by Military Diva
Getting around the Disney Property can be fairly straightforward if heading from your resort to one park and back. But how do you make the best use of Disney Transportation if you plan to visit another resort or park hop later in the day? Are you familiar with the transportation routes from each resort? Does every resort use bus transfers? If you know the answers to these questions then you are on track to travel through this Magical Destination.
But if you are unsure, I hope the tips below will help guide your future planning. Learning about the available options, schedules, and transfer routes before you arrive will ease the stress of navigating this expansive property once onsite.
What Complimentary Transportation Options Does Walt Disney World Offer?
As mentioned above, the Disney Travel Company offers several options to transfer their guests around the property. In fact, there are four separate options to take guests between the resorts, parks, and entertainment districts! Guests have the option to choose between the following modes of transportation…
- Bus Service
- Skyliner Gondola
- Water Taxi, Ferry and Friendship Boats
Who can Enjoy Disney World’s Transportation Options?
Anyone on the property can use any of Disney’s transportation options-availability is not limited to Official Resort Guests! This is especially helpful for onsite guests without a car and offsite guests that shuttle to the property and plan to visit more than one location.
How do I know which form of transportation is the best option for where I am going?
First of all, Disney has made this step easy!! All you need to do is log into your “My Disney Experience” app and do a quick search! You will be able to select from available options and be offered exact instructions for your journey.
- Log into your account and click “Search”
- Type in your destination and select from the list (for example Chef Mickey’s)
- Click “Get Directions”
- Your destination should auto-populate. Enter your current location or the location you will be traveling from (for example Disney’s Riviera)
- Select from the available options (walk, bus, monorail, ship, Skyliner)
- Click “See Transit Directions”
- Step-by-step directions will appear!
If the app can guide me, why is it important to be aware of transportation options and routes in advance?
The app’s navigational feature is exceptionally helpful, especially when visiting such a large, complex property. But service interruptions, tech glitches, and weather issues can impact guests’ ability to use the app. All guests should have a general idea of available transportation, travel routes, and times of service that they will use while traveling.
Let’s take a closer looker at the complimentary transportation options and routes that are used while on the Disney World Property.
Disney World Bus Service runs between most Official Disney World Resorts and the Disney Parks, Official Disney World Resorts and Disney Springs, and between Official Disney World Resorts and the Water Parks. The service typically begins running 1 hour prior to Early Morning Hours and ends an hour after the park closes. Buses run continuously approximately every 20 minutes and are available for special parties, events, and Deluxe Extended Evening Hours.
A few exceptions to note…
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa do not offer bus service to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. (see monorail below)
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Riviera, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort do not offer bus service to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (see Skyliner Gondolas below)
- Buses run between the parks after 1:30 to accommodate guests with Park Hopper tickets.
- Bus service is not available at Disney’s Ticket and Transportation Center (Magic Kingdom parking lot). Guests will use additional Disney transportation if traveling from here.
- Buses do not run between the resorts. If you are trying to get from one resort to another you will need to travel to a park first then transfer to transportation for your second resort.
- All strollers must be folded prior to boarding.
- Guests with scooters and wheelchairs will have priority boarding. These items can be driven/pushed onto the bus but will need to be properly secured. Each bus can safely transfer two mobility guests.
- If using Disney’s bus service, it is advised to plan on leaving at least an hour to an hour and a half prior to any reservations or arrival times. Leave a little extra time is using a mobiity device. During busy times such as park opening or just before the 2:00 park hopping the bus lines may be long. They will fill quickly and guests may not get on the first bus. Time may be spent waiting for additional buses to arrive. Add in time for travel, passing through security, or navigating to a restaurant and the time goes very quickly! (Leave extra time if using a mobility device, remembering each bus can only transport 2 at a time)
Disney World Monorail Service runs in both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot areas. There are three distinct lines that guests should be familiar with-the Resort Monorail, Magic Kingdom Express Monorail, and EPCOT monorail.
The Resort Monorail takes the outer circle through Disney’s Magic Kingdom Resorts, visiting Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Ticket and Transportation Center, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Service begins 30 minutes prior to Magic Kingdom’s Early Morning Hours and ends one hour after Magic Kingdom closes.
The Magic Kingdom Express Monorail is a direct line between Disney’s Ticket and Transportation Center (Magic Kingdom Parking Lot) and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Service begins 30 minutes prior to Magic Kingdom’s Early Morning Hours and ends one hour after Magic Kingdom closes.
The EPCOT Monorail will transfer guests between Disney’s Ticket and Transportation Center and EPCOT. Guests will pass over the top of EPCOT and feature attractions such as Guardians of the Galaxy upon arrival! Service begins 30 minutes prior to EPCOT’s Early Morning Hours and ends two hours after EPCOT closes.
- Guests boarding the monorail at a monorail resort or at the Ticket and Transportation Center will pass through security and bag check prior to boarding, bypassing security at the front of the park.
- Only official Disney World buses and Minnie Vans via LYFT (paid service) are allowed to drive directly to the Magic Kingdom entrance. If driving to Magic Kingdom you will park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and take the monorail (or ferry) to Magic Kingdom.
- Guests are also welcome to park at the TTC and take the monorail to EPCOT. This is helpful if you will be park hopping during the day and you don’t want to move your car each time.
- Each line is clearly marked at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and at Disney’s Transportation Center. Check the signs before walking up the ramp or ask a Cast Member for assistance if you are unsure of which line to take. Worst case, if you choose the wrong line, just stay on board for the full ride! You will return back to your starting point.
- In the event of inclement weather, the Monorail may shut down. If this occurs, Disney Cast Members will assist guests with alternate options.
- Depending on crowd levels, guests may be able to wheel children in strollers directly into the monorail train. This is one of the huge benefits of staying in a Disney World Monorail Resort.
- Guests with mobility devices will be able to ride directly onto the monorail train.
- The EPCOT line drops guests off at the front of EPCOT. Guests cannot take the monorail to this park and transfer to the Skyliner Gondolas (rear of the park) without a park ticket. They would need to enter the front of the park, walk to World Showcase, exit the park and board the Skyliner.
Disney World Skyliner Gondola service is a sky-high transportation option that is just as much of an attraction as many in-park offerings! Many guests set time aside to grab a snack, take in the views, and enjoy the peaceful ride over the resorts and parks! Guest staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Riviera have direct access to the Skyliner Gondolas. This is the only way to access EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios from these resorts unless lightning or excessive winds are in the area (then buses are offered). The Skyliner typically operates one hour prior to Early Morning Hours at EPCOT/Disney’s Hollywood Studios and ends one hour after these parks close.
The route runs from a central station on the bridge between Pop Century and Art of Animation to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. All guests must exit their vehicle here and transfer to the EPCOT/Riviera line or the Hollywood Studios Line. (Guests are not required to exit at Disney’s Riviera unless exiting at this resort)
- Guests do not pass through security prior to boarding the Skyliner Gondolas. They will pass through security at the parks.
- The resorts on the Skyliner Route do not offer bus service to EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios unless inclement weather closes the Skyliner. Keep this in mind if you have a fear of heights and are considering booking a stay at a Skyliner Resort.
- The EPCOT Skyliner entrance is at the back of the park near France in the World Showcase. Guests staying at one of the Boardwalk Resorts (Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club, Beach Club) can easily walk to the Skyliner from their resorts.
- Guests cannot ride the Skyliner to EPCOT and transfer to the monorail unless they enter the park and walk to the front entrance. A ticket will be required!
- Each gondola holds up to ten guests in each vented unit. Cast Members have contact via an onboard speaker system and emergency supplies/procedures are in place.
- The gondolas are also accessible for both wheelchairs and ECVs. Cast members will help guests load.
- Single and double front-to-back strollers do not need to be folded. Side-by-side double strollers will need to be folded for entry.
Water Taxis, Ferrys, and Friendship Boats operate in the Magic Kingdom area, EPCOT/Disney’s Hollywood Studios area, and Disney Springs. Routes are clearly marked and Cast Members are available to offer assistance. The park boats typically begin operating 30 minutes prior to Early Morning Hours at the parks and stop operating about 90 minutes after the park closes. The Disney Springs boats typically begin around 10:30 am and stop running at 11:30 pm.
- Magic Kingdom Area
- Large ferryboats operate between the Ticket & Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom entrance.
- Smaller water taxis transport guests between the Magic Kingdom Resorts and the park.
- Gold-Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- Red-Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wilderness Resort. These vessels can accommodate ECVs!
- Green-Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. These vessels can also accommodate ECVs!
- EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Area
- EPCOT Route-Friendship Boats begin at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and travel to Disney’s Swan & Dolphin, a combined stop for Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club, and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn before docking at EPCOT.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios Route-Friendship Boats begin at EPCOT and travel to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht/Beach Club Resort stop, and Disney’s Swan & Dolphin before ending at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Disney Springs Route
- Blue-Landing to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Green-Landing to Disney’s Old Key West
- Yellow-Marketplace to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts
- Red-internal Disney Springs route
- Most smaller water taxis cannot accommodate ECVs. Wheelchairs and strollers must be folded.
- The larger ferryboat (MK to TTC) can accommodate ECVs, Wheelchairs, and open strollers.
- Inclement weather does shut down the boats. Magic Kingdom guests can use the monorail as an alternative. Guests on the other boat routes are typically offered buses during bad weather.
Park Hopping Rules
At this time, guests are allowed to begin hopping at 2:00 pm. However, transportation options begin a bit earlier. Make sure you are aware of your options if you need to make it to your second park in time for a special event or reservation.
- Park Hopper Buses begin running between Disney’s Animal Kingdom and all other parks and between Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 1:30 pm.
- Monorail service runs throughout the day. Guests can transfer between Disney’s Magic Kingdom and EPCOT at any time. You will not be allowed to enter your second park until 2:00 though.
- Skyliner Gondolas and water transportation services also run throughout the day between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests can transfer at any time but cannot enter their second park until 2:00 pm.
As you can tell, your Disney World onsite transportation options are numerous and can seem confusing. The trick is to become familiar with the property in advance, be aware of your options, and know how to access the transportation feature in the Disney World app. Of course, you can always consult our sponsored Travel Agent, Patricia with All for Dreams Travel! She creates a weekly email schedule to coordinate with each guest’s travel dates and walks them step-by-step through their vacation. Prior to travel her clients receive a “Daily Suggested Itinerary” based on their specific reservations and requests. Each itinerary includes travel tips for their exact plans!
Patricia is an independent agent with Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She specializes in Disney destinations, Orlando Theme Parks, Cruises, European Travel, family groups, and military families. Her pricing matches the public supplier pricing and she is paid via the supplier. At this time she does not charge additional fees unless extraordinary requests are made. Contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel to book your next vacation!