Walt Disney World is the Most Magical Place on Earth that occupies around 50 square miles of property in central Florida. That’s right: in case you haven’t heard, Walt Disney World is huge, so huge that it often actually feels like its own world, and it keeps expanding. With four theme parks, two water parks, an outdoor shopping and entertainment district, dozens of on-property resort hotels, and so much more, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to fit everything you want to do into your vacation, let alone how to get around the entire resort while you’re there.
Because of its incredibly large size, many first-time visitors (and those who haven’t been to Walt Disney World in years or even decades) often wonder how they could possibly get around from theme park to theme park while on vacation. Do you have to rent a car at Walt Disney World? Do the buses take you to each theme park? Can you use Uber or Lyft? We at Inside the Magic are here to answer all of your questions about Walt Disney World transportation.
What complimentary transportation does Walt Disney World offer?
Walt Disney World bus system
If you’re vacationing at Walt Disney World and staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you can use the Disney bus system at no extra cost. That means that transportation to and from your resort hotel, the theme parks, and Disney Springs is complimentary. But there’s a catch: even though the buses are free, they do not travel from resort hotel to resort hotel. So if you want to visit or dine at other Disney hotels during your vacation, you’ll have to take your hotel’s bus (or monorail or boat, depending on the hotel you are staying at) to a destination like Disney Springs or a theme park first, and then take a bus (or monorail or boat) to the hotel you are wanting to visit. Though this takes some time isn’t the most convenient, you can’t deny that free transportation is an amazing perk of staying on Disney property.
The Monorail is another complimentary transportation option. It can transport guests at select hotels to and from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and the various hotels on the Monorail loop. This convenient method of transportation causes many guests to choose to pay a higher price point to stay at the Deluxe resort hotels just so they can often use the Monorail, though you do not have to be a guest at the Deluxe resort hotels in order to use the Monorail system. You can also take the Monorail to and from Epcot and Magic Kingdom, making it a great option for park hopping.
The Monorail can be used at the following resort hotels:
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
If you’re staying near Disney Springs, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Magic Kingdom, your resort may have a complimentary boat system that you can use to get between your resort and those destinations. Many theme park guests also don’t realize that they can take a boat to park hop between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Boats are probably the most relaxing form of Disney transportation, and they can feel like an attraction in and of themselves. For example, f you are spending the day at one of Epcot’s fantastic festivals and you want to head over to Hollywood Studios to watch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, what could be better than a sunset boat ride?
Boat transportation is offered at the following resort hotels:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Villas
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Villas
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The new Disney Skyliner is a gondola system that can transport guests to and from select resort hotels and theme parks. The Skyliner provides guests with a bird’s eye view of Walt Disney World and connects them to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This is another free transportation option for guests who love park hopping, visiting other resort hotels, or just want a new, interesting way to travel throughout Walt Disney World.
The Disney Skyliner is offered at the following resort hotels:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort – coming soon!
What transportation is an extra cost to your Walt Disney World vacation?
In 2017, Disney partnered with Lyft to provide the new Minnie Van service. The service is available to guests at official Walt Disney World Resort hotels and can transport guests to and from any location throughout Walt Disney World. Like the Lyft service, the cost of using a Minnie Van varies depending on the distance, and the price is higher than that of a regular Lyft or Uber ride. You can book your Minnie Van transportation through the Lyft app, or you can add Minnie Van airport transfers to your Disney Resort vacation reservation by calling Disney or working with your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
An Uber or Lyft can take you almost anywhere throughout Walt Disney World, but not to the front of Magic Kingdom. While the Minnie Van service can transport guests to the front of Magic Kingdom just as the Disney buses do, Uber and Lyft can only drop guests off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Rates will vary, as using Uber or Lyft on Disney property works the same as it does off property. But like Minnie Vans, Uber and Lyft is a great option if you want to go from resort hotel to resort hotel, or you want to park hop without waiting for a bus, Monorail, or boat.
Rent a car
Many Walt Disney World guests choose to rent a car while on their Disney vacations, although this is not necessary. Guests often enjoy the convenience of being able to drive themselves from destination to destination without ever having to depend on Disney transportation. If you rent a car, you can travel on your own time, and if this sounds good to you, you may want to look into travel deals to see if you can fit a car rental in your budget. However, renting a car comes presents more costs than just gas and a rental fee. You would have to pay for parking at your hotel if you are staying on Disney property. And if you are staying off property, you would have to pay for parking at the theme parks every day. Consider renting a car only if you are able to budget for all of these extra fees.
Booking a Walt Disney World vacation?
If you’re interested in booking a Walt Disney World vacation and want more information about Disney transportation (as well as other tips and tricks), we suggest booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner like Academy Travel can give you the inside scoop on traveling to Walt Disney World and eliminate the stress of planning a Disney vacation. Click here for a no-obligation vacation quote from Academy Travel.