Walt Disney World is huge, about the size of San Francisco to be exact. But Disney does a great job moving its guests around, getting them where they need to go. It can take some time though, I usually allot a full hour for transit time when I’m planning my park days. That way I never feel rushed (and I hate feeling late and rushed!). The fact is, you will wait for transportation during your vacation, but here are seven things to think about while you wait.
7. Transportation from the Airport
If you’re flying into the Orlando International Airport (MCO), and staying in a Walt Disney World hotel, then you can get a ride from the airport to your hotel for free with Disney’s Magical Express. You can sign up easily online or by phone when making your hotel reservations, or add the service on at a later time. Disney’s Magical Express is even pick up your luggage! You’ll receive yellow luggage tags in the mail prior to your departure. Simply attach those tags to your checked luggage, and rest assured that your bags will be picked up by Disney and delivered to your hotel. The one caveat to this service, it can take a long time to get to your hotel. One Magical Express bus can stop at up to four different hotels, and if your stop is number 4, then you’ll be riding the bus for a while!
6. Three Types of Transportation
Buses, boats and monorails, Oh My! Walt Disney World utilizes three kinds of transportation to get its guests around the resort. Buses are most common, and are available at every park and hotel. The monorail runs between Magic Kingdom and Epcot; Magic Kingdom and Ticket and Transportation Center; and Magic Kingdom and its area hotels. The monorail does not, contrary to some beliefs, run around the entire resort between all the parks. Boats are available from Ticket and Transportation Center and Magic Kingdom area hotels to the Magic Kingdom, and boats run between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make stops at the Boardwalk area hotels.
5. Some Hotels Have Internal Transportation
Some of the more spread out resort hotels have an internal bus system, meaning the bus makes more than one stop at the hotel. If you’re waiting at the last stop, that bus might be full, and you’ll have to wait for subsequent buses. Even if you get on at the first station, making multiple stops around the resort lengthens your transit time to the parks.
4. Some Hotels Have One Bus Stop
Some of Disney’s hotels have one bus stop for the entire resort, usually outside of the main lobby. The one bus stop might be convenient for some, but it means others will have a longer walk to the stop. The long walk may not feel like a big deal in the morning when you’re pumped for a great day, but you sure will feel it at night when tired and sore!
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3. There’s Transportation Within the Parks
Magic and Epcot both have transportation within the park. In Magic Kingdom you can ride the Walt Disney World Railroad around the entire park. It makes stops on Main Street, in Frontierland (right be Splash Mountain), and in Fantasyland (past the Splash and Play area). Use the train as a relaxing attraction, or as a way to traverse the park. Just remember, the train typically pauses its route during the parades. Over in Epcot, use the Friendship Boats to get across World Showcase Lagoon. Two boats go across the water, they both stop at the International Gateway, one stops in Morocco, and the other stops in Germany.
2. Ticket Transportation Center
If you’re driving your own car to the Magic Kingdom, then note you don’t actually park in the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot. Instead, you park at Ticket and Transportation Center. From there, you must take either the ferry boat or a monorail to Magic Kingdom’s gates. This extra step will add more time to your travel. So make sure to include extra time in your plan if you’re heading to the park for rope drop or an Advanced Dining Reservation.
1. Monorail Loop Resort Hotels
If you want to take full advantage of the monorail (the coolest of Walt Disney World’s transportation), then you’ll want to stay in hotel on the monorail loop. The monorail has stations at three Magic Kingdom area hotels: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The monorail stopping at your hotel will take you the Magic Kingdom, or to Ticket and Transportation Center where you can transfer to an Epcot monorail.
One thing in for sure, when you get home, you’ll miss hearing monorail swooshing and rumbling overhead, and honking ferry, and the music played on Disney buses!
What’s your favorite form of Disney transportation?