So, you’re going to Disney World. CONGRATULATIONS!! A trip to the most magical place on earth is one of the best vacations there is! But sometimes planning it all can be a bit overwhelming. With over 30 hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, mini golf, Disney Springs, and so much more – it’s hard to now where to start! That was me a few years back, on my first trip to the Disney mecca. Tasked with planning our 10 day vacation for my family of 6, I dove head first into every bit of Disney knowledge that I could find. Fast forward to 2018 and I realized I could put that knowledge to good use, helping you plan a vacation of your very own! So I created the Disney World Vacation Planning Series, and if you’ve missed any of it be sure to check out the homepage HERE.
We’ve covered everything from When to Visit, Where to Stay, Which FastPass Reservations You Need, Everything You Need to Pack, and so much more! This week we’ll be taking a look at how to get around Disney World. Whether you’re staying on site, off site, or just visiting for the day here’s what you need to know.
Driving and Car Rental
If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of Disney World, you can of course get around the world in your own vehicle. You can also rent a car if you’re flying to Florida. There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind though, when it comes to driving around the resort. First off, if you’re driving a car and staying in a Disney resort you will be charged for overnight parking. Rates vary between $13 and $24 per night, which can add up fast, but this fee does include parking at the theme parks as well. It’s also worth noting that if you are visiting the Magic Kingdom you’ll need to park at the Transportation and Ticket center. From there you’ll take a bus, boat, or monorail to the park entrance.
Using Disney Transportation
There are a lot of great perks that come with staying on property at the Disney World resort. You get extra time in the parks, you can book the Disney Dining Plan, and you get to access Disney’s assortment of transportation options. From the time your plane lands, until you’re safely back at home, Disney has got your back!
Disney’s Magical Express provides transportation between the airport and your Disney World resort. You’ll need to provide Disney with your flight information, directly in your Disney account or to your travel agent, and they’ll set up the rest. Just be sure to pack your Magic Band in your carry-on luggage as you’ll need it to board. Once your plane lands, take the shuttle to the main building follow the signage to Ground Transportation. You’ll be able to board and vacation will have officially begun. Disney will even collect your checked bags and deliver them directly to your room!
Once you’ve arrived at your resort and settled in, you’ll undoubtedly want to go explore! Disney has created an entire network of buses that will take you where you want to go. All you have to do is locate the bus stop, usually near the entrance of your resort, and determine which bus you’ll need to get on. There are signs at the bus stop detailing which bus goes where as well as how often they arrive. The buses also display their destination on their frontward facing digital display.
In addition to the buses, many of the deluxe resorts offer boats as a means of transportation! How much fun is that? You get to start off your day with a boat ride before entering your theme park for the day! Boat transportation is a bit more limited than the buses however, as you can only take the boats to and from specific destinations. The resorts in the Epcot area have boat launches to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, while resorts near the 7 Seas Lagoon have launches direct to the Magic Kingdom. You can find out more about which transportation options each resort offers, HERE.
The monorail is the most iconic means of Disney travel, and my absolute favorite. It’s what Walt Disney first envisioned at Disneyland, how you could get anymore classic than that!? Unfortunately, it’s also the most limited option for traveling around the resort. There are only 3 resorts that offer the monorail all of which will take you only to the Magic Kingdom. You can also visit both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot by monorail, via the Transportation and Ticket center.
The newest addition to the Disney World transportation line up are the Minnie Vans. These adorably painted red and white polka dotted vans are Disney’s version of Lyft or Uber. The vehicles are driven by Disney cast members are available to guests staying at a select number of resorts, listed below. There is a flat rate of $20 each way, but it will take you anywhere on property that you need to go. You can also use the Minnie Vans in place of Disney’s Magical Express for $150. With all the options Disney provides I can’t justify this service for my own trips, but if you’re in a rush, need a car seat, or traveling before or after the buses start running it could come in handy. Here’s the list of eligible resorts:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club
- Boardwalk Inn
- Caribbean Beach
- Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Pop Century
- Port Orleans, French Quarter and Riverside
- Saratoga Springs
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club
Taking a trip to Disney World is truly one of the best vacations you can have. It does require some up front planning, but once you arrive Disney takes care of everything! So let me know, which do you want to try more the boats or monorail?
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