Special Info for these Crazy Times:
- Park Hopping Returns to Walt Disney World Starting in 2021
- Walt Disney World Starting to Discount 2021
- Will There Be a 2021 Disney Armed Forces Salute Room Discount? When Will Disney Announce a 2021 Salute Room Discount?
- Our Return to Walt Disney World
- Planning and Executing Your Walt Disney World Vacation During These Trying Times
- Using the Walt Disney World Theme Park Reservation System
Bus, Boat, Gondola, there’s lots of ways to get around at Walt Disney World. Here’s our detailed guide.
Disney World makes it so easy to get around for their guests that you don’t need to worry about having a car. Disney even provides free round trip transportation for those flying into Orlando International Airport.
(Updated December 2019)
Getting to Walt Disney World
Flying into Orlando
Those staying at a Disney Resort who are flying into Orlando International Airport can use Disney’s free round trip Magical Express. It is so easy and smooth.
Before leaving home, place the Disney provided luggage tags on you bags. Then check them at your home airport and they will be delivered to your Disney Resort Room. You won’t have to think about them at all When you reach Orlando (As long as your plane arrives by 10pm).
Non-Disney Guests, i.e. Shades of Green guests, those staying at the Disney Springs Hotels, or off property will have to get their own transportation.
There are numerous ways to get to Disney if you are not eligible for the Magical Express:
There are many Limo Companies in Orlando.
Uber, Lyft or Minnie Vans are options:
- Minnie Vans are Disney’s Ride Hailing service. The one-way trip airport service is $150
- Get a $5 Lyft credit towards your first ride when you sign up for Lyft using this link. This promo is for your first ride only. SO sign up for a new account.
- Get a free up to $15 off an Uber ride by signing up with this promo code: steveb14703ue this promo is for your first ride only, any value not used expires.
You could also rent a car at the airport.
Driving to Walt Disney World
Driving your car or a rental is an option. Be aware there are associated costs in doing so
All Disney Resorts and most others on property have a per night parking fee:
- Disney Deluxe Resorts: $25 per night self park/ $33 Valet
- Disney Moderate Resorts: $20 per night self park
- Disney Value Resorts: $15 per night self park
- Shades of Green: $11 per night self park/ $16 Valet
- Disney Swan and Dolphin: $23 per night self park/ $33 Valet
If you want to drive your car to the theme parks there is a per day fee for non-Disney Resort guests to park in the parking lots. The fee is $25 per day (good all day at all parks).
Links from this section:
- Your Guide to Orlando International Airport
- Orlando International Airport’s USO Welcome Center
- Disney’s Magical Express
- Airline Check In at Disney World’s Resorts and Shades of Green
- Shades of Green – Disney World’s Military Only Resort
- Disney Springs Hotels Military Discounts
- WDW’s Minnie Van Service
- Using Uber, Lyft, and Minnie Vans at Disney World
Getting Around Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World offers complimentary transportation all around Walt Disney World for their guests on its fleet of buses.
Disney’s Bus Service
Walt Disney World operates a huge fleet of buses, the use of which is free to everyone on WDW property. The buses are all handicap accessible.
Disney’s fleet of approximately 325 buses transports guests around property. The bus fleet runs on a hub and spoke system, meaning that not all locations on property have a direct bus route between each other. Wait times are typically 20 minutes between buses (sometimes more).
The Hubs are:
- The four theme parks
- Disney Springs (partial hub)
- ESPN Wide World of Sports (mini hub)
At each Disney Resort (with some exceptions) you will find bus service to each of the four theme parks. Buses travel back and forth between the two points along the “spoke” part of the system.
Resorts that do not have bus service to select parks have other forms of transportation, those being:
- Magic Kingdom Monorail Resorts and Fort Wilderness Campground do not have bus service to the Magic Kingdom as they have the monorail and or watercraft service.
- The Deluxe Epcot Area Resorts do not have bus service to Epcot or Hollywood Studios as they have watercraft service instead.
At each Disney Resort you will find bus service to Disney Springs.
Generally you cannot take Disney’s buses between the resorts. You must take a bus to one of the theme parks or Disney Springs to catch a bus to another Disney Resort.
While they are very limited, there are one-way exceptions, which do travel between Disney Resorts, but there are easier methods to get between the resorts in question as they are all in close proximity. The Deluxe Epcot Area Resorts are an example, while there is one way flow around the loop on three bus lines and a connection between two hotels in the opposite direction on another route, it is much easier and quicker to walk or take the watercraft service between all of them.
MDT TIP: If you want to travel between resorts use Ride Hire Services such as Uber, Lyft, or Minnie Vans.
Wait Time Boards and My Disney Experience App
A great service offered at the Disney Resorts are the electronic wait time boards and the bus wait times on the My Disney Experience app.
Wait Time Boards – At all Disney Resort bus stops you will see monitors which display the next arrival time for each destination. Each theme park, Disney Springs, and the Water Parks will each have the time the next bus will arrive. These times will be updated due to traffic/bus progress to stay as accurate as possible.
My Disney Experience App – The App will display the times just like the wait time boards do for the resort where you are registered. This is really handy to know if you need to get to the bus stop now or have 20 minutes to kill, whether in you room, restaurant, or gift shop. Again the app is only for your home resort, while no matter what resort you are at (for dinner or whatnot) you can see the wait time boards.
There are no wait time boards at the theme parks or Disney Springs! And as noted the app doesn’t work there either.
Theme Park Service
At each theme Park you will find bus routes servicing all Disney Resorts, the other three theme parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks via theme park or resort routes.
Disney Springs – Typhoon Lagoon Service
At each Disney Resort you will a find bus route that runs to Disney Springs. In the morning buses stop at Typhoon Lagoon prior to Disney Springs. Between 11 am and 2 pm buses stop at Typhoon Lagoon after stopping at Disney Springs. After 2 pm the only bus route for Typhoon Lagoon runs from Epcot.
You will not find buses to the theme parks at Disney Springs! This is because people were parking for free at Disney Springs and then using the bus service to the theme parks to avoid paying for theme park parking.
ESPN Wide World of Sports
There is bus service between ESPN Wide World of Sports and the following resorts: all three All-Star Resorts, Pop Century, and the Caribbean Beach Resorts. This is because these are the hotels at which young athletes and their families stay at when competing at ESPN. Note the Art of Animation is within walking distance of Pop Century.
Local Resort Service
Some of the bigger spread out resorts offer bus service within the resort making stops at locations spread around the resort and the resort’s main building.
Resorts with internal routes:
- Fort Wilderness Campground
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Port Orleans Riverside
Shades of Green’s Bus Service
Shades of Green operates a small fleet of buses which run throughout the day to limited locations on WDW property.
Shades of Green runs 3 bus lines to:
- Transportation and Ticket Center (for Magic Kingdom and Epcot) Departs every 20 Minutes
- Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, & Blizzard Beach, Departs once per half hour
- Disney Springs & Typhoon Lagoon, Departs once per hour
Disney World Bus Operating Hours
- Bus service from Disney Resort hotels begins 45 minutes prior to park opening and ends 1 hour prior to park closing
- Return service to Disney Resort hotels ends 2 hours after park closing
- Bus service from Disney Resort hotels begins 45 minutes before opening until 1:00 a.m.
- Return service to Disney Resort hotels ends at 2:00 a.m.
- One-way bus service from the 4 Disney theme parks operates daily from 4:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. or 2 hours after theme parks close, whichever is earlier
Here are some bus etiquette tips:
- All buses board walk on guests through the front door only. The rear doors are only used for loading scooters and wheelchairs
- You may exit through the front and rear doors.
- Offer seats to those who might need them
- keep your voice to a reasonable level
- No phone conversations, please
- At night dim your phone screen (a lot)
- Strollers must be folded to enter and ride the bus
- Fold your stroller before boarding (preferably ahead of time so you don’t hold up the line)
- Bring or rent a reasonable sized stroller that folds up compactly (no big “running” wheels)
- If possible, once onboard, take your folded stroller to the open area near the rear door to stand with it (this keeps the aisle free and in an emergency you can quickly throw it out the door to allow everyone to exit quickly)
Links from this section:
- Disney World Security Theme Park Overview
- Disney World Transportation Overview Page
- Shades of Green Transportation Overview Page
- Shades of Green’s bus loading area and bus lines
- Shades of Green’s bus stops at the theme parks
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 tracks. There are three different routes: the two Magic Kingdom routes (the Express and the Resort) and the Epcot route.
The Express route runs counter clockwise around the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom and back, with no stops in between. This loop’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 (such as Shades of Green’s buses), or are transferring from the Epcot Monorail loop. Excluding any wait time, this is the fastest way between these two monorail stations.
The Magic Kingdom Resort Loop 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 resorts on the way and is designed mainly for the use of Disney Monorail Resort guests.
The Epcot Monorail Loop 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 bus to Epcot), and those wishing to park hop between the two parks.
Monorail Operating Hours
The Walt Disney World Monorail System operates from 30 minutes prior to earliest park opening until one hour after latest park closing.
Disney World also operated a small navy of water launches, water taxis, and ferry boats, most of which are dedicated to guest transportation and entertainment.
Disney’s watercraft operate mainly on four bodies of water and their attached waterways:
- The Seven Seas Lagoon
- Bay lake
- Crescent Lake
- Village Lake
Most routes run on 15- to 30-minute intervals.
Seven Seas Lagoon – The western Magic Kingdom Resort area. Water Launches run on a circular route that encompasses the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the Polynesian Village Resort, and the Magic Kingdom. Large ferry boats operate between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom as an alternate to taking the monorail.
Bay Lake – The eastern Magic Kingdom Resort area. Water Launches ferry passengers between Fort Wilderness Campground, the Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary Resort, and the Magic Kingdom.
Crescent Lake and attached waterway – Deluxe Epcot Area Resorts. Water Taxis ferry guests on a route that includes Epcot’s International Gateway, the BoardWalk Inn, the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts, the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resorts, and Disney Hollywood Studios.
Village Lake and attached waterway – Disney Springs Resort Area. Water Taxis ferry guests on a route that include Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Saratoga Springs Resort, Old Key West Resort, and Disney Springs.
Water Taxis also ferry guests between 3 stations within Disney Springs.
At Epcot, Water Taxis run on two routes across the World Showcase Lagoon, both routes run from points just east and west of the entrance to the World Showcase from Future World to Morocco and Germany respectively.
Watercraft Operating Hours
Hours of operation vary subject to water and weather conditions. Please note that no luggage or alcohol of any type is permitted on Disney watercraft. All strollers must be folded and stowed out of the aisle.
Disney Skyliner Service
The Skyliner gondola system connects Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the Riviera Resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway.
There are 5 stations and 1 Turn Station (no on or off):
- Art of Animation/Pop Century (right bottom red square) – This station is located on the bridge between the 2 resorts
- Caribbean Beach (right middle red square) – This station services the southern portion of the Caribbean Beach and is a Transfer Station.
- Riviera DVC Resort (top right red square) – This station services the Rivera and northern portion of the Caribbean Beach
- Hollywood Studios (left bottom red square)
- Epcot (top left red square)
- Turn Station (yellow square)
With 3 Routes or Lines
- Caribbean Beach – Riviera – Epcot
- Caribbean Beach – Hollywood Studios
- Caribbean – Pop Century/ Art of Animation
The system is not a single uninterrupted cable that runs entirely around all routes. Rather it is divided into 3 sections which you need to transfer between (by getting off and on again) at the Caribbean Beach Transfer Station.
The three sections are:
- Epcot – Rivera – Caribbean Beach section – Ride Time 11 minutes
- Disney Hollywood Studios – Caribbean Beach section – Ride Time 5 minutes
- Pop Century/Art of Animation – Caribbean Beach section – Ride Time 4 minutes
The cars slow for normal boarding and exiting or can be disengaged from the cable for handicap access. There are 2 loading areas at each station: a regular one, and one for loading ECV/Scooters and wheelchairs with a drive on flush load surface.
The cars are open air (no air-conditioning), as the long retired Skyway in the Magic Kingdom was, and has seating for up to 10 people on 2 wood park bench style seats on the front and rear of the cabin. ECVs can roll into the space between the benches.
Check out our Skyliner Video!
Let’s take a ride to see how this may operate:
- Boarding at the Epcot International Gateway Station, you’ll pass by the side and rear of Epcot’s France Pavilion, by the BoardWalk Inn Convention Center and over the BoardWalk parking lot.
- You’ll make a left turn at the turn station (Yellow square) to parallel Buena Vista Drive and then pass over it arriving at the Riviera Station.
- You will be able to get off here or stay on to continue your journey (without having to exit and re-board).
- Then it’s on to the Caribbean Beach Station, passing over the west side of the resort.
- You will have to get off here and then re-board either the Hollywood Studios or Pop Century/Art of Animation Routes if desired.
As I mentioned these aren’t the first gondolas at Disney World. One of the opening day attractions was the Skyway that ran between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.
Disney Skyliner Operating Hours
Hours of operation vary but are typically 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. but can vary.
Taxis and Ride Hailing Services
Taxis at Walt Disney World
A taxi fare between the furthest points on Disney World property should rarely exceed $20 plus tip.
When using taxis on Disney property, use only the ones colored yellow that have meters! They have various names on the side (Yellow Cab, Checker, City or Safety), but are all operated by Mears Transport, which has an official relationship with Disney.
Your resort concierge can call a cab for you or you can call yourself at (407) 699-9999.
We discussed Ride Hailing Services above as a method to get to Disney World, but they are an even better option for getting around WDW.
Uber & Lyft
Using Ubering and Lyft to get around property is very convenient and often the cheapest paid method of getting around.
Uber – Get a free ride up to $15 by signing up with this promo code:steveb14703ue this promo is for your first ride only, any value not used expires so this is not good for a quick hop across WDW property, but it is perfect for a ride from Orlando International to Shades of Green. The one-way fare from the airport is about $25. If you are already a member, have someone else in your party sign up.
Lyft – $5 credit towards your first ride when you sign up for Lyft using this link. This promo is for your first ride only; this is perfect for a quick hop across WDW property.
In 2017 Disney World began offering a new “uber like” service called Mini Vans. These are a fleet of polka dotted (they look like Minnie’s dress) SUVs and cargo vans (with the ability to carry scooters). For about 25 dollars they will take you anywhere on property. They can seat up to six guests, and car seats are on board at no additional fee. Several larger vehicles are available and can transport up to 2 wheelchair/ECV guests.
Minnie Vans service all locations on WDW property. The Minnie Vans can be requested via the Lyft app (keep swiping left through ride types) or by calling 407-828-3500.
Minnie Vans operate from 6:30 am to 12:30 am and only operate on property.
Minnie Van Operating Hours
Minnie Van service operates from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.
Links from this section:
There are a few instances where walking is possible at Walt Disney World.
It is possible to walk to the Magic Kingdom from the Monorail Resorts. The Contemporary Resort is located an easy 5 minute walking distance (0.5 miles) to the Magic Kingdom. The walk from the Grand Floridian is 10 minutes (0.7 miles) and it is 15 minutes (1.2 miles) from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom.
The Deluxe Epcot Resorts are also a fairly short walk to Epcot’s International Gateway
There is a walking path from the Deluxe Epcot Resorts (starting between the Boardwalk and the Swan & Dolphin) to Disney Hollywood Studios which is 0.8 miles long.
It’s possible to walk from the Saratoga Springs Resort to Disney Springs. It’s roughly 0.6 miles from the lobby to the north edge of Disney Springs.
Shades of Green is located within walking distance of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s about a ten to fifteen minute walk. From there you can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, the Transportation and Ticket Center (to transfer to the EPCOT monorail, or visit other Magic Kingdom Resorts.
Links from this section:
Long Distance – Universal, SeaWorld, etc.
In order to get to Universal Studios Orlando, Disney Resort Guests will need to arrange for either a taxi, limo, rental car, or Uber. Taxis and limos can be anywhere from $80 to $120 round trip.
There is an Alamo Rent a Car kiosk just off the Shades of Green lobby where you could rent a car for the day or more if you have other excursions planned.
Those who rent a car will also have to pay for parking:
- Universal – $25
- SeaWorld – $17
- Legoland – $23
Well that wraps it up for Walt Disney World Transportation.
I hope that you fine this a useful resource!
Do you have any WDW Transportation Tips? Please share them in the comments section below!
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