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Walt Disney World Transportation 101: 8 Tips for Getting Around

1. Use Disney’s Magical Express

The Walt Disney World Resort involves such immense planning, it is no surprise some guests still arrive for their vacation unprepared. While visiting Orlando (and staying at a non-Disney hotel) I once rode a shuttle from the airport that made multiple stops, including Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. I can only assume that the guests who got dropped off there did not know the Magical Express service was available free of charge, because it otherwise did not make sense to pay for a different shuttle service that would still make stops. If you think you’ve missed your window to add the Magical Express service to your reservation, don’t worry! As long as you are staying at a Disney resort, you can still add the service upon arrival at the airport. You’ll need to grab your own luggage, but you can always visit the Magical Express counter and have a cast member add it to your reservation.

2. Leave early to arrive at the parks

Disney officially stands by the statement that guests should leave one hour before they’d like to reach their destination while using Disney transportation. In most cases, going from point A to point B will take less than an hour. But sometimes the number of guests already on the bus, or traffic in the road can be unpredictable, so especially if you have a dinner reservation or some other engagement it is best to leave early.

3. But leave the parks late when they close

This tip is especially true for the Magic Kingdom. If you leave the park when the mad rush for the exit happens after the fireworks, you will find yourself waiting in a long line to get onto some crowded form of transportation. Alternatively, you can stay in the park (even if it’s closed the shops on Main Street will still be open), and let the crowd thin out a little bit before leaving.

4. Know where you can walk to

Getting back to our post-fireworks example at the Magic Kingdom: Say you’re staying at the Contemporary. By the time you wait in line to get on the monorail, you probably could have walked back to your resort. Sure, you may not want to do any additional walking on a Disney vacation, but walking will usually make you feel better than standing. The same logic goes for the Epcot-area resorts that are an easy walk from World Showcase.

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5. Fill in all of the available space

No one wants to be the family that realistically could have made it onto the bus but was unable to get on because other guests do not move all the way down. If you find yourself standing on the bus, continue moving all the way to the back, and stand two by two if possible. By doing this, you’ll help make more room for other guests to get on the bus, and make traveling around the resort more efficient for everyone.

6. Know what alternatives are available

All of this information is available on park maps, from cast members, or from the My Disney Experience app, but it is helpful to know which alternatives are available for transportation. For instance, you may know that there is boat transportation from Hollywood Studios to Epcot, but there is also bus transportation that is usually quicker– especially if you’re looking to get to Future World instead of World Showcase.

7. Take the ferry over the monorail

When the lines leaving the Magic Kingdom seem unavoidable, the ferry is often the quicker option to get back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. While it comes less frequently, it holds many more guests, so even if the lines seems long, it should get you back to your car quicker.

8. Try the Minnie Van service

Disney recently rolled out a new “Minnie” Van service that operates via the Lyft App. While this is also an additional fee, this service can get you from one location to another without making any extra stops, and can be helpful when traveling from a resort to another resort, or to the Magic Kingdom as it brings you right to the bus drop off area instead of the Transportation and Ticket Center!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.