If there’s one thing that people don’t tell you about Walt Disney World before your first time, it’s this – the place is freaking huge. David and I have been going, multiple times a year, for what seems like forever (we have an addiction, okay), and we still have not seen or done everything. It’s a massive property, filled not just with theme parks, but water parks, a shopping complex, a boardwalk, mini-golf, tons of resorts, and much MUCH more. You need to have a transportation strategy in place, that makes sense for your family both budget wise, but also is time efficient. Today, we’re sharing our top transportation tips, ranging from things that are general knowledge, to things that only seasoned veterans (aka the Disney addicts that should be checking into Disney rehab) know.
1. Are you staying at a Disney Resort? You’ll have access to the Disney bus system for ‘free’. Part of what you pay for by staying on property is access to the Disney bus system. David and I have mixed feelings about the Disney bus system. For people looking to save money, or if you have time for an extended trip (upwards of five days or longer), the bus system isn’t a bad option for you. It’s definitely not the most time efficient way to get around the parks, but it is free if you’re staying on property. We don’t recommend it however if you’re going to be in the parks for four days or less, as your time is worth more than the money you save.
2. If you do chose to take the Disney bus system, budget an extra hour (or more during peak travel times), to get from point A to point B. This is especially important to consider if you’re trying to get from your hotel to a dining reservation, as it might take longer than you expect.
3. If you want to use the Disney bus system, but are visiting the parks during a peak time, and have a heavy slate of Advanced Dining Reservations, we recommend combining the bus system, with Uber. Using Uber in the parks is time efficient, and relatively inexpensive. We like this option because it helps take some of the stress off of worrying about whether a bus will be able to get your family to your Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation in time that you’ve been looking forward to for the last six months.
4. Consider a rental car during the busy months. Here’s the thing – almost every time we go to Walt Disney World, we get a rental car. It usually costs us about $200, which yes, is extra money that we don’t have to spend. But what we get from having a rental car, is worth it to us. We enjoy having the freedom to come and go from the parks to nap, and not have it take hours. We enjoy not being bound to a bus schedule, but being on our own time. It might not be the right fit for your family, but with the hours we keep, it makes sense for us.
5. Certain resorts have added transportation bonus features. For example, ALMOST all of the Deluxe Resorts have an added transportation bonus besides just the bus system. The Contemporary, The Polynesian, and The Grand Floridian are all on the monorail loop. The Contemporary is also within walking distance to The Magic Kingdom. The Boardwalk, The Beach Club, and The Yacht Club all are within walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, as well as having boats that go to both. The Wilderness Lodge has a boat that goes to The Magic Kingdom.
6. When you’re at The Transportation and Ticket Center, most people head for The Magic Kingdom monorail (and consequently, wait in the long line for it.) You aren’t going to be one of those people, because you read this blog. Head for the Resort Monorail, which will almost never have a line (unless this blog goes viral), and will also get you to The Magic Kingdom.
7. After the nightly fireworks show at The Magic Kingdom and at Epcot, there’s a mass exodus of the park, which leads to some of the longest lines you see for the monorail and buses. Consider not partaking in this exodus, and staying put for an extra half hour. You can wait in line for a monorail or bus, or you can stay in the park and enjoy the ambiance a little longer. Either way you will get park to your resort around the same time.
8. If you’re taking an Uber to The Magic Kingdom, have them drop you off at The Contemporary, and then walk – an Uber to ‘The Magic Kingdom’ is actually an Uber to The Transportation and Ticket Center.
9. Boat Service is available from select resorts to Disney Springs. These Resorts are Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Port Orleans Riverside, and Port Orleans French Quarter.
10. You can park for free at a Deluxe Disney Resort on the monorail if you have a dining reservation there (aka, if you’re eating dinner at The Kona Cafe, you can park there, then head over to The Magic Kingdom for a few hours after, while leaving your car at The Poly. We stress for a FEW HOURS.)
We hope our transportation tips help make navigating the most magical place on earth more stress free and easy on your upcoming Disney trip. Getting lost or feeling stressed over time isn’t fun, and we hope we can help you out there.