First time guests of Disney World don’t realize how massive the property is and how long it can take to get around. Disney World encompasses 47 square miles and is the size of two Manhattans combined. With the many modes of transportation at Disney World, it’s pretty easy to get where you are going. The important tip, though, is to allow plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B.
Several Disney World guide books, as well as other sources, suggest allowing 1 1/2 hours to get from one location to another. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long but other times it can. Why does it take so long? In addition to travel time, you must allow for waiting for your transportation to arrive, loading time, crowds, peak times and holidays.
There are 3 main forms of complimentary transportation inside the Disney World Resort area. These are: monorail, bus and boat.
The monorail is a fun and popular way to travel. The monorail has 3 separate loops:
- The Resort Monorail travels in a loop in this order: Magic Kingdom; Disney’s Contemporary Resort; the Transportation and Ticket Center; Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort; Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; and then back to Magic Kingdom.
- The Express Monorail connects the Magic Kingdom with the Transportation and Ticket Center but makes no additional stops.
- The EPCOT/TTC loop simply connects EPCOT with the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Monorails typically run from 7:00 a.m. until two hours after the latest park closing time. They modify the hours sometimes for maintenance so be sure to check the hours during your visit. They do fill to capacity so it is not uncommon for many guests to be standing.
The primary mode of transport at Disney World is bus. Nearly every location is accessible by bus. Some destinations may require transferring from one bus to another en route. Buses generally run every 20 minutes and typically begin operating 1 hour prior to park opening and continue until 1 hour after park closing. Like the monorail, they do often fill to capacity so it is not uncommon for many guests to be standing.
There are several forms of boat transportation at Disney World. These include: water taxi, FriendShip boat, and ferry. Water taxis transport guests from the three monorail resorts (Disney’s Contemporary Resort (and Bay Lake Tower), Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (and Villas), and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (and Villas); as well as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground to the Magic Kingdom park.
As you read on Day 7, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios share service by FriendShip boats. Guests of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resorts use this transportation to those 2 parks as well.
Ferryboats are available for guests traveling to and from the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center. They typically run every 15-30 minutes.
Guests staying at both Port Orleans Resorts –French Quarter and Riverside– as well as Old Key West and Saratoga Springs, may travel to Disney Springs via ferryboat.
3 Rules to Remember About Disney’s Transportation System
There are 3 rules to remember about the transportation system at Disney World:
- You cannot travel from park to park directly before 4:00 p.m. Prior to 4:00, you must either stop at a resort or the Ticket & Transportation Center in order to transfer to another bus or the monorail.
- You cannot travel directly from one resort to another resort, unless you are staying on the monorail route and traveling to another monorail resort.
- You must schedule ample time for travel, including allowances for transfers, traffic, peak season, holidays, etc.
How to get around the rules
Park to Magic Kingdom
- From Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the Animal Kingdom, take a bus to the TTC, then transfer to either the monorail or boat to Magic Kingdom.
- From EPCOT, take the monorail to the TTC, then transfer to either the monorail or boat to get to the Magic Kingdom.
Resort to Resort
- If you are at a resort on the monorail route, traveling to another monorail resort is as easy as hopping on board. To get to any resort off the monorail route, though, you will have to follow the same steps listed below.
- To get from one non-monorail resort to another, you will have to use either an open park or Disney Springs as a hub. Choose the hub (that is open) closest to the resort to which you are going. Then, take the bus, boat or monorail (whichever is closest or easiest) to that resort.
I hope you find today’s tip to be helpful to you in getting around “The World.” It can be pretty overwhelming at first but by the end of your trip you will feel like a pro.
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