Walt Disney World’s Original Arrival Area
Back in the very early days of Walt Disney World, there was just one theme park, the Magic Kingdom, and three resort hotels, the Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Golf Resort (now Shades of Green). The vast majority of Disney guests were day-guests staying in the Orlando area. Guests driving to visit the Magic Kingdom would arrive at the huge parking lot which is adjacent to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).
The Transportation and Ticket Center is separated from the actual Magic Kingdom by a very large man-made lake, the Seven Seas Lagoon. The straight line distance between the two being about three quarters of a mile.
After parking guests would ride Parking Lot Trams to the TTC.
Disney operates a fleet of trams, which are used in each of the theme park parking lots. These parking lots are huge so you could be parking a long way from the entrance to the park. These trams will pick you up at the end of your parking row and deliver you to the park entrance. When you are on your way out they will drop you at one central location per parking lot or pair of lots.
Guests arrive at the TTC, purchase their tickets, then board transportation to the theme park. The thought behind the separation was that the journey to the park via futuristic monorail or old time ferryboat would serve to distance the guests from everyday life.
This concept was abandoned in later theme park expansions, starting with Epcot at which the parking lot is very near the park.
For many years the TTC was used as the main transportation hub, even as Walt Disney World grew. All buses from the Disney Resorts bound for the Magic Kingdom would arrive here, where guests would then have to journey to the park.
A new Epcot Monorail line was built when Epcot opened in 1981. Guests from the monorail resorts as well as those who parked at the MAgic KIngdom lot, as well as those who wanted to Park Hop between the 2 parks could use the monorail to quickly travel between the parks.
Starting in the late 80’s, a bus station was built right next to the Magic Kingdom. There were two expansions of the bus stop, the first in the early 90’s and then again in 2013. With each expansion more and more Disney Resorts had their buses go direct to the theme park rather than the TTC.
Today no Disney buses at all operate out of the TTC. Only non-Disney buses such as Shades of Green’s, taxis and ride hires use the TTC as well as those who drive their cars and park.
As mentioned above, Shades of Green’s buses drop their Magic Kingdom and Epcot bound guests here.
Note: During these times of social distancing the Epcot monorail route is not in operation, so Shades of Green drops their Epcot guests at Epcot.
TTC Theme Park Transportation
Guests traveling to the Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center have the option of taking the monorail or giant ferry boats for the journey to the Magic Kingdom.
Monorails – Walt Disney World’s monorail system was a look at the future of transportation when it was first built in 1971, many airports now use similar systems to move travelers between terminals.
WDW’s monorail system consists of 12 electric monorail trains, which ride on elevated concrete beams. There are three passenger routes: the two Magic Kingdom routes (the Express and the Resort) and the Epcot route.
The Express Route runs counterclockwise around the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom and back, with no stops in between. This route’s primary users are guests who have parked in the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, who have arrived at the TTC on non-Disney buses, taxis and ride hires, or those who are transferring from the Epcot Monorail route. Excluding any wait time, this is the fastest way between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom Resort Route runs clockwise around the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Transportation and Ticket Center with stops at the Polynesian Village Resort. The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the Magic Kingdom, and the Contemporary Resort before arriving back at the TTC. This route takes longer to travel between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom with the stops at the 2 resorts on the way and is designed mainly for the use of Disney Monorail Resort guests.
The Epcot Monorail Route runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Epcot station which is approximately three and a half miles away. The Main users of this line are Disney Monorail Resort guests, Shades of Green guests (there is no Shades of Green bus to Epcot), and those wishing to Park Hop between the two parks. Note: During social distancing the Epcot Route is not running and Shades of Greens is running a bus to Epcot.
Ferry Boats – There are three large ferry boats that take guests to the Magic Kingdom. These boats hold a lot of people on 2 decks open decks. The lower deck is covered by the deck above and open on the sides, the upper deck is mostly covered with the sides open. It can get breezy on the ferry which can be a little rough when it is cool to cold! Travel time to the Magic Kingdom is about 10 minutes.
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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