Alex is a self-proclaimed Disney expert who enjoys expanding her culinary skills in her free time.
Getting Around the Disney World Resort
If you find yourself visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, chances are you will encounter the Disney transportation system in some form. This system is complimentary for all resort guests and has a wide array of traveling methods. Depending on where you are staying or where you are trying to go, you may get to experience several of these transportation systems on your trip.
On my most recent trip, I actually utilized each of the different transportation methods.
These are the most commonly used transpiration modalities on property. Each resort has bus stops to take the guests to each of the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. With things returning to normal there are even buses that will travel between the parks, allowing guests to park hop. This mass transportation system is free. Simply find a bus stop for where you want to go and hop on the next bus.
There is limited seating on the bus, and on busy days more people will be standing than sitting. Typically, the longest bus rides can be as long as 25 minutes. Most are shorter. The bus stops at the parks at the end of the day can have massively long lines, and you may wait for over an hour to board a bus. There may even be multiple buses that come and go before you can get on one. That's just the way it is. If your resort happens to have alternative transpiration it could be a good idea to check it out.
Is the bus system perfect? No. But, it has gotten better over the years. There is even a tracking feature on the My Disney Experience app. In my experience on my last trip it was accurate about 60% of the time it was working, and considering it only worked 50% of the time..... Well, one day it will be a great feature.
Be Kind to Fellow Passengers and Your Driver!
One thing I will say, as I thoroughly covered bus etiquette in my Disney etiquette post, is that you should remember that if you are hot, tired, and your feet hurt that most likely everyone is hot, tired, and has achy feet. Be kind, be courteous. And please, say hello and thank you to the bus drivers.
This is most likely the most iconic mode of transportation at Disney. There are two monorail systems on property. One travels between the Transportation and Ticket Center to EPCOT and the in along the track for the Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom monorail has two lines. One will stop at the Magic Kingdom, each of the resorts (the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and the Polynesian) and the Ticket and Transportation Center, this is the resort line. The other only stops at the Magic Kingdom and Ticket and Transportation Center, this is the express line.
The monorail is fast. Kids love it. The wait time is never that long as it runs continuously. You can use the monorail system to park hop between EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom, just switch lines at the Ticket and Transportation Center. If you've never ridden the monorail through the Contemporary you should, it is a wondrous feat of engineering.
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This is the modern monorail. This is the newest addition to the Disney transportation system. It essentially works like a sky lift, but guests ride in a gondola that is fully enclosed. There are some small openings to allow airflow, which is good considering it does not have heating or air conditioning.
This system runs from Disney Hollywood Studios to EPCOT, and stops at several resorts along the way. There are two lines. If you are traveling the entire way between the two parks you will need to disembark and switch lines. Overall, the system is very efficient. There is very little wait as the gondolas do not stop moving unless there is someone in need of assistance boarding or disembarking. The view is unique and you can see several Disney resorts that typically would only have been visited if you had been staying at them.
There was a bit of controversy around the building of the skyline system. Why? Mainly because 'Disney purists' don't like change and felt it would ruin the skyline. Well, I like it. It is fast and convenient. It sure beats the boat ride from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT as it is faster and has a shorter wait.
I also really like that it added a fancy transportation system to people staying at moderate resorts. In the past, only those staying at the rather expensive resorts of the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian had access to a fancy transportation system: the monorail.
There is a massive naval force at the Walt Disney World Resort. Anyone that has visited the Magic Kingdom has seen the massive ferry boats that travel between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom. And I guarantee that you have learned to walk a bit faster if you see the ferry approaching the Magic Kingdom, watching the sheer number of people disembarking the ferry is amazing.
In addition to the massive ferry boats, there are many smaller vessels that travel between parks and to various resorts. Each of the resorts along the waterways around the Magic Kingdom has boats that travel between the resort and the Magic Kingdom. These resorts are the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Ft Wilderness, and the Ft Wilderness Campground. There are also boats that travel between EPCOT and the resorts surrounding: Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club. There is also a boat that stops at all four of the previously mentioned destinations and goes to Hollywood Studios. This is a rather long boat ride as there are several stops. In past experience it was brutal when the boat was fully loaded in the summer heat, there is no air conditioning on the boats by the way.
There is also a boat system that goes between Disney Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Saratoga Springs. There are also boats that travel the World Showcase Lagoon at EPCOT to get guests between the various countries.
That's a lot of boats! That doesn't even include all of the recreational rental boats.
Yes, you can walk to some of the Disney parks from certain resorts. Guests staying that the Contemporary, including Bay Lake Towers, have a very short walk to the Magic Kingdom. In fact, the guests staying at the Contemporary are the only guests that have 4 options to get to the Magic Kingdom. On a nice day, that walk is actually very enjoyable. And let me tell you at the end of the day I'm super jealous of all the people that can walk back to their resort and don't have to wait for a bus.
Guests staying at Yacht and Beach Club or the Boardwalk can walk to EPCOT. the walk is a little bit longer than the walk from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom, and there is a hill that is a bit hard on the legs after a long day at the park.
Guests staying at Saratoga Springs can walk to Disney Springs. There is a massive loop around the lake so guests can walk to either the East or West side and then travel as they please from there. There is even a walkway over parts of the lake that helps to shorten the distance. When the resort first opened you had to walk all the way to the street! I actually really like this walk, there is a lot of activity in the local animals along the water and the perfectly landscaped plants are just beautiful. Bring water, it is long and hot in the summer.
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