Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? You’ve got your dining reservations, your Disney Park Pass selections, your resort stay, flights, and tickets all lined up. You know which attractions you want to do at each park and which snacks are a must-try, but there’s one thing you may be overlooking — transportation!
There are a variety of ways to get to and from the Disney parks and resorts, and today we’re breaking down their pros and cons!
Let’s start things off with Disney’s most basic form of transportation, the buses! All in all, they’re predictable and fairly reliable, and they come and go at regular intervals.
As long as crowds aren’t very heavy, you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a Disney bus to come to pick your party up. With current health and safety precautions, you’re guaranteed a seat while onboard, which is always nice after a long day in the parks.
Buses are also the only form of Disney transportation that can get you almost anywhere on the property. They travel to and from every resort, theme park, and Disney Springs. Buses are also great for those who are uncomfortable with other forms of transportation. If you’re afraid of heights or boats, then the buses are a safe bet!
On the downside, you’ll find that buses aren’t the most exciting form of Disney transportation. While the Skyliner, Monorail, and Disney boats offer pretty views, the Disney buses are just…a little boring. Also, some resorts, like Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach, have internal bus loops. Here, there’s the chance that you may have to wait through several bus stops before getting to your destination.
Perhaps the most “classic” form of Disney transportation is the Monorail! The Monorail travels between Disney’s Magic Kingdom; the Monorail resorts: the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian; and the Transportation and Ticket Center. There’s also a line that runs between the TTC and EPCOT, although it’s currently not operating.
Like the buses, the Monorails are currently operating at a lower capacity, which means you’ll get to sit down. Dividers have recently been added to the cars to increase the number of riders, so that addition may slightly alter your experience, including blocking your view.
The Monorail offers unique views of Walt Disney World, and that’s likely its biggest draw. Heading to Magic Kingdom from the TTC, you’ll get the chance to ride through Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and you’ll get a fantastic look at Magic Kingdom and Cinderella Castle as you pull into the station. The EPCOT line actually goes THROUGH the park, so that’s an added bonus there.
Also, if you’re staying at a Monorail resort, the drop-off points can’t be beaten. The Monorail drops off on the second floor of the main building for the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian resorts (although the Polynesian resort is under construction, and the Monorail isn’t stopping here at the moment) and the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort. You’ll likely be much closer to your room with this form of transportation!
The big downside to the Monorail is that it can attract VERY long lines, especially at the beginning and end of the day. If you’re heading over to Magic Kingdom in the morning, expect to wait for a bit, and if you’re leaving Magic Kingdom after park close, expect to wait for a WHILE. The lines get so long at the end of the evening that Disney often offers bus transportation to the TTC as well.
Walt Disney World’s newest form of transportation is the Disney Skyliner, and it has become incredibly popular! Currently, you can use the Skyliner to travel between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios as well as the Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera resorts.
The gondola system sends guests on “The Most Magical Flight on Earth” as they pass by many Walt Disney World landmarks. The views are spectacular, and you’ll get a glimpse at many parts of Disney property that you may not have seen before. Plus, many of the gondolas have wraps themed to Disney movies, characters, and attractions — it just adds to the magic!
With these gondolas, you’ll travel directly to EPCOT’s International Gateway entrance, which is great if your primary purpose for visiting is a quick meal or a festival in World Showcase. Also, the Skyliner is constantly loading and moving, so things typically move fairly quickly.
Despite the Skyliner’s pros, there are a few big cons. If you’re afraid of heights, this may not be the best form of transportation for you. The majority of the flight is high above the ground, and the gondolas can swing a bit on particularly windy days.
Speaking of the weather, this particular form of transportation is highly affected by bad weather. We’ve seen instances of guests being evacuated before reaching their final destination and forced to wait long periods of time for bus transportation due to inclement weather.
There have also been times where guests have gotten stuck aboard the Skyliner, including the famous “crash” that happened shortly after it first opened. Guests were stuck in the air for hours before being evacuated. Issues like this are incredibly rare, but keep in mind that if the Skyliner breaks down, it takes much longer to evacuate each party.
Also traveling between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are the Friendship Boats. These boats also make stops at the Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, Dolphin, and BoardWalk resorts along the way.
The Friendship Boats are a relaxing and usually not very crowded form of Disney transportation. Especially with the addition of the Skyliner, the wait times for the boats are typically pretty short. They also travel directly from the International Gateway and drop off fairly close to the entrance of Hollywood Studios.
Unfortunately, the Friendship Boats are not the fastest form of Disney transportation out there. Since they make three resort stops in between the two parks, you’ll be waiting for guests to load and unload at each place.
Also, the weather can adversely affect a ride on the Friendship Boats. They get pretty breezy, so you may want to skip this ride if it’s a particularly cold or chilly day. However, that breeze is absolutely lovely on a hot summer day!
There are also water launches/water taxis that run between Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Wilderness Lodge resorts, as well as the Fort Wilderness campground. These boats have very similar pros and cons to the Friendship Boats.
The last form of Disney transportation is the Ferryboat. The Ferry only runs from Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center and back, so this one is simply a substitute for riding the Monorail.
If you’re afraid of heights or the line for the Monorail is long, this is a great option. There’s a lot of breeze on the Ferry, which can be really nice in the hot Florida weather. The wait for this is typically shorter than that of the Monorail, so you may be able to get to Magic Kingdom just a little bit faster.
On the other hand, the ferry doesn’t have a lot of seating, and some people will be required to take stairs to the second floor. The crowds are also a bit more difficult to manage, considering the fact that the boats fit so many people. Social distancing here completely relies on the passengers to stay still on their dots, and that doesn’t always happen.
There you have it, all the pros and cons of Disney’s various transportation options! Besides these, you’re always welcome to drive your own vehicle and park or take a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber. If you’re looking for more planning tips and advice for how to navigate Walt Disney World, check out our main transportation page!
What’s your favorite form of Disney transportation? Let us know in the comments!