One of the nicest things about a Walt Disney World vacation are all of the free (yes, FREE!) transportation options available for guests. If you choose not to, you don’t have to drive a car for your entire stay. But, Disney is massive and sometimes Disney transportation take a bit of planning. Here are the transportation options available for your convenience:
Disney’s Magical Express
Free transportation begins as soon as your plane lands in Orlando. Disney’s Magical Express is Disney’s free bus transportation that will take you and your luggage directly to your Disney resort. You don’t even have to get your bags from the airport. Disney will send you luggage tags that you can put on your bags before your flight and they will find your bags and deliver them directly to your hotel room. At the end of the trip, they will take you back to the airport.
You do need a reservation for the Magical Express, so if you are planning on using it, mention it when booking your vacation.
Keep in mind – While the Magical Express is very convenient, you may have to wait in lines to get on a bus and then wait while passengers are let off at different resorts. (They have specific buses for specific resort areas.) So, you may not get to Disney World as fast as you like, but it’s certainly less expensive than renting a car.
I think everyone loves to ride the Monorail, and one of the perks of select Walt Disney World resorts is being able to ride the Monorail from your resort directly to a park. Resorts that are on the Monorail line include the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Bay Lake Towers and Contemporary. The Monorail can take you directly to the Magic Kingdom or to EPCOT. Guests staying at resorts in the EPCOT area, which include Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club and Yacht Club could walk through EPCOT to the Monorail to get to the Magic Kingdom, or back, but it’s a bit of a hike. It’s certainly an option though.
It should be noted that the Monorail does not go to the Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, so Monorail Resort guests will need to take buses to those parks.
Keep in mind – you pay a premium for any of the Monorail resorts, so you’ll need to decide if the benefit is worth the cost.
All of the Walt Disney World resorts offer free buses to and from the parks for their guests. Buses can also take you to the water parks and the Downtown Disney area. You’ll find one or more bus stops at each resort, depending on the size of your resort. From there you just wait for the bus going to the location you like and hop on board. They drop you off close to the entrance of each park. Some drop you off closer than you would get driving, which is an added bonus.
When you’re ready to return, each park has a bus area and you simply find the bus for your resort and it will take you back.
Keep in mind – While buses are free and the pick up and drop off locations are great, you have to keep in mind that you are working on their schedule, not yours. Give yourself extra time to wait for buses. And, if you’re using a stroller, it will need to be folded before getting on the bus. Buses also won’t take you to other resorts, so getting to a dinner at a hotel would likely require a stop at a park and a second bus ride to get where you’re headed.
Some resorts also offer ferry service to the parks. From the Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club and Yacht Club, you can take a ferry to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios. From the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Campgrounds and Bay Lake Towers (via the Contemporary), you can take a ferry to the Magic Kingdom
Keep in mind – Resort ferries are a great option as you can leave a stroller open and walk right on to the boat. As with any Disney transportation, you will have to work off of their schedules, but resort ferries, as opposed to a ferry taking you to the Transportation and Ticket Center, tend to be more manageable and slightly less crowded.
A handful of Disney World resorts allow you the luxury of walking to and from the different parks. From the Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club and Yacht Club, you walk to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios. Near the Magic Kingdom, you can walk from Bay Lake Towers or the Contemporary Resorts. (You can’t walk from the Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Animal Kingdom, despite the name.)
Keep in mind – Walking to Hollywood Studios from the nearby resorts takes about 15 minutes, so keep that in mind if you are traveling with kids. And, although it’s close, you can’t walk to the Magic Kingdom from the Grand Floridian.
A car is, of course, always an option at Disney. All of the resorts offer free parking to resort guests and resort guests can park for free at and Disney park. It’s a nice perk. Having a car allows for the freedom to travel on your own schedule and not have to worry about bus schedules or rushing to fold strollers while trying to get on a crowded bus. It’s also nice to be able to go anywhere you like and also to leave anything you like in the car and not have to drag everything into your hotel room.
Keep in mind – Parking isn’t always ideal at the parks. Think about how many people are there and parking on any given day. At the Magic Kingdom, where you can’t park directly at the park, you’ll need to take a tram to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then a Monorail or ferry to the park. That adds quite a bit of travel time, so add on plenty to your plans. Parking at the other parks is much more convenient, but often involves trams and a bit of walking to the main gates.
Magic Carpets, Trains, Rocket Ships…
Don’t forget all of the great magic carpets, trains, space ships, sea shells, doom buggies, trains and flying elephant rides you can experience in the park!
Keep in mind – While fun, these rides won’t help get you back to your resort at the end of the day.
What’s your best Disney transportation tip? Do you rent a car or use Disney transportation?