Many guests opt to stay on-site at Walt Disney World to take advantage of all the perks like early entrance, proximity to the parks, and more. One of the most common questions we get from new Walt Disney World guests regards how to best utilize the transportation on-site at Walt Disney World. While you can read about all of Disney World transportation options in our Walt Disney World transportation guide, in this article we'll share some of our best hacks to save you time on your vacation!
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We'll start with our number one advice, be realistic about the amount of time you will likely spend dealing with transportation. One of the perks Walt Disney World entices guests with on-site stays is the option of free transportation. This is a great perk but don't assume that this transportation is necessarily quick. Because every other guest staying on-site at one of their many hotels is also taking the transportation it can get quite crowded allowing for considerable wait times. Especially are the beginning and end of the day. You should always expect at least 30 minutes travel time to get from one place to another. If you have a dining reservation then you should plan for at least 90 minutes just to be safe.
Now that we've set your expectations, we do have some hacks to navigating the Walt Disney World transportation
Download the My Experience App
Disney now treats the bus system with the same style it treats all busy attractions- with a wait time indicator in the My Experience App. Make sure you have this app downloaded so you can get a realistic idea of bus wait times especially for those busy times of the day!
Prepare for Any Construction
With all of the new renovations and changes coming to Walt Disney World in light of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021 you can expect to see some light construction around the resort this summer. Be prepared for additional bus stops that might be different or possible rerouting. Make sure to talk to the cast members at your Disney World hotel to be aware of any changes.
Factor Your Hotel in to The Equation
Your Walt Disney World on-site hotel will have its own transportation pros and cons to consider before planning your vacation. Take the time to see where your hotel is on the map and what available transportation options are available.
The hotels closest to Magic Kingdom that use the Monorail system typically fall into that Deluxe category while hotels further away are more budget friendly. Some hotels offer transportation via the new Disney Skyliner, monorail, and water transportation.
Find our list below to give you an idea of what non-bus transportation options are available at select hotels.
Monorail Access to Magic Kingdom
- Grand Floridian
- Polynesian Village Resorts
Boat Access to Magic Kingdom
- Grand Floridian
- Polynesian Village Resorts
- Wilderness Lodge
- Fort Wilderness Campground
Boat Access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot
- BoardWalk Inn
- Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Skyliner Access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
- Pop Century
- Art of Animation
- Caribbean Beach
- Rivera Resorts
All hotels without other means of transportation options offer the bus system which makes it one of the most commonly used transportation options. You will also want to take into account whether or not the hotel shares a bus route with other hotels which means more frequent stops and longer time on the buses.
Here is an estimate on what you can expect with the bus systems at Walt Disney World.
Internal Bus Systems
These bus systems mean that you have the convenience of having a dedicated bus service that pulls right up to your hotel lobby. The downside is that sometimes this can be transferring to a different bus or making many stops on the way to the parks. These hotels offer internal bus routes:
- 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
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
This is a bit harder to predict because this usually based on crowd levels. On average you can expect to see Disney World share bus routes with hotels on less busy days. Usually you won't see any of the hotels listed above in the internal bus route list share any routes with other resorts.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to see shared bus routes happen between any of the hotels that aren't on the internal bus route list. The main exception here remains Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort which is a nice perk for guests staying at those hotels.
Use Uber/Lyft in a Pinch
If you're running short on a time and don't mind paying for transportation, you can consider utilizing Lyft or the Uber to get yourself around much quicker. This is a great backup option to keep in mind in case you're close to missing a dining reservation or you just simply don't feel like waiting. If you're willing to pay for convenience, then go for it.
Keep in mind though that doing this often can easily add up and negates that perk of free transportation you get from staying on-site.
Traveling to Other Disney World Hotels
One thing we always recommend to guests is to take the time to go see the other Disney World resort hotels because many of them are truly a site to see. It's common for guests to enjoy dining reservations at other resort hotels since so many of them offer great dining options.
Unfortunately, it can be tricky to get from your Disney World hotel to another hotel depending on which one you're interested in. Because of this guests will often utilize Uber or Lyft to travel to other resort hotels. Or you can take your transportation from your hotel to one of the parks and then travel from there to the resort hotel you have in mind. Make sure to allow plenty of time to do this since the transportation piece will be a bit longer.
Many guests like to dine at Walt Disney World hotels on the monorail loop so they can take advantage of the monorail experience and utilize quick transportation from Magic Kingdom to a deluxe hotel for dinner.
General Time Saving Tips and Hacks
When it comes to transportation at Walt Disney World, there are plenty of hacks to save time and to consider when planning out your routes. Here are some of the best we've encountered:
- Check the wait time boards posted along the bus stops and hotels. They are usually extremely accurate and can be relied on to know when your bus will arrive.
- You can walk from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club hotels to Epcot's entrance near the World Showcase.
- If you want to visit Disney Springs, keep in mind that the bus won't take you there right from a theme park. You'll instead have to travel to a hotel and then take a bus to Disney Springs.
- If you're staying or dining at Disney's Contemporary Resort you can actually walk to the Magic Kingdom because it's that close. Because of this, ask to be dropped off here when you take an Uber/Lyft and walk over. Otherwise you'll be dropped off at the transportation center which won't save you any time.
- Some Disney World resort hotels are within walking distance to each other which can make for a nice stroll to admire the other hotels.
- Check to see if your dining reservation offers you complimentary parking which can be great perk if you rented a car for your trip.
These are all important things to consider so you can use your time wisely when traveling around Walt Disney World!
Plan Your Disney World Vacation!
Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:
- Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Guide
- Discount Disney World Tickets
- Ultimate Guide to Disney World Hotels
- Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
- Top Budget Disney World Hotels
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