The Many Disney World
by Land, Air, or Sea
Walt Disney World spreads over a huge area in central Florida. With four resort parks, two water parks, numerous hotels, a campground, golf courses, the Wide World of Sports complex, and Downtown Disney, there is a lot of places to go. Disney makes it easy, though. You can travel by land, by air, or by sea. Discover your many Disney World transportation options.
Riding a bus is the mainstay of transportation at Disney World. There is nothing exciting about traveling by bus, except arriving at your destination. This is the only free option from most Disney hotels and between most parks. While not exciting, the busses are reliable and will get you safely where you want to go.
Minnie Vans are new service at Walt Disney World. For a nominal fee ($20), you can be picked up and transported through the parks. This eliminates lines and waits. It assures a seat. It will also pick you up and drop you off closer to the entrances, decreasing walking time.
The Main Street Railroad makes a circle around Magic Kingdom. It is an attraction in itself. With depots at the park entrance on Main Street, USA, in Frontierland near Splash Mountain, and New Fantasyland in Dumbo’s Circus, the train can help you bypass crowds and rest your feet.
Who wants to walk? You get plenty of that inside the park. Right? There are two places where walking is possibly the best option. The Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower are only about 1/3 mile from the entrance of Magic Kingdom. It is by far the quickest way to get there.
The Beach Club Resort lies less than a 1/4 mile from the International Gateway of Epcot. The Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin each are around a 1/2 mile away. If there are long lines for the Friendships, then this is an excellent option.
You can walk from each the Epcot resorts to Hollywood Studios, too. The Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin are about 2/3 mile away. The Beach and Yacht Clubs are a little over a mile. When there are long lines leaving Hollywood Studios at night, I will still do it.
The Disney monorail zips through the air between Epcot and Magic Kingdom, and around the Magic Kingdom Resorts: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. The monorail is favorite of everyone. It replaces bus rides for these resorts to Magic Kingdom. Even though a few of the cars smell like they transport livestock part of the time, it is a fun and quick ride. And always remember, “¡Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas!”
Disney Skyliner (now open!)
A new gondola system named the Disney Skyliner carries patrons from Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and (upcoming) Disney Riviera Resorts to Hollywood Studios and to the International Gateway of Epcot.
The Disney Skyliner glides comfortably through the air with great views. It takes you back to the Magic Kingdom Skyway which closed in 1999. Another fun transportation option.
Of the many Disney World transportation options, the Friendships are my favorite. The Friendships sail between the Epcot International Gateway and Hollywood Studios with stops at the Yacht and Beach Club, Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin Resorts. From these resorts, you can either walk or ride the Friendships to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Friendships are a pleasant, scenic ride. You get an up close look at each of the resorts as you coast along Crescent Lake. They are also the easiest way to get between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Boats also carry passengers from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge resorts, as well as Fort Wilderness camp ground, to Magic Kingdom. While these can be entertaining, they do not match the Friendships. They tend to be slow, with longer waits. If you are not in hurry, then this can be a pleasant option.
A boat also ferries guests between the Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness. This is the best way to get between these places.
Ranking the Current Disney World Transportation Options
- Friendships – quick, comfortable, fun, with nice scenery.
- Walt Disney World Railroad – It is inside Magic Kingdom and is itself an attraction.
- Monorail – almost an attraction unto itself.
- Disney Skyliner – another almost attraction, but the not iconic like the Monorail.
- Foot – stunningly efficient and quick where it can be done
- Bus – the ubiquitous bus reliably gets you there
- other boats – somewhat slow; can be crowded; can be quite hot or cold
- Minnie Vans – It costs $20 or more. The others are free.