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Best Tips for Getting Around Disney World Resort: Transportation

Updated: Jul 1

The NYC Traveler Tips For Your Disney World Trip:

How to Get Around the Walt Disney Resort in Florida

Disney Skyliner
Disney Skyliner

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We've all been there: rookies in a new place. You're trying to learn the lay of the land and the more experienced people are hustling past you, sometimes rudely. Plus, since most people visit Disney World at various prime times, the crowds can be huge. Well, here are our best tips for getting around the Disney World resort.

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Walt Disney World Resort is more than theme parks. Located on the property are hotels, Disney Springs (a shopping, dining and entertainment district), several golf courses; two miniature golf courses; two water parks; and areas between hotels and resorts that have shopping and dining that's open to the public, such as The Boardwalk. Then, there are the other hotels on Hotel Boulevard, near Disney Springs and the Bonnet Creek Resorts that seem to be on property (although officially, they aren't). No wonder people get lost and frustrated.

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Getting to the Resort: the best way to get to Disney World if you flew into Orlando is to use either a transportation service such as Mears Connect or to rent a car. See all of our tips for traveling to Disney World here. Our best tip for getting around Disney: many car services offer a variety: general population buses, private vans, private cars. Sadly, the free Disney Magical Express is now a thing of the past.

Former Disney Magical Express
Former Disney Magical Express

Once you are on the property, if you are driving, just follow the signs. The speed limit for getting around Disney World is low on purpose: there are Disney buses on the road and sometimes people miss the signs, causing them to switch lanes suddenly. But, the property is vast and can seem like an airport. If you get turned around, just take an exit ramp and start all over again. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: pay attention to the signs for Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. People get confused all the time.

If you are staying at a Disney Resort, look up the resort ahead of time so that you know which area you are in. The resorts are divided into these areas: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, ESPN and Disney Springs. If you are staying on Hotel Boulevard or in the Bonnet Creek area, follow the signs for Disney Springs. The resorts near Hollywood Studios, such as The Art of Animation and Pop Century are actually near ESPN.

Disney bus
Bus from Disney Parks to Disney Resorts

Magic Kingdom: Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian,

Animal Kingdom: All Star Resorts (all three of them), Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House and Kidani), Coronado Springs

ESPN: Art of Animation, Pop Century

Epcot: Boardwalk (Villas and Inn), Yacht and Beach Club, Caribbean Beach, Riviera, Swan and Dolphin (both of them) and officially, the Bonnet Creek resorts but as we said before, follow the signs for Disney Springs instead

Disney Springs: Port Orleans (both of them), Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and the non-Disney-owned Good Neighbor hotels on Hotel Boulevard.

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Once you are checked into your official Disney resort, getting around Disney World can be simple:

Parking: Parking at official Disney resorts/hotels and Disney Springs is currently complimentary. Parking at the theme parks will cost you. There is a general fee and VIP, which will get you closer. The fee is good all day if you park hop, so save your receipt. Currently, parking at the theme parks is complimentary for annual pass holders. Be prepared to show your ID and annual pass card. If you want to eat at a restaurant at a resort or on the boardwalk, show your reservation at the security booth. But, consider the other options for traveling within the resort, even if you have a car. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: consider taking the Disney buses if you are staying on property. It may save you money.

Disney Parking Lot
Disney's Hollywood Studios Parking

Disney Transportation: not all of the options are at all of the hotels and all of the theme parks, so check with your concierge or look at the Disney app. Under transportation, you can enter where you are and where you are going and the app will give directions.

Disney Trams: Once you park at the parks, you can walk or take a tram to the park's main entrance. Pay attention to the section and row number. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: The My Disney Experience app lets you enter your parking space (or take a photo with your phone).

Disney Buses: They begin about 45 minutes before the early bonus hours and end about an hour or so after the parks close. But if there are people waiting when the parks close, even if it is late, they will send extra buses to the parks. At many of the bus stops are signs indicating when the next bus will come but they are basically 20 minutes apart. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: you can check the app to see more bus information.

Disney Bus
Disney Resort Bus

Disney Springs: The buses to Disney Springs from the theme parks start later in the day. The buses to Disney Springs from the resorts start when the water parks open. Currently, parking at Disney Springs is complimentary. There are several garages and open parking lots around the area. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: You cannot go directly to a theme park from Disney Springs with a Disney bus. You can only go to the resorts.

Disney Water Parks: For Blizzard Beach, take the bus to Animal Kingdom and transfer. For Typhoon Lagoon, take the bus to Disney Springs and transfer. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: The All-Star Resorts and Cornado Springs have direct service to Blizzard Beach!

Disney Monorail
Disney Monorail

Disney Monorail: this train-like vehicle operates between the Tranportation Center (the parking lot near Magic Kingdom) to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and three hotels. From here, you can take a monorail to either Magic Kingdom or Epcot. If you want to go to the Magic Kingdom from Epcot or vice versa, you transfer here. Currently, there is no direct monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom. The three hotels here (Contemporary/Bay Lake, Polynesian and Grand Floridian) have their own line called the Resort or Express Resort (check the signs). The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: if you take the general monorail from Magic Kingdom by mistake (instead of the resort monorail), you can actually walk to the Polynesian from the Transportation center and catch the resort monorail from there to the Contemporary or Grand Floridian. It loops, so you will get a tour.

Disney Ferries (Water Transportation): there is one from the Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom and one each from the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom. Then, there is the water transportation between Epcot, the Boardwalk hotels, and Hollywood Studios. Once again, these boats loop, so you will get a nice tour of that waterway. There is a ferry from Old Key West and one from Saratoga Springs to Disney Springs. Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge also have water transportation to the Magic Kingdom. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: You can either walk the Boardwalk from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, take a ferry or take a bus!

Disney Ferry
Disney Ferry: Near Swan & Dolphin Resort

Disney Skyliner: This one can be a little complicated. It serves Caribbean Beach, the Riviera, Pop Century and Art of Animation to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios, only. The main terminal is at the Caribbean Beach Resort and where you will transfer for everything. If you are coming to or from Pop Century or the Art of Animation, you must transfer at Caribbean Beach to go on to Hollywood Studios or Epcot. When you want to go back to those hotels, you take the Skyliner from Epcot or Hollywood Studios and transfer at Caribbean Beach. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: When the weather is bad, there are buses.

Disney Skyliner at Epcot
Disney Skyliner at Epcot

Minnie Van: This is a car service currently operated by Lyft and it is not free. But, large families and groups with small children (with strollers) or those who use assistance to move around, such as wheelchairs, scooters and walkers sometimes finds this method a better option. This service is for getting around within Disney World. You can make arrangements by using the Lyft app. Make sure your location option is on and scroll to find the words "Minnie Van" for the type of car. The Minnie van option shows when you are within Disney World.

Disney Minnie Van
Disney Lyft Minnie Van

Other car services: they do operate at their regular costs.

Miniature Golf: These can be tricky. Winter Summerland is near Blizzard Beach water park. Theoretically, you can take the Blizzard Beach bus to get there but check with the hotel concierge or app to make sure about tranportation in case Blizzard Beach is closed (which happens for maintenance). Fantasia Gardens is near The Swan Reserve Resort. The hotel will know the best route if you do not have a car.

Golf at Disney
Shades of Green Golf Course

Golf: The main Disney golf courses are near the Polynesian. From a resort, take a bus to a theme park or Disney Springs and transfer to a bus to the Polynesian. From the Grand Floridian or Contemporary, take the resort monorail. The Four Seasons course is near the Four Seasons resort.

Walking: Yep, there are some areas where you can actually walk from one location to another. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney by walking:

Swan & Dolphin Resort, Disney
Walking along the Boardwalk
  • Epcot, the Boardwalk itself, the Boardwalk Villas and Inn hotels, the Swan & Dolphin Hotels, the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and Hollywood Studios are all linked together not only by water but also by walking. From park to park, it's about a mile, so if you want a workout, go for it. The running trail is around the entire boardwalk.

  • Hotel Boulevard and Disney Springs: you can walk along the sidewalk. Follow the signs carefully for crossing the street.

  • Contemporary Resort and Magic Kingdom: this is the best one of all, the shortest walk. You can be there in less than 15 minutes, especially if you are at Bay Lake.

Disney Running Trail
Grand Floridian-Polynesian Trail
  • New walkway: Polynesian and Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom. There may be some construction, so check with the concierge. And from the Polynesian, it's a nice workout. By the way, you can walk from these two hotels anyway. In fact, they share a workout room which is at the Grand Floridian.

  • The All Star Resorts link to each other along the front sidewalk and through the parking lots. They basically have the same amenities with different themes (including two pool areas each) but the stores have resort-specific merchandise, so hop over from All Star Sports to All Star Music to All Star Movies. In fact, I challenge you because they have a wellness challenge sometimes to do just that! From the All Star Resorts, you can continue along the sidewalk all the way to Coronado Springs Resort, in case you want to see what they have for dining.

Run Disney
All Star Resorts Running Trail
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge has two resorts: Jambo House and Kidani Village. They each have their own savannah with animals, dining, shopping, pool and fitness rooms but you can use either hotel for the amenities. There is a shuttle between the two hotels or you can walk it. They share the sports facilities: basketball, tennis, outdoor grills, etc. The NYC Traveler Tip for Your Trip for Getting Around Disney: Don't be fooled by the bigger pool at Jambo House: Kidani has the mini-water park!

  • Saratoga Springs and Treetop Villas are one resort. The main amenities are located mostly in Saratoga Springs (the treehouses do have their own pool) but you can wander over into the treehouse area and explore.

Disney Resort
Walk from Saratoga Springs to Treehouse Villas

  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Wilderness Lodge used to share a walking trail, but not anymore. They have similar names but they are two different resorts and don't share amenities.

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For the latest information, consult Disney's website:

Happy Travels.

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