How to navigate with Disney World transportation

(Article last updated: June 7, 2018)

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
  • boats (sometimes known as Friendships) and ferries
  • Minnie Vans
  • And, coming soon, gondolas

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

Minnie Vans are a premium service (they cost $25/ride) and are about as close to door-to-door service as you can get at a theme park. Minnie Vans are now available everywhere and anybody can use them (not just Walt Disney World Resort guests).

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 currently only have the option of taking buses to the theme parks.

After the Disney Skyliner gondolas are completed, guests at Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century will also have that as an option for travel to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

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 (Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, & Dolphin) can take a Friendship 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). Disney's Minnie Vans are also an option for $25 each way.

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

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.

If you are short on time, we also recommend taking a Minnie Van as this service drops you off extremely close to Pioneer Hall (which is where Hoop-Dee-Doo is located).

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
  • Use a Minnie Van
  • 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_ID Starting Point Ending Point How 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?
Starting Point Ending Point

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.
  • Need car seats? Disney's Minnie Vans might be the best solution. They cost a flat fee of $25/ride.
  • 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.

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

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