How to navigate with Disney World transportation

(Article last updated: April 1, 2017)

One of the things I really didn't understand before our first Disney World trip was how to navigate using the Disney World transportation.

This led to some big frustration as I tried to figure out how to get back to our hotel from our dinner at another hotel.

I want to keep you from having similar issues, so today I'm going to try to break it down.

Let's get started...

Forms of Disney World transportation

Disney uses a few forms of transport within its system. The options are buses, monorail and boats/ferries.

Buses will take you just about anywhere, with monorail and ferries being options in some locations.

Outside of Disney World transportation, you can obviously drive but you can also make use of taxis/Uber.

Going from Values and Moderates to theme parks

People staying at Value and Moderate resorts will always take buses to the theme parks.

Going from Deluxes to theme parks

Magic Kingdom resorts can take the monorail or boats to Magic Kingdom, monorail to Epcot, and buses to the other parks (guests at The Contemporary can also walk to MK).

Boardwalk resorts can take a ferry or walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Buses are available to the other parks.

All other Deluxe resort guests will take buses to theme parks.

Traveling between resorts

Traveling from resort to resort is one of the most difficult things to figure out at Disney World. I've often considered making a dining reservation at a hotel, but changed my mind once I thought about getting to and from the restaurant.

The quickest way to get between resorts is often by taxi/Uber. I don't think taxis are used enough at Disney World. It doesn't usually cost more than $10 or $15 for a taxi (less for an Uber) and can get you to your destination within a few minutes (use the Mears taxi fare estimator for a closer estimate).

If you're using Disney's free transportation, a good general rule is to get to the theme park closest to the destination resort and catch a bus or monorail from there to your destination resort.

For example, if you're at Pop Century and need to get to The Grand Floridian, you'd want to take a bus to Magic Kingdom and then take the monorail to The Grand Floridian.

Another example: if you're at Port Orleans Riverside and need to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge, you could take a bus to Animal Kingdom and then catch a bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney World Cast Members will likely suggest going to Disney Springs and connecting there, but going to the nearest theme park usually makes much more sense.

 Traveling between parks

All 4 parks have transportation available to allow you to hop to another park.

  • From the Magic Kingdom to:
    • Epcot - Take the Magic Kingdom monorail or ferry to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to the Epcot monorail
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios -  bus
    • Animal Kingdom - bus
  • From Epcot to:
    • Animal Kingdom - bus
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios - bus, boat or you can even walk
    • Magic Kingdom -  Take the Epcot monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to either the Magic Kingdom monorail or take the ferry
  • From Disney's Hollywood Studios to:
    • Animal Kingdom - bus
    • Magic Kingdom - bus
    • Epcot - bus, boat or you can even walk
  • From Animal Kingdom to:
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios - bus
    • Epcot - bus
    • Magic Kingdom - bus

Guests with a Park Hopper or an Annual Pass have an option outside of the standard transportation choices available for travel between 2 parks - Express Bus Service. This premium bus service picks you up and drops you off inside of a park, meaning that when you park hop to the next park you bypass security which is a huge time saver. The cost for this service is $19 for a single-day option or $29 for the multi-day pass.

Some special situations

Getting to Ft. Wilderness - many people need to get to Ft. Wilderness for various activities, including the popular Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue show. My previous advice to go to a theme park and catch a bus to your destination resort will work here, but there is also a boat from Magic Kingdom that you might want to take.

After parks close - after the nighttime entertainment ends and crowds leave in droves, there will be long, long.....long lines at the bus stops. To avoid this, consider 1 of these options:

  • Take a taxi/Uber back to your resort
  • Position yourself so you're one of the first to leave the park and one of the first to get to your bus stop
  • View from outside the park so you're not caught in the crowds at all. This mainly works at Magic Kingdom where you can view fireworks from one of the beaches at the monorail resorts. It doesn't work as well at the other nighttime shows.

There are no buses from Disney Springs to the theme parks. Resort guests can get directly to theme parks or Disney Springs, and you can travel to Disney Springs from the theme parks after 4 p.m., but people wanting to park for free in Disney Springs and go to the theme parks will not be able to do that.

Early-morning breakfast reservations  - Have an early morning breakfast reservations and concerned how to get there? Read my article on character meals for info on how to do that.

WDW Prep Navigator tool

Disney World has started including navigational information in the My Disney Experience app, but it's confusing and often completely incorrect, so we made our own! Select starting/ending points below for tips on how to navigate between Disney World locations.

⍏ WDW Prep Navigator ⍖
Allow up to an hour each way to get between resorts and theme parks (up to 90 minutes to get between resorts), with each trip leg taking 10-20 minutes once you're en route.
wdt_IDStarting PointEnding PointHow to get there
1 All-Star Movies All-Star Music Follow these steps:
  • Walk (takes about 5-7 minutes)
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
2 All-Star Movies All-Star Sports Follow these steps:
  • Walk (takes about 15 minutes)
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
3 All-Star Movies Animal Kingdom Follow these steps:
  • Bus to Animal Kingdom
  • Arrive at your destination
Headed to an early morning breakfast reservation at Animal Kingdom? Buses to Animal Kingdom from Disney resorts usually start running around 7-7:15 a.m. daily.
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
4 All-Star Movies Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House (main bldg) Follow these steps:
  • Bus to a theme park or Disney Springs
    (both resorts are closest to Animal Kingdom, so that bus will likely be your best option)
  • Bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village bus stop
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
5 All-Star Movies Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village
Follow these steps:
  • Bus to a theme park or Disney Springs
    (both resorts are closest to Animal Kingdom, so that bus will likely be your best option)
  • Bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village bus stop
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
6 All-Star Movies Art of Animation Follow these steps:
  • Bus to a theme park or Disney Springs
    (All-Star Movies is closest to Animal Kingdom, and Art of Animation is closest to Hollywood Studios, so those buses will likely be your best choices)
  • Bus to Art of Animation
  • Arrive at your destination
7 All-Star Movies Bay Lake Tower Follow these steps:
  • Bus to Magic Kingdom
  • Walk (takes about 10 minutes) or    monorail to Bay Lake Tower
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
8 All-Star Movies Beach Club Villas Follow these steps:
  • Bus to a theme park or Disney Springs
    (All-Star Movies is closest to Animal Kingdom, so that bus will likely be your best option)
  • Bus to Beach Club
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
9 All-Star Movies Beach Club Follow these steps:
  • Bus to a theme park or Disney Springs
    (All-Star Movies is closest to Animal Kingdom, so that bus will likely be your best option)
  • Bus to Beach Club
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
10 All-Star Movies Blizzard Beach Follow these steps:
  • Bus to Animal Kingdom
  • Bus to Blizzard Beach
  • Arrive at your destination
Want to get there faster?
Or have feedback about a route for us?
wdt_IDStarting PointEnding PointHow to get there


Allow up to an hour each way to get between resorts and theme parks (up to 90 minutes to get between resorts), with each trip leg taking 10-20 minutes once you're en route.

Want to get there faster?

  • Get a Mears taxi for about $10-15 for most on-site routes, but use the Mears taxi estimator for a more exact quote. They have an app or you can call 407-422-2222.
  • Or use Uber for about $8-10 for most on-site routes. Use code "shannona9" to get your first ride free.

Here's another option: open this tool on its own page to easily reference it anytime. You might also consider going to that link on your phone and adding it to your home screen to pull it up easily during your trip.

Transportation map

Here's a fantastically awesome transportation map from http://www.wdwfocus.com/map/ (click to enlarge) that you might like as a handy reference. I bought a print of it that hangs in my office.

************

Have you tried out one of the Disney World transportation options? Leave a comments below and tell us how it went!

ENJOY THIS ARTICLE? SIGN UP TO GET UPDATES (IT'S FREE).

Leave a Reply

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Shana

If you have a car with you and have small children, you should drive to the parks. Our last trip we drove to the parks for the first time and my husband and I decided we will never use Disney buses again (until maybe our kids are older), it was SO much easier driving. It is a big nightmare trying to wrangle small children (sometimes sleeping) onto the bus, strollers, bags and then everyone is rushing you because they want to get on the bus. Between the waits, the hassle and sometimes having to stand holding sleeping toddlers. Taking the car for us, just works so much better, we can leave when we want in the morning, no waiting, slowly get our bags and stroller packed up to enter the park and on the way home we change the kids into pajamas and if they fall asleep in the car, we can take them into the resort room and put them right to bed. I’ve had to wake my sleeping children from the bus on the way home and try to make them walk off the bus, while I’m holding bags and they would start crying. We usually stay at CBR and it was about 20 minutes (max) from the resort to entering the park for Animal Kingdom, Ecpot and Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom takes a little longer, but probably the same as waiting for the bus and catching it. The only thing I would say about Magic Kingdom is that you want to be there early so you don’t have to take a tram to the Transportation Center. Then you can just roll your stroller onto the monorail. Parking is free for resort guests, so if you have the option to drive, I highly recommend it. Shannon, I know you are way out of the era of having small children, so I thought this might help some of the parents of small children.

Liv

How do you know where to park if you are driving yourself? Is there a map somewhere? Also, what do you mean by “The only thing I would say about Magic Kingdom is that you want to be there early so you don’t have to take a tram to the Transportation Center. Then you can just roll your stroller onto the monorail.” I don’t quite understand this. I would love some advice on driving through WDW Resort with a car as I am considering driving from CA to WDW and am trying to decide if I should use the car to get around or use Disney transport. Thanks in advance for any help!

Jamie Miller

Thank you!! Great advice!
This will be my first Disney trip as a Mom and with three smalll children, avoiding the buses will make things so much easier.

That makes sense to get a tax to travel between resorts. I’m sure it’s really hard to navigate on your own with a car. I’m planning a vacation to disney since the kids are old enough to get something out of it now.

YYC mom

There are 6 of us traveling together. Is it easy to get a minivan taxi/Uber?

Julia

You are awesome. I love following you on Pinterest and many of my Disney ‘saves’ are from you! Thank you for providing such informative, easy to follow, and pertinent information!

Sarah

Hi, I am staying at the All Stars Movie Resort in Spetember.
Is there a way to get to Disney Springs? Or would it be betterto use a cab or uber?

Dawn

I am wondering if we can still use the Disney transportation system (bus)to get to Disney Springs immediately AFTER checking out of our resort. So that we can then rent a car from one of the hotels in the Disney Springs location.
Thanks!

Johnlyn

I need to get from Hollywood Studios to Obama by 8:45
We’re not in a rush
Best way?

Jo CS

Do you mean ‘Ohana at the Polynesian? Theres a bus from Hollywood Studios direct to the Poly. I’d allow at least an hour…theres lots to pass the time with at the Poly if you are early.

Jennifer Wiser

Just curious – you mention going from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios by bus. But, I read somewhere else you would need to take the monorail to the TTC and then a bus to HS. Can you clarify?

Kaycee

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this! This is going to be a life saver for our trip. It’s the first time staying on site. Thanks for putting all the work into this!!

Nalene

This is a fantastic website and super helpful! Thank you for your hard work!

Bonnie

We are staying at Saratoga Springs in October and plan to use Disney transportation. Does the bus go directly to the theme parks from the resorts or does it stop at other resorts? On the return trip are there designated buses for each resort. This is our first time staying on site.

Jenny

I have a quick question. My family is going to Disney World in July and we are going to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at 6:15. We are wanting to then go to the Evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot. What is the best way for us to get there? Will the Epcot Monorail run back to MK after EMH?

Tina Napoli

Wow Shannon! It’s like you read my mind. I’ll be in WDW in two weeks and was just trying to figure out the best ways between Epcot and HS- this tool is so very helpful!

Sally-anne Tucker

I haven’t visited Disney for over 20 years and I am now finally taking my daughter there next June (very excited). I really want to travel the monorail into Magic Kingdom on the first day we visit but if its part of the route in from our hotel – Port Orleans French Quarter. It looks like we take the bus to MK but do you then need to take the monorail to enter the park or do we get dropped off right at the entrance. If is the latter is there a route I could take to ensure we need to use the monorail. Many thanks for your help

Susan Deming

Will the Navigator take into account the new security procedures at the Magic Kingdom. I need to get from my resort to Wilderness Lodge for dinner and had planned on busing to MK then onto a launch. With the new procedures I’ll have to go through security before I can get to the boat dock,right? But Magic Bands will still be scanned up closer to the railroad station, I’m assuming, so it won’t “cost” me a day’s pass to use MK as a transportation hub. Thanks!

Winton Richards

I have recently ridden the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and then gotten on the boat to the Wilderness Lodge, without having to go through security. I am sure the same applies for riding the bus – you won’t have to go through security to get on a boat.

wpDiscuz
Animal Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Magic Kingdom
The pros and cons of all Epcot-area restaurants
Is the Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace worth the price?
The pros and cons of all Magic Kingdom-area resort restaurants
Planning Process Overview Step 1: Pick a Date Step 2: Lodging Step 3: Make a daily plan Step 4: Dining Step 5: Park Touring Step 6: Extra Magic
The pros and cons of all Epcot-area restaurants
Is the Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace worth the price?
The pros and cons of all Magic Kingdom-area resort restaurants
Babies and toddlers Characters General Reference Group travel Luxury Saving Money Special needs Technology Transportation
The best Disney World tickets for 2017
Benefits of staying on-site at Disney World
WDW Prep Infographic Download Center