Walt Disney World is huge – so big, in fact, that people regularly run marathons right on property. Getting around a resort this large requires several different Disney transportation options, and it can be a little confusing for families to figure out how to get where they are going.
I’ve been to Walt Disney World dozens of times and have never rented a car – the Disney transportation really can get you wherever you are going. If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, here’s a guide to Walt Disney World transportation, so you can be completely prepared for your visit.
Note that I’ve experienced some of these through various press trips and complimentary trips (as well as trips that were completely paid by me). All opinions are my own.
A Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation
Disney’s Magical Express
If you fly into Orlando International Airport, Disney’s Magical Express will be your very first interaction with Disney transportation. This complimentary service is for guests who are staying at a Disney resort hotel.
Buses leave on a regular basis – simply head to the Magical Express desk, show your MagicBands, and then line up in the row you are directed to. The bus will likely make several resort stops, and you’ll be at your room soon!
Disney’s Magical Express should be reserved ahead of time, and will take you to and from your Disney resort hotel. You’ll need to take it to and from the resort you are staying in – they don’t leave from any of the theme parks.
This free bus service also includes luggage transportation. It’s nice to head right to the Magical Express desk and not have to worry about going to the baggage carousel.
See our full Disney’s Magical Express post for all the information you’ll need.
Disney Transportation Within the Resort Area
Transportation within the parks is relatively convenient, although you’ll sometimes have to wait in lines and deal with crowds. You’ll generally have access to complimentary transportation to the parks whether you are arriving for park opening or leaving at park closing time.
You don’t have to show a ticket or MagicBand to enter the transportation within the parks. Just wait in line and enter when it’s your turn.
Disney Bus Transportation
You’ll see Disney buses everywhere throughout the resort. All of the resorts offer bus transportation to at least one or more parks. If you are staying at a Disney value or moderate resort, you’ll take buses to all of the parks.
If you are staying at a deluxe resort, you’ll need to take buses to Animal Kingdom, and to some of the other parks (depending on the location of your resort).
When traveling on a bus, you’ll have to fold up strollers and carry them on. There’s no storage under the bus, so everything has to be brought on board with you. Buses don’t follow a posted schedule, but generally come every 20 minutes or so. Some of the stops have monitors that you can glance at and see when the bus is coming next.
The buses are fairly comfortable, with good air conditioning. There are some seats on the bus, although it’s possible that you may need to stand during the short trip.
Depending on where you are staying and what your destination is, the bus is likely to make multiple stops. If you have dining reservations or FastPass+ reservations that you need to make, it’s best to plan for about 90 minute transportation time from resort to the restaurant/attraction.
Walt Disney World also offers several different modes of water transportation. If you are staying at Disney’s Port Orleans, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs, you can take a water taxi to Disney Springs.
Guests at the Beach Club, Yacht Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney Swan, and Disney Dolphin can take boat transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, while guests at the Grand Floridian, Contemporary Resort, Polynesian, Fort Wilderness, and the Wilderness Lodge can take boats to the Magic Kingdom. These boats are relatively small, but still fit quite a few passengers.
There’s also a large ferry boat that travels from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom. If you are parking at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and take either the monorail or ferry to the front entrance of the park.
I always love taking the boat wherever possible. It’s usually a pretty short trip, and it’s always enjoyable. When visiting the Magic Kingdom, you could also take the boat in the morning and the monorail on the way back.
The iconic monorails are available to guests visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot. There are several loops – one from Epcot to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and one looping around the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, the TTC, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian.
There’s also an express monorail that goes from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom. My kids have always loved riding the monorail, so even if we aren’t at a monorail resort, we always try to ride it at least once during our trips.
The monorails do fill up during peak times. Strollers don’t have to be folded up, so that can definitely make it easier if you are traveling with little kids. When my kids were in a double stroller, I loved staying at the Magic Kingdom resorts on the monorail because it made our trips to the theme parks so much easier.
The latest transportation option at Walt Disney World is also the cutest! Minnie Vans have arrived at Walt Disney World, and they are absolutely adorable. Unlike the other types of Disney transportation, Minnie Vans come with an additional fee (currently $25).
They are available for guests staying at select deluxe resorts, and only travel within Disney property. Booking and payment is done through the Lyft app, but you need to talk to a resort cast member to set it up. Click here to learn more.
New Disney Gondolas
Walt Disney World is debuting a brand new transportation system at the end of September 2019. The Disney Skyliner, as it is called, will connect select Disney resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway (at the Epcot World Showcase).
Because of the location of Disney’s Beach and Yacht clubs, the Skyliner station at the International Gateway will also be convenient for those resorts.
The Skyliners definitely look to be a convenient and fun addition to the Disney transportation system.
Walt Disney World Parking
Many guests also arrive at Walt Disney World with a car – either from a road trip to the parks or from a rental car. Recently, Disney started charging for self parking. Rates vary depending on the resort you are staying in. Valet parking is also offered for the Disney deluxe resorts for an additional fee.
If you’d like to drive to the theme parks, parking there is free for resort guests. There is a charge for off property guests. In addition, there’s a premium option that is available at an additional cost for both on and off property guests.
Parking at Disney Springs and the Disney water parks is complimentary. Valet parking is also offered at Disney Springs for a fee.
Off Property Transportation
If you are staying at an off property resort, they may have their own, separate transportation to Walt Disney World. You’ll want to talk to your hotel directly to find out costs and schedule. When we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel, we took advantage of their complimentary shuttle.
Disney does not offer any transportation to any locations off Disney property, with exception of the airport. Rideshare services and taxicabs are a good option if you are planning to leave the Disney property.