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Most people don’t realize just how big Walt Disney World is. It is huge-about the size of San Francisco, to be exact! So, it’s no surprise that it has its own public transportation system. Yet, this system can be confusing to first time visitors. But, like with everything else in the world., knowledge is power. So, to eliminate the confusion and make your upcoming trip smoother, here is everything you need to know about the Disney transportation system.
The most iconic piece of the Disney transportation system is the monorail. For many people, riding this “highway in the sky”, as Disney calls it, is as much of a must-do as taking a spin on Dumbo. While the monorail is a fun and quiet way to get around, it does not go everywhere within Disney World. There are 11 monorail trains which run on three lines. The Epcot line runs between Epcot and the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). The Express line makes stops only at the Magic Kingdom and the TTC. And lastly, the Resort line stops at the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, TTC, Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian Resort.
The monorails have space to sit or stand. Additionally, strollers may be taken on the trains without folding them up. If you take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, you will go through park security before boarding the monorail.
There are several different bodies of water around Disney World. Disney takes advantage of these by using boats as part of the Disney transportation system. You can take a boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Resort, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness. There is also a ferry that connects the Ticket and Transportation Center with the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, you can take a boat from Epcot or Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin Hotels. Lastly, you can travel by boat from Disney Springs to Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs Resort.
The boats have both covered and uncovered seating areas and space to stand. Strollers can be taken on the boats without being folded up.
The buses are, by far, the workhorses of the Disney transportation system. You can take a bus from all Disney resorts to any of the parks and Disney Springs. After 4 pm, you can also take a bus from Disney Springs to the parks and from one park to another. Please note that you will have to fold up your stroller before boarding the bus. You can find real time wait information at each of the bus stops or on the My Disney Experience app.
The newest addition to the Disney transportation system lineup is the Disney Skyliner. This is a gondola system, similar to what you would see at a ski resort. The Skyliner has only been open a few months, but has already transported over one million guests. You can ride the Skyliner from Hollywood Studios or Epcot to Caribbean Beach Resort, Art of Animation, Pop Century, or the Riviera Resort. Strollers do not have to be folded up to ride the Skyliner.
Another very useful part of the Disney transportation system is Magical Express. If you are staying at a Disney resort and flying into Orlando International Airport, you can take the Magical Express from the airport to your resort. This is a free service that is offered as a perk of staying on property at Disney World. You will need to register in advance for Magical Express on Disney’s website and give them your flight information.
The one part of the Disney transportation system that you will have to pay to use is the Minnie Vans. This is Disney’s version of Uber or Lyft. You can take a Minnnie Van anywhere on Disney World property. You can also take a Minnie Van to the Orlando airport. For rides around Disney World, you can use the Lyft app. To arrange a Minnie Van for the airport, you will need to call Disney. There are two main advantages to the Minnie Van over taking an Uber or Lyft. First, the Minnie Vans come equipped with car seats. Secondly, Minnie Vans are all driven by Disney cast members. Minnie Vans usually pick up and drop off at the bus stops.
- The boats, buses, Skyliner, and monorails are all free to use.
- Each of the parks has its own parking lot with trams that run to the gates.
- You can walk from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom.
- You can also walk between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club.
- If you drive to the Magic Kingdom, you will have to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and take either the monorail or boat to the park.
- Disney transportation starts running each day approximately two hours before park opening and runs continuously until about one hour after park closing.
- You will only be able to park at a resort if you are staying there or have a dining reservation. During busy times, you will only be allowed to park for a couple hours for your dining reservation.
- You can use Uber, Lyft, or taxis anywhere on Disney property as well, but their pick up and drop off locations are not as convenient as the ones for the Minnie Vans.
When planning a Disney World vacation, the last thing you should worry about if staying on property is transportation. Even though Disney World is huge, the Disney transportation system makes it easy to get around. Most of the options are free, but if you are in a hurry, you can opt to pay for faster service. For more help planning your trip, see our step-by-step guide, best resources, and quick tips. Happy travels!
P.S. For even more help, find a ton of FREE Disney planning tools, including a packing list, in our Travel Resource Library. See the box below for details on how to get the password to the library.