Given the size of the Walt Disney World Resort, it comes as no surprise that there are multiple modes of transport for Guests to use. Here we look at the different modes of transport that can be used to navigate your way between the Disney theme parks, water parks, Resort hotels and Disney Springs whilst visiting Lake Buena Vista.
Disney Transportation System
Every Disney hotel has at least one bus stop, providing easy access to the Disney Transportation System buses. Every Guest is likely to use the Disney buses to access the Disney Parks and other Disney Resorts at least once during their vacation, unless they use a car instead. Generally, buses for each Disney theme park arrive at a Disney Resort approximately every 20 minutes. Estimated arrival times are displayed on a screen at each bus stop, so Guests have an idea of how long their wait will be.
The Disney buses are also required to access different Disney Resort hotels than Guests’ home Resort for their vacation. For Guests with advanced dining reservations in another Disney Resort hotel, we recommend giving yourself at least a hour to travel between Resorts, as your journey will include a change at one of the Disney Parks. It’s best to arrive ahead of schedule, rather than risk missing your reservation time.
Larger Walt Disney World Resort hotels also have an internal bus loop, making it easier for Guests to access all areas of their Resort. The Disney hotels that offer this service include:
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s All-Stars Resorts
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, providing access between Kidani Village and Jambo House
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts
There are several watercraft services that are offered around the Walt Disney World Resort.
Guests travelling to Magic Kingdom from the Transportation & Ticket Center can use the ferryboat across Seven Seas Lagoon. This service runs from 30 minutes prior to Park opening, including Early Theme Park Entry, through to around 90 minutes after Park closing.
When staying in the Magic Kingdom Resorts, Guests can use the water taxis across Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake to travel between their Resort hotel and Magic Kingdom Park. Guests of the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village Resorts use the same water launch at Magic Kingdom, with the first stop being Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, followed by Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The water taxis to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground use the same launch, with the Resorts visited in the respective order. A water taxi is also available between Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The water taxis have similar operating hours to the ferryboat.
The FriendShip Boats transport Guests between EPCOT’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Along the way, each boat stops at Disney’s BoardWalk, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts. The FriendShip boats run daily, with the first boat running from around 8:30 a.m. They continue throughout the day, with the last boat running around an hour after park closure. Transportation offered by the FriendShip Boats will pause when lightning is in the area, due to being watercraft.
For Guests travelling between Disney Springs and its neighboring Resorts can use the Sassagoula River Boats. This provides easy access to Disney’s shopping and dining district for Guests of Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts. Each Resort has it’s own water taxi that travels down the Sassagoula River. Operating hours begin at 10:00 a.m. daily, through to 11:30 p.m., and run approximately every 20 minutes. As with the other Disney watercraft, expect the Sassagoula River water taxis to stop when lightning is in the area.
The Disney Skyliner is the newest mode of Disney transport to be offered at the Walt Disney World Resort. There are two lines that connect EPCOT’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to several of the Disney Resort hotels.
For Guests boarding at International Gateway, they will travel to Disney’s Riviera Resort, and then onto Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, Guests will switch lines of the Disney Skyliner if they wish to travel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts.
For Guests boarding at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will travel to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and then onto Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts. Similar to the FriendShip Boats, the Disney Skyliner will pause operation when lightning is in the area for the safety of all Guests and Cast Members.
A trip to Walt Disney World isn’t complete without a ride on the Disney Monorail. If you require to pass through the Transportation & Ticket Center during your visit to Magic Kingdom, then you can catch the Express Monorail to Magic Kingdom. The Express Monorail runs from 30 minutes prior to Magic Kingdom opening, through to one hour after park close. Alternatively, the Resort Monorail provides access to Disney’s Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts. The Resort Monorail operates from 7:00 a.m. through to one hour after park close.
Another great ride on the Disney Monorail is via the EPCOT Monorail. It begins running at 8:00 a.m. and runs through to two hours after EPCOT park closure. If you’re wanting to rest your feet, then we recommend completing a return journey on the EPCOT Monorail!
In case you don’t feel as though your step count is enough when you’re visiting Walt Disney World, there are plenty of options available for Guests to walk between the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts.
Guests can walk to and from Magic Kingdom from the following Resorts, as well as between them too:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Transportation & Ticket Center
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Wedding Pavilion
When visiting EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Guests can walk to and from the following Resorts, as well as between them too:
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Yacht Club
- Disney’s Beach Club
- Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorts
Guests of Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts can walk between the two Resorts using the walkway across Hourglass Lake. This provides Guests of those Resorts access to the shopping and dining locations of two Disney Resorts, rather than just one. Likewise, Guests of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter Resorts can walk between them, following the path along the Sassagoula River. Guests staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resorts can walk between the two Resorts, alongside Barefoot Bay. Similarly, each of the Disney All-Stars Resorts are within walking distance of one another, if you are a Guest there and would like to check out another Resort’s shopping and dining offerings.
Guests of Disney’s Saratoga Springs can walk to and from Disney Springs. Congress Park offers the shortest walk to Disney Springs, and will be the section that Guests pass through if they choose to walk from other parts of the Resort too. There is also walking access between Disney’s Saratoga Springs and the Disney Vacation Club Treehouse Villas.
Travelling to the Disney Water Parks
The Disney Transportation System buses are how most Guests travel to the Disney water parks, unless they have access to a car. Generally, there is a bus that runs directly to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach from each Disney Resort hotel. This is also the service that Guests can use when they have finished their water-filled day at the water park. Expect buses to run approximately every 20 minutes.
During low seasons and the winter months, expect to catch a bus to Disney Springs, where you will transfer to the bus travelling to and from the Disney water park. This is likely to be due to lower crowds expected during those times, and particularly when lower temperatures are anticipated in Lake Buena Vista.
Whilst Disney’s Magical Express is no longer running between the Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando International Airport, Mears Connect is the replacement service that Guests can use. This paid service provides Guests with high quality service, and the option to take a one-way or return journey. Read our review here if you want to know more information about Mears Connect.
Disney Cruise Line Transfers
Guests who are taking a Disney Cruise from Port Canaveral as part of their Disney vacation can book a transfer with Disney. Ground transfers between Port Canaveral and Orlando International Airport are available to book on embarkation and debarkation days, at a cost of $39 per person.
If you require transport from and/or to a Disney Resort hotel, this can also be booked ahead of your cruise. Make sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for booking information.
For those Guests who are looking for exclusive transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort, Minnie Vans are available to hire. If you wish to use a Minnie Van, rides can be organised using the Lyft app. The app is also where Guests see prices for their ride and pay for their service. Minnie Vans operate between 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. daily.
As always, you can find on-the-go details of what transportation options are easiest from your current destination during your Disney vacation in the My Disney Experience app. Safe travels!