When it comes to transportation at Disney, you may envision a flying carpet, pumpkin carriage, or a sprinkle of pixie dust with happy thoughts. The Disney Resort is quite large at 39 square miles so when it comes to transporting the thousands of guests that visit daily, Disney has many options. Making sure you know the basics of their transportation options are very important.
Walt Disney World provides on-site transportation to their guests via:
*Ferry, water taxi, or boat
Walt Disney World Resort guests who will be flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO) will enter the magic of Disney soon after exiting their flight. They will go to the main terminal and head down to Level 1, Side B, and prepare to board the “Disney’s Magical Express”. Disney’s Magical Express will transport guests to their resort from the airport and back again at the conclusion of their stay at Walt Disney World.
Magical Express Tips
*Magical Express is complimentary although it is customary to tip your driver ($1-$2 per bag driver stored for you).
*Do NOT pack your magic bands in your luggage. They will be scanned to check you into the Magical Express and will be your room key when you arrive to the resort.
*Car seats are not needed on the Magical Express but if you have one it will be stored under the shuttle in the luggage holding area.
If you have small children or babies, be prepared with snacks or entertainment in case you have a wait. It will take you about an hour to get to your resort from Magical Express. You will receive a transportation notice from Magical Express the night before stating your pick up time back to the airport which will be 3 to 4 hours before your flight.
If you are flying domestically, you may be able to take advantage of your resorts airline check-in. This allows you to check your luggage and print your airline boarding pass. Make sure to do this at least 3 hours before your flight.
Disney buses are the most common form of Disney transportation on property. The buses are complementary and will help save you the stress of navigating WDW. Disney states that the buses run “roughly” every 20 minutes. There are screens at the bus stops that will let you know when you can expect your arrival, which is very accurate.
Disney Bus Tips
Buses do not travel to the theme parks from Disney Springs. You will need to take a bus to a resort and then take another bus to the theme park you are heading to.
The bus service does not travel from resort to resort. You will need to take the bus from resort A to a theme park and then take another bus (or monorail, water taxi, or skyway) to Resort B. Please allow up to 90 minutes when traveling from resort to resort via Disney’s bus system. A good rule to follow when catching a bus transfer at a theme park is to go to a theme park that is closest to the resort you are visiting.
*Disney buses ONLY travel on Disney property.
*If you have a stroller with you it will need to be folded up before you are allowed to get on the bus.
*No food that is uncovered or liquids in an open cup is allowed to be brought onto the bus.
*Allow an hour to get between resorts and theme parks via the Disney buses.
*Bus service isn’t offered from resorts-to-parks when there are other means of transportation offered (monorail, ferry, etc).
The monorail system operates on 13.6 miles of track on 3 different lines: Express Line, Magic Kingdom Resort Line, and Epcot Line.
Express Line has stops at:
*Ticket and Transportation Center
Epcot Line has stops at:
*Ticket and Transportation Center
Resort Monorail Line has stops at:
*Polynesian Village Resort
*Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
*Ticket and Transportation Center
The monorail starts running for the day 30 minutes prior to the earliest park opening and closes 1 hour after the latest park closing transporting on average 150,000 people daily.
Guests may no longer ride in the front car with the driver.
For guests with small children, you may generally keep the kids in the stroller. If it is during a particularly busy time cast members may request that strollers be folded to be able to accommodate more guests.
The monorail does accommodate guests in wheelchairs or ECV’s.
The newest form of transportation at Disney is my favorite, Disney Skyliners. The colorful Disney Skyliner gondolas can hold up to 10 guest and travel at 11 miles per hour to the following Disney Resorts:
*Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
*Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
*Disney’s Pop Century Resort
*Disney’s Riviera Resort
From the Caribbean Beach Resort station, you can also board a gondola to take you to Epcot’s International Gateway or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While enjoying this peaceful ride, you can look out and see for miles the beautiful grounds of the Disney Resort.
Ferry, Water Taxi, or Boats
The Ferry boats typically begin operation 30-45 minutes before park opening and cease operation 45-60 minutes after park closing. When heading from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom, you have a choice of riding on either the monorail or a ferry (located to the left of the monorail). I’ve found that although the timing is supposed to be similar, I enjoy taking the ferry. The ride is about 6-10 minutes long. If you notice a long line at the monorail forming, I would head over to the ferry and take a nice relaxing ride, taking in the scenery across the Seven Seas Lagoon. Seating options are very limited but if you are traveling with a stroller, there is no need to fold it while on the ferry.
The ferry boats are named:
*Admiral Joe Fowler
*General Joe Potter
*Richard F. Irvine
Water taxis are available from some of the moderate and deluxe resorts on property to the theme parks and Disney Springs. Each of the routes run at 15-30 minute intervals. Strollers are required to be folded before entry.
There is a boat launch at Magic Kingdom that water taxis to the following resorts:
*Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
*The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
*Disney’s Contemporary Resort
*Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
*Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
*Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
*Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
*Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Hollywood Studios and Epcot are both available via waterway from the following resorts:
*Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
*Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
*Disney’s Yacht Club
*Swan and Dolphin Resort
*Disney’s Beach Club Resort
*Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney Springs is available from waterways via these resorts:
*Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside
*Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
*Disney’s Old Key West Resort