Don’t Take These Tips for Granted

I’m sure many of you reading this have felt at least one point in your life that your car can pretty much drive itself to and from work every day. You jump in, turn the key, put it into drive, and then think of your day and let your subconscious take care of everything else.

Day in and day out we all go through routines that become so second nature that we tend to not pay as much attention to what we do, as we should.

When we do this we sometimes take for granted all the little things we do and may not realize that perhaps there may be some value to what we do and this value should be passed on to others.

Those of us who are fortunate to visit Walt Disney World fairly often are especially guilty of taking a lot of things for granted and upon leaving Orlando last week I reflected on a few things that I do on every trip and made some notes that I would like to share with you.

You may practice a lot of these tips when you travel to WDW but if you don’t I hope some of my habits can work for you…my goal is to save you time, money, and stress.

The focus here is on flying to and from Orlando and the little things I’ve learned over the last 35 (Yikes!!!) years.

“¢ I am a member of several of those car rental clubs that allow me to bypass the counter and go right to my car. Although this does not save much money it does save me precious time. I don’t have to wait in line and I get to choose the car I want. Some agencies choose the car for you. Being able to go right to the garage and get my car can save me time…especially if there is a line at the counter.

“¢ When I get into my resort room at Walt Disney World I don’t bother unpacking until I get back from the park that evening. I take everything out of my luggage and either hang up my clothes or put them into drawers. Now here is something I have started practicing years ago. At the end of the day I will remove what I have worn and neatly fold it and put it in my luggage for the trip home. Thus I am packing a little bit every night so I don’t have to go crazy the night before or the morning I travel. Plus by taking my time and folding everything I make good use of my luggage’s space.

Now let’s talk about leaving Orlando. It’s tough enough to leave Mickey and the gang so why not figure out how best to do it with as little stress as possible?

“¢ If you do that little nightly packing routine then you can spend a late night in the parks the night before you leave Orlando. On the day you leave put your luggage near the door and do a “sweep” of your room”¦drawers”¦under the bed”¦bathroom”¦everything. You don’t want to leave anything behind”¦I have.

“¢ For those of you who do rent a car and elect to return the car with a full tank, you may be interested in the following tip. There are Hess gas stations on WDW property but I prefer to NOT use those because of not one but three reasons.

o First many people use the Hess Stations on WDW property and it’s not always easy
to find an available gas pump”¦it can be crowded.

o Secondly I prefer to fill my tank a bit closer to the airport.

o Finally, and probably something we all can agree to, is that I prefer to find the
most economical gas station to fill my tank.

So keeping that in mind I suggest you get on Rt. 417 N off Buena Vista Drive near Bonnet Creek Parkway. On the way to the airport you will pass the Caribe Royale on your right and just beyond on your right you will find a Hess gas station. This station tends to offer gas at an average of 5 cents less per gallon than those Hess stations on Walt Disney World property. Need I say more?

“¢ Before I forget, if you have not rented a car from Orlando’s International Airport in the last 30 days or so you need to know that there have been some changes. Be sure on your next visit to pay attention to the signs as to where your agency’s cars are parked.

“¢ Now here is something I have been practicing for the last five years and I personally think this is one of those routines that I think I have taken for granted…until last week.

After dropping off my rental car I went to the terminal and, as usual, I use the Skycap to check-in my luggage.

On this particular morning the airport and my airline in particular, was very busy. The lines on the inside of the terminal were so long that conservatively speaking I think it would have taken at least 45 minutes to check in my bags so as per my usual routine I went outside to the Skycap.

Yikes there was a line of about 20 people waiting to do the same thing.

However, as I have always found, if you use some effort and some powers of observation, you can find a way around these things.

What I noticed was that if I walked about another 20 yards or so I could go to another Skycap station in which only three people were in line.

In no time I had my bags checked and was on my way to go through security.

It was well worth the time and money to save time.

As I walked by the huge line of passengers waiting to check their bags at the inside counter I wondered why more people did not use the Skycap.

“¢ When I go through security, especially when I have lots of technology with me (cameras, laptops, etc.) I try to be proactive so things will go quickly.

I take my watch, change, wallet, and anything else that might be an issue and put them in a carryon piece of luggage. I do this before I get in line”¦everything is in a safe place.

“¢ As I approached the security area, I noticed that the lines on the Terminal A side were long”¦almost too long.

The lines on the Terminal B side were not as long, I check that side every time as well”¦and so I went over that side”¦and found that the lines were very short and I was able to get through security rather quickly.

When I made it to the gate I sat down and figured that all these steps may have saved me as much as one hour in traveling time.

All these routines have become second nature to me when traveling to Walt Disney World.

I hope some of them can help you.

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25 Replies to “Don’t Take These Tips for Granted”

  1. If your plane is leaving from Terminal A, you can go through the Terminal B security line? How do you get to the Terminal A gates?

    (and vice- versa)

    * * * *

    You can park your rental car at Terminal B and still go to terminal A.

    There are a number of lines at Terminal A and the ones closer to Terminal B are sometimes shorter.

  2. Years ago we got a nice bright green laundry bag. Whenever we travel, everyone knows to put their used clothes in this bag. The first night in a new hotel room, kids will ask, “Where are we keeping the green bag?” On longer trips, we do laundry. On shorter trips, the bag goes into the suitcase and the laundry is ready to be dumped into the washing machine when we get home. (And the laundry bag is stored in the suitcase for the next trip.)

    It’s often true that there are lines with many fewer people than other lines. Happens at WDW as well as airports. I think people think, “This line with people in it is the right line; there is nobody over there, which means it is not operating.” Sometimes I feel guilty that my wait time is much shorter than other people’s. But I’m not cutting in front of anyone. I’m just choosing the best line which they could have done as well.

  3. I bypass the whole car rental thing. It is much easier to use the Magical Express! Of course, when I go to Disney World that’s where I want to be and with all their transportation there is no need for a rental car!

  4. I really like the idea of packing the dirty clothes each night. In all the years I’ve travelled I have never thought of doing that, it seems like a great time saver.
    I am going to use this tip when we go on our cruise the end of May!

  5. Great tips, but I would warn that when returning the car to the airport, DO NOT fill up at the Suncoast Energy gas station nearest the airport. This gas station is the first station encountered on S. Semoran Blvd. (Rte 436) if you drive north once you get off the airport exit (#11) from the Beachline Expressway.

    This station GOUGES on prices, and does not advertise them on the street. For example, in February, they were charging $4.69 vs. the ~$2.60 other Orlando station were. What they are doing is surprisingly legal (they just have to post the prices on the pump), but they have been the subject of several blogs, articles, TV news pieces, and complaints.

    Instead, fill up BEFORE you get to the airport exit, or drive a couple miles further on S. Semoran Blvd. where you will find more (reasonable) stations.

  6. Just another FYI about gas prices on-property . . . they are significantly less than the stations right off the interstate, especially the Lake Buena Vista exit. The on-property stations are now very much in line with the rest of Orlando. Before gas prices got ridiculous they used to charge about 20 cents more per gallon. Now, I can buy gas on-property for the same or less than stations near my Grandmother’s house on the northern side of Orlando.

  7. Great tips! My husband and I are also frequent travelers to WDW. Another tip at the airport, on the Terminal A side there is an expert traveler lane, no children allowed in this line. We went right to this line last Sat.and were through in no time at all.

  8. mike did you have to give our secret gas station out ! saw you visited my buddy bob Jackson again isn’t he a blast.

  9. How do you become a member of the car rental clubs?

    ALLEARS: Go to the rental company’s website and you can usually find a frequent renter club link.

  10. great pieces of advice…especially about the “other” Hess station….we discovered that location after a previous trip of trying to find a station closer to the airport…we got lost a bit!

    we always do carry-on luggage (since most of our trips are only 3 or 4 days, and as members of Disney Vacation Club the 1 bedroom accommodation
    has a washer/dryer so we recycle!)so we save time
    to and from and from and to.

  11. At our last visit to WDW, we checked our bags at our hotel (POFQ). At 7am it was a quick process. This gave us more time in the parks on that last day and less time needed at the airport. We also put all electronics and cords in a ziplock bag so they stay together easily when going through security.

  12. Thanks for the tips. Some of these are things I normally wouldn’t think of. I will have to remember for my next trip.

  13. So if your plane is in terminal A you can go through security in Terminal B???? How do you get back to terminal A gates???

  14. I love the packing tip! A variation that we use is to bring a folded up duffel bag and throw dirty laundry in that. This way you don’t have to pack at all. And you’ll have room in your suitcase for souvenirs. It’s much more fun to neatly pack away treasures than cloths.

    Here’s another tip for departure and arrival to your home airport that works if you fly to Orlando in the am and come back home in the evening. If friends or family transport you to and from your home airport have them drop you off in the arrivals lane and pick you up at the departures. This method runs opposite of rush-hour traffic. And depending on the airport, it’s usually only a 1-floor elevator ride to get to the corresponding transportation level.

  15. Great info. I’ll certainly be trying these tips out on my next visit. I’m very interested in the car rental clubs. Which companies offer this service?

    ALLEARS: Most of the rental companies have “clubs”. Go to their website for links.

  16. One word of caution, there are a few conveniently placed gas stations, close to Orlando’s airport that prey on harried tourists returning rental cars. We paid $5.50 per gallon last fall, before realizing the price was very hidden, and $4 more than the station down the street. Buyer beware.

  17. Thanks for the great tips! I especially like the one about packing up the worn clothes each night. If only I could get the rest of my family to take that on, too! 🙂

  18. Another helpful hint to those parents whose children like to collect rocks. My kids each bought rocks at the store next to Country Bear Jamboree. While my 7-year-old daughter put hers in the checked luggage, my 11-year-old son put his in his carry-on (and in the mild chaos of making sure everything was packed, it never occurred to me to not have him pack it there). Well, a fist-sized round rock will get you extra time in the security area! Due to its size & shape, they had to pull the carry-on to open it up for extra screening to see what the unidentifiable object (the rock!) was. Amusingly, the security officer asked before he even opened it up if my son had bought a rock as a souvenir…evidently he’s seen many come through. So save yourselves the extra time getting through security & pack any rocks in your checked luggage. 🙂

  19. Mike,

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve been going to WDW for 15 years now and have some of my own routines, but it’s nice to find new ones.


  20. Thanks for the great tips, Mike!

    I envy how often you get to visit the world.

    One of your tips made me laugh, however. At your average savings at the gas station of 5 cents per gallon, a person using a 15 gallon tank would save a whole $0.75!! (I realize you listed other legitimate reasons to use this gas station). I just thought it funny that anyone going to or from a DISNEY ( = $$$) vacation would worry about $0.75.

    I do see how saving a few minutes here and there can really add up – thanks for the pointers.

    I enjoyed your article and wish you would post more often – you always have interesting concepts to talk about.

  21. Loved the post! I am traveling to Disney in June and will keep these all in mind. Keep up the great blogging…I love looking forward to the new ones to come!

  22. Another great article Finding ways to save time at at Disney is always a goal of mine. With three kids, getting through the airport can be quite a challenge. When going through security, my kids have always had to give up favorite stuffed animals/dolls/blankets when walking through the scanner. I try to hide these items in the carry ons before leaving home and they “meet us” at the gate. We learned our lesson one year when my daughter had to give up her little lamb. She was crying because she wanted to carry it and my son was crying because he thought the TSA guys were stealing his Lightning McQueen sneakers! You only need to experience that once to make sure you are prepared the next time around!