Walt Disney World LIVE! Guidebook

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Getting Around the Parks and Resort

Getting Around the Parks and Resort

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A Disney bus passes under a monorail
A Disney bus passes under
a monorail
by chezp

The internal transportation system at the Walt Disney World Resort is quite extensive, with buses, boats, and the famed monorail all doing their part to shuttle guests around the property. Transportation hubs exist at each major theme park and Downtown Disney, where you can reach nearly any other place in the “World” by bus, monorail, or boat. The Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) near the Magic Kingdom forms another hub, where you can get the monorail, ferryboat, and various buses. For current route information, see our property transportation chart on the next page, check with a transportation cast member, or call 407-WDW-RIDE (407-939-7433).

Bus service is the cornerstone of the Walt Disney World transportation system. It is efficient, if occasionally confusing. With a few exceptions, bus routes run every 15 to 20 minutes, from about one hour prior to park opening until about one hour after closing. Bus stops are clearly marked. Travel times vary by route. Be sure to build in extra time for travel. Tip: Special early-morning buses pick up guests who have early character breakfasts—ask about it at your resort. All buses are equipped to board guests in wheelchairs or ECVs. If a lift is out of service, another will be dispatched. 

Monorail trains run along two circular routes for the Magic Kingdom. The express route visits the park and the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), while the resort route also stops at the Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian resorts. A separate line connects the TTC to Epcot. Monorails run from 7:00 am until one hour after park closing (they do not always continue to operate for Extra Magic Hours). If you drive, you’ll find ample parking at the parks. Use the property map on page I to get around the “World.” Tip: Jot down your vehicle location in your PassPorter, or take a digital photo, so you don’t forget where you parked. Also, if you intend to take advantage of Extra Magic Hour (EMH) mornings (see page 34), we recommend you avoid driving to the Magic Kingdom—it may be difficult to get into the park early enough.

If you do drive, the gates at the TTC generally open 30–45 minutes before EMH time on EMH mornings. From several locales, boats (also known as launches, ferries, cruisers, and Friendships) usher guests to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, and between some resorts. Boats generally depart every 15–30 minutes. At the Magic Kingdom, large ferries transport guests from the TTC to the gates, and a railroad encircles the park. Small boats run between the Magic Kingdom and the nearby resorts. At Epcot, “Friendship” boats shuttle you between points in the World Showcase.

By far the most reliable and common method of transportation within the “World” is walking. You can’t walk between most parks and resorts—it’s too far and there are few sidewalks, making it unsafe. You will, however, walk a lot around the parks, the resorts, and even between some parks and resorts. Bring comfortable, broken-in, walking shoes!

The new Disney Skyliner network is coming! The Reedy Creek Improvement District (aka Walt Disney World) has released documents confirming the long-rumored Gondola system being built. The Gondola system will connect Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and the new Disney Vacation Club Riviera Resort with Epcot (International Gateway) and Disney's Hollywood Studios. This gondola system will feature enclosed vehicles with Disney Characters that appear to be "riding" with you. The stops include Epcot (behind the International Gateway), Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts, which will share a stop. The design of the Disney Skyliner station at Epcot will be inspired by the park's nearby European Pavilions, and will be covered with metal and glass canopies, hand-painted murals and ornamental steel structures that harken back to the early 18th century Art Nouveau style. The Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort station is inspired by the open air village marketplaces of the Caribbean and will showcase the nearby resort's architectural detailing and color schemes. The station at Disney's Hollywood Studios is inspired by the park's main entrance and bus stations. Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Art of Animation Resort will share a Disney Skyliner station that is whimsical and contextual with both resorts. No time frame has been announced for the project, but construction is already underway—it's likely it will be ready by the time the new Disney Riviera resort opens in 2019.

New "Minnie Vans" can take you around the resort for flat fee of $25 per vehicle. The red-and-white polka dot SUVs (Chevrolet Traverses) can be summoned from a smartphone using the Lyft app and the driver can take you anywhere you want within the Walt Disney World resort (no off-property destinations). The vehicles hold up to six passengers and there are two car seats available in each vehicle. The current operational hours for the Minnie van service are from 6:30 am to 12:30 am. To request a Minnie Van, you need to begin by visiting your Disney resort's lobby concierge desk where they will get you set up with special link to enable the Minnie Van service on your Lyft account. After that, you can request a Minnie Van using your Lyft app. (Tip: Install the Lyft app before you arrive to save time!) You can also use the Minnie Van service to get back to Orlando International Airport for $150—this service is only available for flights between 9 am and midnight, and you must book 24 hours in advance by visiting lobby concierge.

Disney plans to add new driverless shuttles to its parking lots in 2018. The autonomous electric vehicle pilot program will begin by the end of 2017 for cast-only parking lots, and if the program goes well it will be introduced to guest parking lots in 2018.

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Top Photo Slice: Monorail Lime glides over Epcot (℗ 13293) Photo contributed by © wendybell


  • drewesmum on 10/12/2018 at 1:00:37 am EDT says:

    RE: Photo Slice for Getting Around the Parks and Resort

    Minnie vans just discontinued the flat rate

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  • WildRoses26 on 07/07/2017 at 11:58:16 pm EDT says:

    RE: Getting Around the Parks and Resort

    Downtown Disney is now Disney Springs; two updates needed for this page. (Did I mention I spent 14 years in software documentation? I have this *need* to point out needed updates in an attempt to improve docs. Hope you don't mind.)

You are viewing page 124, which is section 6 of chapter 4 of PassPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook.
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