Tag Archives: disney

Dodge Caravan Is King of the Magic Kingdom

The Top Vehicle for Vacationers Driving to Disney Parks in 2011

As millions of people across the US and Canada begin planning their annual trek south for the winter many will have a Disney theme park as their final destination.  You can literally draw a line down the middle of North America to predict which parks these travelers will visit with the western half visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in southern California and the eastern half visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

North America divided by two realms of Disney

What’s harder to predict are the types of vehicles these travelers will be driving on their epic road trips to Disney, and so we thought this would be an interesting study to undertake given that Disney World is the most popular attraction entered on our flagship Website Cost2Drive.com, a site used by over 300,000 people in 2011 to help plan car trips.  Nearly 10,000 of these road trippers entered a Disney theme park as their destination providing us with an ample supply of routes from which to analyze.  Below are our findings.

The Top 10 Vehicles Driven to Disney Parks

We don’t know if anyone has ever conducted a study like this, but since users of Cost2Drive enter their vehicle information on the site we’re able to identify the most popular cars that people are driving to Disney World and Disneyland.   Not surprisingly, the top four vehicles are minivans which are ideally suited for the traveling family.

Based on 10,000 routes to Disney parks entered on Cost2Drive.com

What is surprising, however, is how different this list is from the top vehicles entered on Cost2Drive overall in 2011.  Well be sharing that list in a future post, but don’t expect minivans to populate the top positions.  It is interesting to note that SUV’s didn’t crack the top five, though a number did make it into the top 20 rankings.  The Dodge Caravan took the top slot, capturing 10.5% of all the trips to Disney World and Disneyland on Cost2Drive, followed closely by the Honda Odyssey.  Rankings of the all of the top 10 are as follows:

  1. Dodge Caravan (10.5%)
  2. Honda Odyssey  (9.6%)
  3. Chrysler Town & Country (6.3%)
  4. Toyota Sienna (6.0%)
  5. Toyota Camry (5.1%)
  6. Ford Explorer (5.0%)
  7. Honda Civic (4.9%)
  8. Honda Pilot (4.3%)
  9. Honda Accord (4.2%)
  10. Ford Expedition (4.2%)

Average Trip Distance by Vehicle

People are always amazed when we tell them that average distance of routes entered on Cost2Drive is over 800 miles each way, and that expands further for trips to the Disney theme parks where the average trip distance is over 1,000 miles.  The average trip length varies significantly by vehicle type with minivans and SUVs outpacing sedans in terms of trip length.

Average distance driven to Disney theme parks (one-way)

In this case its the Chrysler Town & Country that takes the crown with an average trip length of 1165 miles each way.  The overall average trip length was 1,065 miles with the top 10 rankings as follows:

  1. Chrysler Town & Country – 1,165 miles
  2. Dodge Caravan – 1,149 miles
  3. Toyota Sienna – 1,118 miles
  4. Honda Odyssey – 1,104 miles
  5. Ford Expedition – 1,027 miles
  6. Honda Civic – 1,008 miles
  7. Honda Pilot – 985 miles
  8. Ford Explorer – 969 miles
  9. Toyota Camry – 964 miles
  10. Honda Accord – 841 miles

Cost of Driving

Because gas prices are at record highs for this time of year one of the most important considerations for consumers is how much they will need to budget for gas to get to the Disney parks.   We entered a typical trip from Chicago to Disney World  into our trip cost calculator on Cost2Drive.com to compare the cost of driving the 2011 models of the four leading minivans (note that the Dodge Caravan is now the Grand Caravan):

Driving costs based on 2011 model year vehicles using EPA MPG estimates

In this scenario its the 2011 Honda Odyssey that ends up with the crown being the most fuel efficient of the four minivans, costing only $144 each way to drive from Chicago to Orlando.

If you’re planning a winter road trip check out the Cost2Drive trip calculator to help you plan the trip.  It will quickly calculate fuel costs based on real time gas prices along your route and help you save money by locating the cheapest gas at refueling points along the way.  It also displays the cheapest airfare so you can see if its cheaper to fly or drive to your destination.

If you have an iPhone you can download our new Cost2Drive iPhone app that gives you all the great features of the Website plus it lets you save and compare up to five vehicles in the app.  Download it today and never again wonder what it will cost to drive places.

Happy New Year and Happy & Safe Driving in 2012!

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Are High Gas Prices Impacting Spring Travel?

We Take a Look at Data from Cost2Drive for Clues

With gas prices skyrocketing over the past few months its all but certain that they’re weighing heavily on travelers’ minds, and so we decided to take a look at some data from Cost2Drive.com to see if we could discern any clues to how high gas prices are impacting spring travel.

Unique Visitors to Cost2Drive.comIf we look at the overall visitors to Cost2Drive from March 1 through April 15 we see that the number of visitors has more than doubled from the previous year.  No doubt this is due to a combination of high gas prices and a still-struggling economy that is compelling travelers to seek out these  types of trip planning tools.

The good news is it doesn’t appear that people have lost interest in traveling for spring break as 19.2% of the 62,000 searches on Cost2Drive during this period were for spring break destinations compared with 18.6% in the previous year.

When we take a look at destinations travelers are searching for in advance of spring break its not surprising that locations in Florida dominate the list.  In fact 37% of all searches  on Cost2Drive during this period had somewhere in Florida as the destination, with Chicago to Orlando being the most popular route.  The average trip length entered was 866 miles (one way) which indicates Cost2Drive is attracting a disproportionate share of long-distance car travelers.

Looking at the specific destinations we see that Orlando, Fl was the clear leader when measured against all spring break destinations, capturing 40% of those searches.  There were over 4,500 searches for Orlando (including over 300 searches for Disney World) which represented nearly 8% of all searches on Cost2Drive during this period.  This means that one out of every 12 1/2 searches had Orlando or Kissimmee as the destination.

Top Spring Break Destinations as searched on costtodrive.com

Share of Spring Break Destination searches on Cost2Drive.com Mar 1-Apr 15

Las Vegas was the second most popular spring break destination searched on Cost2Drive with 12% of searches, followed by Miami/Fort Lauderdale with 11%.  The Florida panhandle, which includes Panama City, Pensacola and Destin, came in fourth with 9% share of all spring break destination searches.

When comparing the percentage of searches year-over-year we see some interesting patterns emerge.

For example, the largest increase in share was for Hilton Head, SC, the second  northernmost destination on the list behind Myrtle Beach.  Their share of searches for spring break destinations increased from .7% to 1.4% (+77%).  Meanwhile the largest decrease in share was for Key West, Fl, the southernmost destination on the list, who’s share decreased from 3.2% to 2.1% (-33%).  From this data one might infer that high gas prices are leading people to seek spring break destinations that are closer to home, which sounds like a logical assumption.  This would also be supported by the increase of search share for Myrtle Beach (+15%) and the Florida Panhandle (+26%).

However anomalies still exist, as Naples and Fort Myers’ search share grew 19% while the share for their neighbors to the north in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area declined 16%.  Also the decrease in share for two West Coast destinations,  Disneyland (-27%) and Las Vegas (-17%), might be attributed to the fact that many of the key feeder markets for these destinations are in California, which has the highest gas prices in the continental US.

Its always risky to draw conclusions on single data points, and cause and effect can be tricky to measure, but there do seem to be some trends emerging around shorter trips due to high gas prices.  The good news is, it doesn’t appear that people have stopped traveling…at least not yet.

One thing is for sure however, people are becoming increasingly interested in trip planning tools like Cost2Drive to help them better plan their car trips.

What are you observations?  Feel free to share them below.

Happy Driving!