How to get around Walt Disney World Resort

With 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and dozens of resort hotels to explore across 39 square miles, how you'll get around is an important part of any plan to visit Walt Disney World Resort.

Thankfully, Disney World has an extensive free transit system that makes getting around surprisingly easy. From the iconic Monorail System to a colorful fleet of boats and high-flying aerial gondolas, we look at all your options for getting around the resort and which ones work best for your itinerary.

Getting to & from Disney World from Orlando International Airport

Disney World doesn't provide an official transit option to or from Orlando International. There are 3 main ways to get between them:

  • Taxi or ridehail: Taxicabs and ridehail services like Uber can deliver you from the arrivals terminal directly to the Disney World hotel of your choice, offering flexible convenience at a higher cost.
  • Shuttles: Pre-booked shuttle services such as Mears Connect or the Sunshine Flyer typically cost less than a taxi or ridehail. They may require booking multiple days before you arrive and may stop at other hotels before yours.
  • Rental car: Renting a car at the airport and driving it yourself is the most flexible option, since it provides you with a car to get around the resort itself. If you're only using the rental to get to and from Disney World, it may not be the most cost-effective choice.

General transportation tips

Considerations to make while planning transit for your trip:

  • Disney World's transit system is available to all visitors whether or not they are staying at a Disney World hotel.
  • Standard theme park and overnight hotel parking at Disney World is free for guests staying at Disney hotels. For non-hotel guests, theme park parking starts at $25 per day and allows you to move between parks.
  • The My Disney Experience mobile app is extremely helpful for suggesting routes between parts of the resort, helping you find transportation (especially bus stops), providing directions, and estimating travel times.
  • Each Disney World theme park—Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom—has at least 1 nearby hotel, and most of them have a "cluster" of nearby hotels with robust connections. For example, EPCOT has 5 nearby hotels that are connected by water and walking paths. If your visit will focus on a particular theme park, consider staying in a hotel in the same area to reduce transit time.
  • There may be a wait for transit after the theme parks close and guests head back to their hotels, so you may want to plan to leave before closing time.


Best for: Getting between most hotels and theme parks

The Walt Disney World Bus Service is the resort's most comprehensive transit option. Each Disney-operated hotel has its own bus for each of the theme parks. The exceptions are for those hotels that have other transit options to a given theme park. For example, because Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has monorail connections to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, it typically doesn't have bus service to them.

Each hotel also has a bus for the Disney Springs shopping and dining district, and visitors can transfer to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon bus there. Every bus stop has a live schedule board showing up-to-the-minute estimates of when the next bus will be arriving at each destination.

Destination boards outside each theme park make it easy to find the right bus.

Additionally, buses run between some theme parks. This is the easiest way to get from other theme parks to Disney's Animal Kingdom, which does not have any boat, monorail, or aerial gondola connections.

Operating hours: Bus service from Disney hotels to each theme park begins 45 minutes before they open and runs continuously every 20 minutes all day until an hour after theme park closing. Service from Disney hotels to Disney Springs begins when Disney Springs opens and ends 1 hour after closing.

AAA TIPS: Be sure to check the bus's destination indicator before boarding, as buses going to different places may arrive at the same time. Not sure if you've got the right bus? Ask the driver before departing.

As of April 2023, there is no bus service between the theme parks and Disney Springs, so you'll need to transfer at a hotel.

The monorail

Best for: Moving between Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, plus the Ticket and Transit Center and the hotels near Magic Kingdom

Unlike Disney World's other theme parks, Magic Kingdom's parking lot isn't adjacent to the park itself. Instead, guests arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center (often called the TTC) and take either the sleek Monorail System or the ferry boat (discussed below) to reach the front gate.

Guests staying at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney's Contemporary Resort can board the monorail at those hotels for a ride to Magic Kingdom, or ride to EPCOT by transferring at the TTC.

The monorail from the TTC to EPCOT includes a loop around the northern part of the park with great views.

There are 3 monorail lines:

  • The Express Monorail connects Magic Kingdom with the TTC, where guests can access the parking lot or transfer to the EPCOT Monorail. 
  • The Resort Monorail connects Magic Kingdom with each of the 3 nearby hotels (Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney's Contemporary Resort) as well as the TTC.
  • The EPCOT Monorail connects the TTC to EPCOT. To get to EPCOT from Magic Kingdom and its nearby hotels, you can take either of the other 2 monorail lines to the TTC and transfer to the EPCOT Monorail.

Operating hours: The Resort Monorail and Express Monorail start running 30 minutes before Magic Kingdom opens and stop 1 hour after Magic Kingdom closes. The EPCOT Monorail starts running 30 minutes before EPCOT opens and stops 2 hours after EPCOT closes.

AAA TIPS: Taking the monorail allows you to travel between Magic Kingdom and EPCOT parks without needing to pass through security again.

The monorail ride from the TTC to EPCOT includes a loop around the northern part of the park, with great views of Spaceship Earth and the gardens. This segment isn't part of the ride from EPCOT back to the TTC, so plan accordingly.


Best for: Moving around within the Magic Kingdom area, the EPCOT/Disney's Hollywood Studios area, and the Disney Springs area

Water transportation comes in many shapes and sizes at Disney World. It's a feature of 3 areas in the resort, connecting destinations within them, but not between them. Most routes run on 15- to 30-minute intervals.

Magic Kingdom area: The largest boats are the ferries that run between the TTC and Magic Kingdom entrance. These are an alternative to the monorail, and an experience in themselves as you cross the Seven Seas Lagoon and catch your first glimpses of Cinderella Castle. Smaller water taxis connect Magic Kingdom with its nearby hotels (except Disney's Contemporary Resort, which is within walking distance):

  • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

EPCOT/Disney's Hollywood Studios area: Friendship Boats sail guests across the waters that connect these 2 parks, as well as the hotels in between, which are:

  • Disney's Beach Club Villas
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

Disney Springs area: Water taxis connect this outdoor shopping and entertainment district with 3 hotels:

  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Operating hours: Varies depending on season and weather. The front desk at a nearby resort can provide an up-to-date schedule at your request.

AAA TIPS: The water taxis at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs use colored flags to indicate their destinations. Be sure to check which color you want before boarding.

The Friendship Boats at EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios travel a north-south route. When boarding at a hotel dock, check the signs to make sure you're going in the right direction.

Disney Skyliner

Best for: Traveling between EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the hotels to their southeast

The Disney Skyliner aerial gondola opened in 2019 and offers a new connection between EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and 4 nearby hotels:

  • Disney's Riviera Resort
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort

The Skyliner runs continuously, with gondolas arriving every few seconds. On average, it's a faster way to get between EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios, and provides sweeping aerial views. Each gondola seats up to 6 guests, so depending on your group size, you may be riding with other guests or be split between multiple gondolas.

If you park at EPCOT and plan to return after EPCOT closes, Disney World advises taking the bus or another method back to EPCOT, as the Skyliner station has no access to the EPCOT parking lot.

Operating hours: The Skyliner schedule is released daily and displayed at stations in the morning. It does not run during severe weather and is replaced by bus service in these cases.

AAA TIP: When riding the Skyliner west from Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort to Disney's Hollywood Studios, look north to see Spaceship Earth. On clear days, the geodesic sphere appears to be rising above the tree line like a moon.

Minnie Van Service

Best for: The convenience (at an extra cost) of point-to-point travel, especially between hotels for dining

The Minnie Van Service offers a unique ridehail experience that can deliver you directly from Point A to Point B. This paid service is available through the Lyft app, where you can request a ride from a Disney-themed Minnie Van driven by a Disney cast member. Regular Minnie Vans carry up to 6 passengers and include 2 children's car seats, a boon for families with small kids. You can also request an accessible Minnie Van, which seats 7 with room for 2 mobility devices such as wheelchairs. (Non-Disney ridehails are also available within Disney World.)

One of the best uses of the Minnie Van is to travel between hotels for dining reservations, since there's no inter-hotel bus service. For example, if you were staying at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort but had a dinner reservation at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort's rooftop restaurant Toledo, you could theoretically take the bus to Disney's Animal Kingdom and transfer to the Coronado Springs bus, but it wouldn't be quick—and those buses might no longer be running by the end of dinner. 

Operating hours: Minnie Vans run from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.

AAA TIPS: Similar to hailing a ride at the airport, Minnie Vans (and all ridehails within Disney World) pick up and drop off at specified locations. Before requesting a ride, look in the app to make sure you can get to the pick-up spot before your ride arrives.

Another Minnie Van perk: At Magic Kingdom, only Minnie Vans can pick up and drop off at the front gate—all other ridehails must begin or end at the TTC, meaning you'll need to take the ferry or the monorail.

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