Disney Transportation 101….The good, the bad, the ugly, and the work arounds!
It has been a while since I did a breakdown on Disney transportation and I thought with all the changes and updates, it would be the perfect subject to revisit! We’ve had things added, things taken away so let’s go through all the options, how they work, and what you can expect when you visit WDW transportation wise.
The biggest service change was the removal of Disney’s Magical Express. This was a charter bus,complimentary service with your WDW resort package. But, as I have always said, was it really free? The answer is no. Those costs were always built in. However, now that DME is no longer an option to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and the resorts, what are folks using to get to property? Well, there are a few options. Of course, you can use services like Uber or LYFT. The only drawback here is that if you are in need of a car seat, car services having those readily available may be in short supply at times and not a guarantee. Another option along these lines is a private car service. These can be scheduled ahead of time and give you the opportunity to ensure that car seats or booster seats will be available to you for those that need them. Lastly, we have the two big heavy hitting replacements for Disney’s Magical Express: Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer. These are both charter bus type services therefore not requiring car seats or boosters for littles. They can be pre scheduled and paid for ahead of time. These options do have a fee associated with them, but I find it to be very minimal, usually anywhere from $12pp to $16pp. Mears is more of an industrial experience lacking theming but dependable, while the Sunshine Flyer is decorated like a locomotive and the driver a conductor. Starting your trip off with that “magical bus ride” you may be missing from times past.
Many folks ask if they will need a rental car while on property. My short answer is no. There are so many options to get around Walt Disney World Resort whether provided by Disney itself or by some other outside source that can get you just about anywhere you need to go without the added expense of a rental or the headache of navigating Disney property during construction! That being said, now that you have made it to property….how are you getting around? Let’s break it down.
Of course we all know that the Disney buses are a staple. These are the largest fleet and most widely used forms of transportation. Each resort has bus service as well as the main parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks. And while they may be the most abundant source of transport, they aren’t always a favorite. A few key tips to keep in mind about bus service: 1. This service begins running 1 hour prior to park opening and finishes up 1 hour after the last park closes. 2. You can not ride a bus from resort to resort. In order to get from resort to resort via bus, you will need to ride the bus to one of the main theme parks (or Springs) and transfer there to the bus of the respective resort you are trying to visit. This is of particular note when dining at a resort. You will need to account for plenty of time for this transfer in transportation!
Next up, we have the ferry boats. You can easily catch a ferry to the Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center or to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from the Epcot area resorts. But there are some resorts that have direct ferry boat service to the parks as well such as the monorail resorts, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness CampGround. Also, there is ferry service from several resorts to Disney Springs which is a particularly nice feature! Always keep in mind, you should take note of each ferry’s operation schedule as they do change frequently and may not always be in operation during inclement weather.
Another form of transportation that is an iconic part of the Disney experience is of course, the monorail. This highway in the sky connects The Grand Floridian, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Contemporary with Magic Kingdom Park. This makes staying at these three resorts super convenient and truly what is cooler than a monorail stop at your doorstep? The monorail also has a separate line that provides transportation service to and from Epcot! Pro tip, when riding the monorail to Epcot, it gives you an amazing view of the park and right now some great sneak peeks behind those pesky construction walls.
The most recent addition to the complimentary on property Disney transportation is the Disney Skyliner! I must admit at its inception, I was not a fan. However, the Skyliner has proven to be one of my favorite ways to get around the resort! Servicing Epcot and Hollywood Studios, the Disney Skyliner has stations at Pop Century, Art of Animation, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. What better way to get around than high above everyone else! These gondolas have most definitely made quick work of getting from these particular resorts to their respective parks and I am living for the views. Pro tips here: 1.You may want to potty prior to boarding, in case the skyline gets delayed! 2. The Skyliner can accommodate strollers and scooters!
The queen of all on property transportation for me has to be the Minnie Van! Although not complimentary, you will arrive in the ultimate comfort and style in these iconic Minnie Mouse themed SUV’s! These are easily scheduled thru the LYFT app! Need a car seat or booster? They always have those on hand! Phone need charged? They’ve got you covered! Need to decompress in calming Disney music? This is the ride for you! Fees are assessed based on the distance of travel and number of passengers. And it is most certainly worth it at least once to ride around WDW in a true Minnie Van!
Of course you can also Uber and LYFT all around property if that is your preference as well. Those are easily ordered through their apps on your phone and assess fees according to the number of guests and distance of travel and can also be affected by the time of day they are requested. So without a doubt, there are so many fun ways to get around the WDW resort that you need not worry how you are going to get from point A to point B! Just remember to keep my pro tips in mind and you will be all set to jet around the Walt Disney World Resort like an expert!