Walt Disney himself once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” What once began as a dream to expand his already-successful Disneyland Resort in California into a more private haven where families could truly separate vacation from reality has now become more than 31,000 acres and 47 square miles of family fun in Central Florida. Growth is inevitable, but Disney has blossomed in its 40+ years since the Magic Kingdom Park opened. The Walt Disney World Resort now includes three additional theme parks, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), two water parks, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, countless resorts and other destinations, making this a true vacation destination.
With that being said, and with a resort this large, one of the biggest questions facing families is this: how do we get around once we are there? Keep reading below for all of the answers in our complete Walt Disney World Transportation Guide!
Disney’s Magical Express: The first thing you should know about transportation is how to get to Disney! Orlando International Airport is less than a half-hour drive to the Walt Disney World Resort, and if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, a free motor coach ride to and from the airport that also includes luggage delivery directly to your room! If you book a room at a resort on property, be sure to ask about this excellent and easy service.
Monorail: The monorail is a tram in the sky that is an attraction for many families in and of itself! There are three monorail tracks at Disney – one that goes from the Ticket & Transportation Center to Epcot and back, making it easy for guests to park hop between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and two loops that go from the TTC to Magic Kingdom. One of those loops goes directly from the TTC to the park and is one of the primary ways for guests to get from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the park itself, while the other loop makes stops at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Riding the monorail is free of charge for all guests.
Boat: There are many waterways on Disney property, and Disney has used some of them as transportation opportunities for guests. Water taxis travel to and from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs. Magic Kingdom is available via boat from all of the Magic Kingdom Resort area hotels, while large ferry boats also serve as a major mode of transportation for patrons from the Ticket & Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom. A waterway between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios allows guests to access those two parks via water taxi and includes stops at select hotels: Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. Disney Springs is also available via ferry from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—French Quarter, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
Bus: For guests staying on property, buses provide transportation to and from the four theme parks, two water parks, every resort hotel and Disney Springs. Did you fly to Disney and leave your car at home? That’s no issue if you’re staying at a Disney resort, as all of this transportation is free of charge! Buses are also available to and from each park if guests wish to park hop throughout the day.
Rental car: There is a Car Care Center on Disney property that offers car rentals from Alamo Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. Complimentary shuttle service to the Car Care Center is available to and from select resort hotels and theme parks.
Your own transportation: If you are bringing your own car, you can park directly at any Disney hotel free of charge. If you are staying at a non-Disney hotel, you can drive directly from your hotel off property to each park; whether you are staying at Disney or not, each car is charged to park at the four theme parks (only one fee per day if you decide to park hop). While it does cost to park at the theme parks, parking is complimentary at the water parks, Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports and again, at the resorts if you choose to visit or dine at a hotel on property.