Even though Disney makes it easy for you to leave the driving to them, many people still prefer to use a car at Disney World.
If you plan on driving (or are thinking about driving) on your next Disney World vacation, here are some resources you might find helpful.
Let’s get started…
Disney makes driving easy
Disney is an expert at wayfinding signs.
Even people that get lost driving to their local grocery store should have no problem navigating Walt Disney World.
Most major directional signs are bright purple, which makes them easy to recognize.
In 2021 for the 50th Anniversary, Disney did some updating to the paint on the entrance archways. And now we are seeing road signs being updated in the same way:
Driving to your Disney World Resort
As you approach the Walt Disney World Resort, the signs for the resort hotels will start off more general.
And the hotels will all be grouped by areas such as “Epcot Resort Area”, “Magic Kingdom Resort Area”, “Animal Kingdom Resort Area,” etc.
As you get closer to your destination you will begin to see specific signs (which will be blue) for your resort.
To make it easier to get where you are going, make sure to know within which area your resort is located. This is especially true if you are planning to visit another resort hotel for a meal, etc.
Magic Kingdom Resort Area
- Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian
- Polynesian Village and Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Cabins at Fort Wilderness
- Fort Wilderness Resort
- Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, and Boulder Ridge Villas
Epcot Resort Area
- Beach Club and Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Inn and Boardwalk Villas
- Caribbean Beach
- Yacht Club
- Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve
Hollywood Studios Resort Area
Animal Kingdom Resort Area
- Animal Kingdom Lodge, Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House, and Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- All-Star Movies
- All-Star Music
- All-Star Sports
- Coronado Springs Resort
Disney Springs Resort Area
Driving to the Disney World Parks
The signs for the 4 main parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) are self-explanatory and plentiful.
You can’t miss them!
There are usually multiple ways to get to and from different locations. If you miss a turn or an exit, don’t panic; just keep following the signs.
Map apps works well on Disney property so be sure to have one ready to use for your trip.
Onsite resort guests do not have to pay to park when visiting the theme parks at Walt Disney World
Offsite guests will pay $25 for standard parking or $45-$50 for preferred parking.
Disney World Entrance Signs
Did you know that there is more than 1 of the big “Welcome to Walt Disney World” gateway signs?
All of the 8 main entrances to Walt Disney World have the giant signs.
Don’t get confused (and argue with your spouse that you are going in circles) if you feel like you keep going through them. You’ve probably just made a loop and are going back into or out of the Walt Disney World Resort on a different road.
Here’s where you can find those iconic entrance archway signs you see in all the photos:
Entrances with archways:
- Osceola Parkway
- Western Way
- World Center Drive / Epcot Center Drive
- World Drive
Disney World entrances without archways:
- Hotel Plaza Drive (Mickey and Minnie statues, but no archway)
- Buena Vista Drive
- Reams Road
- Vista Boulevard
It is important to note that stopping to photograph the signs is not allowed. If you want a picture, make sure to have your phone or camera out and ready.
Use burst mode on your phone to snap a rapid series of pictures so you will have several to choose from.
Does Disney World have Toll Roads?
The good news is that there are no toll roads on Disney World property.
But, if you plan to venture off Disney property with a car, you’ll likely run into one (or more).
Florida is full of toll roads. Many of the direct routes to Walt Disney World require you to pay a small fee.
The toll roads around Disney World use the SunPass system.
Unless you have your own SunPass or compatible transponder (which allows you to use the special Express Lanes), you will want to be prepared with change to pay your tolls (for the booths that accept cash; not all will).
If you are driving your own car and you have a transponder for the turnpike system in your area, make sure you check to see if your local toll system works with SunPass.
Toll booths may be unmanned. Having exact change (a baggie full of $8-$10 dollars worth of quarters would be sufficient for the drive to and from the airport) is absolutely necessary if you will be going down any toll roads.
Renting A Car?
Most of the rental car agencies offer a “deal” in which they will let you use their SunPass transponder for a daily fee.
Be careful with this offer.
You will be charged the daily fee every day of your rental in addition to the cost of the tolls.
To compare the fees that each agency charges you can visit the SunPass website.
A better option is to use Visitor Toll Pass.
Visitor Toll Pass
Visitor Toll Pass is a free, temporary toll pass that works on the toll roads throughout Florida.
There are no activation fees, users are guaranteed to pay the lowest rates (as opposed to the costly programs available from car rental companies), and you can easily reserve it via an app on your smartphone.
Here’s how it works:
- Reserve your hangtag pass via the Visitor Toll Pass app
- Once you arrive to the Orlando International Airport, look for the Visitor Toll Pass vending machines located on Level 1 of Terminal A.
3. Open up the app on your phone, and select “Scan QR Code” on the reservation screen to retrieve your pass.
4. After you get to your car, hang the pass off your review mirror.
5. At the end of your vacation, simply drop your hangtag into one of the Visitor Toll Pass drop boxes. NOTE: Failure to return the pass will result in a $10 fee.
Renting a car at Disney World
Want to drive during your trip but won’t have your own car? Check out our guide to Disney World car rental for info on how that works.
Parking and driving at Disney World
Having initially been terrified to drive at WDW, I finally took the plunge and had a car during a month-long trip and was shocked how easy it was to navigate and park at Disney World. Well, most of Disney World anyway.
Check out our parking and driving guide for more info on what to expect.
Where to stay at Disney World if you have a car
One of the things that doesn’t get talked about much with regard to resort suggestions is the resorts that are most convenient with a car.
In general, Value and Moderate resorts are easier to get in and out of with a car because in most of those resorts, you can pull up very close to the building where you’re staying.
This is also true at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs Resorts.
Deluxe Resorts, on the other hand, generally have 1 main parking lot that you have to walk to so it’s not as quick to get in and out.
Check out our pros and cons of Disney World resorts for more info.
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