Hi Tracyjo, sounds like an exciting trip, have always had a car but know others who have been without one and they did OK. There are limitations but will probably be a reasonable saving. Think you are being sensible in planning to hotel hop to be within striking distance of the park you plan to visit. Have flown indirect a few times and by ‘n’ large it’s worked OK. We have done layovers at Miami, Newark, Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis, some have been smoother than others, Atlanta was the most ‘stressful’ it’s a huge airport. Charlotte is a very nice airport ~ but been a while since we have been there. A couple of tips, book indirect flights as one trip with the same airline (or partner airline) if you miss your connection due to a delay then it’s their problem to solve. Don’t cut the layover time too fine especially on the out-bound flight, we’d say a minimum of two hours layover to cover a small delay in departure or hold up at immigration at your arrival airport. You have to collect your luggage, go through customs and then drop off your bags again, almost certainly have to go through security again so be careful what you buy at Duty Free or make sure you place any security sensitive items in your case before you drop your bags off again.