Disney World Transportation 101 – What To Expect

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Walt Disney World is a BIG PLACE – like 40 square miles big! To put that in perspective, that’s about the same size as San Francisco, or two Manhattan islands. Needless to say, one cannot expect to traverse the Disney World Parks by foot alone! Disney has its own internal transportation system in place, and it’s designed to help make your life easier and allow you to spend more time enjoying all the Disney Magic!

Read on for a rundown of the basics of Disney World transportation:

Disney’s Magical Express is likely the first encounter you will have with Disney World transportation – as it’s the shuttle that brings you (and your luggage!) from the Orlando Airport to your WDW Resort Hotel , and then back again after your vacation is over (which has earned the return trip the name of “Tragical Express” – because no one wants to leave Disney World). When planning your Disney World vacation I highly suggest you plan to stay at one of Disney’s many awesome on site Resorts so that you can take advantage of this shuttle service, as it’s a great benefit that’s included for Disney World Resort guests (read more about other benefits of staying on site here)

Once you’re on site, you’ll have a variety of options to get you where you want to go, in the form of buses, monorails, and boats. All Value Resorts offer BUS transportation to the Parks/water parks/Disney Springs, and it’s once you move up to Moderate and Deluxe Resorts that you will see more options available to you:

  • BOAT transportation to the Magic Kingdom is available from: Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, and Wilderness Lodge.
  • BOAT Transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is available from: Boardwalk Inn, Beach & Yacht Club Resorts, and Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Hotels.
  • BOAT Transportation to Disney Springs is available from: Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter Resorts, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs Resort.
  • MONORAIL Transportation connects the following places: Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and the Ticket and Transportation Center. From the Ticket and Transportation center itself, you can also catch an express monorail to both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom

Getting From Place To Place: Based on the above, it might seem like getting from point A to point B is impossibly confusing – and while it is a lot to try and understand, you really don’t have to remember all of it – as any WDW Cast Member will help you plot out your destination, and most of the time it’s as easy as taking a bus from your hotel directly to the Disney Parks. The one thing I do want to mention is that sometimes Disney World transportation runs on what I like to call “Disney Time” – which means that it might take slightly longer to get to your destination than you originally thought – between waiting for the bus/monorail/boat and then the unloading process, then the loading process, then the bus is full and they have to send another one…well, you get the picture – and it’s best just to assume you will need some extra time to get from place to place. While it may not be the world’s fastest transportation system, it manages to be as efficient as it can – considering just how many people they are moving around on a daily basis

Bottom line is – regardless of how much you take advantage of the amazing WDW Transportation system, you still will want to make sure you wear your most comfortable walking shoes when heading out for a day at the Disney Parks – personally I recommend/prefer sneakers that have been slightly worn in (but aren’t super old/worn out). You WILL be doing a LOT of walking at the Parks, so this is the one time that you should NOT worry about how fashionable your footwear is – as comfort is key here!

So what Disney World Transportation is your favorite? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Catie Hiltz is an avid Walt Disney World lover who has been vacationing there since she was tall enough to ride Space Mountain. She believes there is something for everyone at WDW-and especially writing about the benefits of vacationing there as an adult
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