Disney Transportation Guide for Getting Around Walt Disney World

Disney Transportation Guide for Getting Around Walt Disney World

A Vacation at Disney World includes Complimentary Transportation across the parks, resorts, water parks and Disney Springs. And if you’re visiting for a competition, you can get shuttles to the ESPN Wide World of Sports, and Golf Courses too. Staying on Disney property while at Walt Disney World offers a variety of benefits, and not needing a car is one of them! However, while Disney World does provide FREE Disney transportation at Walt Disney World, it still is somewhat confusing. From when to take the Disney Bus, to the Ferry, or the Monorail, or Skyliner, we’re breaking down ALL the ways you can get around Disney World on your next vacation.

How To Get Around at Walt Disney World

One of the biggest mysteries of any Disney Vacation is based on the question “Do you need a car at Walt Disney World? And while we sometimes recommend driving a car to Walt Disney World we are also big advocates for just taking the plane there and planning to be stranded at Disney for your vacation. Don’t worry, it’s actually quite liberating and not that scary. In fact, it actually has a term; the Disney Bubble. Being in the Disney Bubble, not only means you leave the real world behind, but also most of the responsibilities too. Whether it’s making your meals, or driving from one place to another…all those things can be done for you at Disney World. Meaning that you get to sit back and relax instead. Still, you’ll will need to know which bus, monorail, or boat to hail to get where you’re going. Let’s dive into all the Transportation at Walt Disney World options. 

Disney Buses and Transportation options

Getting To and From the Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World

Getting to and from the Orlando International Airport ( MCO) to Walt Disney World isn’t difficult. But, it does cost something. You can choose a ride-share service, like Uber, for a flat rate cost for whoever can fit in the car you choose in the app. Or you can pay a per-person fee for a service like Mears Connect. You can also use a good old fashioned Taxi Service. No matter which you choose you will have to add this to your Disney Budget. Because Disney World DOES NOT have a free shuttle from the Orlando Airport. As such you will have to plan for one of the following. 

  • Rent a Car
  • Hire a Shuttle Bus from Orlando Airport to Disney World 
  • Hail an Uber/ Lyft or Taxi

Bus Directions to and From Magic Kingdom

Buses at Disney World 

The main transportation service available at every Disney Resort are the Disney Buses. As the main mode of transportation across the entire property, there are some resorts, like the Value Resorts, for which Disney buses are their only form of transportation. 

Where do Disney Buses Go?

When staying on property at Disney World, you can catch Disney Buses to and from most places, but there are rules. Disney Buses from Disney Resorts go to the Disney Parks, Water Parks and Disney Springs. Disney Buses from Disney Springs only go to Disney Resorts, ( Not Parks). And Disney Buses from the Parks go to Disney Resorts, and sometimes, other parks. Buses generally cannot be taken from one resort to get to another resort.

Typically, Disney Buses are scheduled to  arrive every 15-20 minutes at the bus stations across Walt Disney World. However, this is pretty untrue much of the time, especially if you’re visiting during peak season. If taking the buses anywhere, allow yourself about an hour or so of travel time. Buses can be taken from the resorts to the Parks, Water Parks, and Disney Springs. Your best bet is to check the resort page within the My Disney Experience App for the Bus Times tab, so that you can see the arrival times for each bus at your home resort. Here are some general Bus rules to remember for Walt Disney World. 

Disney Bus Information

  • You can get a Disney Bus from your Disney Resort to any of the four Disney Parks, two Water Parks and Disney Springs. 
  • Disney Springs buses only travel to the Disney Resorts, not the parks. 
  • Disney Buses do not travel between Disney Resorts. This is important to remember if you’re visiting a resort for a late dinner reservation. As you won’t be able to travel from one resort to another, you will have to get a bus to a park first, and transfer from there to your Resort Bus. 
  • Sometimes you can get a Disney Bus from one park to another. For example, right now if you’re at Magic Kingdom, you would be able to catch a bus to either Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios. But would have to catch the Monorail if you wanted to visit EPCOT.
  • Disney Buses typically start running about 45 minutes before a parks opening time, and about 60 minutes after a parks closing time. These times adjust accordingly for both Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Theme Park hours. 

Disney Springs Bus Directions

Disney World Monorail Transportation

One of the marvels of a Disney World Vacation is being able to enjoy the monorail. This train in the sky connects two separate areas at Walt Disney World: The Disney Monorail Resorts and The Transportation and Ticket Center Line. Both monorail lines are accessible from the Transportation Ticket Center (TTC) and allow transportation by monorail from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, with a transfer at the TTC. Here’s what you need to know about the two monorails at Disney World. 

The Disney Monorail Resorts and Magic Kingdom Line

With access just outside the Magic Kingdom front gates, the Disney Monorail Resort Line connects three resorts, and the TTC.  The Resorts Monorail stops at Magic Kingdom, The Contemporary Resort, the Transportation Ticket Center (TTC), The Polynesian ( and Shades of Green), and The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This “highway in the sky” creates one loop that will take you to and from Magic Kingdom. 

The TTC and Epcot Monorail Line

Accessible from the main entrance of Magic Kingdom and the TTC, a second loop will take you to Epcot.  If you want to go from one loop to the other, simply switch monorails at the Ticket and Transportation Center stop. The TTC is also where you will take the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom, as the TTC is also Magic Kingdom’s Parking Lot. 

Disney World Boat Transportation

Another form of transportation at Disney world is by boat. There are several kinds of boats available. Some take you from the parking lot, others take you between resorts and parks. Depending on where you are going, you may be able to take a boat to the parks, your resort, and even other resorts. While boats are definitely the least crowded of the options, they are also the slowest. Allow for about 20 minutes of travel time to get to your destination, depending on where you’re going. Check out all the Disney Resorts that offer Boat Service

Ferry Boat to Magic Kingdom

If you are driving to Magic Kingdom, you will have to park at the TTC; Transportation Ticket Center. Once there you can choose between taking the Magic Kingdom Ferry or the Monorail to go to Magic Kingdom. Your choice! The  Ferry to Magic Kingdom offers a panoramic view of the front of the park, as well as great views of the Monorail Resorts that surround the lagoon. It’s slower and more leisurely than the monorail. So if you’re not in a rush, take the time to take in the views of the Lagoon. You can catch a boat about 45 minutes before park opening and 45 minutes after at 15-20 minute intervals. 

Boats To and From Magic Kingdom Park

The boats leaving Magic Kingdom not only include the Ferry, but also smaller boats that go to the nearby resorts. Resorts in the Magic Kingdom Area have access to the boats to and from Magic Kingdom throughout the day. Offering an alternative mode of transportation for those who don’t want to take the monorail or buses. One boat route includes visits to Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. While the other boat route offers transportation to the Polynesian, and Grand Floridian Resort. 

Boats To and From EPCOT Park

The main boat station at EPCOT is located at the International Gateway, at the back of the park. If you are staying at one of the BoardWalk Resorts, or one of the Disney Marriott Hotels, then you can grab a boat at the dock to bring you to the Epcot International Gateway. 

Boats within EPCOT Park also allow you to travel from one side of the World Showcase ( at the port of call shops) to the other (America Pavilion). This is especially helpful if you have kids or can’t walk long distances, or just need a break! Just grab a boat. 

Boats To and From Hollywood Studios 

At Hollywood Studios you can also grab a boat right outside the entrance that brings you to the Boardwalk Resorts (Boardwalk Inn, The Yacht Club or The Beach Club), the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, and back to the EPCOT International Gateway. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling back and forth between Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, but don’t want to take the walking path. 

Boats To and From Disney Springs

Disney Springs shopping center also has boat service that could be helpful if you’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside Resort or Port Orleans French Quarter. The boats at Disney Springs run between 10:30 AM- 11:30 PM.

 

Walt Disney World Skyliner

Disney Skyliner Transportation

Another form of complimentary transportation at Walt Disney World is the Disney Skyliner. And it is a great way to skip the crowds and see the views while you travel across the sky. Check out our quick guide to the Disney Skyliner. This form of transportation offers seating for up to 10 people in one car and guests are often seated together. There are two Skyliner routes; one to EPCOT Park and one to Hollywood Studios Park.  Both begin at the Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and if coming from the Art of Animation or Pop Century Resorts you will need to transfer to which route you need. Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort are also along the Skyliner route. 

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the TRANSFER station for the Disney Skyliner. This means you will have to get out of the skyliner at this stop. From here you can choose several paths on the skyliner. 

  1. You can visit the Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts
  2. Head to Hollywood Studios
  3. Or head towards the Disney’s Riviera Resort, which continues onto EPCOT. 

disney gondola skyliner map

Walking Path French Quarter to Riverside

Disney Walking Paths 

While transportation in the travel sense, you don’t need to use transportation to take advantage of the walking paths at Walt Disney World. From helping resort guests get to the parks, to hidden spaces like the BoardWalk, you can find Disney Walking Paths at Walt Disney World of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, there are even a few Disney Resorts that are within Walking Distance of the Parks to help you avoid transportation all together. 

Resorts Within Walking Distance to Magic Kingdom

The walking path at Magic Kingdom goes in two separate directions, but does not connect like a loop. Instead, if you are leaving the park and choosing to go to the Contemporary, you turn left. Whereas if you’re headed to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, you simply walk behind the monorail stations and turn right.  

Resorts Within Walking Distance to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios

This area of Disney World is considered the Disney BoardWalk Area. With a large open boardwalk that surrounds the lagoon, you can walk to and from all these resorts as well as to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. If you’re staying at any of these resorts, you are in walking distance of these two parks. and won’t need to use other transportation unless you choose. 

Other Walking Paths at Disney World

In addition to using walking paths to get to and from the parks to the resorts, you can also use them as shortcuts at Disney World parks. Plus, if you’re staying at sister resorts there are several walking path options for you to enjoy. Making it easer to access multiple resorts at once. Here are the connecting paths that help you walk from resort to resort at Disney World. 

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge has a walking path that connects Kidani Village and Jambo House, making it easy to go back and forth for dining reservations, and events. 
  • The All Star Resorts have walking path, or sidewalk, that connects that All Star Music, All Star Movies and All Star Sports Resorts. Making it easy to take advantage of different spaces, food courts and events.
  • The Port Orleans Resorts have a walking path that connect both Riverside and French Quarter, as well as the other Disney Springs Area Resorts. Old Key West, Saratoga Springs and Disney Springs are all accessible by walking path at the Port Orleans Resorts. 
  • The Magic Kingdom Walking Path connects both the Grand Floridian Resort and the Polynesian Village Resort. 
  • There is a riverside path that connects EPCOT and Hollywood Studios by walking path, allowing you to easily park hop between those two parks. 

Disney Springs

Transportation from Disney Springs to Walt Disney World

One of the most confusing elements of the Walt Disney World Transportation Options is its bus service to and from Disney Springs. If you are staying in a Hotel Near Disney Springs, then you’re probably wondering if that gets you closer to the parks. The answer to that is NO. Staying at a Disney Springs Hotel does not get you within walking distance of Walt Disney World Theme Parks. That said, we do have a list of Disney Resorts within walking distance of Disney Springs. 

If you’re staying at a Disney Springs Hotel, how do you get to Walt Disney World Parks? If your Hotel doesn’t have a shuttle to each Disney Theme Park, this is what you can do. In order to get to a Disney World Park from Disney Springs you can take any Disney Resort Bus from the Disney Springs Bus Depot. But choose wisely. Because once you arrive at the Disney Resort, you will then have to transfer to a Disney Parks Bus, from the resort. So which Disney Resort Bus should you choose? Here’s A quick breakdown, of the resorts closest to each park, that provide you the shortest bus ride to the park you’re trying to get to. Check out our Disney Springs transportation guide for all the details. 

From Disney Springs to Magic Kingdom

Once at Disney Springs, you can grab a bus to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Resort, OR Disney’s Contemporary Resort. All are on the Disney Monorail Line, which stops at Magic Kingdom. To get the closest you can choose the Grand Floridian Resort Bus and take the monorail to Magic Kingdom. OR choose the Contemporary Resort and take the walking path, about 5 minutes to the Magic Kingdom gates. 

From Disney Springs to EPCOT

If heading to EPCOT from Disney Springs, you will want to get a bus to any of the Disney BoardWalk Resorts. These include Disney’s Beach Club, Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk Inn Resort. All of these are within walking distance of EPCOT Park’s back entrance, known as the International Gateway. The get the closest to this Epcot gate, choose the Disney Beach Club Bus, then walk through the lobby and out onto the BoardWalk.From there, you simply turn left at the beach and walk until you reach the gates of EPCOT.

From Disney Springs to Hollywood Studios

Disney Springs to Hollywood Studios means grabbing one of the buses to the Disney BoardWalk or to one of the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. Any of these resorts will get you close to the gates, but there are options. To get the closest, but without walking, you can choose the Disney Swan and Dolphin Bus. This gets close to the walking path between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios but also gets you close to the boat dock. You can then transfer from the bus to the boat heading to Hollywood Studios or walk the path. Alternatively, you can also choose the Beach Club Resort Bus, and head towards the Skyliner Gondola station just outside the EPCOT gates. Then take the Skyliner Gondola to Hollywood Studios. Both options get you to Hollywood Studios from Disney Springs. 

From Disney Springs to Animal Kingdom

By far the easiest Disney World theme park to get to from Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom Park only has one nearby resort. And that’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World is a great place to stop anyway for up-close views of animals roaming the savanna and a bite to eat at Sanaa. To get to Animal Kingdom Park from Disney Springs simply take the Animal Kingdom Lodge Bus, and then transfer to the Animal Kingdom bus once you’re at the resort. 

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Driving to Disney World

In a hurry and don’t want to wait that long for a ride to get where you’re going? Here are some of your alternatives if you decide to bring a car to Walt Disney World. Drive.  Driving allows you the most freedom when you’re at Disney, but keep in mind, traffic can be stressful. You’re still in Orlando. If you’re an annual pass holder or if you’re staying on the property, the $25 parking fee will be waived. That said, there are reasons to drive to be sure! 

If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, your parking fee at the theme parks is waived, and you do not have to pay to park at the resort either. As such, you will not be charged for bringing your car. While this hasn’t always been the case, we’re so grateful that we get the freedom to have car if we need one. A car allows you the opportunity to go pick up pizza, or head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and other areas of Orlando. And while navigating the parking lots and trams and traffic, when you’re driving, it may be easier than navigating the buses if you have small children with strollers. 

Renting an Uber, Lyft or Taxi

Another option for getting to and from the parks, and anywhere else you want to go is by using a ride for hire service. Uber has gotten a lot more expensive since we first started taking it on property, but there are designated areas where you can catch your rideshare at each park. Note that Uber drivers are not allowed near the Magic Kingdom park gates, so you will still need to take the monorail to the TTC in order to meet your driver. Or walk to the Contemporary Resort and have them pick you up there. 

minnie vans at disney

Walt Disney World Minnie Vans

This posh option in Disney transportation is available for a hefty cost, but may be your best bet if you’re in a pinch. This van dressed up like Minnie is easy to spot and Super cute. Available to book through the Lyft App, you can check out the Disney Minnie Van Guide for details on current prices, tips and services. 

Getting Around Disney World

There you have it, all the transportation options at Disney World. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there are plenty of options to help you get to where you’re going. And it’s crucial to remember while planning. We’ve found that we’re often prioritizing resort transportation options above everything else when we book vacations. Because whether we’re staying late at a Disney After Hours Party or walking up early to rope drop our favorite rides, the transportation can make or break those plans. Standing in line for buses at 1 AM after a party, or even at 9 PM with the fireworks crowds always make us aware of how much transportation can affect our trip. Choose wisely! And let us know your favorite strategies for getting around Disney World. 

 

All the Disney World Transportation options from cars, to monorails, to boats to gondolas! Here's what you need to know. #disneytransportation #disneytips #polkadotpixies #disneyvacationtips

 

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .


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