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Do you need a car at Disney World?

Do you need a car at Disney World?

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. 

Resort signage2

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:

new disney world signs

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 locatedThis is especially true if you are planning to visit another resort hotel for a meal, etc.

Magic Kingdom Resort Area

Epcot Resort Area

Hollywood Studios Resort Area

Animal Kingdom Resort Area

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! 

Overhead sign

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.

Complete guide to parking at Walt Disney World

Disney World Entrance Signs

Did you know that there is more than 1 of the big “Welcome to Walt Disney World” gateway signs?

It’s true!

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. 

Try this:

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. 

Toll Booth

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). 

Map of toll payment options

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:

  1. Reserve your hangtag pass via the Visitor Toll Pass app
  2. Once you arrive to the Orlando International Airport, look for the Visitor Toll Pass vending machines located on Level 1 of Terminal A.
Visitor Toll Pass vending machine map

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.

Visitor Toll Pass dropbox locations map
Parking Lot from Gran Destino

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.

Complete Guide to Disney World Car Rental

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.


Thursday 25th of May 2017

On a recent trip to Orlando, we discovered you can save a lot of time by being enrolled in the rental car company loyalty programs. When we arrived at the Budget area, there was an extremely long line, and very few agents working at the counter. But we happened to notice a sign directing FastBreak members directly to the garage. I had signed up for the program just a few days prior so we followed the signs and were in our car less than 5 minutes later.


Monday 22nd of May 2017

Hi and thank you for this great article! Answered every remaining question that I had so far in terms of driving around DW. However it raised a new probalby odd question. Coming from Europe I won't have any possibility to get my hands on coins since the bank is only changing as low as 1$ bills. So now I am kind of worried to be stucked on a toll road. What are you supposed to do when you come to an unmanned booth with only bills? Thanks everyone for trying to help a lost European here ;-) And I wish you all a magical time during your next WDW vacation

Dorothy Z.

Tuesday 11th of April 2017

Why is parking not good at MK? I'm driving down with my mom who uses a seat walker(she has a handicap sticker) and we're staying off site. What is the best thing to do?


Friday 7th of April 2017

Thank you, so helpful! I have a question about parking at a resort for dining reservation (we will not be staying at resort). In the post you wrote, "If you are visiting for dining reservations or to tour, etc., you can park up to 3 hours for free" How do you get that parking pass? Book it ahead of time, day of? Also, can anyone take the monorail even if not staying on property or going to the parks that day, (just using it for transportation for dining)?

Shannon Albert

Friday 7th of April 2017

You don't need to get a parking pass. Just tell the guard you have a dining reservation when you arrive at the resort. They will likely check your name on the list and then you'll park. The 3 hour timeframe is Disney's recommendation but not usually enforced strictly.

Anybody can use Disney transportation, even people who aren't staying onsite.


Wednesday 5th of April 2017

We are going in December and renting a van for the trip down from NC. We will be staying at Shades of Green, if we decided to drive to the parks would we have to pay at each park or can you just pay 20$ for the whole day?


Friday 7th of April 2017

Hi Brandi, my husband and I drive from Savannah several times a year and stay at Shades of Green. It is great! They have buses to all the parks and, if you are comfortable with a 15-minute walk, you can walk from Shades to the Polynesian and use the monorail from there. Just thought I'd chime in and let you know it is SO convenient!


Thursday 6th of April 2017

You pay $20 for the whole day, e.g. if you pay for parking at Hollywood Studios in the morning, then go to Animal Kingdom at night, the parking receipt from Hollywood Studios would be valid at Animal Kingdom. I hope this helps :)

This has the full Disney parking policy: