25 October 2012

31 Days:: Transportation Part 2- At WDW

{Insider Info Series}
Welcome to today's topic: Transportation: Part 2- At Walt Disney World! So you've arrived at Disney via plane, train, bus, automobile, magic carpet, etc! Yay! Today I'll talk about some ways to get around once you're at Walt Disney World and you want to get some where else in the World! If you're staying on-property, the website for each resort has a link called "Transportation" where you can easily see how to get from your resort to any given destination in the World.

Source: allears.net

Disney Buses
For those guests staying at a WDW resort or have a park-hopper ticket/annual pass/season pass, there are complementary buses to and from every WDW resort, park, and Downtown Disney. You can get to...
  • every resort from every park
  • every park from every resort
  • every park from every park
  • Downtown Disney from every park
  • Downtown Disney from every resort
  • every park from Downtown Disney
  • every resort from Downtown Disney
If you need to get from one resort to another, you'll need to hop to a park or Downtown Disney and catch a bus to the other resort. If you're hopping via a park, keep in mind closing times of the parks. The bus drivers are knowledgeable, so feel free to ask them or any WDW cast member if you have questions.

The monorail is really one of my favorite modes of transportation at Disney :) It's kinda like a flying train! Hehe. Anyways, it runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center (aka. the Magic Kingdom parking lots), to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. You can also hop from Epcot to MK (and vice versa). There are a few resorts that also are serviced by the monorail, but on a different line (so make sure you always catch the correct monorail!)- the Polynesian, the Contemporary, and the Grand Floridian.

Ferry (to/from Magic Kingdom)
Another way to get from the Ticket and Transportation Center (aka. the Magic Kingdom parking lots) to the Magic Kingdom is via the ferry. When you're walking up to the monorail area from the parking lot, the ferry dock is to the left. This is often a quicker mode of transportation over to the MK since fewer people seem to use it. Both the monorail and ferry take an average of 7 minutes to reach the MK.

Friendships & small ferries
There are four Friendships or small ferry boats to mention...
  • in Epcot, there is a boat that goes across the World Showcase. It takes about as long as it would walking at a brisk pace. 
  • at Downtown Disney, there's a boat that goes between Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and West Side
  • if you're staying at the Port Orleans resorts, there's a boat that goes to and from Downtown Disney. It's a ~15 minute ride- very pretty!
  • from Epcot's "International Gateway" or off to the right of Hollywood Studios' entrance (before you enter the park), you can catch a boat over to the Boardwalk area. It makes stops at the various resorts around the Boardwalk. If you're coming from HS and have a reservation at a Boardwalk restaurant, it can be quicker to get off at the Swan and Dolphin stop and walk the rest of the way (we did that once, definitely quicker if you're in a rush!)

Source: allears.net
Motor Cruisers & Motor Launches
These are boats that provide transportation between the Seven Seas Lagoon resorts and Magic Kingdom. The resorts serviced include the Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian. Different color flags are flown on the front of the boats- these indicate which resorts they service. Ask a cast member, boat captain, or check out {this AllEars article} to find out what flag color for which you're looking!! You can access these boats at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, before you go through the security lines, look for the docks on the lagoon. 

Rental Cars (on WDW property)
If you're staying on Disney property without a car, but need one for a day or two, there's a few rental locations on Disney property. Get in touch with the concierge service at your resort, and they can set you up with transportation to the rental centers. At the WDW Car Care Center there's National and Alamo rental centers. At the Swan and Dolphin Resort there's also National and Alamo. Additionally, at Shades of Green there is a Hertz rental center. There are a few other rental centers at hotels across the street from Downtown Disney, if you don't mind a ~10 minute walk.

If you're staying on Disney property (or at select other local hotels/resorts) and want to go to other local Orlando attractions (ie. Sea World or Universal Studios), you can use a variety of shuttle services. We prefer Mears, and it's also the choice of Disney resorts! If you're staying on property, you just need to make a reservation {see their official website here} with a pick up and drop off time, and the buses pull up to the main entrance of the resort. We used it, and it's quite convenient! Some days we wanted to be picked up from the parks a bit earlier than originally reserved for- you usually just have to give them about 2 hours notice and you're good to go! If you're staying at some other local hotels/resorts, you can also book them. They also service the airport.

A great overview of the WDW transportation system is written up {here on Mouse Planet}. Two things to note: "MGM Studios" is now "Hollywood Studios," and you can no longer ride in the front of the monorail due to an accident in recent years. Again, another useful overview can be seen {here on AllEars}.

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