Walt Disney World offers a dizzying array of transportation options, and guests can understandably get overwhelmed by their many choices and the logistics involved. So here are our top 9 tips for getting around Walt Disney World – whether you’re looking for complimentary transportation, want to rent a car, or want to be chauffeured around the parks in classic character style, there’s something for everyone!
9. Disney’s Magical Express
This perfectly-named motorcoach service is the best way to begin and end a magical vacation! If you’re staying on property, you can take Disney’s Magical Express from the airport to your resort – while riding in air conditioned comfort and enjoying a fun welcome video with all of your favorite Disney characters. You can skip baggage claim; your luggage will magically arrive in your room (though this can take a few hours, so make sure you have important items with you). When you leave Walt Disney World, you’ll be taken directly from your resort to the airport – plus, Disney can check you and your luggage in, saving you time and hassle!
8. Minnie Van Rentals
The newest addition to Disney’s transportation system, Minnie Vans are literally vans that have been painted to look like Minnie Mouse. The service is currently available for guests staying at any of the Disney Resorts. You can arrange for a private Minnie Van using an app on your phone; a cast member will then shuttle you wherever you want to go on Disney property. Ride in style AND avoid the transportation lines? Yes, please! This is not a complimentary service however like the rest listed here. The fee is currently a $25 charge per trip, per vehicle.
7. Take a Ferry
Some Disney resorts offer ferry service to Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Disney Springs, in addition to bus service. There are also ferries that shuttle guests between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom. Our recommendation? Take a ferry whenever possible! There are often shorter lines, plus the scenery along the water can be stunning – and boats are just plain fun! You’ll arrive at your destination refreshed and smiling.
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6. Real-Time Wait Board
Guests will be thrilled to discover the new real-time wait boards for buses that have been installed at all the bus stops at every resort in Walt Disney World! This is such a relief for anyone who’s ever waited in line for 40 minutes with children and strollers while buses for every park but the one you’re going to pass by! You’ll now be able to see when the next bus for each destination will be arriving, and these arrival times tend to be accurate within a few minutes. And if you have alternate transportation available at your resort, this will help you decide whether it’s faster to wait for the next bus, or hop on a ferry.
5. These Boots Were Made for Walking
Believe it or not, you can actually rely on your own two feet as transportation to and from some Disney resorts and certain parks! For example, it’s easy to walk from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom, and it only takes a few minutes. There’s also a sidewalk from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Polynesian Resort, and one from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian. You can also walk from Sarasota Springs to Disney Springs (this will take about 10 minutes). And if you’re staying at the Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club, or Swan and Dolphin Resorts, you’ll be able to walk to Epcot’s World Showcase entrance. Often, traveling on foot can save you serious time, so check online with your resort to find options specific to you.
4. Mighty Monorail
Walt Disney World’s Monorail System has become an icon – it even has its own line of merchandise! And for good reason. The monorail is fast, fun, has short wait times, and it provides stunning views of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. There are three monorail lines: one travels between the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village and the Contemporary Resorts (which makes resort-hopping a breeze), one runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom, and the last line runs between the Ticket and Transportation Center and Epcot.
3. Direct Service to Disney Springs
Disney now offers direct (one-way) bus service from all 4 theme parks to Disney Springs (starting in the late afternoon). This means it’s now possible to enjoy your day at one of the parks, and then head directly to Disney Springs for your evening meal and entertainment, where you can then board a bus to your resort. However, there is still no direct bus transportation between resorts, which can make it time-consuming to get from your resort to another resort where you have dining reservations – so if you’re eating at another resort, leave yourself plenty of time to take a bus to a theme park and then to your resort destination!
2. Drive (Just Not to the Magic Kingdom)
One way to avoid any transportation lines is, of course, to drive yourself around Walt Disney World! There are times where driving can be faster than taking Disney’s complimentary transportation – and there’s a car care center on property where you can rent a car or have your own serviced. If you opt to drive, be aware that while there are plenty of parking spots at most of the theme parks, you won’t be able to park at the Magic Kingdom. You’ll need to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center lot, and then take a tram, plus either a ferry or monorail, to finally get to the park itself. So you may want to ditch the car when heading to the Magic Kingdom, and take advantage of Disney’s transportation system!
1. Wait it Out
Not surprisingly, one of the peak times for Disney transportation is when a park closes for the evening. Wait times after fireworks or an evening show or parade can be brutal, whether you’re taking a bus, boat or monorail. So we’ve found that it makes more sense NOT to join the crowds making a beeline out of the park right at closing time – instead, we do our shopping then! The gift shops stay open for a little while after the parks close, and it’s much more relaxing to wait out the rush, and then wander over to catch a bus when you’re finished shopping – by then, the lines won’t be as long, and you’ll avoid fighting the crowds.