando International Airport (MCO) , a text alert popped up on my phone:
Hello Melissa Peterson!
This is Wladimir, your driver. I’ll pick you up at Terminal B, baggage claim level (Level 2), door 30. Please, text me when you’re heading towards the exit door, and I’ll be there in less than 3 minutes.
I communicated with Wladimir and followed his instructions. A moment after I stepped out of door 30, I noticed his pristine red Ford Fusion with my name on a screen in the center of the front window. Wladimir parked his car in front of me, assisted me with my luggage, and off we went toward the Swan Reserve.
It was an absolute delight not having to contend with:
- The rental car lines and inevitable upsell attempts.
- Locating the ride-share services pickup spot.
- Waiting for a ride-share driver to arrive.
I saved myself from so many hassles, saved money, and felt like a VIP. Wladimir picked me up from the Swan Reserve and returned me to MCO when my Girls’ Weekend was done. Knowing who was picking me up and knowing that there was no need to worry about him confusing the hotel I was at with the other Swan within the same resort area gave me confidence. On both rides, Wladimir’s car’s interior was impeccable, his music selection was relaxed, his demeanor was caring, and he drove with calm confidence.
During the ride, I was able to catch up on communications, handle a few to-do’s, and do some research on a future trip I’d like to take. Not only did I not have to drive, I didn’t have to co-pilot or pay attention to anything involving getting to the airport. The experience was so relaxing. From now on, whenever I have a choice to rent a car or reserve a roundtrip ride, I’m going with the latter.
Keep an eye out for a future post about our Swan Reserve stay.
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