As I’ve mentioned in several articles, one of the most important tips to enjoying your day at the Magic Kingdom is getting there before the park opens and beating the crowds. This is especially true if you are trying to visit a popular attraction before the lines get long. Getting to the Magic Kingdom entrance isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially for those who haven’t been there before. Today, I’m going to discuss the best transportation options for getting to and from the most popular theme park on the planet. First, let’s focus on the monorail resorts. It would make the most sense to simply hop on the monorail from your hotel, as it eventually will get to the park. However, this isn’t always the quickest way. If you are at the Contemporary, it is actually better to make the 5-10 minute walk to the entrance of the Kingdom. If you get on the monorail, it could take almost 20 minutes to get all the way around the loop to the park. When leaving the park, however, the monorail makes sense, because it is the first stop. Also, that return walk can be more difficult after a day in the park.
If you are coming from the Polynesian, the monorail is your best bet in both directions, since that resort is about halfway around the loop. Finally, the monorail is definitely your best option when heading from the Grand Floridian to the park, as it is only one stop away. However, when heading back to this resort the boat could work better, as the monorail can be a 15-20 minute ride.
If you are staying at the Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness Campground, you will take either the bus or the boat. My best advice is to take whichever one you are closer to. If you are staying near either boat dock, that will probably be your quickest option. However, if you are closer to the bus stop (like just after breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe), the bus will probably make the most sense.
Now, let’s talk about every other Disney resort as a whole. My advice is very simple…..take the bus. The busses normally come every 10 to 15 minutes and they deliver you right to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. Guests ask me all the time if it would just be easier to drive or even take a cab to save time. In most cases, the answer is no. The Magic Kingdom parking lot is located almost 1.5 miles from the park itself. This means that after you park, you will get on a tram (or walk) to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and then you need to get on a monorail or boat. This multi-step process almost always takes longer than just waiting for a resort bus to take you directly to the entrance. Cabs and car services also drop you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center, which again won’t save you much time.
There are a few resorts that are located on or near Disney property where the busses actually drop you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. These include the new Four Seasons, the Bonnet Creek resorts, and the Downtown Disney resorts. Typically, the busses pick up guests every half-hour or so. If you are staying at one of these resorts, you have to decide if the bus schedule will work for you. If not, I’d recommend a cab or car service that will get you to the Transportation and Ticket Center at whatever time you’d like to go.
Last, but not least, are the guests who are staying off of Disney property. Some hotels have a shuttle bus service to the Transportation and Ticket Center. However, it is important to look carefully at the schedule as they may only run a few times each day. They may stop at several hotels, which could make for a longer ride than you were hoping for. Also, some of the shuttle buses may only go to one of the other parks, where you’d have to transfer to Disney transportation to get to the Magic Kingdom. I recently had a guest whose hotel only dropped off at Epcot. That turned into a much longer trip than they were hoping for. In most cases, it is easiest to just drive yourself to the Magic Kingdom parking lot if you are staying off property. However, a cab or car service can also make sense, especially if you don’t have a rental car.
If your trip to the Magic Kingdom takes you to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) first, I want to give you a few tips to get you across the Seven Seas Lagoon in the quickest way possible. In most cases, hopping on the Express Monorail is going to be your best bet. Even when the line looks long, they are moving nearly 300 guests every few minutes. The Resort Monorail line may look short and inviting. However, this train makes two stops before arriving at the Kingdom, and they only let a small number of guests on at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The ferry boats are giant and hold upwards of 600 guests, but they load and move very slow, and in most cases take longer than the monorails. Also, the boats aren’t climate controlled, so it could be a slightly uncomfortable trip, depending on the weather. Finally, during the busiest seasons, they offer bus transportation from the TTC. I highly recommend the busses, as there is rarely a wait and it is a very short ride to the Magic Kingdom Entrance.
I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!