How Uber works at Disney World
(Last updated: March 3, 2016)
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 Uber works so you can feel more comfortable using it for your Disney World trip.
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 it?
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 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.
- 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. The construction makes the rules on this change a lot, but basically, you can use Uber in Disney Springs, but will have to coordinate a pickup spot with your driver and that could be the parking garage, a valet area, bus stop, etc., and not necessarily where you're located.
- Only UberBlack 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 just show how close Uber drivers are to your current location (and the time indicator on the screen shows you how long it'll take them to get there).
Notice at the bottom that you have options such as uberX, uberXL, and UberSELECT (uberBlack has recently also been added)? The default is uberX, but you can slide the car on the bottom to another type of car if you'd like. Here's what each one is:
- 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), allows up to 4 passengers. For some reason, the Uber app sometimes won't let you request this kind of car at The Grand Floridian, however. People at the GF can set a different pickup spot (such as the Ticket & Transportation Center or The Polynesian) and then message the driver to say they are at The Grand Floridian.
- uberBlack - most expensive option, luxury sedans, all cars are black, allows up to 4 people, allows pick up at Orlando International Airport. Car seat can be added when coming from the airport if you request UberFamily service.
- (Updated March 2016) UberFamily is now available! - 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 (also available with UberBlack if coming from the airport). The Uber driver is required to have 1 car seat from a list of approved models that hasn't been in a car accident. As of March 2016, not many drivers were participating yet, so car availability is limited. Also, Orlando's version of UberFamily isn't following the same structure as other cities who have had it for awhile (more info on that).
To request a car, click the "Set pickup location >" option on the screen. That takes you to the confirmation screen which will allow you to do a few things.
From here, you can:
- Adjust your pickup spot by dragging the pin on the map.
- Get a fare estimate.
- Choose your payment method.
- Enter a promo code. Everybody who uses the Uber app can give you their promo code which will allow you to get a free ride (up to $15) and also gives them a free ride (expires within 3 months). Mine is "shannona9" but please feel free to share Uber codes in the comment section so you can all help each other out.
- Finally, you can click the request button to officially request your car.
After you hit the request button, the screen will indicate that a car is being requested, and you can then type in where you're going.
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, and the make and model of their car. 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, input info to split the fare w/a fellow rider (they need to have an Uber account), and contact the driver.
I always hit the contact button (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 allowed in the app or required, but you can tip in cash if you'd like.
Why wouldn't everybody use it?
Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, there are a few situations where you might not want to use Uber.
I don't recommend Uber if:
- You have kids 5 and under. Florida law requires kids 5 and under to have car seats and those aren't available in Ubers, unless you use UberFamily. If you happen to have your own car seat, it's usually not a problem to bring it and install it in an Uber car yourself though. Consider a portable seat like a BubbleBum.
- 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.
- You are trying to get picked up at the airport for a low cost. As I mentioned above, only UberBlack is allowed to pick you up and the fares can be kind of expensive. 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
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 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.
What other questions do you have? Feel free to share your Uber code in the comment section so you all can enjoy free rides.