Planes, trains, boats, buses, and a few automobiles too. That’s how we’ve made our way to and around the Walt Disney World Resort. Our two visits to Disney have been staying at Disney-owned hotels. Our next one will be too. They make it so easy when it comes to transportation.
Of course, I have to do the “hard” part deciding which airline to fly (read: finding a Southwest Airlines flight that works with our schedule) and then getting to the airport for departure. After that, I leave it all to Disney!
Let’s face it Disney isn’t exactly a relaxing vacation. It’s full of fun but we’re often on the go and walking a lot. My relaxing comes in letting someone else take the wheel and get us from point A to point B.
Once we arrive at Orlando International Airport we follow the signs to Disney’s Magical Express. No, not baggage claim, I said Magical Express. I let Disney pick up our bags and deliver them to our room. Our carry-on luggage has all we need for the first night and even a few days, just in case there is a luggage mishap.
Magical Express is a comfortable coach bus that will take us from the airport to our Disney hotel and then back at the end of our stay. All I need to do is provide Disney with my flight information either by phone or online and they will send me labels for our luggage and an airport map. If you’re anything like me and overpack you can ask for extra labels.
The day before our trip ends this warning shows up on our door to tell us when to be ready for shuttling back to the airport. Many commonly refer to this as the “Tragical Express” notice.
Depending on the hotel we’ve stayed at our methods of transportation vary, but generally, we rely on buses. If you’re doing your research before your Disney World vacation you are going to run across people that love the buses and people that hate them. We had experiences that were both good and bad. You can read a more detailed account of them in the resort reviews for Art of Animation and Port Orleans Riverside. There are times (mainly park open and close) that the buses are super busy with long lines and everyone is crammed in. There are also times that we had to wait (and wait) for a bus to arrive. To me, it’s still easier than loading up my car, finding parking, remembering hours later where parking was, and oh yeah, dealing with the traffic. I leave that up to someone else.
Peanut loves the buses. He even has his own spot– but only when it’s a light load. He walks right back to the driver’s corner seat. Sometimes he can even doze off on the ride back to the hotel.
We have used the Monorail on a few occasions. During our first stay, we had dinner at 1900 Park Fare located in the Grand Floridan hotel. We left Magic Kingdom and hopped on for a ride to dinner. It was our first and we were a little turned around. I messed up and had us get off at the Ticket & Transportation Center. So then we ended up on a boat back to the Magic Kingdom and then on the monorail again this time for a full resort loop ending at Grand Floridan. It was a bit time-consuming, especially considering my mix up.
On the other hand, taking the monorail ride from Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom though is a piece of cake. The best part about using the monorail is we didn’t have to fold up the stroller!
We have not yet experienced the Epcot monorail loop, but are planning to use it for our next stay in the fall.
We took the Magic Kingdom ferry boat just once in the little mix up I just mentioned. It was just a normal ferry boat ride that wasn’t very memorable.
Diva and I also used a boat to travel between the Boardwalk after our breakfast at Trattoria al Forno to Hollywood Studios. I think we made three stops, but maybe it was four, before we arrived at the park. It was a beautiful morning for a boat ride. It was super relaxing especially after a filling meal. I was happy to see that it wasn’t crowded at all. I’ve heard the walk from the Boardwalk to the park is faster so that’s probably why. I didn’t have a stroller for Diva so I know it wouldn’t have been faster for us. And, I was going to be walking all day, why not take a short ride.
So we did use one car while at Disney, but it wasn’t Disney transportation. Diva and I called a Lyft driver to pick us up at Port Orleans and take us to Boardwalk for our breakfast. It was much faster at 7AM than bus hopping. (My term for taking a bus to a park to get another bus to a hotel.) The driver arrived in less than 5 minutes and the ride was less than 10 minutes. We took a BumbleBum booster seat to use specifically for this ride. It was easy to use and also easy to store while we were exploring the parks all day.
Disney now partners with Lyft to offer Minnie Vans which come with two child seats in the van. I’m not certain if we would opt to use them or just go with a regular Lyft service. Grumpy will probably pass when he sees the $25/ride price tag.
Overall, Disney transportation has been pretty seamless for us, minus a few long waits for a bus pick up. It’s efficient and gets us where we need to be.