Walt Disney World Orlando Resort is as big as the city of San Francisco, when you count all the theme parks, hotels, and Disney Springs (previously known as Downtown Disney). Due to the great expansion of the park (and there are plans of making Disney Springs bigger), Disney decided to implement a FREE transportation system to help people move from one place to another. For routes, stop locations, and wait times info about Disney World buses, monorails and ferries, download the official My Disney Experience app.
Now, Disney has four different kinds of transportation:
- Boats and Ferries
Through this guide, we are going to tell you how each of these transportation method works and which routes they cover throughout the parks.
Transportation available at Disney World
The bus stops can be found everywhere around the Disney Parks. Buses connect you to Disney hotels, parks, and Disney Springs. Even if you are not staying at a Disney Hotel, you can still use the transportation system. To be exact, the buses start working around 6:30 am – 7:00 am, so you have the option of waking up early to enjoy the parks before the place starts getting busy. All buses work until about 2 am. Bus stops are located near the main entrance of each park. In Disney Springs, you can find it near the Town Center.
Buses are meant to give the visitors a transportation method where monorail or boats cannot reach or when walking is just not an option. Just imagine having to walk to arrive at the parks, and then having to walk MORE the whole day. You’re going to be too tired to enjoy the rides!
2. Boats and Ferries
Walt Disney World Orlando Resort is a HUGE place, so taking a boat is an option if you’re staying at certain Disney hotels, and they’re all connected to all Disney Parks. However, if you’re choosing to not stay at a Disney Park, then you can opt for taking a Ferry while you’re at the Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, or EPCOT. It is a fun and safe way to move between the previously mentioned places. To take a boat, you must go to the Ticket & Transportation Center. Ferries’ work hours start from 30 or 40 minutes before the parks open, and they stop working after 40 or 60 minutes after the parks have closed. There are five ferries available for you at Disney World, and they all have different routes:
- Red Flag
- Green Flag
- Blue Flag
- Yellow Flag
- Golden Flag
All of these ferries connect the Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs to the Ticket & Transportation Center, as well as certain Disney Hotels. The Red Flag Ferry works around the Disney Springs area internally.
Now, the EPCOT boat transportation has an entirely different system. At this park, there is an in-park boat transportation system that connects all pavilions around the area. The Friendship Boats start working around 8:30 am, and stop working sixty minutes after the parks have closed. The Friendship Boats also connect the EPCOT and Hollywood Studio areas to selected Disney Hotels.
The monorail is one of the most used transportation systems in the world. Just like the rest of the transportation systems, the Disney World Monorail is free for everyone. You can take the monorail at the Ticket & Transportation Center, and there are three different options available:
- The Resorts Line, which connects you to selected hotels and the Magic Kingdom.
- The Express Line, which takes you directly to the Magic Kingdom without stopping at any hotel.
- And The EPCOT line, which takes you directly to said zone.
Their work hours are similar to the other transportation methods, beginning to operate early in the morning, and stopping about thirty or sixty minutes after the parks have closed.
4. Disney Skyliner
There are many options you can use to move between the parks, and now, Disney has available gondolas for the guests to move between selected hotels and the EPCOT/Hollywood Studios parks. There gondolas are extremely efficient, and guests can enjoy them for free.
5. Or you can just walk
Yes, you can just walk between the parks. You’re going to be tired, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. Disney World has too many places of interest, and walking isn’t a “bad” option when for those who are curious and want to explore all that Disney World has to offer.
Disney World Transportation Tips
We have some tips that you can use to enhance your experience at Disney World with the use of the transportation system. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry – after you arrive at your resort (either in or outside Disney), you can easily get to the parks. Now, let’s begin!
- Keep in mind that each transportation method has different routes. Some of them might work similarly, but they connect different places. For example, the Monorail connects selected hotels to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom.
- Distances between places are a bit long. After all, Disney World is practically a city, hence moving from one place to another can take some time. The transportation methods from park to park are usually pretty fast (bus, boats), but don’t forget to factor in the waiting time. We recommend arriving early so you can enjoy the parks when they’re less crowded, and when the waiting time (including rides and bus stops) are usually shorter. There are time boards at every bus stop that tell you how much it will take for the next bus to arrive.
- When it’s time for the parks to close, the bus stops can become a nightmare. To avoid waiting for too long, choose to hang around for a bit longer (for example, shopping) and go to the bus stop (or the transportation method of your preference) when there aren’t many people around. All transportation at Disney World will keep operating an hour after the parks have closed for the day.
*Note that Disney World transportation operating hours and routes is subject to change. We recommend checking out the official Walt Disney World website for the most current information prior to your trip.
*COVID-19 Update: Disney World now requires all guests (ages 3 and up) to have a valid reservation and admission ticket for the same date and same park. There is a limit of one park per day, which means guests can no longer visit multiple parks on the same day.
Are there any other time-saving tips you recommend for getting around Disney World? Let us know in the comments!