When we drive to Walt Disney World Resort, the minute we arrive to our happy place; we park our vehicle and never look back, well not until we are forced to leave at the end of our stay, Polynesian pouting the entire way home!
I’m at my Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, now what? That is probably the number one question upon arrival at “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” Here are a few tips and tricks to ease the mayhem, known as Disney Transportation!
Let’s begin with a bang:
- There is NO courtesy Resort Hotel to Resort Hotel Transportation at Walt Disney World Resort; unless you’re using your legs or a taxi cab, with your own coinage. Example– Polynesian Village Resort to Wilderness Lodge Resort. The only transportation provided courtesy of Disney is from a Disney Resort Hotel to the 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs and back to a Disney Resort Hotel.
- The only way to reach a Disney Resort is from one of the 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs. Example– If you have a dining reservation at the Polynesian Village Resort and you’re staying at the Art of Animation, you have to take a Disney bus to the nearest Disney Theme Park (Magic Kingdom) and get on the proper Disney transportation to the Polynesian Village Resort. It’s a great way for visitors to explore different Dining, Shopping and Resort Hotels. TIP– allot at least one hour for travel time if you have a dining reservation at a Disney Resort Hotel.
- With that said, there is also no courtesy Park to Park Transportation available. Example– you cannot hop on a bus at Magic Kingdom Park and go directly to Epcot, (read the exception below). If you want to Park Hop for free, you will have to go to a Disney Resort Hotel and then get onto the proper transportation to the specific Theme Park you are going to. This is nutty, but I don’t make the rules…….I wish I did, then the Castle would be MINE!
- Disney Transportation is clearly marked as to where it’s going and if you’re unsure, just ask a friendly Cast Member or Guest Services for help. If taking a Bus or Water Taxi just double check with the driver as to where they are going. The only dumb questions are those not asked (in my case, not always true- ba dum ching!)
- Disney Transportation is handicap accessible and has space for motorized devices and baby strollers. If you have one of the two, don’t worry, you will be seated first on Disney transportation. Trick– Baby Strollers can ride in the Monorail without folding them up, assuming they are not ginormous; also motorized wheelchairs can drive-on in most Disney Transportation vehicles.
- Transportation runs about one hour before the parks open and one hour following parks close. Always make sure to check the times guide.
Disney’s Magical Express (DME)
Disney’s fun courtesy shuttle will whisk you away from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your select Walt Disney Resort Hotel and vice versa. TIP– This service is not offered at Orlando Sanford International Airport.
Resort Loop Monorail
The Resort Loop Monorail connects to the Contemporary Resort, Ticket & Transportation Center, Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to the Magic Kingdom Park only. You can jump on or off the monorail at any of these locations. (Please, only when stopped, haha or tata)
Located at the Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC) next to the Polynesian Village Resort & Villas, it takes visitors directly to EPCOT and vice versa. TIP– If staying at the “Poly” you can walk to the TTC on a peaceful paved path if the monorail is down. (10 minutes on average)
Sail to and from the Polynesian Village Resort & Villas, Grand Floridian Resort & Villas, Contemporary Resort/Bay Lake Tower Villas, Wilderness Lodge & Villas and Fort Wilderness Campground to the Magic Kingdom Park.
Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter Water Taxis take you to Disney Springs and back. Old Key West Resort (DVC) and Saratoga Springs also have Water Taxis that carry visitors to Disney Springs and back.
Friendship Boats (8 total)
4 Friendship docks are located at Epcot Park on World Showcase Lagoon and the boats travel between Future World and World Showcase.
Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Swan and Dolphin Resort, Yacht Club and The Beach Club Resort & Villas also have Friendship Boats to/from EPCOT International Gateway (back door to EPCOT) and Disney Hollywood Studios.
Hop on one of two large Ferry Boats that take you directly from the TTC to Magic Kingdom Park and back.
Resort Hotel to Theme Park Buses
Depending on which park you are going, you will load one of the 4 Theme Park/Disney Springs/2Water Park Buses at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel designated bus stop. There is Bus Transportation from each and every one of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, even if there are other modes of Transportation. Example– Grand Floridian has Water Taxis, but they also have Buses and the Monorail. Buses are the primary mode of transportation at Walt Disney World Resort, over 300 Buses all together.
Disney Cruise Line Buses (*Additional Cost)
If you have planned a Land and/or Sea Disney Cruise Line package you can enjoy the Disney Cruise Line Bus from Orlando International Airport and select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels to Port Canaveral Cruise Port.
Value Resorts– All-Star Movie, Music & Sports Resort Hotels share a bus route. Pop Century and Art of Animation have their own buses. The Value Resorts only have bus service to the Theme Parks, Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs.
Moderate Resorts– Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs – Bus only to Theme Parks, Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs. Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts have Bus Service to Theme Parks, Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs, but they also have a Water Taxi Service to one another and to Disney Springs! *(only to one another, because it’s in the same direction (loop) to Disney Springs)
Deluxe Resorts– Animal Kingdom Resort & Villas only has Bus Service to all of the Theme Parks, Water Parks, ESPN Complex & Disney Springs. Kind of a negative for a deluxe, but they make up for it with live animals in a safari setting, lol. Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Swan & Dolphin and the Yacht & Beach Club Resort & Villas have Friendship Boats to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. A bus would take you to the remaining two parks- Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Park. Trick– If you’re feeling extra energetic you could Walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Fort Wilderness Campground, Wilderness Lodge & Villas, Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower Villas, Polynesian Village Resort & Villas, Grand Floridian Resort & Villas have Water Taxi Service to the Magic Kingdom Park, plus Buses and the Monorail.
Walt Disney World Resort Areas–
Magic Kingdom Resorts– Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower Villas, Polynesian Village Resort & Villas and the Grand Floridian Resort & Villas. They are all on the Monorail Line, as well as a stop at the Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC). Fort Wilderness Campground, Wilderness Lodge & Villas are also considered Magic Kingdom Resorts, but they are NOT on the Monorail Line.
Epcot Resorts– Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Swan & Dolphin Resorts, Yacht Club, Beach Club Resort & Villas, Caribbean Beach Resort.
Hollywood Studio Resorts– Pop Century and Art of Animation Resort.
Animal Kingdom Resorts– Animal Kingdom Resort & Villas, All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, Coronado Springs Resort.
Disney Springs Resorts– Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Treehouse Villas and Old Key West Resort.
* Disney Express Bus Service–
There is an additional cost for this “trial” Express Bus Service from one park to another park and you must currently have an Annual Pass or Park Hopper tickets. The cost is $15 per person for a single day of service and $24 per person for a seven day pass (prices may vary). They do not yet have a length of stay pass and the bus comes every thirty minutes.
If you like to Park Hop, this is a faster option of doing so. You will go straight from one Disney Theme Park to another Disney Theme Park; instead of going to a Disney Resort Hotel then jumping onto another bus to go to the Theme Park. You will go through one security entry process at the beginning of your day and when you’re ready to go to another Theme Park, the Express Bus Service will pick you up inside the Theme Park and take you directly inside another Theme Park. Example- Your first Theme Park of the day is Magic Kingdom, you go through the security entry process and into the park, you spend a few hours and now want to go to Animal Kingdom Park, you go to the Express Bus Service clearly marked kiosk, they scan your MagicBand to make sure you have an Annual Pass and/or Park Hopper and you wait till they escort you onto the bus for Animal Kingdom Park.
As of now they are only going to the four main Disney Theme Parks and vice versa. Remember this is a new (DEC 2016) “trial” Express Bus Service and it can change at the drop of a hat! TIP– Not to burst you or your child’s bubble, but you will see backstage areas while loading and unloading the Express Bus. If this fits your touring style or it’s extremely busy at the parks, I suggest you try this service out.This upgrade can be purchased when you purchase your Theme Park tickets, Front Desk at your Disney Resort Hotel or at Guest Relations.
It can be quite confusing navigating Disney Transportation. Walt Disney World Resort is not the type of place you want to wing it, but with proper research and advance planning you’re sure to start your family’s trip off right!
Have a magical journey!