Leslie and Joe take a look at Disney provided transportation to and around Walt Disney World. We discuss Magical Express, Minnie Vans, the beauty of Uber Car Seat, the upcoming Disney Skyliner, and more! Plus, some discussion of the new parking fees at Disney hotels.
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Walt Disney World Transportation Tips
Walt Disney World’s massive size means that transit and transportation are a huge consideration during a Disney vacation. From monorails to the Magical Express, here are the types transportation options you’ll encounter in Orlando and how to minimize stress and time in transit.
Transportation To & From the Airport
Guests flying into Orlando for their Walt Disney World vacation will first encounter Disney transportation at Orlando International Airport, MCO (related: Tips for Flying into Orlando).
There, the Magical Express whisks guests staying in on-property Disney resorts to their hotels. The Magical Express is included in the cost of an on-property Disney vacation. While you may have to make a few stops along the way, we find the Magical Express fairly quick all things considered. Plan for an average of about 2 hours from landing to hotel arrival, although a wider range of about 1-3 hours is possible.
Once on Disney property, the newest transportation option is Disney’s answer to Uber or Lyft: “Minnie Vans.” Minnie Vans transport guests in a themed SUV anywhere on property for a flat rate of $25. Minnie Vans come with 2 car seats guaranteed, making them a smart choice for families with young kids. To use Minnie Vans, ask your hotel’s concierge to help connect your Lyft app to the Minnie Van service.
(Editor’s note: since the time we recorded this episode, Minnie Vans have now been rolled out to every on-property Disney resort).
Shuttle Buses at Disney World
Buses are the most ubiquitous form of Disney transportation. Buses connect almost every hotel to every park, and also go to places like Disney Springs, the water parks, and more.
There are no buses, however, that connect hotel to hotel. If you need to make that trip, then a connection at a park is required to use Disney transit. Otherwise, use a taxi or ride-sharing service for a faster alterntaive.
While many Disney visitors have bus horror stories, technology has definitely improved bus service in recent years. Bus stops now display wait times (although not always completely accurate) and the system seems to be more flexible.
Families with young kids should know that you will be required to fold up strollers to get on a bus. Don’t overload the storage basket under your stroller to make for easier loading.
Uber & Lyft at Disney World
For a potentially cheaper alternative to Minnie Vans, ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber are very easy to use on Disney property and all over Orlando.
Orlando is one of a few cities that offers Uber Car Seat, formerly UberFamily. For a small extra fee, riders can request a car that has a car seat (usually of the forward-facing toddler convertible seat style). This option may be cheaper than a Minnie Van for most rides on Disney property but obviously doesn’t work for families with younger infants or more than one child of car seat age.
For families with kids who are 4 and 40+ pounds, consider bringing a BubbleBum or mifold for a very portable booster if you plan to take an Uber or Lyft.
Other Transit at Disney
Boats & Ferries: The various waterways of Central Florida are home to a not-as-common but often very convenient transportation alternative at Disney World: water transit. Boats connect both Port Orleans resorts to Disney Springs. The “FriendShip Boats” connect Hollywood Studios to Epcot, with stops at the Swan & Dolphin, Disney’s Boardwalk, and Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club resorts along the way. There are even ferries around the Seven Seas Lagoon to connect the monorail resorts, Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and Magic Kingdom.
Monorails: Disney World is home to two monorails. One monorail encircles the Seven Seas lagoon, connecting the TTC, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Magic Kingdom. A second monorail runs from the TTC to Epcot
Skyliners: Coming in a few years to Walt Disney World is a new form of sky transportation. Giant gondolas will connect Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century with Disney Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
Cars at Disney
Last but certainly not least, cars (either your own driven from home or a rental from the airport) are still used often by many Disney guests. Disney on-property hotels recently started charging for parking, making this a more expensive option. Prices are: $13 a value resorts, $19 at moderate resorts, and $24 at deluxe resorts.
Disney World Transportation Show Notes:
1:18 – Disney’s Magical Express
2:32 – Minnie Vans
4:19 – Disney buses
6:31 Uber Car Seat
10:18 – Boats and monorails
12:35 – The recently announced Disney Skyliner
14:24 – Disney hotel parking feesConnect with Disney Deciphered!