Monorails, Boats and Buses, Oh My! Navigating WDW Transportation

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about transportation at Disney World. Waiting for the buses takes too long, the monorail lines are long, buses don’t come often enough. I am by no means an export, but I hope this takes some of the guesswork out of navigating the property.

To be honest, we had no issues with Disney Transportation during our visit. I am not including Magical Express today because it is not something we used…but I look forward to using it on our next trip.

Let’s Start with the monorail.

WDW Monorail

There are three resorts on the monorail line – The Contemporary, The Polynesian and The Grand Floridian. If you are staying at any of these resorts, you can utilize the monorail system to get to the Magic Kingdom or you can take the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center where you can hop on another monorail to head over to Epcot. There is also an express monorail that goes directly from the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center without stopping at any of the resorts on the monorail loop. At park closing time, the line for the express monorail is going to be pretty long.

Now on to boats.

WDW Boat Launches

If you are visiting the Magic Kingdom for the day and are staying at any of the resorts listed above or Wilderness Lodge, you also have the option of using a boat to go between your resort and the Magic Kingdom. The boats can also be helpful if you are simply trying to reach one of these resorts to get to a dining reservation. The boat launches are directly in front of the gate for the Magic Kingdom and are clearly marked to know where each boat is going. We used the boat for an evening reservation at the Grand Floridian and the line was much shorter than if we had tried to take the monorail.

There is also boat transportation available between Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway entrance to Epcot (this entrance is located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions in World Showcase). Along this route, there are stops at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk area and the Swan and Dolphin resorts. I think this is a great option if you want to hit Hollywood Studios in the morning and then head to Epcot for the afternoon or vice versa. I haven’t personally used these boats, but I plan to make full use of them on our next trip!

There are also boats that navigate solely in the Disney Springs area and there are boats exclusive to the World Showcase Lagoon that take guest back and forth across World Showcase.

Finally the buses.

WDW Bus

For many resorts, the main mode of transportation to get around the WDW property is by using the buses. Even the resorts above still utilize bus service for the parks not accessible by monorail or boat. Bus service is also offered to transport guests to Disney Springs for shopping and dining.

The buses arrive and depart pretty regularly and they can fill up fast around park opening and park closing. Each park has a specific area for buses and signs telling you exactly where the line is for the bus you need. Resorts also have clear signage and areas to line up when waiting for the bus. This is one area where you may need to pack a little patience, but just remember…everyone on the bus is trying to have a magical time like you are. Often times, buses will fill up and require riders to stand as well. Make sure you listen to the driver and move back as far as possible to make sure he can fit more people on. Most drivers are pretty awesome and friendly, but even they can get frustrated when people don’t listen to what they need them to do. A lot of people complain that the bus rides take too long or are too crowded…so much of that depends on when you are visiting or what time of day you are trying to ride.

Top Tips for Navigating WDW Transportation:
1. If you plan to be at park opening, get to the bus stop early! I promise, you are not the only one who wants to see the Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom.
2. When the bus driver asks you to move back…just do it. You don’t want him to feel the need to yell.
3. If you aren’t sure how to get somewhere…ask! Cast Members are more than willing to recommend the best mode of transportation to reach your destination
4. Pack your patience…especially around park opening and park closing. Everyone wants to get there just as much as you do!
5. If you are traveling with a stroller, make sure it is folded up and ready to go BEFORE you reach the boat or bus. You don’t want to hold up the line because you waited till the last minute.
6. Take an opportunity to utilize all the transportation available. It really helps you appreciate just how much Disney puts into getting you around WDW.
7. Have fun and smile! We got to chat with people from all over while riding Disney Transportation. We may never see them again, but is always nice to chat with someone who shares your excitements. And it is a great way to pass the time!

Do you have any tips for getting around the parks and resorts? I’m by no means an expert, so I’d love to hear your feedback!

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