What is the Best Way to Get to the Universal Orlando Resort from Walt Disney World Resort?
Disney World and Universal are totally different theme park experiences! Many people like to do “Split Stays” where they fit both Theme Park Resort Destinations into their vacation. To do so, you’ve got the challenge of getting not only yourself, but your luggage as well between Orlando’s two biggest attractions.
Universal’s Parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure have the big thrill rides and roller coasters that families with older kids gravitate to, plus the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for fans of that franchise. While a Disney World Vacation is often more appealing to those with younger kids.
Don’t get me wrong, there is something for all types of people at each destination!
So, let’s take a look at some common questions that people ask.
- Is There a Shuttle Between Disney World and Universal Studios?
- How Much is a Shuttle from Disney to Universal?
- How do I get from Disney to Universal?
- How Do You Get From Disney World to Universal Studios Without a Car?
- How Far Apart are Disney World and Universal Studios?
- Does Disney provide transportation to Universal Studios?
- What is the Best Way to get from Disney World to Universal Studios?
- Can You Stay at Disney and Go to Universal?
- Does Universal Orlando Have Shuttles?
- Is There a Shuttle from Universal Studios to Disney World?v
- How Much is the Shuttle from MCO to Universal?
- Is there a Shuttle to Busch Gardens?
Many people ask me, “Is there a shuttle from Disney to Universal?”
And yes, there certainly is!
The most popular shuttle service is run by the Mears Transportation Group. They have been running shuttles serving the Orlando theme parks for at least 40 years!
Mears shuttles will pick you up from any of the hotels on Disney property and drop you off at Universal’s bus depot right next to Universal CityWalk, Universal’s Entertainment COmplex. From there it is a short walk to the 2 theme parks or a Universal Bus Ride to the Volcano Bay water park
How Much is a Shuttle from Disney to Universal?
The Mears shuttle service from Disney to Universal charges by the number of guests in your party. Round trip charges are $27 per person (Adult or child) and $13.50 each if you only need one-way transportation. Mears accepts all major credit cards, either online or over the phone. Your card will be charged when you make the reservation.
Is there free transportation from Disney to Universal? No there sure isn’t a free shuttle service to Universal Studios Orlando.
How do I get from Disney to Universal?
Setting up your Mears shuttle service is very easy, you can make your reservation online or via phone (407-423-5566). Reservations for attraction transfers (as Mears calls these shuttle trips) are required at least 3-hours prior to your desired pickup time.
When making your reservations you’ll be asked to pick from several preset pick up and return times. Pick up times are in the morning from around 7 a.m. to around 9 a.m. and returns are early to late evening. This scheduling is because Mears uses a bus that may be picking up from several hotels on a schedule.
Pickups can be scheduled from all Walt Disney World Resorts and the Disney Parks:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney Springs
Drop off is at the Universal Parks (bus depot).
Hotel to Hotel service is possible, but you must call, this cannot be scheduled online. Mears will take you from any of the Disney Resort Hotels to any of Universal’s on site Hotels like the Hard Rock Hotel or Royal Pacific Hotel.
How Do You Get from Disney World to Universal Studios Without a Car?
So far we’ve just talked about Mears Transportation as it might be your best option, but there are many other ways to get from Disney property to the Universal Resort. If you’ve flown into Orlando or don’t have your own car with you, you have options!
Other options are:
- Taxi Service
- Limo Service
- Uber or Lyft
- Renting a Car from Alamo, Budget, Enterprise or other company
Let’s talk about each of these.
Taxi Service – Taking a traditional taxi is an option, there are several taxi companies in Orlando, Mears being the largest. A taxi will be more versatile for your schedule as far a the time that you can go to and return from Universal compared to a scheduled shuttle, but you will pay for that flexibility.
- How much is a taxi from Disney to Universal? About $40-$45 One Way
Limo Service – The same goes for limo services, they are more flexible on timing like taxis, but require some advance planning and reservations. Limos can typically carry more passengers that a taxi or Uber. Plus you will pay much more for this option.
- How much is an Limo from Disney to Universal Studios? About $93 One-Way, $186 Round Trip
Uber or Lyft – A ride hire service is the best of both worlds if you’re comfortable using a service like this, they are on your schedule and on the lower end of the cost spectrum. This is how I get between Disney and Universal myself! It’s so easy to get out my smartphone and order one when I’m ready to leave. You can even set your pick up spot in a parking lot near your hotel room instead of having to walk to the lobby!
- How much is an Uber from Disney to Universal Studios? About $25 one way
Renting a Car – There are lots of folks who like to rent a car for their vacation, to have the freedom to go where and when they want. This includes eating and shopping off property and hitting the road for other destinations besides the Disney World Parks. For renting a car you have a few options. A car rental is the absolute easiest way to stay on your own schedule as long as the cost fits into your budget. When comparing, don’t forget to factor in parking fees, both at your hotel and at Universal. Disney’s Resort Hotels charge: Disney Value Resorts: $15 per night. Disney Moderate Resorts: $20 per night. Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night and day parking at Universal is $26 per day ($60 for prime parking closest to the resort entry.
- You can rent one when you arrive at Orlando International Airport. Lines can be long at the counter
- You can rent at Disney World’s Car Care Center from National or Alamo. They will pick you up free of charge with a shuttle from anywhere on property and drop you off after your return. Call (407) 824-3470 ext. 1.
- National or Alamo also have a location in the Walt Disney World Swan.
- There are several other companies that have rental car locations in the Disney Springs Chain Hotels
How Far Apart are Disney World and Universal Studios?
The Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts are closer than you might think!
The closest 2 guest locations on each resort, Disney Springs and Volcano Bay are only 6.5 miles apart (straight line of sight, or “as the crow flies”). the furthest 2 spots are Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort and the Portofino Bay Resort are 12.5 miles apart.
Some websites split the difference and say the resorts are 8 miles apart, but that isn’t taking into account roads. Roads don’t follow a straight line between 2 locations. Those arriving at Universal by shuttle bus will all arrive at Universal’s bus depot right next to Universal CityWalk. While universal is a small centralized resort Disney World is huge and spread out with a maze of roads.
The shortest drive from a Disney’s Resort Hotels to Universal is from either Disney’s Old Key West Resort or Disney’s Riviera Resort to the Universal bus depot, which clocks in at 12.4 miles. The longest distance is from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to Universal at 16.5 or 17.0 miles depending on the route taken.
Once off Disney property, the majority of your driving distance will be on I-4. Interstate 4 is the major east-west highway in Central Florida that runs from Tampa to just below Daytona. Through the Orlando area I-4 runs more north-south than east-west. Universal is located to the north of Disney just off I-4.
Travel times under light to average traffic conditions is about 20-25 minutes. I-4 can get choked with stop and go traffic at times though, adding significantly to your travel time.
Does Disney provide transportation to Universal Studios?
No, they sure don’t!
The Walt Disney World Company and the Universal Orlando Resort are competing companies! Disney wants to keep you on property! That’s why they greatly expanded Disney Springs. Disney noticed that foreign guests were leaving property to do high end shopping on Orlando’s International Drive (a road with a high volume of tourist magnets [hotels, dining, shopping]) and greatly expanded Disney Springs with high end stores to combat this.
What is the Best Way to get from Disney World to Universal Studios?
The best or easiest way to get to Universal property from Disney property really depends on a few factors.
- Your budget
- Your Schedule (when you want to travel and how long you want to stay at Universal)
- And your comfort with Ride Share Services
Budget – The cheapest option to get to Universal will be either Mears shuttle or a Ride Share. Which is right for you will depend on:
- Your schedule, will Mears’ set times work for you or do you want to travel mid-day?
- Your party makeup, do you have small children who need car seats in a car?
- Your comfort level with Ridesharing Sercices
Schedule – Again, will Mears’ set times work for you or do you want to travel at other times or from and to specific locations?
Ride Shares – Some folks aren’t comfortable with these services. If you fall into this group, then you’ll need to pick from the other options and Mears is a good one!
Ultimately, the transportation option that you select needs to fit your personal preference and party makeup!
Please note: I did not mention public transportation options in this post. There is a public transport bus line that runs form Disney Springs to Universal for about 2 bucks one-way, but who wants to do that on vacation?
Can You Stay at Disney and Go to Universal?
Absolutely! Many people do!
Many people love to be immersed in the fantastic Disney customer service at their very popular resorts and still be able to have the different experiences that Universal has to offer, like Jurassic Park, Diagon Alley, the Hogwarts Express, or the new Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Does Universal Orlando Have Shuttles?
How Much is the Shuttle from MCO to Universal?
The Official Shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Universal is called the SuperStar Shuttle. Mears is the company that operates Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle from the Orlando International Airport to Universal’s hotels. For those not familiar the SuperStar Shuttle is the same type of service as the Disney World’s old Magical Express service (which ended in 2021). Mears also operated the Magical Express for Disney and now offer Mears Connect to Disney.
The cost for the Superstar Shuttle is currently $39 per person Round Trip. You can reserve this service through your Travel Agent or Universal directly with your room reservation.
Does Mears Connect go to Universal Studios? No, Mears Connect is a service for Disney World. Mears offers the exact same service for Universal’ Hotels, but it is called the SuperStar Shuttle.How much is the shuttle from MCO to Universal?
Is there a Shuttle to Busch Gardens?
Yes, Mears runs the same service as they do between Disney and Universal between the Tampa theme park and Disney World and Universal Orlando.
That about warps up all of the questions that I usually get. Let me know if you have any more in the comments section below!
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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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