Getting around Disney Property can be harrowing! When free options like buses, monorails and watercraft are matched against the possible speed of cars, which do you choose? How do you know which will be the fastest for your destination, or if you should splurge on a fancy Minnie Van? We break down when and how you should use each transportation option while traveling on Disney Property. Hakuna Matata!
When to Take a Disney Bus
Buses are quite ubiquitous on Disney Property. Buses connect each Park, Resort, and attraction point like supreme ant tunnels. Buses are plentiful, but most routes are running on a 20-minute circuit. So if you see a bus at your stop, take it! There are going to be fewer ways quicker (or cheaper!) to get from one place to another than jumping on a Disney bus right at your stop.
That being said, there will be times when a bus leaves full of passengers and another busload of Guests in line in front of you. When that happens, there might be faster ways to get where you’re going. Check the options below for alternatives to buses or connect a few to get you to your magical destination. Completely lost? Visit the folks at planDisney for a full, free, personalized answer to get you back and forth during your Disney vacation.
When to Use Your Own Car
Many Disney Guests opt to drive to Walt Disney World Resort and park for free using their Annual Pass in the Disney Theme Park lots (yup, it’s included, no matter how many times you visit). It’s certainly a much faster way to arrive at a theme park for Rope Drop (no waiting in the bus lines or at the TTC) and you’ll have very little hassle. However, keep in mind that parking at your Disney Resort hotel will have a nightly fee based on your Resort. This added cost keeps many from driving as transportation.
Speed over to Disney Springs and park at no fee (unless you choose valet) for quick shopping or dining trips. The bus service can lack at Disney Springs, leaving guests to wait for much longer than 20-30 minutes.
Visit the Mini Golf Courses via car (or rideshare) as there is no other way to access them easily while traveling on Disney Property.
Likewise, if you choose to rent a car after you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll have the same benefits or driving around on your own schedule, but you’ll face a few more fees. The Car Care Center offers Guests rentals through Alamo Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental, along with offering car seats and a complimentary shuttle. Dial (407) 824-3470 ext. 1. to connect to the Car Care Center.
When to RideShare
An Uber or Lyft (Lyft is the official Orlando rideshare service of Walt Disney World Resort) can take you almost anywhere on the property, except to the front of Magic Kingdom. Because Minnie Vans and bus service are the only vehicles allowed to this point, all rideshares will drop you to the Ticket and Transportation Center for Magic Kingdom service. Rates will vary, as using Uber or Lyft on Disney property works the same as it does off-property. Uber and Lyft are great options for Disney Hotel & Resort hopping or Park Hopping without waiting for a Monorail, Bus or Boat.
Rideshare vehicles can also take you to Disney Springs (there are two drop locations, each at the far west and far east side of the shopping district), but if you are not near a pickup location, it can be quite a trek to return to the rideshare lot. Think about where you are visiting when using rideshares at Disney Springs.
When (and How) to Call A Minnie Van
If you aren’t familiar with Minnie Vans, they are Chevy Traverse and Suburban vehicles that seat 6 guests and offer two Graco Forever Car Seats to Disney Guests looking to travel around on Disney property. The Minnie Vans cost a premium and are priced based on distance traveled from pick-up location to your requested destination within Walt Disney World Resort, alongside a base fee. As of 2019, the base rate was at least $15 with a $2.75 PER MILE charge. You’ll see the total cost before you call the car and be able to pay for the service conveniently through the Lyft app on your Smartphone. Don’t have a smartphone? A concierge can also call the van for you.
The main advantage of calling for a Minnie Van is arrival at Magic Kingdom. A long haul ride from a distant Resort Hotel like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to Magic Kingdom for either early dining reservations or a rope drop with Extra Magic Hours on Dapper Day is made easier with a pickup from a Minnie Van. They are the only rideshare vehicles that can arrive right at the touchpoint gates, cutting transport time in half!
Here’s a short tutorial on how to call for a Minnie Van and what you can expect to see inside!
When to Take the Disney Monorail
Many Disney Guests will talk about the “Monorail Loop”! There are 3 Resort Hotels (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort) on this loop, the Ticket and Transportation Center, and Magic Kingdom on the main Monorail Loop. Guests can transfer to the EPCOT line at the TTC. Traveling to and from any of these destinations? The Disney Monorail makes quick work of these destinations.
When to Take the Watercrafts
Using Disney’s Watercrafts for transportation depends on where you are and where you’re going. Not all of Disney’s bodies of water are connected, leaving some guests at a loss when using the system. There are few circuits on Bay Lake. One includes Magic Kingdom to TTC exclusively with large Riverboat-like transfer vehicles. The second connects Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, going in a constant triangle. The third goes in another triangle between Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. The fourth, lesser-used option is a connection between Disney’s Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Magic Kingdom, for which Guests bound for Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue utilize.
None of these routes will change, but you can see how a Disney Guest might go from the TTC to Magic Kingdom, and either walk to Disney’s Contemporary Resort and boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or take a watercraft to Disney’s Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and then transfer from that dock.
On to the other side of Disney Property, there is another circuit of boats connecting EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, stopping at Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn and Villas and the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. This separate Crescent Lake circuit doesn’t cross over to the Bay Lake boats.
Lastly, there is a Resort boat service to Disney Springs from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, as well as Saratoga Springs Resorts and Disney’s Old Key West. The “Sassagoula River Cruise” is a 20-minute boat ride from the Port Orleans Riverside Resort’s dock to the Disney Springs shopping district, and should be experienced at least once rather than the bus line, which can be infrequent.
When to use the Skyliner
The new and shiny Disney Skyliner is a ski-resort style gondola system that transports guests to and from select resort hotels, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The best use of the Skyliner is park hopping between these two parks, as waiting for the watercraft (and it’s many subsequent stops) can be a lengthy process. It takes about 12 minutes to travel from Disney’s Pop Century Resort at one end of the line to EPCOT at the other end.
Smoothly passing through Disney Resorts such as Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort or passing through Grand Central to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort or Pop Century Resort is another option for those Guests traveling in the air.
How do you hope from place to place when Traveling on Disney Property? Leave us a comment below about your favorite travel tip!