Walt Disney World and the surrounding resorts are huge – over 27,000 acres, to be exact. Thus, it’s important that visitors understand transportation options available when booking a trip. Here’s what you need to know about Disney World transportation options.

How to Get Around Disney: Disney World Transportation Tips

disney world transportation

Boat ride at Epcot
Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Starting with the Magical Express shuttle that picks you up at the airport,  Disney transportation is an integral part of its experience. Kids will love taking the Disney monorail, boat and shuttle buses. Even inside the parks, there are many entertaining options to get you around. Knowing about these amenities ahead of time will ensure you save more time for entertainment and less time for exhaustion.

How do you get around when you’re visiting Walt Disney World? The more than 27,000-acre resort and park complex consists of several hotels, four parks and a Downtown Disney area.

disney world transportation

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Planning your transportation and taking stock of options available can definitely help you make the most of your trip. Making use of the different modes of Disney transportation not only makes it convenient but also entertaining and memorable. Being able to take advantage of these many modes of transportation and not needing to rent a car is also a good reason to stay at a Disney resort instead of an off property location.

Disney Transport Buses

There will be shuttle buses that pick you up from any Disney resort and take you to all of the parks or to Downtown Disney. The buses run an hour before opening and an hour after closing at a frequency of about 15 minutes.

Most Disney resorts will have a couple of pick-up spots for each location, depending on the size of the property. To get back to your hotel, simply line up at the bus stop designated by number of your Disney resort. This can be very convenient if you want to make multiple trips or want to have a different schedule from the rest of your group.

Since not all Disney resorts are located at equal distance from each of the parks, it makes sense to pick a hotel closest to the Disney park you’re most likely to spend more time at or have multiple transportation options available.

Some bus rides may be more than 30 minutes long depending on distance and time of day. Keeping the little ones, who are eager to get to the park, occupied for that long maybe challenging. So picking the right resort in terms of transportation is key.

Disney Monorail

Meant as a futuristic interpretation of public transport, the monorail is a trademark of Disney World. In addition to being another must do on your Disney list, it is an easy way to get back and forth between Epcot and Magic Kingdom.

The Disney monorail also services a few resorts so if you or the kids are especially fond of it, that can sway your hotel choice. The “monorail resorts” include the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian.

disney world transportation

Monorail at Epcot
Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Disney Boats

Disney World is located  in central Florida, so the many lakes around the Disney properties might surprise anyone on their first visit. Having boats take visitors around Disney parks and resorts makes perfect sense. It is a fun way to travel and sightsee from an unusual vantage point. Although there is no boat transport to Animal Kingdom, the other three parks and Downtown Disney are accessible by boat.

Disney resorts closest to Magic Kingdom and accessible by bus/monorail/boat:

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’ s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (not accessible by monorail)

Disney Resorts closest to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and accessible by bus /boat:

Disney Resorts closest to Animal Kingdom and accessible by bus

Transportation Inside Parks

Getting to the parks is only half the story. Getting around parks can also be physically demanding when you want to see and do everything in a limited amount of time.

Disney parks have taken this into account and have several creative transportation infrastructure in place. In Magic Kingdom, we loved taking Mickey’s Railroad to get between Frontierland and Fantasyland. At Epcot we relied on the shuttle boat from the start of the World Showcase to either side of the other end (Morocco or Germany).

These rides gave us a respite and enabled us to maximize time at the attractions. Going through a Disney park map and knowing these options beforehand will save you a lot of time and your feet will surely thank you.

Strollers

This would be one occasion that even “big kids”, ones around 5-6 years old who would have typically outgrown a stroller, might consider taking one. It not only allows parents to cover more ground quickly but also provides them with a place to nap and stay in shade.

VIP TravelingMom Tara shares her insight on whether it is worth to bring your own or rent from the entrance or from a number of local options.

Parking Info

For Visitors from Offsite Lodging

Even if you drive to the Disney parks, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of these transportation options. If you plan to park hop, you can use these facilities to go between the parks instead of trying to drive.

disney world transportation

Photo credit:Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Even if you don’t stay on a Disney property, there are plenty of hotels that offer complimentary transport to parks. Taking advantage of that can really help you have a hassle free day at the park and relax on the way.

Day Visitors to Disney World

If you’re just here for the day at one of the Disney parks, you can hop on a boat/bus or Disney monorail and make your way to a resort for a meal or for some amenities.

Since the parking can be quite a trek from the entrance, be on the lookout for golf cart like shuttles that will take you back and forth.

Magical Express

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, the easiest way to get to and from the airport is by taking the shuttle bus known as Mickey’s Magical Express. Even the adults won’t be able to contain their excitement contained as they board the blue and cream colored buses driven by uniformed chauffeurs.

You don’t even have to bother picking up your luggage to board the magical bus. If you’re staying a Disney resort, they will make arrangements to have your luggage delivered to your room.

My three year old loved riding the shuttle bus almost as much as the attractions. The fact that he picked a set of three buses as a souvenir speaks volumes for how much fun he had riding them.

What is your favorite way to get around Walt Disney World? Have you ever picked a hotel based on what transportation services offered?

This post was sponsored by Mazda.