Hello, readers! I hope you’re enjoying the new voices on the blog this week. In addition to hiring new bloggers, I’ve been going over the galleys for the next printing of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. One the sections I recently reviewed was Part Eight – Getting Around. This is where we give information about arriving at Walt Disney World and how to use the transportation system.
Believe it or not, despite a page length of nearly than 900 pages, the book could give a little more information on the nuts and bolts of resort to resort transportation at Disney World.
The most tricky part of using the Disney transportation system is traveling between resorts. In the Guide, we leave it at “don’t use Downtown Disney as your hub if you can avoid it.” I think we can do a little better than that.
The good thing is that in my experience, your point of origin rarely matters (and I’ll call attention to the rare cases where I think it does).
Unofficial Quick Tips for Resort to Resort Transportation
Note: Resort bus transportation from theme parks ends around one hour after the park closes. If you have a late dinner reservation, you’ll be in a cab or taking a bus to Downtown Disney.
If your destination is a Magic Kingdom resort (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, or Fort Wilderness) board a bus to Magic Kingdom. Then walk (Contemporary), take the monorail (Polynesian or Grand Floridian), or board a watercraft (Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness) to your destination.
If your destination is Animal Kingdom Lodge, Coronado Springs, or any of the All-Star resorts, take a bus to Animal Kingdom park and board a bus to your destination (only while Animal Kingdom is open – remember it often has shorter hours than the other parks). For nighttime trips, use Hollywood Studios as your hub for bus service.
If your destination is Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter, Saratoga Springs, or Old Key West, take a bus to Downtown Disney and transfer to either a bus or boat to your destination. Port Orleans is uniquely centrally located among the resorts – Magic Kingdom and Epcot are also good transfers.
Here are the special cases where your point of origin changes my recommendation:
It is possible to walk between Saratoga Springs and Old Key West via the golf course path. There was at one time a single boat route serving both resorts and Downtown Disney, but I haven’t seen that service in several years. And of course, guests can walk between the two Port Orleans resorts and between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness (the latter path can be treacherous at night though – after dark we recommend the bus that runs between the Settlement at Fort Wilderness and the resort bus stop at the Lodge).
If your starting point is any Magic Kingdom resort and your destination is any non-Magic Kingdom resort, take a bus from Magic Kingdom.
Added from comments: There is a walking path between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney – two actually, one along Hotel Plaza Blvd. (catch the path at Congress Park) to the Marketplace and one through the golf course that takes you to the West Side. Buses provide return transportation to resorts after Hoop Dee Doo at Fort Wilderness but may not be your best bet (see the comments). There is a boat route that connects the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness – a good option for those Artist Point, Hoop Dee Doo, and Chef Mickey’s reservations.
We always recommend allowing at least an hour to move between resorts using transit, and recommend taking a cab if time is of the essence.
So what are your trips for getting around? Commandeer a SeaRacer and sail up? Stick up a horse drawn carriage? Think I got it wrong on any of the my recommendations? Talk about it in the comments.