Getting Around Walt Disney World
One thing many first-timers underestimate is the size of Walt Disney World. Covering nearly 40 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort is about the size of San Francisco or two islands of Manhattan. This means that you need to go with an understanding of how to navigate Disney World transportation. It is no different than navigating through the city on the cable cars or subway.
You have quite a few options to get around Walt Disney World – buses, monorail, boats and ferries, gondolas (aka Disney Skyliner), Minnie Vans, Lift/Uber or taxis and even walking.
Buses will take you just about anywhere you want to go within Walt Disney World. You can catch a bus at any of the Disney World Resorts to the Theme Parks, Water Parks and Disney Springs. You may check bus times for your resort hotel on the My Disney Experience App by going to your resort hotel and tapping on bus times.
Disney Springs does have buses to all of the resorts, but not directly to the theme parks, so you will have to take a bus to a neighboring resort and transfer busses there. If you want to go from a theme park to Disney Springs before 4 pm, you will need to take a bus to a neighboring resort (Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter or Saratoga Springs) and take a boat to Disney Springs or walk over.
Guests staying at some of the Magic Kingdom area resorts – The Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, can take the monorail to Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. If you drive at Walt Disney World, you will park at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) if you are visiting the Magic Kingdom. You can take the monorail from the TTC to get the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT.
Boats and Ferries
Guests staying at all of the Magic Kingdom area resorts – The Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge and Ft Wilderness can take a boat to the Magic Kingdom. If you park at the TTC, you can also take a ferry to the Magic Kingdom.
There is also a boat from Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter to Disney Springs. You may also take a boat between Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
The Disney Skyliner connects Caribbean Beach, Rivera Resort, Art of Animation, and Pop Century to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. The Skyliner station is at the back of EPCOT and is easily accessible from the Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club and even the Swan and Dolphin.
You may also take the Skyliner between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
Minnie Vans are a premium service that costs a flat rate of $15/ride plus an additional cost per mile and provides you with door-to-door service within Disney World.
Lyft/Ubers and Taxis
Lyfts, Ubers and Taxis are readily available throughout Disney World, but note that they do have specific pick up and drop off locations. For example, they cannot take you directly to the Magic Kingdom, you would need to be dropped off at the TTC and take the monorail or ferry, or The Contemporary and walk over.
There are a few instances where you can walk to get to where you need to go within Disney World. The Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin are a short 5-minute walk to EPCOT and a 15 or so minute walk to Hollywood Studios. The Contemporary Resort is about a 10-minute walk to Magic Kingdom. Saratoga Springs is a 10-minute walk to Disney Springs.
Traveling Between Resorts
Traveling between resorts is one of the trickiest things to figure out at Disney World. This can be frustrating if you have a dining reservation at one resort and you are staying at another. The quickest way to get between resorts is by Lyft or Uber, but the cost for these can add up. The better option is to find a connection point where you can transfer. This connection point is going to be the theme park (or maybe even Disney Springs) closest to the resort you wish to visit and catch a bus, monorail, boat or even Skyliner from there to your destination resort.
For example, if you are at The Polynesian and want to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge, you could take a bus to Animal Kingdom and then a bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Or if you’re at All-Star Sports and need to get to Ft Wilderness, you’d want to take a bus to Magic Kingdom and then take the boat to Ft Wilderness.
An important thing to remember is that it will take you close to if not more than 1 hour to get from one part of Disney World to another. A lot of visitors underestimate how long it will actually take to get from one place to another, but once you get to the bus stop, wait for the bus, take the 20-minute bus ride and go through security, it is easy for an hour to go by.
As you can see, there are many options to get around Walt Disney World. Hopefully, by understanding these options, you will be easily able to navigate around the parks and resorts.
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