Time-Saving Disney World Transportation Tips

These tips will help you save time navigating Walt Disney World’s extensive transportation system. Disney has a huge transportation fleet, which makes getting around Walt Disney World easy if you follow these tips. If you don’t know the tricks and transportation “shortcuts,” things can be difficult and take extra time. Disney’s fleet consists of buses, boats, monorails, submarines, spaceships–all sorts of things (okay, maybe the last couple are attractions and not actual transportation, but you get the idea)–and this Walt Disney World Transportation Guide will share the ins and outs of the methods of transportation and provide you with quick tips for saving time throughout your visit to Walt Disney World.

Disney claims that approximately every 20 minutes transportation departs the resort hotels to take guests to the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot making getting around easy–in theory. However, Disney also plays fast and loose with the word “approximately,” as you will read below. To avoid waiting around, you’ll want to follow the tips below (and even then, some amount of waiting is going to happen if you don’t have a rental car).

Ready to cut some time off of your commutes at Walt Disney World? Let’s get started…

A fisheye view of Disney's Old Key West Resort. The original Disney Vacation Club Resort! Visit my blog for info, photos, and reviews of Disney hotels: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disney-resorts/

Given the abundance of transportation, it’s actually possible to have a Disney vacation, from start to finish, without ever paying for transportation. To do so, you must stay in a Disney-owned resort hotel, utilize Disney transportation during your stay, and book Disney’s Magical Express to take you from the Orlando airport to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel. Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary motor-coach transportation that, you guessed it, takes you from the airport to your resort hotel, and back again! To find more out about it, read our Disney’s Magical Express Tips & FAQ.

Rather than taking Disney’s Magical Express to your hotel, you may instead elect to rent a car. We have an entire post titled Tips for Renting a Car at Walt Disney World that covers the ins and outs of renting a car, plus some of my thoughts on why or why not it might be a good idea. Suffice to say, if you don’t like waiting at all, like to be in control, and don’t mind driving while on vacation, renting a car is probably for you (this is doubly true if you ever want to leave Walt Disney World property–then a rental car becomes almost essential). While we regularly rent cars when traveling elsewhere, we have never rented a car at Walt Disney World. We typically use Hotwire for car rentals and book one of their “blind” Hot Rates. Renting a car can lead to longer waits and commute times, but we’ve found that not renting works better for us. Consider your circumstances and decide whether you might want a rental car.


New services that I’ve found are great alternatives to renting a car at Walt Disney World are Uber and Lyft. On a recent trip, I cancelled my rental car reservation at the last minute and used Uber for transportation. At the end of the trip, I totaled how much I spent…and I ended up saving a lot of money. You can read about my experience, plus some of my tips for using Uber and other ride-sharing services in the post Uber v. Rental Cars at Walt Disney World. Plus, if you’re new to using Uber or Lyft, you can get a free ride up to $20 by signing up via this link for Uber or a free ride up to $20 on Lyft via this link.

Let’s assume you don’t want to rent a car, nor do you want to use Uber or Lyft. Once you arrive at your resort hotel, you can rely upon Disney transportation. Transportation to the theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney begins approximately 2 hours prior to that park’s opening time and all transportation runs until approximately 1 hour after the parks close (if you’re still in the park one hour and 5 minutes after the park close, worry not, as Disney won’t leave you stranded at a park). Sometimes it’s closer to 2 hours after the parks close. All forms of Disney transportation have unload and load zones very close to the park entrance, making them more accessible than the parking lots for each of the parks.

If you’re planning to rely on Walt Disney World Resort transportation rather than renting your own car or utilizing a taxi, be sure to give yourself at least 1 full hour of transport time to get where ever you wish to go. Typically, it won’t take this long, but on occasion it can (it has taken us over an hour and nearly two hours on multiple occasions).

Best Hotel for Transportation?

If you won’t have a car at Walt Disney World, the first time you should think about transportation is before you book a hotel. There is no one “best” hotel for transportation to all of the Walt Disney World parks,  but here are a few factors that you should consider in your booking decision:

  • Whether the hotel has non-bus transportation to a park
  • Distance from the hotel to each park (with weight given to the parks you’ll be visiting most)
  • Whether the hotel has an internal bus system
  • Whether the hotel shares buses with another hotel

Non-Bus Transportation – Hotels with non-bus transportation to the parks earn bonus points because buses are, generally, less efficient (and cooler) than non-bus transportation. Monorails provide transportation to Magic Kingdom and Epcot; boats provide transportation to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accessible only via bus. Hotels on the monorail loop are Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Each of those hotels also has boat service to the Magic Kingdom, as do Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. Boat service to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is available to and from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and the Swan & Dolphin (non-Disney) Hotels.

Distance – Hotels that offer non-bus transportation do so because they’re closest to the parks to which they offer the transportation, so that gives you an idea of where those hotels are located. For other hotels, refer to this Google Maps view of Walt Disney World to determine actual distances from hotels to the parks. The Value Resorts and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort are located the furthest from every park except Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Walt Disney World is a large place, and this difference in distance is not negligible.

Internal Bus Systems – Internal transportation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to take a bus from near your room to the lobby or food court, especially at the spread-out resort-hotels. On the other hand, if you’re going to a park, that means either waiting for two buses or making multiple stops on your way to the park. In general we find transportation to take longer when there’s an internal system. Hotels with internal systems are Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Shared Buses – Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer here. Whether buses are shared depends upon how busy Walt Disney World is. The less busy, the more likely shared transportation will be used. As a general rule, none of the hotels above that have internal bus systems (except Fort Wilderness) have shared buses, but every other hotel can at times, with the exception of Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. And those two hotels were originally meant to be two halves of the same resort-hotel (meaning they’re close together), so it seems like only a matter of time before they share, too.

Due to personal preferences, there’s no one-size-fits-all “best” resort-hotel at Walt Disney World for transportation. It all depends upon which parks you’ll visit most, whether you’ll have a rental car, and your tolerance to walking. For example, from a transportation perspective, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is my least favorite hotel, because it’s really far from everything (except Animal Kingdom, which we rarely visit) and it has two stops. To someone who visits Animal Kingdom a lot, it might be the best hotel! So know which parks you want to visit most on your trip, figure out which hotel will work best for your circumstances, and book accordingly.

Hotel-to-Hotel Transportation

While Disney attempts to make its internal transportation from resort hotels to the theme parks reasonably convenient, the same is not true with regard to using Disney transportation to get from resort hotel to resort hotel. Instead, you will need to go from your resort hotel to a park and then catch transportation to the resort hotel you’re intending to visit. This can make dinner reservations at resort hotels that are not your own especially difficult. For this reason, many people only dine at the resort hotels on the monorail loop (as visiting them for dinner can be a nice change of pace from a busy day in the Magic Kingdom) or in Epcot’s Resort Area on Crescent Lake (as visiting them is a short walk from the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, and can likewise make a nice change of pace from a busy day at Epcot).

If you are planning on dining at any other resort hotel and are leaving from your resort hotel or returning to your resort hotel afterward, you may want to consider utilizing a taxi for transportation. Taxis are readily available (and if not, the resort can call one for you) at Disney resort hotels, and usually cost around $15-25 one way within the Walt Disney World Resort (obviously, the price varies based upon distance).

When relying on Disney transportation to go from one hotel to another hotel via at least one bus, you will want to give yourself at least 1.5 hours for transportation times. Usually, it’ll take around an hour. Unfortunately, quite often it takes the full hour and a half. So don’t ignore the recommended transportation times Disney provides to you when you make those Advance Dining Reservations!

In addition to taxis, rental cars, and Disney transportation, Mears Shuttle will accept reservations to those other major theme parks in the Orlando area, if you want to visit another park and don’t have a rental. The downside is that this shuttle is exponentially more expensive than using Uber.

Quick Tips

  • There is no parking at the Magic Kingdom. Instead, you park at the Ticket & Transportation Center lot, catching a tram to the Ticket & Transportation Center, and then take a monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom (this was done, among other reasons, so the Magic Kingdom has a “magical” introduction to guests).
  • Because of this, even guests who rent their own cars may be better off taking a bus to the Magic Kingdom, as the Disney buses drop-off guests directly at the front entrance to the Magic Kingdom, bypassing all of the intermediate steps.
  • If you’re leaving one of the parks right around closing, or after fireworks or a evening parade, consider waiting. Buses are especially bad at this time of night, and the park’s gift shops are open for a short time after the parks official closing time. Do your shopping then, instead of during the day, and leave a little later. Chances are, you’ll still get back to your resort around the same time, and you won’t wait in line so long for a bus, monorail, or ferry in the process!
  • You can walk from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom via a sidewalk. This walk takes about 5 minutes, and is much faster than taking the monorail.
  • If trying to take a taxi to the Magic Kingdom, instead of the Magic Kingdom, request a drop off at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and take the 5 minute walk to the Magic Kingdom. A taxi “to the Magic Kingdom” will actually drop you off at the Ticket & Transportation Center.
  • You can walk from Disney’s Polynesian Resort to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or Shades of Green Resort via a sidewalk (and vice-a-versa).
  • You can walk from Disney’s Polynesian Resort to the Ticket & Transportation Center via a sidewalk. It’s about a 5 minute walk, and will save you time over taking the monorail.
  • A bridge connects Pop Century to Art of Animation Resort. This provides quick access to the highly regarded Landscape of Flavors food court at Art of Animation. This easy access also means you can take whichever of the two buses arrives first when leaving the parks, if you don’t mind a little walking.
  • You can walk from Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa to Downtown Disney via a sidewalk. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk.
  • You can walk between any of the All-Star Resorts, but it’s not always a ‘simple’ path. Still, might be useful if buses are slow (and not shared) and one quickly arrives at a park for an All-Star Resort besides the one where you’re staying.
  • You can walk from All Star Sports to Coronado Springs Resort via a walking path. Along this path, you can access Blizzard Beach and McDonald’s. All Star Sports to Coronado is about 30 minutes; it takes around 5 minutes to get to McDonald’s from All Star Sports, and about 15-20 to get to Blizzard Beach.
  • You can walk from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Yacht & Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin resorts to Epcot’s International Gateway (World Showcase) entrance, but you cannot walk from the front entrance of Epcot to any of these resorts, without going through the park.
  • A ferry travels from Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, and Swan & Dolphin resorts to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The boat stops in this order – Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Swan & Dolphin, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Swan/Dolphin, Yacht Club, Boardwalk and Epcot. If you’re staying at or visiting Boardwalk, it’s much quicker to exit the ferry at the Swan & Dolphin and make the 5 minute walk to the Boardwalk if returning from Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and vice-a-versa when the boat stops at BoardWalk first and you’re staying at the Swan or Dolphin).
  • Ferry transportation is available from Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Port Orleans Riverside, and Port Orleans French Quarter to Downtown Disney.
  • Buses don’t travel between Downtown Disney and the theme parks. Instead, you’ll have to take a bus to a hotel, then a bus to a park if your ultimate destination is a park. By looking at other tips here (such as walking from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom or walking from Downtown Disney to Saratoga Springs), you can easily circumvent this and save time.
  • Buses make multiple stops at Downtown Disney. If the parks are closed and you want to visit another resort from your resort, your only option via Disney transportation is Your resort>Downtown Disney>other resort. This will take you at least one hour, and more likely closer to two. Take a taxi instead!
  • You can save money by parking your car at Downtown Disney (free) and taking a bus to a resort that is close to the park you’re intending to visit, and then walk or take another bus from there, but this is a colossal waste of time and, to some, morally reprehensible (I disagree from the moral perspective–I just think it’s an idiotic idea). If your time has any value to you, suck it up and pay for parking at the park you’re visiting.
  • Complimentary parking is available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Resort for those who have dining reservations. These two resorts are convenient places to park when visiting the Magic Kingdom.
  • The fastest way to get from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to the World Showcase via bus is taking a bus to BoardWalk or the Yacht & Beach Club and walking, due to the bus route being more efficient that way than from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to the front of Epcot.
  • Bus service isn’t offered from resorts to parks when the resort offers alternative means of transportation (via the monorail or ferry).
  • When the All-Star Resorts share a bus, it stops at All Star Sports first, and often will fill completely there. It is thus the best All Star Resort during these times of year.
  • There are a lot of other “secret” time-saving tips and tricks to Disney transportation, many of which I’m probably forgetting here. Please share your tips in the comments.

Walt Disney World Transportation Review

I like Disney bus transportation. I like it because it allows me to kick back and relax, without worrying about renting a car, navigating on foreign roadways, or breaking the “Disney bubble” and transporting me back to reality. This Disney bubble is an important thing for us. Really important. Because of it, we are unlikely to ever rent a car. On the negative side, there are too few buses, they are inefficient, especially for getting from resort to resort, they aren’t exactly the paramount of futuristic or cutting edge transportation methods, and have poor and too few routes.

There have been occasions where we’ve waited 45 minutes to an hour for a bus to show up at our resort heading to a particular park, and in the meantime, 4 showed up for a different park. There have been other times where lines have been so long in the morning that it has taken three separate buses to consume the line in front of us. Other times still, we take multiple buses to get from hotel to hotel for a meal. In circumstances such as these latter two, we now immediately head to the taxi area and save ourselves the headache. Our time on vacation is too valuable to us to wait an hour for a bus, especially when a taxi ride typically costs $20. This usually only happens once per trip, so spending the $20 once is still much cheaper than renting a car. On the recent visit mentioned above, I used Uber, the new(ish) ride-sharing service and found an average ride within Walt Disney World was around $10, making it a better alternative to taxis.

For those who shrug off inefficiencies and delays in Walt Disney World transportation because the transportation is supposedly free and is a “nice gesture” from Disney–it’s not. The bus system, much like Disney’s Magical Express, is Disney’s way of having a captive audience stuck on Disney property. It keeps people spending money at Disney. Disney would not offer it if it didn’t have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line (and the costs are at least partially rolled into hotel rates–so you’re paying for it one way or another). Hey Disney, here’s some free advice: make the system more efficient so guests don’t stand in line for buses for an hour (time they could be spending in gift shops in the parks!), and arrive to the parks cranky after standing in the hot line for so long!

Even if we were willing to break the Disney bubble and rent a car, we’ve realized this is actually less efficient for us than taking a taxi when lines are busy and taking a bus the rest of the time. We stay late at the parks each night, and never have an issue catching a bus with minimal wait at these times. Instead, we have determined that even if we had to take a taxi each and every morning (which is rarely the case), using a combination of Disney transportation and taxis is still cheaper than even a heavily discounted rental car. Plus, taking a rental car to the Magic Kingdom is a bigger headache than taking Disney transportation there, so we’d be relying upon Disney transportation or a taxi on Magic Kingdom days, anyway. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but you might have your own reasons for preferring Disney transportation to renting a car (or vice-a-versa).


Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it. For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, discount information, and tips, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

What are your Walt Disney World transportation tips? Have a “hack” that can save considerable time off the norm? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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199 Responses to “Time-Saving Disney World Transportation Tips”

  1. Jennifer says:

    We rented a car on our trip to Ft Wilderness in December 2009, because we were also going to DCL at the end of our stay. We vowed then and there to NEVER again rely on Disney Transportation. I rented a car for my solo trip in January, and we have a rental car for our trip at the end of the month. Waiting in that long hot line with tired cranky toddlers, two arms full of shopping bags and diaper bags, and no easy way to fold up the stroller?? No thank you! And truthfully, Disney property is really well marked, and is almost impossible to get lost or confused driving to and from the parks and resorts. We used Priceline and got a full size car for a week for under $200 with taxes!! that’s just a deal we can’t pass up.

    • Amy says:

      I agree, if you don’t have a car, rent one. We always camp at Fort Wilderness and already have a vehicle. This coming trip we will drive a motorhome and will have to rent a car when we get there. The main purpose to rent a car will be to drive to the parks. At Fort Wilderness, the only Disney transportation we use is the ferry to the Magic Kingdom. The buses are completely useless to got to any of the parks and Downtown Disney. You have to go to the Wilderness Lodge every time before you can begin your trip to the park. Same thing coming back. You will save a minimum of 2 hours every day driving your own car to the parks. Your parking is free if you are staying in a Disney resort. This is based on 5 trips in the last 5 years.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Between the internal buses and the stop at Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness is the worst place to *not* rent a car. Thanks for the tips!

      • Thanks for the tip! We’re headed to Ft. Wilderness in 4 days!! It’s the first trip for my four children, my husband and my mother in law, so I want the experience to be great. Knowing we should just use our truck to drive to the parks is a huge relief! There’s always debate whether it is worth waiting for the transportation over walking long distances back to a hot vehicle after a long day at the park, but it looks like us driving ourselves is the best option. We received a AAA diamond parking pass in our package when we booked our trip – does anyone know if it’s worth utilizing that offer? Also, our first day, we have early morning ADR at Chef Mickey’s – I get the impression we can drive to the Contemporary and stay parked there all day while we take the monorail to the park? That would be awesome!

    • Ninja says:

      I think that a rental car is a waste of money $. Also, you just read something encouraging you NOT to rent a car and then you go yelling people they should? You are CRAZY!

  2. Katie says:

    We always use Disney transportation, but we used to stay at monorail hotels and now stay at the Boardwalk, so we’re only relying on buses for 2 of 4 parks plus water parks (and if we’re going to from MK not at opening hours or closing hours, we take the monorail to Epcot and walk through the park, so it’s really only on Animal Kingdom and the water park days that we’re totally stuck with the buses). We find that walking is almost always more pleasant and time-efficient than using the boats from the Epcot hotels to Epcot and DHS, but I could see families with older relatives or young kids (or families who travel during the heat of summer) wanting to use the boats!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yep–that is the AWESOME thing about the Epcot resorts! The best resorts for transportation, in my opinion!

      • steven says:

        you’re letting the cat out of the bag! boardwalk is hard enough to get a reservation thru dvc as it is! haha so right though! stay away from disney buses as much as possible…

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you walk from the Beach Club/Boardwalk resorts to Epcot when it first opens or does the back entrance not open until World Showcase opens?

      • Jay says:

        Yes, you can, but nothing in World Showcase is “open” until 11-ish.

      • Ninja says:

        Just another reason I’m staying at the Boardwalk Villas in 5 days…

  3. Betsy says:

    When I was in the World in March my husband and I wanted to go from the Studios to Epcot in the afternoon…we exited the park and saw a huge line for the boat that was just arriving at the dock. Figuring we wouldn’t make that boat and didn’t feel like waiting for the next, we decided to walk. I don’t know how long it took us, but I do know that we were approaching the International Gateway and the boat was still at its 2nd stop. Bottom line, we learned that walking is usually faster than the Friendship boats, so if you’re in a hurry, just walk it out.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, there have been a number of times when we’ve beat the boats by walked from DHS to Epcot. A word of warning, though: in the height of humidity on June, you may not want to go this route. There’s not much shade on that path!

    • Laura B. says:

      There’s also a bus that goes from DHS to Epcot. For some reason we ended up doing this transition a lot last February (closing down DHS at 7, we didn’t want to go back to the hotel yet and Epcot was open til 9!). It never seemed to take very long even though the park was closed.

  4. John B says:

    As I’ve written before, I’ve had very positive experiences with the Disney buses. Here is my advice: get a VERY EARLY bus to the park in the AM. I usually leave about 1 hour before park opening. Sometimes, I’m the only person on the bus and often one of the first to arrive at the park. Fine by me! I think the buses get backed up as the day progresses.

    I also must strongly disagree with your point about waiting after park closing to get a bus. This might hold true if you wait 1+ hours, as you do, but if you are only waiting 30-45 mins, you are out of luck. My plan is to “walk briskly” out of the park (I have NEVER run, of course) as SOON as the night ends — the very last note of Wishes!, or the last spark of Illuminations. By the time I get to the bus stop I am out of breadth and sweating, but you know what? I never wait more than 15 mins for a bus, and am often on the first bus that comes along. I tried the “waiting” strategy at DHS 2 weeks ago. What a disaster. Fantasmic! ended at 9:30, but the park closed at 10. So I waited until about 10:20 to head to the bus stop, thinking the F! crowd must be gone by now. Huge mistake. CBR was bus stop 10. The LINE was out to bus stop 7 — 3 bus stops long! I had to wait 45 mins and for the 4th bus. In Disney’s defense, the buses were coming every 10 mins on the dot. So my advice stands: get out of the park ASAP and rush to the bus stop.

    Also, I believe you’re incorrect about being able to park at DTD and take a bus to the parks. There are no buses from parks to DTD (or vise versa) for the very reason you mentioned — people were parking at DTD for free and taking the bus to the park. This makes it very hard to get to DTD (which has the worst bus service, by far) and one of the reasons I usually avoid it.

    I really wish Disney made it easier to get from one resort to another. Maybe having a bus from each resort that goes to the TTC (or do they have this?) and one that goes to the “Epcot resort area” (a “Creasant Lake” bus?). That would open up all the MK and Epcot area resorts in the evening and early morning, perfect for breakfast and dinner.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I guess it’s a YMMV type thing. You’re right that you have to wait more than just twenty minutes after the park closes, though. Personally, I would rather be in the parks for an hour after they close (then, you can actually DO something, like shop or take photos) than arrive an hour early and just stand around. I mean, besides that, what’s the difference, really? You’re going early to avoid the masses, I’m staying late to avoid the masses. We also usually leave really early in the morning, too, but we can’t do the late nights AND that early of mornings (although we come close).

      So I guess it comes down to whether you’re an early morning or late night person. If you can do both, more power to you, as that’s probably the best way to go.

  5. Andrew Carrieri says:

    If you are at AK and have dining reservations at a World Showcase restaurant DO NOT get on the Epcot bus unless it is actually there. Instead, get on the Epcot resort (i.e. Boardwalk, S/D, and Yacht/Beach Club) bus and walk through International Gateway.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Never heard this one. Is it because the path the bus takes from AK to Epcot is longer than the path from AK to the Epcot resorts, or because it’s a longer walk from the front of Epcot to the WS than it is from Epcot resorts to WS? I’d assume the former, as I think Epcot resorts are farther from Mexico and other countries on that side of the WS than they are from the front entrance.

      • MichelleD says:

        Yes, the bus from AK to the Epcot Resort loop is the most efficient path for a World Showcase destination. When I was a tired CM during Food & Wine I would ride to the last stop, Beach Club, and walk into the international gateway. Also great to catching your favorite band during Food & Wine. I beat my friends who drove every time. You save time because of the roadways and the walking.

        Same works for Magic Kingdom to World Showcase because the resort bus loop is at the actual Magic Kingdom entrance. Downside, you do miss the great monorail ride.

  6. Beeker says:

    Interesting premise and a worthwhile question for anyone going on vacation [anywhere]: how much is your time worth and what are your priorities? I agree with you that maintaining the “bubble” is important… you pay a premium to stay on property, etc. so you may as well embrace it. Too often I think people mistakenly calculate their time spent in lines… particularly lines to get *to* the park (not even getting IN to the park or waiting for an attraction). Also agree it would be nice for some inter-resort (intra?) connections.

  7. C. Evans says:

    “You can save money by parking your car at Downtown Disney (free) and taking a bus to a park…”

    Is this true? When I was there in May I wanted to leave Epcot and go to Downtown. I was told I needed to take a bus back to my resort (or any resort) and then take a bus from there to Downtown. I assumed this was to prevent people from trying to get “free” parking.

  8. Jason says:

    Do the busses really start running from the resorts 2 hours before park opening? All the info sites out there say “about an hour”. I’ve been deliberating what to do to get to Epcot by 8:15.

  9. Gordon says:

    we tend to use a complete mixture travelling on boats, ferries, monorails and buses, although we also rent a car too. I actually enjoy driving when over and we dine all over the place so view the rental of a car as an easily justifiable expense. We plan our trips to the nth degree to maximise park time so any time spent waiting for transportation is something which has to be minimised as much as possible.

  10. Renee says:

    I totally agree about the “bubble”! On next trip (9 days!) we are actually taking the train from Raleigh NC to the Kissimmee station. DH has arranged for a car to pick us up (only $25 more than taxi fare). We are at the Beach Club Villas so will walk to Epcot for the Food & Wine festivities. We leverage transportation whenever possible but we will often opt for a taxi if we are going resort to resort for dining or returning from pub crawling.

  11. Carrie says:

    My boyfriend and I are going to Disney this next week and have an ADR at the Grand Floridian Cafe at 8:50. That day we will be in Hollywood Studios and are hoping to watch Fantasmic!, which starts at 7:30. My question is. . . do you think it’d be possible to make our ADR on time if we drove from HS to the Grand Floridian? We will have my own personal car down there, and can park by HS that morning so we can get to the Grand Floridian faster. Is there free parking outside of the Grand Floridian?

  12. Bob Rowan says:

    I was a “bubble” person until getting fed up with the bus service at Coronado Springs this June. The next trip I had a rental car and saved so much time in transportation and had the flexibility to easily get back and forth between the resorts that, unless I’m staying in one of the hotels between Epcot and the Studios or rental car prices are insanely high, I’ll want to have a car with me for future trips.

  13. We always drive to WDW, so we have our car available, but we do use Disney Transportation. Especially for Magic Kingdom if we’re staying till close. The buses are faster than the massive backup for the monorail and ferry. If you are using the monorail, remember that the resort monorail goes to the TTC. 😉

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We’ve ridden with a friend before from our hotel to the Magic Kingdom (or from our hotel to the TTC parking lot, to the monorail, to the Magic Kingdom) and after I found myself wondering why we just didn’t take a bus. Definitely agree with that tip. Driving to the Magic Kingdom seems pointless to me.

  14. Kevin says:

    It’s probably worth updating this to note that it’s not a long walk from Pop Century to Art of Animation and the bus stops are usually next to one another at the parks. So if you are staying at Pop and an AoA bus shows up, you can grab that instead.

    I think the most valuable tip to us was taking the Contemporary bus and walking to the MK when hoping over there. That was a huge time-saver!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Totally forgot about the Generation Gap (or whatever they’re calling it now) Bridge. Added it to the list!

  15. Andy says:

    Something very few people seem to know (or it’s just nobody talks about it) is that there’s a walkway going from the All-Stars all the way up to CSR. Going from Sports to CSR usually takes half-an-hour but along the way, there’s access to Blizzard Beach and the only McDonald’s on WDW property.

    So, in essence, you can walk from Coronado Springs or any of the All-Stars to the front of Blizzard Beach. There’s legitimate walkways and everything. Check it out on Google Maps!

  16. M and M Boys says:

    Both times we stayed at WL, I loved taking the ferry to and from MK. Despite being so close to MK, the WL bus almost always makes a stop at GF – sometimes FW too. What should be a short bus ride (being so lose to MK) can be ridiculously long! The WL ferry boats are smaller making the return trip from MK a great way to decompress after a long day there. Great views too!

  17. David says:

    When I stay at Vista Way for my Disney College Program this summer, whenever I feel the urge to visit Magic Kingdom I will definitely take the bus to Epcot, the monorail to the TTC and then hop on the ferry. It’s such an incredible journey over the lagoon, I hate skipping over it by just taking the bus straight there. It takes three times longer, but is definitely well worth it!

  18. Madi says:

    What’s the fastest way to get from All-Star Music resort to Art of Animation?

    I was told to take a bus to 1 of the parks (or Downtown), then take another bus to Art of Animation, same route to get back. Is there a faster way? If there’s no other way, which park is the closest to the Music resort? I only need it as a transfer point.

  19. Glenn says:

    With the exception of 1971 I’ve always used alternate transportation around Disney and gotten around quite nicely. I always figured they know where they are going better than I so I’ll let them. Our first extended stay we took a limo from the airport and we’ve had town cars. Now we take the Express to and from MCO.
    It has always been a prime concern on the bus location as to where we have stayed. At the All Stars I prefer Movies because if the bus stops at all 3, Movies is always the first stop. Likewise at Coronado Springs I chose to stay in a building closest to the first bus stop on that circuit.
    A little planning is all it takes and very little hassle using Disney transportation.

  20. Beth says:

    Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge in Sept, not driving. Heard mixed reviews about transport with it being out of the way, any tips? Thansk

  21. Beth says:

    I am staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge in Sept I’ve mixed reviews on transport as the resort is out of the way, any advice or tips thanks.

    • Jennifer says:

      Beth my family stayed at AK Lodge last July and loved it because it was a break from the parks. AK Lodge is awesome but we learned a valuable lesson from this location…rent a car. We are coming back to AK Lodge again in September and have already reserved a rental car. 23 more days!!!

  22. Patty Decker says:

    Disney knows when the parade end. Why don’t they have buses at every hotel stop. Been waiting 18 minutes to get on a Yacht/beach Club bus and no bus has arrived yet.. Understand they want buses over capacity but this line could fill 2 buses. Reason we stay at Beach Club or Boardwalk is to avoid this as much as possible.

  23. js says:

    very disappointed with bus transportation from to/from beach club from/to MK/AK – is this not a deluxe resort? options different with young kids and infants so “walking briskly”, early/late arrangements simply”ain’t gonna work”. Last night took almost 2 hours to get back to beach club. line up from MK was very long (3 bus loading areas I think) and there was no communication from the wdw transportation guy. one bus driver was hollering “it’s only a 10 minute ride!”. Many adults were carrying sleeping infants…

  24. js says:

    very disappointed with bus transportation from to/from beach club from/to MK/AK – is this not a deluxe resort? options different with young kids and infants so “walking briskly”, early/late arrangements simply”ain’t gonna work”. Last night took almost 2 hours to get back to beach club. line up from MK was very long (3 bus loading areas I think) and there was no communication from the wdw transportation guy. one bus driver was hollering “it’s only a 10 minute ride!”. Many adults were carrying sleeping infants and kids…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s unfortunate. The line should never get that long–they should always have someone out there to redirect buses as necessary.

  25. tom says:

    Too many abbreviations for a newbie! CSR WL MK FW GF REALLY?! Its like a foreign language – How about a link to all the abbreviations!

  26. Monica says:

    We are staying at All Star Movies in Oct and having 7am breakfast at Chef Mickey’s one morning. Is my best bet to rent a taxi to get there without waking up two hours early?

  27. Liz says:

    We have ADR at ohana for breakfast but staying at POP. Should we take the bus to MK and then walk to Polynesian or monorail?? Not sure the distance between!

  28. paula says:

    I am horrified by the transportation issues.
    Is bicycle parking convenient?
    Does bringing bikes make sense?
    Visiting in October.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Bringing a bike does not make sense. The resort is way too large and there’s nowhere to put bikes.

  29. Nancy N says:

    I am trying to plan a half conference/half family vacation in May 1-8 of 2014. The conference is at the Swan Dolphin but I’d really rather stay at a moderate (or Art Of Animation suite) that is with in walking distance of the Swan Dolpin. I know that the Beach Club is right next door but it’s a bit pricey for me. Is there a boat that could take me to the Swan Dolphin from, say, the Port Orleans or Riverside areas? Or should I hang up the whole idea and take a taxi to my conference for a few days. I have no idea what to do! Any advice offered will be greatly appreciated!!

    • Melissa says:

      The Swan / Dolphin boats do not go to the Port Orleans / Riverside area. We just stayed at the Dolphin hotel and it was great. If you want to stay at Art of Imagination, it would be quicker to take a taxi to the Swan / Dolphin hotels then taking a bus to Downtown Disney or to one of the parks and then transferring.

  30. Nate says:

    The wife and I were once staying at the Wilderness Lodge and were at Epcot on a particular day. As it got later in the day she started to get chilly, so we took a bus (despite having our car in the Epcot parking lot…we like to drive to WDW) back to the hotel to get her a sweatshirt. We thought it might be a nice respite to not have to drive, and we had a couple of hours before our ADR.

    Long story short, we waited for over an hour for a return bus (it took us no longer than 5 minutes to get off the bus, get her sweatshirt, and get back to the bus stop) while over 6 buses each came and went for the Animal Kingdom, the 2 water parks and the Magic Kingdom (not to mention multiple buses coming from DD and DHS). I guess in WDW’s defense, it was around 5, so that explains why so many buses came to drop off people from the water parks and AK. Still, it’s very frustrating when you expect your bus to come at any moment, and over an hour’s time, almost 2 dozen buses come from some other location than the one you’re going to.

    In hindsight, we should’ve just taken a bus from WL to DHS and then the boat to Epcot or a bus to MK and then the monorail to Epcot, but we never thought it’d take so long to catch a bus from a deluxe hotel to the second most popular park.

    Never again. We barely made it back in time for our ADR, all while “huffin’ it” through Future World and building up a nice sweat.

    One question for you Tom, or anybody else who might know; is there any way to walk from Saratoga Springs to Epcot? It doesn’t look like it as they’re separated by Epcot Center Drive and there doesn’t look to be an equivalent of the International Gateway on the east side of Epcot, but I was curious to know since we’re staying there in September.

  31. We’re SURPRISING our four children, ages 3, 5, 7, 9 with a trip to Disney World September 12-19, 2013 as a reward for being so amazingly unselfish over the last year while we’ve been offering foster care to children in our home. Not only will it be their first trip, but it will also be my husbands and my mother in law’s (who is coming with us). I haven’t been to Disney World for over 20 years and am hoping to make the trip as magical as possible for all of the first timers. We are staying at Ft. Wilderness campgrounds and we will have our own vehicle available at all times. My main concern is that we have a ADR for Chef Mickey’s on our first morning at 8:40 and then plan to make our first park Epcot. Since we have the ADR at Chef Mickey’s, from what I read, we can park at the Contemporary. Can we then leave our vehicle there all day while we take the monorail to Epcot? Or would it just be faster/easier to eat breakfast and then drive ourselves to Epcot? From the comments, it’s looking like the best option for us will be to always drive to a park, except possibly for MK as we can take the ferry to and fro. Any transportation suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Getting TO Epcot from the Contemporary will probably be slightly faster (restaurant to park entrance) via the monorail. You’re already right by the monorail platform at Chef Mickey’s and you don’t have to deal with parking or shuttles at Epcot. However, getting home at the end of the day will definitely take longer. Knowing that time in the morning is “more valuable” than time later in the day, I’d take the monorail to get there as quickly as possible, and just leave your car parked at the Contemporary (which will be fine to do) all day.

  32. jess says:


    I was just wondering how the bus service from OKW to MK does on the morning extra magic hours. I’ll likely be in a scooter due to mobility issues and have been advised that I might have to wait for 2 or 3 buses before getting on one with space for a scooter. Is it possible to get to MK via bus, in time for extra magic hours, bearing this in mind?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      In theory, you could have to wait for 2-3 buses, but I’ve NEVER seen that much demand for the first buses of the morning. Now, if you wait for the 9 am hour, you are much more likely to have an issue.

      • Jess says:

        Fab, thanks! We plan on utilizing Extra Magic Hours as much as possible. The plan being that we’ll do morning extra magic hours and stay for an early lunch, then go back to the hotel nap/swim/chill and head back to wherever has Evening EMH for an early dinner then stay a little while longer. We’ll also have a rental car but I hear that the bus is loads easier for MK?

  33. John says:

    On one of the days I’m at WDW, I have ADR at Kona Cafe at 7:30 (MK opens at 9). Based on the tip

    Complimentary parking is available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Resort for those who have dining reservations. These two resorts are convenient places to park when visiting the Magic Kingdom”

    it sounds like I could drive to the Polynesian, have breakfast, and leave my car parked there all day while going to MK. On that particular day there at EMH at Epcot from 9-11. So, it sounds like I could take monorail to Epcot after MK closes and get bus from Epcot back to Poly when Epcot EMH close to pick up my car. Correct?

  34. John says:

    Yikes! Let’s try this again:

    On one of the days I’m at WDW, I have ADR at Kona Cafe at 7:30 (MK opens at 9). Based on the tip, “Complimentary parking is available at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Resort for those who have dining reservations. These two resorts are convenient places to park when visiting the Magic Kingdom” it sounds like I could drive to the Polynesian, have breakfast, and leave my car parked there all day while going to MK. On that particular day there at EMH at Epcot from 9-11. So, it sounds like I could take monorail to Epcot after MK closes and get bus from Epcot back to Poly when Epcot EMH close to pick up my car. Correct?

  35. Jennifer says:

    We are staying at Port Orleans- Riverside during the Christmas holiday. This is our first trip ever to Disney and will be taking our almost 4 year old. We have reservations at other resorts for a few dinners and one lunch. We’ve heard that the transportation can be really long from Riverside. We will be needing to head back to Riverside everyday for nap time and then out again for dinner. We don’t want to spend a huge amount of time waiting for and/or on buses, do you suggest renting a car or just taking a taxi the few days that we are heading to the other resorts for meals? Any other tips for easy traveling from Riverside? Thanks.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Taking taxis at a minimum, but ideally renting a car. It sounds like a lot of your time could potentially be lost to transportation, unfortunately.

  36. April says:

    Hi Tom, I love your blog. We are taking our 5yo and 2yo to DisneyWorld in September. We are staying at All Star Sports and have the 8:05 Crystal Palace breakfast. What’s the best way for us to travel there that early? We may have a rental car as my husband will be there for work part of the time, but it sounds like the Magic Kingdom parking lot is no fun. Or would we be better off doing an early dinner? Thanks so much for your help.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Probably taking the bus, just make sure to get up EARLY. I would stick with breakfast–being in the Magic Kingdom before park opening is an awesome experience itself!

  37. yvonne says:

    hi.we are staying at hyatt cypress rt outside disneyworld. planning to visit hollywood studios and go back to the hotel then MK late afternoon for the parade. Should we take the hotel shuttle to the parks or drive our car?

  38. Gary says:

    We are staying at Saratoga resort. What is the best way to get to shades of green resort? I have to go there to purchase my military discount tickets. Arriving on 7/28/2013

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you have a car, that’s the best way. If not, bus to a park and then transfer to a Shades of Green bus. That’s going to take some time, though. If it were me and I didn’t have car, I’d strongly consider taking a taxi.

  39. Melissa says:

    Hi, my mother & I will be staying at CBR from Aug 25- 30th with the free dining plan (yay) and driving down from Ontario (not yay). . . wondering if it makes more sense to drive to AK & DHS instead of the bus system? We plan on being there before park opening (kids are 5 & 3 and get up EARLY). Also, staying at the pirate themed rooms, saw on google maps, it’s a good hike up to the main pool area, do you know how much time it would take for an average person to walk up there? I guess if it came down to it, I could drive from our room up to the main area LOL. Found this on pinterest, thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Since you’ll have a car, I’d definitely recommend driving. I’d probably drive everywhere except the Magic Kingdom. It’s just more convenient to take a bus there and not deal with the TTC and trams.

  40. cameron says:

    Because of physical limitations, we are looking for the best way to minimize walking at every step (from hotel to transportation to the entrance to the park). Which alternative gets us closest to the front door: bus, monorail or rental car? Thanks!

  41. Neil says:

    Out of all the Disney hotels which one would be best to stay at without hiring a car? We have young kids so popping back to the room in the afternoon may be required. I see this topic has been brought up a few times over the last couple of years but things may of improved. Thanks

  42. April says:

    Hey – not sure if I missed it somewhere…but we’re going to DW end of Sept-early Oct. The last day we’re there, we’re planning on going to LEGOLAND. There is a shuttle from the Orlando Outlets to LEGOLAND, but I’m wondering what the best plan of attack would be to get to the Orlando Outlets from All-Star Music? They say to be to the Outlets by 8:30 AM for the 9 AM shuttle. Thanks!

  43. Pam says:

    We have a huge family group (20 of us) doing a character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s the third week in December. We have to go from Coronodo Springs Resort to the Contemporary Resort for a 10am reservation. Any tips for the easiest way would be appreciated! Thanks

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Taxi will be the easiest way. Otherwise, bus to the Magic Kingdom and walk from there to the Contemporary (it’s a very short walk).

  44. Linda says:

    Planning trip for Jun14. Doing AK on last morning before heading home. Is it advisable to pack car and drive from Polynesian to AK and park there before touring and heading home, or leave car at Polynesian and rely on bus transport? Thanks

    • Tom Bricker says:

      From the perspective of saving time, I’d recommend driving directly to Animal Kingdom. Whether you want your luggage in a car all day is up to you, though…

  45. Cindy Bugg says:

    We have used Disney transportation many years and have never once had to rent a car or use a taxi. One of the reasons we love staying on property is because we don’t have to drive at all the whole vacation. We have gone to and from many of the resorts and parks, etc., and have never once thought we should have rented a car. We love Disney transportation.

    • Melissa says:

      I’m with you Cindy! We have been going to Disney World every year for the last 23 years and the Disney transportation is great! I love leaving the car at home and taking the buses / boats / monorail! We love the transportation at Disney and not having to worry about driving in the traffic and the parking issues!

    • Jon Reidford says:


      But I’m guess you ‘have’ to stay on Disney property, correct, in order to ride the monorail or busses?


  46. Linda says:

    I’m concerned with getting to my 8:15 AM “Marceline” tour at MK. I’m supposed to register no later than 8 AM. All info says that monorails begin running an hour before opening, which on that date is at 9 AM, in all parks. I am staying off property this time. I will have my car. Do you think that I will be able to park at the Contemporary and walk over if I show them my reservation receipt? I really would like to get there early enough to take pictures, as well. I have gone on tours before, but, never this early. Lucky to be a FL resident and passholder.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Are you sure about that time? If so, it must be a recent change. In the past, monorails officially start operating 90 minutes before park opening, but actually start running about 2 hours earlier.

  47. sarah says:

    Hi, it’s been over 20 years since going to WDW and my first time as an adult and parent. My family is going in Oct and we are staying at Pop Century. We will have a rental car and plan to only go to MK for 2 days. It sounds like there isn’t parking at the resorts? Where do we leave the rental car? Also, trying to determine how far away the resort is from entrance to MK – any guesses? Thanks for the great blog!

    • Steph says:

      There is plenty of parking at ALL Disney resorts. Pop Century is 15-25 min from MK depending on time of day. I would take the bus from POP b/c if you park, it will be at TC and you will still need to take either the ferry or monorail over to entrance. Buses drop you across the lake right in front of entrance. The earlier you get there, the better. You may have to wait outside a few minutes to go in, but that will pay off in spades when you get inside before everyone else who is outside waiting to get in. Many ppl leave resorts at a leisurely pace around and after park opening times, causing linge waits to get to the park and then into the park. We’ve done more in the first two hours when we get in at rope drop than we have staying there hours after a mid morning arrival. On the very plus side, October crowds are not horrible and wait times *should* be reasonable.

  48. RM says:

    Your comment about hotels not having buses if they have ferry or monorail service… We were waiting on a bus three weeks ago at MK after Extra Magic Hours and saw multiple (empty) buses going to Contemporary and Grand Floridian…while almost no buses showed up for Pop Century. Waited more than an hour in line. Now that we know about Art of Animation bridge, we will use that bit of advice! Great column for first-timers and old-timers!. Thanks!

  49. Kim says:

    Can you walk from AK lodgevto AK?

  50. Robin says:

    We will be at MK on the day we need to pick up race packets for Jingle Jungle 5k at Sports Complex. Any tips for the best time and way to do that efficiently. Renting a car is not an option.

  51. Heidi says:

    I heard they have been testing a bus from Animal kingdom to DD. Do you know anything about that? If not, what would be the best way to get there??

  52. Joanne Gullo says:

    My daughter has an appt. at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at DD at 5:00pm. Then we have a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table at 7:10pm. Can we make it by bus or should we get a taxi? Trying to get an earlier boutique appt. or later dinner appt. but that’s probably unlikely. Any suggestions.

    • Definitely taxi, and even then, you will be very tight on time. We’d recommend trying to move the BBB reservation, if possible. It will be very difficult to move the CRT reservation.

      • Joanne Gullo says:

        Thanks for the advice. I have been trying to change her BBB appt. but haven’t had any luck. I know I was lucky to get a table at CRT at all.

    • Faith J says:

      We are in the exact same boat for June 2014. We’re going to keep both appts. and drive from DTD to the Royal Table!

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  54. Kim says:


    are there any rental hotels/homes with kitchen near walt Disney?

  55. Roxana says:

    Hi, we’re planning our first trip to WDW. On the day we plan to visit AK (until its closing time) we have an ADR at Ohana at 8 pm. What do you think is the best way to get there on time?

  56. paul giddings says:

    I am taking my wife and kids to DWLF in oct 2014 and cant wait,we have booked the blue heron resort 2 bed apartment and it lokks fantastic.my wife googled it to death and now informed me that the buses are not great as it seems that there is only two busses aday to and from blue heron beach resort to the transportation centre. is this correct ,has anyone staed blue heron beach rst lake bryan and what is your exsperince with using buses from there to get to magic kingdom.rung travel agent too exspensive to canel as will loose £1200 SO A BIT STUCK AND WORRIED NOW PLEASE HELP

    • Shauna says:

      Hi Paul, though I had my own vehicle and cannot speak to the bus service at the Blue Heron, it was a really great, clean hotel. Fun alternative to staying on property. Maybe consider renting a car?

  57. Amy says:

    Hi. A friend of mine have given me 2 tickets to go to Disney land, they expire February 2014. Could I use them christmas time? 30th or the 31st of December. They also have her name on them, would that be a problem to use. Xx

  58. Darren says:

    Hi I was wondering if any one could help me out I’m planing on buying a pair of Disneyland paris tickets of ebay but they have someone’s name printed on the bottom does this matter an can you use any ticket to go on the 30/31 of December many thanks :) x

  59. Sean says:

    Hi, I am attending a conference in January 2014 at the Swan, but plan to stay at the Coronado Springs Resort. I have read hotel-to-hotel bus transport via Epcot is one way but it sounds like it can take a long time. Taxi seems to be the best option… is that right, and would it be about $15 plus tip one way? I like walking but it doesn’t seem possible between these 2 properties. Thanks.

  60. Elisa says:

    Thank you for all the helpful tips. My family and I will be visiting Disney for the first time in February. We are staying at All Star Movies Resort, what is the best way to get to Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, then from Ohana to the Magic Kingdom.

    Thanks for any helpful tips.

  61. Heather says:

    After reading this, I feel that I might be in a little bit of a pickle. We have a 9 am appointment for BBB for my daughter which we were told could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. We did this so that she could be all dressed up for the my disney girl’s perfectly princess tea party at the Grand Floridian which the only time for that is at 1030 am. Will I be able to make it in time from one place to the other with Disney transportation or any method of transportation for that matter? We are driving there so I will have my own vehicle, but I am concerned that even if I drive I will not make it there in time when I have already paid $398 for the tea party for the 3 of us. Any advice would be very greatly appreciated.

    • Maria B says:

      I suggest canceling the BBB appointment. I doubt you are going to make it. Bring spray glitter, make up, and a costume from home. She will look like a princess and you won’t lose $400 for your tea party. The other idea is to try to get her an appointment the day before. You can touch up her hair and makeup the next morning.

  62. Ryan says:

    Best transportation from Disney’s Coronado Springs to Downtown Disney? Please advise…

  63. Lucy says:

    I’ll be staying at Disney Pop Century and very interested to visit Boardwalk. Pls tell best way to reach Boardwak using Disney transportation. Thanks!

  64. Joe says:

    Don’t forget this money saving tip…parking fees are good for all of the lots that day. So get your receipt while parking at your first park of the day and you won’t have to pay again if you drive to another park later the same day. Just show the receipt while entering the same lot. Same can be done if you leave for awhile (such as an offsite lunch) and return to the same parking lot later.

    This same “pay once per day” approach also applies to locker rentals.

    Both tips are great for Park Hoppers and will save you money over having not known about this secret.

  65. Jon Reidford says:

    My dilemma is I’d like to stay outside of the WDW resorts (something with a continental breakfast) and take their free shuttle to Magic Kingdom or Epcot (whereever they’ll take you). Once there, can you ride the monorails from either location to other spots in WDW for free? Or are they like the busses? I’m trying to strategize just parking the car at whatever hotel and try to “shuttle” around during the week…IF possible (with wife and 2 kids). I know, lofty dreams here… 😉

  66. Jon Reidford says:

    Okay, anyone have a recommendation for the closest, yet nice economy-wise hotel to WDW with shuttles, etc. (and no gouging ‘resort fees’)?

    Memorial Day week might be the only week we can make it…

    Thanks all of you!

  67. Margaret says:

    We are staying at All-Star Sports first week in May. We will have a car. We plan on one day for each park. Which is the best way to get to each park from our resort. Also we got the PH and if we finish AK and HS ealy we will choose to hop to MK one day and then Epcot the next. Whats the fastest from HS and AK to the other two resports? Boys are 8 and 15.

  68. Aaron says:

    I will be going to Magic Kingdom with my father who is in a wheel chair. Where is the best place to park? Can we avoid the tram and park close to the monorail?

  69. BethAnn says:

    Going to WDW with 3 year old daughter 2nd week of September…Most time will be spent at MK and HS…Which resort would be best in terms of easiest transportation?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Disney’s Contemporary Resort or the Polynesian are easiest. They’re also more expensive. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask Sarah for help planning: sarah@disneytouristblog.com

    • Renee says:

      Although the transportation is a consideration, I would suck it up and take your little girl to the Art of Animation in a Little Mermaid room or Finding Nemo suite, if you prefer the suite. She will love being at the resort just as much as magic Kingdom :)

  70. my please pace do you feel drive ? do i you xcream photo hollywood ? do i you see Starbuck aunt daughter hollywood brother like ? thanks you

  71. Simon Cutts says:


    Just a couple of questions, firstly can you walk from Old Key West to Epcot or Downtown Disney (where the big ballon and Cirque du soleil are). And secondly what is the best option breakfast, brunch around 10:30 or lunch when using a quick service. This is our first time to disney so any help would be greatly appreciated.

  72. RickNYC says:

    My first DW trip for four days near the end of March.

    I’ll be driving as I’ll be in other parts of Florida but I’d rather not use the car while at DW.

    I’m booked at the Caribbean Resort (of which I saw little/no mention in the review). I’ll have a bicycle with me. Are there bike paths or ways to bike to the parks, at least from the Caribbean to The Magic Kingdom.

    Being a New Yorker, I don’t mind walking A LOT more than most US citizens and it seems Caribbean is close to Epcot and Epcot close to Disney Studios, no? Not walkable?

    I really think bikes and bike paths would be a nice alternative to get around the parks.

    • RickNYC says:

      oops, i saw your earlier comment about bikes, BUT I think this is mistake. DW should promote use of bikes as a healthy and efficient alternative. I bike 100 blocks easily in NYC, for bikers, it should be a great alternative to glass, steel and combustible engines.

  73. JanGee says:

    Driving to Ft. Wilderness Campground with 3 and 4 year old in early April. Should arrive around 4 pm. Just noticed that Ferry stops running to MK at 3. Is it worth the time to travel to MK that first night?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Where do you see that about the ferry? It usually runs until after the park closes. (And yes, it’s still worth traveling to Magic Kingdom that first night, regardless.)

    • Renee says:

      The Ferry runs until after the park closes. In fact you can catch some fireworks from it :)

  74. NPR says:

    Hi All
    Im planning a trip and have to go between Disney Pop Century and Walt Disney Swan for 7:30am .
    What is the best way to do that?

    • Tom Bricker says:


      • NPR says:

        Thank you for the quick response.

        How early can I get to Swan in the morning if I take an Epcot bus from Pop Century, then from Epcot I take a ferry to Swan?

      • Tara says:

        There is no perfect answer to that as no one can predict how long it will take buses and ferries to arrive. That is why all the questions regarding travel time have the standard “Plan on 1-2 hours for travel between resorts” answer.

        I would do a little more research, though. I think I saw (in this post) that you can walk from Epcot to the Swan. That might be faster than waiting for the ferry, unless you just really want to ride the ferry . . . which I get. :)

  75. Stephanie says:

    We are staying at the Dolphin this May 2014. Would it be quicker to take the boat to Epcot and then get on the monorail to go to Mk in the morning, or should we just take a bus to MK?

  76. NYC10026 says:

    Are there any walkable paths from Caribbean Resort to Epcot? It doesn’t look that far (many NYers don’t mind walking a lot :)

  77. Jeremy says:

    Going in mid-Oct, purportedly less crowded week. Traveling with youngsters likely to be at MK a lot. Is Wilderness proximity for buses and dedicated boat ride to MK significant enough time savings over Riverside to be worth more expensive hotel?

  78. Keroppi says:

    Fastest way to get from AKL Kidani Village to Downtown Disney?

  79. Barb says:

    Hi! Is there any way to get to the Theme Parks without paying the ridiculous parking fee each time? Thanks, in advance, for your response.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Annual Pass or staying at one of the Disney on-site hotels are the best ways to go to not have to pay parking.

  80. Jenn says:

    Thanks for this! Great resource on the sometimes confusing world of WDW transportation.

  81. Laura says:

    Hi, Tom! We are staying at the Dolphin Hotel on our next trip. I know you can walk to Epcot from the hotel, but is that possible in the mornings? I mean, the walkway leads to World Showcase, which doesn’t open ’til later, and we want to be at the park by nine. Appreciate your help- thanks!!

  82. Nora says:

    Tom – thanks for all the awesome info. Do you know if there’s still al bus from AK to DTD in the afternoons? This Disney website says that it’s being piloted – but the article is 9 months old and I can’t find any more recent info. Thanks again!


  83. Nora says:

    Tom – thanks for all the awesome info. Do you know if there’s still a bus from AK to DTD in the afternoons? This Disney website says that it’s being piloted – but the article is 9 months old and I can’t find any more recent info. Thanks again!


    • Tom Bricker says:

      I have absolutely no idea. I haven’t heard anything about it, and never saw it firsthand…then again, I never really looked as we haven’t had a need to go from AK to DTD. Hopefully someone else can help you! :)

  84. Mary says:

    We are staying at AKL and have ADR at Victoria and Albert’s. Is taking the bus to MK and hotel monorail work or would a taxi be our best option?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Taking the bus to the Magic Kingdom and then taking the monorail will work, but do you really want to be in the heat and around sweaty park guests in a suit and/or dress? We’d recommend taking a taxi.

  85. Sheila says:

    Hi Tom! Love reading your blog! Taking the kiddos (3&4) for our first WDW trip in August, and are staying at Pop Century. We will have a car on site. The day we arrive, we need to activate our Military Salute exchange vouchers at any ticket window, and we have an ADR for 1900 Park Fare. Is there a transport method from Pop that can take me to the TTC for the ticket activation, and then straight to the Grand Floridian for dinner? Or would we be better off driving (not familiar with the area at all). Thanks!!

  86. Gina says:

    Hi Tom, We are taking our first trip to WDW with our 6 and 4 y.o. and can either stay at the Swan for free or will pay to stay on the monorail (although the prices are hard to justify, even if MK and Epcot are very close). We are very concerned about transportation/travel time – planning on doing 2 days at MK and 1 at each of the other parks. Staying for free at the Swan is appealing and could justify getting a rental car – do you know if parking is free at all of the other parks if you are a Swan guest (since technically they are only sort of a Disney resort)? Would driving to the TTC lot for MK be much quicker than the buses for the MK? Thanks!

  87. Cheryle says:

    We are visiting WDW in October..not staying onsite as we have a timeshare in Orlando…..can we use Disney transportation once inside the oarks..I mean, how do they know? What is the best way to get to and from WDW…taxis…buses or rent a car?

  88. Pal says:

    Hi, can you walk from Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket center by the sidewalk? I want to avoid the monorail

    Thank you!

  89. Lees says:

    What is the best way to go from ASM to WL for dining. Then headed to Epcot. We will have a person on a scooter.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Bus to the Magic Kingdom, then bus or boat to Wilderness Lodge. From there, bus to Epcot. Have fun!

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  91. Wendy says:

    We are considering getting the Epcot after 4 passes this year. I was wondering if we make reservations at one of the restaurants in Epcot, can we park for free at one of the resorts nearby and enter through the International Gateway?

  92. Linda says:

    My family and I have been to WDW a number of times. My Husband and I are medically challenged and use ECV’s for getting around. We use to take the buses around Disney but the buses can only accommodate two ecv or wheel chairs at a time so we now always take or rent a car. We have found the wait time can be very very long at closing of parks. So we drive and leave the buses for the medically challenged that do not have the option of bringing there own transportation.

  93. Marisa Lee says:

    We will be staying at the Four Seasons at WDW Resort. I believe they are located on the Disney grounds. Do you know if their transportation works similarly to those of the Disney Resorts? Any tips for the Four Seasons transportation? Thank you!

  94. Wendy Johnson says:

    My husband and I are taking our two girls, 6 and 4 to WDW for the first time in May. They have a 9:00am reservation the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in DTD and then we have a 11:55 reservation for lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the MK. We are staying off site and will have a rental car. Should we leave the car at DTD and use Disney transportation (and how?) to get to the MK or would it be faster to drive over? Thank you!

  95. Katie says:

    Hello! Hopefully this blog entry is still active, because it’s been a godsend during my attempts to plan!

    A friend and I are attending a conference in February. The sessions are at the Swan and Dolphin, but the rooms were booked up for 2/5 days, so we were looking to stay elsewhere. If we stay at Caribbean Beach, would a bus ride to say, Hollywood Studios or Epcot and then to the S&D be reasonable? (We’d likely be up fairly early to get over there, so I’m not anticipating a major crowd for the buses at this point.)

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Disney, and I was the guest of an employee with a car, so transport was a little different! Any insight is appreciated!

  96. Michelle says:

    I would add to one area to consider when deciding which transportation is right for you. Is the cost of a rental car offset by other expenses?

    I grew up with roadtrips to Orlando, so we had a car around the parks. I then spent a year working College Program using only the bus services. In recent years I have stayed at almost all of the WDW resorts as well as stints off-property, and traveled with my own car, rental car, or no car. Having spent a few years as a local in Orlando I’m very comfortable breaking the Disney bubble. Thanks to the thriftiness of my family I don’t like not getting the full value out of something.

    I prefer to do a hybrid of car rental and Disney buses. With sales and coupons my car rental at MCO is regularly less than $200. On my way onto property I pick up groceries, particularly breakfast and snacks, as well as liquids I can’t pack in carry on luggage such as the very important sunscreen. Once I am on property I alternate car and bus depending on my plans, as I know the hassle of taking a bus mid-day for a nap to park-hop. Looking at my budget I save money by taking a few minutes shopping off site to mostly offset the cost of the car. I also like the freedom to hop over to the beach for a day. Along with the other considerations in your list I’d add if a car cost < Disney food, checked bag fees.

  97. Tom says:

    Last year we stayed at the Treehouse Villas at the Saratoga Springs Resort last year. We never rent a car when we visit WDW, so we are used to the normal delays involved with Disney transportation. I STRONGLY urge anyone who plans to stay at the treehouses to rent a car!

    As Tom outlined in his post, Saratoga Springs is a large resort with multiple stops. However, to get back and forth to the treehouses you need to transfer to another bus that shuttles between there and the main building. So after a long day at the park, you hop on the resort bus and sit (hopefully) or stand (likely) through 4 stops at different sections until finally reaching the main building on the 5th stop. Then you disembark to wait for the shuttle to the treehouses, where there is also 2 stops!

    The rooms and scenery are beautiful but do yourself a favor if you stay there – get a car.

  98. Mike says:

    Out of the many trips I have taken to WDW since 1972, there have only been a few times I didn’t rent a car. Back when there was only one or two parks we always liked to go down International Drive, over to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Cape Canaveral or Daytona. Now the friends and family also want to go to Universal so it makes sense to rent one especially with a bunch of friends and family chipping in on it.

    My parents lived near by for a while so we would stay there. The three times staying at Fort Wilderness cabins we always had a car, but of course used the boats and monorail when we could, don’t like the bus system there, and also would rent a golf cart. Also I have a lot of family and friends in the Tampa area and go over there a lot of the time. I believe the buses used to run much better 10 years ago throughout WDW, but would be hesitant to rely on them now.

  99. Marcia says:

    What is transportation like when crowds are low? Do you expect it to be the same? At least 1 hour if not 1.5 to get around? I’m heading there in a week, I would like to know what to expect. Thanks

  100. Krystin says:

    My family’s favorite transportation trick is to utilize the bus transportation from Animal Kingdom to Blizzard Beach. Every resort bus, except AKL, stops at BB before heading to the resort. We take advantage of AK extra magic hours in the morning, then hop on the first bus that comes along around lunch time to head to BB for the afternoon.

  101. Stephanie says:

    I’m wondering if anyone has ideas for getting from Port Orleans French Quarter to Epcot International Gateway. We have dinner reservations two nights, both of which will immediately follow rest time at the hotel. In order to minimize walking (one of our party is disabled and needs to conserve energy), we were hoping to come in to International Gateway vs. Epcot Main Gate – but it seems like there’s no way to get from POFQ to Boardwalk/Yacht/Beach directly by bus. Or is there? Thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      There is not. You’re really not going to save that much by walking from one of the Crescent Lake hotels to a World Showcase restaurant v. entering via the front of the park, anyway.

  102. Jose says:

    I’m not sure if it was asked in the hundreds of comments, but im going to Magic Kingdom for a day this coming month. I’ll be staying onsite at the cabana bay resort at universal. What is the best transportation i can take? I was thinking of taking a taxi to the contemporary hotel then walking from there. Would i have to pay for the parking fee if i did this?

    • Russell says:

      Check if the hotel has a shuttle. If not I would say look at a map and see if the Ticket center or Contemporary is closer, then take a taxi to there and if at the Contemporary, the walk is uphill, if at the TTC (ticket and transportation center) take the monorail! Not sure if that can help.

  103. Lori says:

    If you are staying at another DW resort, could you park at Contemporary and hop on the monorail (without dining reservations)? We thought about having breakfast there and then going to MK.

    Thank you!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Depends upon the time of year and security working the parking lot at the Contemporary. If it’s a busy time, the answer is probably no. Other times of year, you might have better luck.

  104. Lori says:

    Thanks, Tom!

    • Lori says:

      Problem solved, we will move (splurge) to the WL for the two days we plan to go to MK! It will not be the Christmas season, but I’m sure it will be awesome nonetheless! Love your site, btw!

  105. Angie says:

    We’re staying at Coronado Springs in early March. We’re renting a car, but I’ve read that driving to Magic Kingdom isn’t the most efficient route. Would parking at Epcot and taking the monorail to MK be any better?

    • Russell says:

      Honestly, If the bus comes to your resort at the time you want, I would say take the bus, but if you like having anything you need in your car is better take the car, just leave earlier. If not take the bus or shuttle to the TTC (ticket center) or Magic Kingdom.

  106. Russell says:

    When exiting The Magic Kingdom, going to Ticket And Transportation Center, if you want to travel by monorail, take the hotel line. If you take the express monorail, as I tried to do on December 26, the line will most likely be very long. If you take the hotel line, you make a quick stop at the Contemporary Resort, an amazing experience, and the next stop is The Ticket And Transportation Center. This will save you a considerable amount of time!

  107. Danielle says:

    We are driving and staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo. We want to be at rope drop on an emh morning. Should we take the bus or drive for an 8 am rope drop in June and how early should we leave the hotel?

  108. Melanie says:

    We are heading down for a stay at the Yacht Club in May. Will we need to take a bus or taxi to the front of Epcot if we desire to be there before opening? It seems like World Showcase always opens later so it will be a nice option for walking back to the resort. But, we weren’t sure if we could take the water taxi or not?

    • cyingy says:

      the world showcase entrance opens at the same time as the main gate, but nothing back there is open so you just have to walk to the feont half of the park

  109. HLM says:

    Hi Tom!

    Hoping you can give me some advice. My husband and I are going to Disney World for a few days in April. Having been many times before, we are focused more on doing things outside of the parks for this trip. (Still on Disney property though). We have made a few dinner and lunch reservations at the resorts, but my question pertains to using the bus system for nightlife. We are staying at Coronado Springs and would like to go to the Boardwalk in the evening after dinner and are also interesting in seeing Yeeha Bob at Port Orleans one night as well. What is the best way to use the bus system for this, particularly if we were going to be returning to our hotel late at night? Using Downtown Disney as a hub? I should also mention we will be visiting on weekdays and are aware this will be time consuming. Thanks for the help!

  110. Kyla Wollbaum says:

    Hoping someone can help me out with some transportation questions. I am staying at All Star Sports Resort. On the saturday I was wanting to go to art of animation resort then downtown disney then grand Floridian for a dining reservation. Am I losing much of the day to transportation. Is there one time renting a taxi would be better (and how do I get a taxi not at a theme park?) Also on the morning I leave I have a 745 reservation at cape may but if the magical express gets there 4 hours before departure then I need to be back at my hotel for 10am. Would a bus there and taxi back make the most sense? Thanks in advance

    • Oscar says:

      Hi Kyla, For your Saturday plan you are spending a lot of time in transportation, but since you are moving in between hotels there is not much you can do. To go from All Star Sports to Arts of Animation you will have to go to a Park first so I recommend taking a taxi, then you can take the bus from AoA to DTD and then taking the bus to Grand Floridian.

      For your last day, I had a smiliar case where I had reservations at 7.30 at the Polynesian Resort and had to be back at 10 am so we took a taxi to make sure we were on time.

  111. Wendy says:

    What is best way to get Old Key West Resort from Pop Century, please? Thank you!!

  112. Jack says:

    The statement that the value hotels are the furthest from the parks is simply not true. In fact, they are relatively close to Epcot, Hollywood, and Animal Kingdom.

    If you are a first-time visitor, take note of this one important issue. The Magic Kingdom itself – the Florida version of Disneyland – is located far from all the other parks. If you select one of the hotels on the monorail, you are close to the Magic Kingdom, but far from everything else. While it’s true the monorail also goes to Epcot, it doesn’t go directly there. You must transfer monorails to get there–which means getting off, and getting in line for the other monorail. As for Hollywood and Animal Kingdom, the only transportation is by bus. Hollywood was supposed to be connected by monorail, but that plan was dropped long ago.

    • Jack says:

      The truth is that, while the monorail is futuristic looking and an iconic Disney landmark, it simply isn’t a very practical mode of transportation. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that by selecting a hotel serviced by the monorail that you’re going to get to your destination more quickly than from other Disney hotels.

      This article says there is no one best hotel which will get you to any destination faster than the others. Actually, there is one, but that’s a well-kept secret. If I let the secret out, it would no longer be the best hotel. So I’m sorry, but you have to figure that out for yourself. LOL

      • Jack says:

        On second thought, oh what the heck. If you went to all the trouble to read my crummy little tips, the least I can do is tell you the secret.

        If you want to save time and you can afford it, stay in the Polynesian hotel with a room near the Transportation and Ticket Center–that’s where the two monorail systems meet, and all the buses go there.

        There are rooms at the Polynesian which are a very short walk from the center. The Pago Pago has some of their less expensive rooms, and you can get to the transportation center in only a minute or two by foot– It’s literally that close.

  113. JP says:

    My wife and I are big fans, Beach Club is our favorite spot and our destination in September. Only once in our 10+ trips to WDW did we take the Disney provided transportation – and that was BC (Before Children). We always rent a car. Flexibility is the main reason, free parking at all parks since we are staying on-property. Navigation is very easy and the time savings is more than worth the costs.

  114. Paks says:

    Can someone tell me the fastest disney transportation from AK to DowntownD ? going on Spetember, Thanks


  1. Disney's Art of Animation Resort Suites Review - Disney Tourist Blog - […] service with any other Walt Disney World hotel. This means that, along with Pop Century, it has the best …

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