When visiting Disney World, you have several choices when it comes to transportation. Disney offers a free bus service from each of their resorts to each park. If you choose to stay on a monorail resort, you can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (via Ticket & Transportation Center). It’s an awesome perk that comes with a pretty hefty price tag though, as those resorts are some of the most expensive on property. You can also get a rental car from the airport, or use your own if you drove down to Disney!
While the Disney busses are free, there are a few downsides to using it. First off, you have to wait sometimes upwards of 20 minutes for one to come pick you up from your resort. And if you visit during peak times, sometimes this can be even longer if you have to wait for multiple busses. This also can be a problem when leaving the parks when they close. Be prepared to wait in long lines and most likely stand on the very crowded bus. Another downside is if you are traveling with young children and a stroller, be prepared to completely close up your stroller every time you get on the bus. This proved a little tricky for me on my last visit since I was by myself with my daughter. Luckily, I had some kind strangers help me at times and even offer my daughter and I their seats. One of the best things about using Disney busses is the close proximity to the park gates when they drop you off. It was nice to not have to deal with the trams in the parking lot or the Ticket & Transportation Center. So if you’re on a budget or this is your first time visiting the parks and aren’t sure about driving yourself around, the busses are definitely a good choice.
The monorial resorts which include: The Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower, The Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian, all offer direct monorails to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. These rooms are some of the more expensive rooms on property, but come with various perks like the monorail. The same thing can happen here though like the busses. If you visit during peak times, you can expect to have longer lines waiting to get on the monorail. Leaving Magic Kingdom when it closes also causes long lines. If you get on the monorail at a resort, security is now stationed there, before you even board the monorail. So this is also a nice perk of staying there and using the monorail because now you will get to avoid the long security lines at the Magic Kingdom entrance. The monorail is also the one form of transportation where you can leave your stroller open. This is a lifesaver when you have a passed out kid sleeping away. If staying at a monorail resort is in your budget, then you will definitely like taking advantage of the monorail. Just know that you will either need to take a bus or drive to visit Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.
Lastly, driving around Disney is your third option. This option definitely has its pros and cons. First let’s look at the pros. You have private transportation around Disney, which is nice. You don’t have to worry about squeezing onto a crowded bus or monorail. Getting to the grocery store or Disney Springs is easier. You don’t have to wait for a bus to pick you up, you can simply walk to your car and drive. But this point also leads us in to the cons of driving around Disney. Some of the resorts like Pop Century or Art of Animation are huge. Which means the parking lots are also huge and may not be exactly near your building. Sometimes you have a nice 10 minute walk to your vehicle. Parking at the different parks can be a lot to deal with as well. If you’re going to the Magic Kingdom, you have to first park at the Ticket & Transportation center, take a tram to the monorail hub or get in line boat, and then travel over to the Magic Kingdom entrance. This can sometimes take upwards of 30-40 minutes depending on how crowded and busy the parks are. Parking at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios is a little easier, but you still usually need to take a tram to the entrance. So if you have strollers, this again can be an issue as you have to fold up the stroller before boarding the tram. We’ve never really had any issues with the trams other than having to wait for another one because the first one fills up. You can always choose to just walk to and from your vehicle, but some of these parking lots are huge and the aisles are long. So it can be quite the feat.
It’s nice to have several options for getting around Disney that fit in to any budget. While some may be more convenient than others, they all come with some disadvantages. Just make sure you research your options ahead of time and know what to expect. This will help save you from confusion when looking for the right bus station or remembering which row and section you parked in. Happy travels 🙂