When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, people spend a lot of time deciding what hotel to stay in, which parks to visit, and where to eat. But they don’t always think about how they’ll get from place to place.
Disney offers four different forms of complimentary transportation to help you get from your hotel to the parks and almost everywhere in between. Depending on where you are going, you can take a Disney bus, the monorail, a boat, or Disney Skyliner. And if you don’t think through your transportation plans, you might find yourself spending a lot of time getting between the parks rather than in the parks.
Here are some little-known Disney World transportation tips that will save you time!
Factor Transportation Into Your Resort Choice
One of the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is the free Disney transportation that is provided to get you between the hotel to the parks and back. And while all resorts offer bus transportation, some have more than one form of transportation that will get you to certain parks more conveniently (and sometimes even faster).
You can even catch a boat to Magic Kingdom from the same resorts, plus a few more! Resorts with boat transportation to Magic Kingdom include:
If you’re hoping to spend more time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or EPCOT during your vacation, staying at a resort with boat transportation to both can be convenient (thought the Friendship Boats tend not to save you much time). These include:
You can also get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT by using the new Disney Skyliner gondolas, which connect the parks to these Disney Resort hotels:
If Disney Springs is on your Disney World agenda, Disney normally offers Sassagoula Water Taxi boat transportation to and from these resort hotels:
This service isn’t currently being offered to Disney Springs as Disney continues its gradual reopening process, but this will likely return in the future.
Choosing to stay at a hotel with a convenient transportation service to a park (or parks) that you plan to visit often during your trip can end up saving you a lot of time. Plus, all of these resort hotels also offer bus transportation to parks that do not have an alternate form of transportation. You will have to spend a little bit extra to stay in these, but if time is money, then you’ll be saving a lot of it.
Skip The Wait For The Monorail
Unlike other Disney parks, Magic Kingdom parking is located at the Transportation and Ticket Center. If you’re driving your car or taking a taxi or rideshare to the park, then you’ll end up here and have to take either the monorail or ferryboat across Seven Seas Lagoon to and from the entrance of Magic Kingdom.
If you’ve ever left the Magic Kingdom close to park closing, you’ve probably exited the park to find a long wait for the monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. One way you can get around the line is to walk over to Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Both resorts are within close walking distance and have monorail service to the TTC.
You can even find a way around the line if you’re on your way to Magic Kingdom from the TTC. A walkway connects the TTC to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, so you can pick up the monorail there if there is a long wait for the express monorail to Magic Kingdom. Just keep in mind that currently Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s monorail station is under refurbishment so this will be an option once the renovations are complete.
My Disney Experience Has Bus Wait Times
A few years ago Disney began adding electronic video display boards to each bus stop location at Disney World Resorts and Parks. These screens are a great place to look when you’re on your way to the parks because they provide you with the estimated wait time until the next bus arrives for whichever park you’re headed to. But you might not know that you can also access the wait times on your phone!
If you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, you will be able to view wait times on the My Disney Experience app too! Be sure that you have your resort stay linked to your Disney account and open up the My Disney Experience app. You’ll click “See Bus Times” and be able to access the estimated wait times from there!
Don’t Wait Too Long For a Bus
We’ve covered a lot of ways to bypass long Disney transportation lines by knowing what locations are close by to access a “short cut,” and we’ve got another one for you! Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are connected by “Generation Gap Bridge.” You’ll know where this is because the shared Skyliner station is actually located there!
If you’re visiting a park that isn’t on the Skyliner, you can actually leverage the short walk between the two resorts to bypass long lines for a Disney bus.
Similarly, if you’re staying at one of the Port Orleans Resorts or one of the All-Star Resorts, you can hop a bus to one of the sister Resorts, and walk from that Resort to your own.
Don’t Be Afraid To Walk
When you’re navigating Walt Disney World, sometimes it’s faster to forego the transportation system and log some extra steps. There are quite a few pathways that connect resorts to parks and attractions and they’ll get you to your destination without any line or loading time.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is about a 10-minute walk to Disney Springs, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is about a 5-minute walk to Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is about a 15-minute walk to Magic Kingdom. Plus, EPCOT is a short walk for those staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, and even the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin. Disney’s Hollywood Studios also connects to these four resorts, though the walk is a bit longer.
Whether you’re staying at these resorts or you need a way to bypass longer transportation wait times, walking is worth the extra effort if you’re hoping to save some travel time.
Park Hop Like a Pro
During park hopping hours (beginning at 2PM daily), Disney offers bus transportation between all four Disney Parks. But the bus isn’t the fastest way to get between two parks specifically — Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. It is actually fastest to take Disney’s Skyliner between the two parks, transferring lines at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort station.
There is also a walkway that connects the two parks so you can take about a 20-minute walk between them. The slowest transportation option between the two is actually the one that most Disney-goers have historically used — the FriendShip boats. These boats stop at Disney’s Boardwalk and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin before making their way to the other park which adds quite a bit of time to your park hopping.
Getting From a Disney Park to Disney Springs
One of the trickier things to do at Disney World right now is to get from a Disney Park to Disney Springs. Disney used to offer bus transportation between the two, but that hasn’t been available since Disney began its gradual reopening in summer 2020.
Now, guests who are hoping to get to Disney Springs after visiting a park will need to take a bus to a Disney Resort hotel and then catch another bus to Disney Springs. But don’t just catch a bus to any hotel! Earlier we mentioned that Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has a walking path to Disney Springs. Hop on a bus to this resort and take the short walk over to save time!
Book Your Dining Reservations With Parks In Mind
In the same way that you want to factor Disney transportation options into your hotel decision, you also want to think about it when booking your Disney dining reservations. Disney offers complimentary parking at resort hotels when you have a reservation at one of the restaurants located in the resort.
If you’re booking a dining reservation at a restaurant located in a resort, plan ahead and choose to visit a park that is within walking distance or offer a convenient transportation option so you can easily get between the park and the hotel for your reservation. You’ll be happy when you know that your day at the park is only a short walk away from your meal!
No one wants to spend all their time at Disney World on transportation, so give some of these tips a try on your next Disney World vacation and see how much time it saves you! Less time on a Disney bus (or any other transportation system) means more time for relaxing and fun in the parks!
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Have you ridden all of the different types of transportation at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!