One of the biggest hurdles to a Disney vacation is cost. It’s probably the main reason why my family never went when I was growing up, and it’s still a big discouragement when I think about possibly going now, or once my husband and I have children.
Part of that cost is, for anyone not in central Florida or southern California (or Tokyo, Paris, or Hong Kong), airfare. Most vacations that aren’t in driving distance have plane tickets as part of their price tag, but unfortunately the problem with Disney is that once you’ve paid a fortune to get there, you have to spend another one just to get in or stay.
Today, however, I’d like to focus on the airfare part of the equation. USA Today employs a man named Rick Seaney, their airfare expert, whose main purpose is to seek out the best deals on plane tickets and share them with his readers. At the beginning of the month he did an article on getting to Orlando and Anaheim this summer, and I’d like to bring his wisdom to you.
Disney fans thinking of going to the parks this summer are in luck: trips to Anaheim and Orlando are (relatively) cheap for the summer of 2012. Seaney says that’s because they’re high-competition regions, places where a lot of people want to go, and budget airlines like Virgin America, JetBlue, Southwest, and more, are all trying to outdo each other with deals to these locations.
Seaney’s main tip is to consider all of the airports in the area. The Orlando airport is usually pretty cheap, but keep an eye on others in central Florida. Sometimes that means a longer drive to your actual destination; consider the Daytona or Tampa airports, which are 56 and 85 miles from Orlando, respectively.
Driving so far might be more of a pain than it’s worth, negating the cost of your cheaper flight, depending on how you have to travel. Yet it’s still always good to keep an eye on lesser airports. They might just have a deal so sweet that even the extra driving is worth it.
This same wisdom holds true for Anaheim, but Seaney has a special tip: if you’re thinking of flying JetBlue, look at the Long Beach airport. It’s only 25 miles from Anaheim, and Seaney says that JetBlue has recently been offering some great prices to head to that destination.
The rest of Seaney’s article is just general tips for flying: although you can save a lot of money choosing a flight with layovers, that isn’t recommended for small children. The extra hassle of having to drag toddlers across various airports usually makes any dollars you might save just not worth it. He also reminds flyers to pay attention to any baggage fees with which the airline sticks its customers.
Most of what he says there is common sense. The main point of the article is the alert that flights to southern California and central Florida are good deals this summer, making his overall list of cheaper summer destinations. Now, when he says cheaper, he means that there aren’t any stunner deals this summer, just ones that are the best of a variety of so-so deals. The key, specifically for booking a Disney summer vacation, is to make sure you book early – at least a couple months before you want to depart.
There you have it, Disney fans: this summer might be a good time for your long-awaited Disney trip, as long as you remember to book early.