(Last updated: June 21, 2017)
I use Uber on every Disney World trip now, and I love it, but lots of people don't have it where they live and aren't quite sure how it works.
Here's how it works so you can feel comfortable using Uber at Disney World.
In this article
What is Uber?
Uber is an app that you install on your phone (available for iOS, Android, and Windows phones). From within the app, you can request an Uber driver to pick you up and take you wherever you're headed.
Where can you use Uber at Disney World?
Uber is available in many cities around the world, and Orlando is 1 of them. In Orlando, you can use an Uber almost anywhere, but you cannot use it in a few spots:
- At Magic Kingdom, because only Disney buses/monorails/ferries go directly there. You can walk to The Contemporary and get an Uber from there, though during busy times the security guards at The Contemporary may not allow this. You can also ask to be picked up/dropped off at the Transportation and Ticket Center when traveling to/from Magic Kingdom.
- The Casitas at Coronado Springs Resort. You can get an Uber at the main building at CSR, just not in the Casitas sections themselves.
- Many spots in Disney Springs. Uber drivers can pick up/drop off at the Strawberry Lot (which is located on the west side of Disney Springs), but not in other areas.
- Only UberSELECT and UberFamily (more on that below) can pick up at Orlando International Airport. Any level of Uber service can pick you up at Sanford airport though.
How does it work?
When you want to use Uber, you just open the app on your phone...
...and the pickup location will default to your current spot. The cars shown on the screen show how close Uber drivers are to your current location.
In the "where to" box, type in where you're headed. You can also change the starting location from where it automatically detected you to something else, if you'd like.
Notice at the bottom that you have options such as uberX, uberXL, and UberSELECT? The default is popular options like uberX, but you can slide the screen to the left to see more options.
Here are the levels of Uber at Disney World:
- uberX - least expensive option, usually a sedan type of car, allows up to 4 passengers
- uberXL - second highest priced option, often an SUV or minivan, allows at least 6 passengers
- uberSELECT - moderately expensive option, luxury cars (such as BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus) with leather interiors, allows up to 4 passengers
- UberFamily (a.k.a. "uberX + car seat" and "uberXL + car seat") - you can get UberFamily for an extra $8 charge which will provide a car seat for your ride. This is available with uberX and uberXL cars. The Uber driver is required to have 1 car seat from a list of approved models that hasn't been in a car accident. FYI - Orlando's version of UberFamily isn't following the same structure as other cities who have stricter rules (more info on that).
You can click on the service level (like uberX or uberXL) to get a detailed breakdown of the fare, car capacity, and estimated time of arrival before you request a car...
To get more info on the fare, you can click the tiny "i" icon next to the fare for a fare breakdown.
To request a car for later, click the car/clock icon to the right of the request button. That will allow you to choose a later time to be picked up.
To request a car for now, click the request button at the bottom of the screen. That takes you to the confirmation screen.
From here, you can adjust your pickup spot by dragging the pin on the map.
After you hit the "confirm pickup location" button, the screen will indicate that a car is being requested.
Within just a few moments, a car will officially have accepted the request to pick you up and you'll see info on them on your screen.
You can see the name of the person picking you up, usually see their pic, the make and model of their car, and their license plate number. That way you know who to look for.
If you tap the bottom part of the screen, it'll bring up some options for you.
From here, you can cancel your trip, share your ETA via text, see the fare, update your payment info, and contact the driver.
I always hit the contact option (which will allow you to send a text message to the driver) and let them know where I am (such as "waiting in the lobby of Pop Century" or "in the car pickup area of the parking garage"). That helps to clarify your location and get them to you without any confusion.
Your driver should arrive shortly, and at the end of the ride the app will prompt you to rate them, and they'll rate you within their app. Drivers have to maintain a high rating in order to keep driving for Uber. And passengers should want a high rating so that drivers will want to pick them up in the future.
As you get out of the car, you might want to say something like "thanks for the ride, I'll give you 5 stars in the app" just to make sure they know you thought it was a good experience, and they'll likely reciprocate.
Payment is automatically processed with whatever payment method you selected in the app. Tipping isn't required, but you can tip if you'd like. I'd suggest tipping $1/bag if the driver helps you load/unload luggage. (Note: before July 2017, tipping can only be done with cash, but in-app tipping will be an option as of July 2017.)
Why wouldn't everybody use it?
Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, there might be a couple of situations where you might not want to use Uber.
I don't recommend Uber at Disney World if:
- Surge pricing makes it cost more than it's worth to you. Surge pricing is when Uber increases their normal rates due to high demand. The app will tell you the full rate before you request a car so you'll know the fare ahead of time.
- You are trying to get picked up at the airport for a low cost. As I mentioned above, only UberSELECT and UberFamily are allowed to pick you up and the fares can be kind of expensive ($59-74). Some people get around this by taking a shuttle to a nearby hotel or car rental desk and using Uber from there.
When I am most likely to use Uber at Disney World
You could theoretically use Uber to get between almost any points during your Disney World trip, but these are the situations when I'm most likely to use it:
- Traveling between resorts. Disney doesn't provide direct transportation between most resorts so this saves a lot of time.
- Early morning reservations. Although Disney will provide early transportation to most things (such as early dining reservations in the parks), the buses don't run as frequently. You can often save a lot of time by using an Uber.
- Going offsite. If I want to go somewhere outside of Disney World, including Universal, I'm likely to use Uber to get there.
What to do before your trip
Before you leave for your Disney World trip, be sure to download the app, sign up for an account, set your profile pic (the drivers need to know what you look like when they pick you up!), and add your payment info.
Also make note of a promo code if you'd like to try your first ride for free. You'll want to input that code when you request your Uber.
Be sure to check out Uber's Disney World page for more info. What other questions do you have about using Uber at Disney World? Feel free to share your Uber code in the comment section so you all can enjoy free rides.