Going From Value And Moderate Resorts To Theme Parks
Until the Disney Skyliner opened up in September of 2019, guests staying at all Value and Moderate resorts only had 1 option to get to all 4 parks: bus.
But, now guests at Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century have the option to take the Disney Skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Note: Disney frequently has bus service to and from Epcot for Art of Animation guests.
Guests staying at those resorts wishing to go to any other park will have to take a bus.
And, for guests at all other Value and Moderate resorts, the only option for all 4 parks is bus.
He Who Wields A Golf Cart Rides A Kings Chariot
Now that weve gotten our priorities out of the way, lets talk about Fort Wilderness itself for a second. This property is deceivingly massive at 700 acres, with 799 campsites and 409 cabins when you add in the fact that driving your own vehicle is restricted to entering and exiting the campgrounds, it can be a trek to simply eat breakfast at the Trails End restaurant. If you dont want to add any further costs to your budget, theres hope! You can always fall back on the complimentary buses going around the grounds, which are easy enough to use, with plenty of campground maps to go by.
If youre open to paying for the extra luxury, you could rent a golf cart during your stay. The additional fee varies, and theres always the availability factor to consider, but its hard to argue the freedom of coming and going at your discretion. The wife and I came to this conclusion on our last stay at Fort Wilderness, during Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party. Wed attempted riding the buses and almost immediately switched to renting a golf cart for conveniences sake not to mention the fun we had riding around and looking for forest critters whenever we went to Trails End or one of the depots.
It is fair to note that guests are welcome to bring their own golf carts or some other form of transportation , so long as its within Fort Wildernesss guidelines. You dont necessarily have to resign yourself to throwing your entire wallet at Disney.
Want To Get There Fast Use Lyft/uber Or A Taxi
Weve often considered making a dining reservation at a hotel, but changed our mind once we thought about getting to and from the restaurant.
At least we would do that until we discovered just how easy it is to use a rideshare service or taxi at Disney world.
Hands down the quickest way to get between resorts is often by taxi or Lyft/Uber.
We dont think this option is used enough at Disney World.
It doesnt usually cost more than $10 or $15 for a taxi and can get you to your destination within a few minutes.
Disneys Minnie Vans are also an option for a $15 flat rate plus additional cost per mile.
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Transportation From The Disney World Transportation And Ticket Center To The Magic Kingdom
Now that you have parked in one of the Heroes or Villains parking lots, its time to go from the Walt Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom Park. To do this, you have three, sometimes four, options.
The first option is to board the Magic Kingdom Ferry boat to the park. This large boat can carry up to 600 guests from the TTC to the park, and back. During peak times, the other transportation modes can fill up quickly, resulting in long lines. Many report that during park opening and closing, the large capacity boats are actually quicker. But, be aware that seating is limited on the boats, so you may find yourself standing for the entire ride, which is less than 10 minutes.
Next, you have the option to board two different monorail lines to access the Magic Kingdom from the Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center.
First, there is the Express Monorail which offers service directly to the Magic Kingdom park without stopping. This is your most direct route to the Magic Kingdom. But, be aware that during peak times, such as park opening and closing, this monorail lines sees crowding and long lines, which can, and most likely will, delay your travel.
Additionally, you can board the resort monorail for more indirect access to the Magic Kingdom. This monorail will first stop at the Polynesian Resort, then the Grand Floridian Resort to pick up guests before arriving at the Magic Kingdom resort.
What About Bus Sharing
Some resorts share buses, meaning that 1 bus will go to multiple different resorts.
For example, it isnt unusual for the All-Star resorts to share a bus or for Port Orleans-Riverside and Port Orleans-French Quarter to share.
Sharing is less likely during the busy morning hours or at park closing, though.
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Monorail Service At Ttc
One of the most common reasons for visiting the TTC is the Monorail. The TTC is a hub for the Monorails three lines:
- Guests parking at Magic Kingdom are actually parking at TTC. They then take the Express Monorail directly to Magic Kingdom. The Resort Monorail takes guests to Magic Kingdom along a line that also stops at the Monorail Resorts .
- Guests looking to Park-hop from Magic Kingdom to Epcot will use the Monorail, transferring to the Epcot line at TTC.
- Guests staying at the Monorail Resorts will access Epcot via TTC and pass through TTC going to or coming back from Magic Kingdom.
Rideshares And The Walt Disney World Transportation And Ticket Center
If you are planning to use an Uber of Lyft from your onsite or offsite resort to get to Magic Kingdom, be aware that these services are not allowed to drop you off directly at the Magic Kingdom.
Instead, they must drop you off at the Walt Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center.
This means from your Uber of Lyft, you will then need to board the monorails or ferry to get to Magic Kingdom.
When Minnie Vans were in service prior to the pandemic, they would drop guests off directly at the Magic Kingdom. We are hoping this service will return at some point, but the outlook does not look good.
That all being said, we have discovered one loophole regarding rideshares and access to Magic Kingdom. In the past, we have had drivers drop us off at the Contemporary resort rather than the TTC.
From this resort, the Magic Kingdom is quite literally across the street. Just walk 5 short minutes, and you will be in the park. This method shaves off commute time, and helps you avoid lines at the TTC in the morning.
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Disney World Resort Hotel Overnight Parking Fees
Required overnight parking fees as are follows for Disney World Resort hotel guests:
- Value Resorts $15 per night
- Moderate Resorts $20 per night
- Deluxe Resorts $25 per night
Valet Service is $33 per night.
Disneys Wilderness Lodge
Guests staying at a Campsite at Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground do not have to pay for parking. .
If youre a Disney Vacation Club member using your vacation points to stay at a Deluxe Villa or Resort hotel, your parking fees are included.
Guests visiting a resort with an Advance Dining Reservation at one of the restaurants at a Resort are not required to pay Resort parking fees.
How To See Bus Wait Times In My Disney Experience
Or, if youd rather, the My Disney Experience app will also show you when the next bus is scheduled to arrive to your resort.
You must have a Disney Resort hotel reservation and be logged into your Disney account in order to see bus times at your resort via the My Disney Experience app.
My Disney Experience > Resort Hotel
Unfortunately, the parks and Disney Springs dont have anything similar that will tell you when the next bus is scheduled to arrive. You can only find out bus arrival info at the resorts.
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Transportation To Walt Disney World Resort
Once you’ve landed, your top priority will be getting your family and your luggage to Walt Disney World as quickly as possible. There are several options for your Walt Disney World transportation.
Disney’s Magical Express
Cost: Free! If you’re utilizing luggage service, the recommended tip is $1 per bag
Advantages: Cheapest option, carseats aren’t needed, service operates 24/7, luggage transport options available
Disadvantages: Service is only available for those staying at select Walt Disney World resort hotels, service can be slow
If you fly into Orlando International Airport, you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express. This is a complimentary service that takes you from the airport to select Walt Disney World Resort hotels and delivers your luggage, all for free. To reserve a spot on this shuttle, you’ll want to call 939-1936 as soon as you have your travel plans.
Update 1/11/20: Starting Jan. 1, 2022 Disney World will discontinue the Magical Express transportation to/from the Orlando Airport for Disney Resort guests.
Uber and Lyft
Cost: Between $30 and $60 for one way, plus a recommended tip of $1 per bag if the driver helps you with luggage
Advantages: Carseats are available with UberFAMILY option, direct transport leads to minimal travel time
Disadvantages: Reservations aren’t required, minimal waiting time
Check out our complete guide on Uber and Lyft at Walt Disney World for all the information you’d ever meet to know in order to utilize the services here.
Parking At Disney Springs
Parking is FREE at Disney Springs. Parking is available in surface parking lots and three parking garages: Orange, Lime, and Grapefruit.
Entering Orange Garage
Valet parking is available at Disney Springs for $20 per day.
Congratulations! Now you know how to get around Walt Disney World! I guess the only question now isWHERE will you go first?
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The Friendship Boats And Their Roles In The Disney World Water Transportation System
Friendship Boats operate on Crescent Lake in the Epcot Resort area to five Resorts, Epcots International Gateway, and Disneys Hollywood Studios. They also ply the waters of the World Showcase Lagoon, connecting World Showcase countries in two separate routes. Those routes sail between Canada and Morocco, as well as Mexico and Germany.
Friendship Boats Operate On Crescent Lake And The World Showcase Lagoon At Epcot
The Friendship Boat is a name created by Disney instead of calling it a water bus or taxi. I could not find anything that defines why they call them Friendship Boats. My guess that by naming them Friendship Boats, it emphasized a significant word from the dedication plaque at Epcot. The first line of the dedication plaque near the entrance states: To all who come to this Place of Joy, Hope, and Friendship, Welcome.
Epcot Dedication Plaque
The boats are fully enclosed and air-conditioned. Be aware that since they are closed in, it could get hot in them during the summer months. Most of the time, the air conditioner works but is usually not sufficient enough to make it very comfortable. Theyre also big, about 65 feet long, but not as large as a ferryboat. Their capacity is up to 100 passengers.
Walt Disney World Resort Monorail Service
The Walt Disney World Monorail System was originally conceived as a public transport for the future. There are three separate beams that travel throughout Walt Disney World Resort and they all intersect with each other at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The three loops are the Resort Monorail Loop, the Express Monorail Loop, and the Epcot Monorail Loop. If the monorail is not available, alternate bus and watercraft transportation is available for guests.
The Resort Monorail Loop typically runs from 6:30 a.m. until one hour after park close
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How To Get To Ft Wilderness
Many people need to get to Ft. Wilderness for various activities.
Our previous advice to go to a theme park and catch a bus to your destination resort will work here, but there is also a boat from Magic Kingdom that you might want to take.
If you are short on time, we also recommend taking a Minnie Van as this service drops you off extremely close to Pioneer Hall.
Epcot And Disneys Hollywood Studios
For both Epcot and Disneys Hollywood Studios, the watercraft that runs between these theme parks along Crescent Lake and are known as Friendship Boats. Friendship Boats are accessible to five different resorts. Unlike the Magic Kingdom water launches, the Friendship boats do stop at each of the resorts along the way, as well as at both Epcot and Disneys Hollywood Studios. The resorts include:
Tips from TheMouseForLess:
- If you dont feel like waiting for the Friendship boat to take you between these resorts and either Epcot or Disneys Hollywood Studios, there is a walking path that connects everything together.
- There are also Friendship boats that take you across World Showcase Lagoon inside Epcot theme park. Launches begin at the World Showcase Plaza and head to either the Germany Pavilion or the Morocco Pavilion. To get ready for the nighttime fireworks at Epcot each night, the last boat across is at 7:30 p.m. This is a great option for guests who want a relaxing way to get across the lagoon without having to walk around the world.
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Boarding A Friendship Boat
Boarding one of the Friendship Boats is relatively easy. A portable ramp bridges the gap between the dock and the boat deck. Youll board with caution by keeping your speed at the lowest position. Go up and off the ramp entirely before turning towards your intended direction. Disembarking will be done in the same manner. Slowly go down the slope and clear it before making any turns. Just note that the pitch may vary due to water levels.
Varying water levels and adverse wind conditions may not allow for the use of a boarding ramp. In these instances, you may have to step down or up into the boat. Boarding with a mobility scooter or wheelchair would be impossible. The exception would be if the wheelchair were portable, you were able to fold it up, and you could make the step up or down into the boat.
Walt Disney World Transportation
Orlando International Airport
Distance from Walt Disney World: 30 minutes
The Orlando International Airport is one of the most popular choices for those going to Walt Disney World. It offers Disneys Magical Express, a complimentary shuttle to select Walt Disney World hotels. This is the only airport that offers this Disney-sponsored service which allows you to bypass the luggage claim and even takes your luggage straight to your hotel room, so your vacation can start early. Plus, there are a variety of shops and restaurants, including a Disney Store, so your vacation doesnt have to end when you leave the parks to go home.
Orlando Executive Airport
Distance from Walt Disney World: 40
The Orlando Executive Airport provides pilots and those flying business jet with two runways that are open 24 hours a day. While this choice isnt quite as close as the Orlando International Airport, its the more central choice if youre hoping to take advantage of other Orlando offerings or are there for a business trip. Plus, it offers complimentary shuttle service to different locations in the area.
Orlando Sanford International Airport
Distance from Walt Disney World: 1 hour
Kissimmee Gateway Airport
Distance from Walt Disney World: 30 minutes
Transportation Within The Resort
Since the size of the Walt Disney World Resort is comparable to a city within itself, there are a number of different transportation options to get you around to the parks and on-site hotels. Guests should expect to devote some time out of their day to transportation around the resort and plan for it accordingly.
Inside Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World website states Transportation to and from the Parks and Walt Disney World Resort hotels is complimentary for Resort hotel Guests. But it is extremely uncommon to be asked to see a pass so you could use resort transportation to get around. But since you only have to pay for parking once, its quicker and easier to park hop in your car !
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Security Checks At The Ttc
You need to go through security checks prior to entering the Disney parks. Nowadays, they have added security checkpoints to the TTC. This means you will go through a security check and bag check prior to boarding the ferry or monorail.
This means once you arrive at the park, you can walk right up to the turnstiles rather than waiting in line to pass security prior to entering the park.
Ferryboat Service At Ttc
Ferryboats run between Magic Kingdom and the TTC for those opting not to take the Monorail . Ferryboats arrive at 10-20 minute intervals but dont have a regular schedule. They hold lots of guests, but there is limited bench seating, so dont be surprised if you have to stand during your journey across Seven Seas Lagoon. The Ferryboat has two levels and can provide some lovely views for your commute between TTC and Magic Kingdom.
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The Polynesian Resort And The Ttc
The Polynesian Resorts is one of our favorite places to stay. Besides the beauty, the theming, and the atmosphere, we love the Polynesian because of the close proximity to the Walt Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center.
The Polynesian is located directly next to the TTC, and from rooms on that side of the resort, you can get there with a five-minute walk.
This will give you quick and more direct access to the EPCOT monorail than is available from any other Disney World resort. By using this trick, you will no longer need to board the resort monorail, ride through two more resort stops and the Magic Kingdom stop, then exit at the TTC to then board the EPCOT monorail.
Instead, just walk to the TTC and board the EPCOT monorail. This will make your EPCOT commute quicker, smoother, and less crowded.