Quick Tips – Resort to Resort Transportation at Disney World

A train is not good for resort to resort transportation at Disney World
This is not a good way to get from resort to resort.

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 an Epcot resort (Swan and Dolphin, Yacht Club, Beach Club, or BoardWalk) take a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and either walk or take a Friendship boat 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 Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century, or Art of Animation, take a bus to Hollywood Studios and transfer to another bus to your destination.

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.

Laurel Stewart

Laurel has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1971 when she was negative-15 years old and running the Disney races since 2007. Her favorite attraction is Big Thunder Mountain.

35 thoughts on “Quick Tips – Resort to Resort Transportation at Disney World

  • June 20, 2014 at 6:40 am
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    I’ve seen occasional mention of a bus that can get you from certain resorts to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop Dee Doo Review. I’ve seen more frequent mention that buses will get you back to your resort after, even/especially if MK is already closed for the evening, but I’m wondering if there’s a direct way to get there without a trip to a hub. Can anyone confirm, refute, or otherwise enlighten?

    • June 20, 2014 at 9:26 am
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      There are shared buses for the return trip to your resort after Hoop Dee Doo. You’re on your own for transportation to get there. Think shared like Magical Express type routes. Cast Members will ask where you’re staying and direct you to a bus. Depending on crowds and if Magic Kingdom is still open at the end of your show, you’ll probably be faster taking a boat to MK and a bus directly back to your resort.

  • June 20, 2014 at 7:27 am
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    You can also walk between Downtown Disney and Saratoga Springs. That could come in handy if, say, you’re at Animal Kingdom and want to head to Downtown Disney afterwards.

    When possible, I choose walking over taking a second bus or boat. Many times the extra time you spend walking is less than what you’d spend waiting for a second bus or boat.

    • June 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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      We will be going from Animal Kingdom to Downtown Disney (T-Rex reservations) at one point on our trip. So are you saying it would be easier to take the bus from Animal Kingdom to Saratoga Springs and walk to DTD from there? Hadn’t thought of that!

      • June 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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        I would still take a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge and then a bus to Downtown Disney. There are a lot of stops inside Saratoga Springs, and I think Congress Park is the last one. But, yes, it could be done.

        • June 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm
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          Oh, okay. Gotcha.

  • June 20, 2014 at 10:13 am
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    There is a boat that directly connects Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness. It’s great for getting to Artist Point and Hoop Dee Doo for us BLT owners 😀

    • June 20, 2014 at 10:16 am
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      I can’t believe I forgot that one. That route is one of those things that Disney is still doing that they don’t have to. It’s a great perk.

  • June 20, 2014 at 10:17 am
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    Here’s my tip…don’t ever take a bus anywhere. Maybe some people just like the hours wasted on the bus, but not me. I guess one positive would be that there are less cars on the roads to deal with.

    • June 20, 2014 at 10:23 am
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      To each his own. I’ve never minded the bus system – perhaps because I’m accustomed to transit in real life. Or it could be that cab fare eats into my bar budget, and that’s a trade off I’m not willing to make.

      • June 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm
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        I’m with you, Laurel! 🙂

  • June 20, 2014 at 11:18 am
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    Is it possible to walk from Caribbean resort (Trinidad South) to Art of Animation? From a map it looks possible and very close. It looks like you can walk from parking lot to parking lot and come out by Little Mermaid section with very little road in between? Of course want it to be safe walking with children.

    • June 20, 2014 at 11:21 am
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      No, there’s no safe path between the two resorts. You are correct that they are very close though.

  • June 20, 2014 at 11:22 am
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    Just to be sure, buses stop going to and from the parks 1 hour after said park closes, right?
    I’ll stay at Art of Animation Resort in October, and I have a reservation for Chef Mickey on the first day. But the only time available was 21:00. I checked here that Hollywood Studios closes at 19:00 on this day. So after my dinner (it would be around 22:00) I can’t go to Hollywood Studios, right? In this case, the best alternative would be Downtown Disney?

    • June 20, 2014 at 11:37 am
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      In that case, you’d walk from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom buses to catch a bus to Art of Animation. Buses do run an hour after park closes. If the park you’d use as a hub is closed, try another park (maybe one with late Extra Magic Hours), transfer at Downtown Disney (buses go until 1AM), or take a cab.

      • June 20, 2014 at 11:43 am
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        Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t think about walking to Magic Kingdom and taking the bus there. Thank you for not calling me stupid 😛

        I just hope the buses won’t be too crowded because it will be just after Magic Kingdom closes.

    • June 20, 2014 at 11:46 am
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      Coming from Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, your best bet will most likely be to just walk over to the MK buses no matter what time you leave. If it’s a Party Night the buses will run til at least 1 am and you don’t need a party ticket to get on the bus. If it’s not a Party Night MK should still be open until at least 10 for Wishes, so you should have until AT LEAST 11.

  • June 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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    In regards to the buses running one hour after park closing, I had a problem with this in the spring. After dinner at AKL, I was trying to take a bus to DHS and then planned to walk back to our room at the Beach Club. DHS closed at 8 pm that night. A DHS bus arrived at AKL at 8:10 pm but was only taking guests from DHS to AKL and was not taking guests to DHS. The bus driver told us to take the bus to DD. We ended up going to MK to transfer there.

    • June 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm
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      Yes, buses will take guests OUT of the park for at least an hour after closing but usually won’t bring them in for (in their mind) the obvious reasoning that the park is closed. WDW doesn’t view the parks as “bus hubs” in the way that many of us use them.

      • June 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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        Sometimes they will stop taking guests to parks a little before closing as well. You’d think they’d know we do travel resort to resort this way.

  • June 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm
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    Great article! In the past the Boardwalk has had buses to the other resorts around the time Jellyrolls closes. Not sure if they still do…

  • June 21, 2014 at 12:43 am
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    Great article, must save this tips for later!

  • June 21, 2014 at 7:13 am
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    Hey! Great tips! Just a quick clarification though..we’re staying at old key west but have reservations at ohana (Polynesian) should we go to downtown disney or take a magic kingdom bus to get there

    • June 21, 2014 at 7:25 am
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      Magic Kingdom, definitely.

  • June 21, 2014 at 11:54 am
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    If we are staying at fort wilderness campgrounds and want to go to downtown Disney, should we take our car or use disney transportation?

    • June 21, 2014 at 11:57 am
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      Given the current construction and parking issues at Downtown Disney (which don’t seem to have an end in sight), no one should drive there unless it’s very early in the day.

  • June 23, 2014 at 2:03 am
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    Thanks for this great article! I have a quick question: we have reservations at Beaches & Cream on the Boardwalk one evening at around 9:30 PM. Our plan is to head there after we watch Illuminations at Epcot.

    What is our best bet for getting back to our resort (Port Orleans-Riverside) after that? Is it possible to re-enter Epcot and take the buses from there? Is there an easier/alternative approach?

    Thanks!

    • June 23, 2014 at 10:26 am
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      You won’t be able to enter Epcot after Illuminations unless it’s having evening EMH. If DHS buses are still running take a bus from there, or transfer at Downtown Disney.

      • June 24, 2014 at 12:25 am
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        Great, thank you so much!

  • June 23, 2014 at 10:14 am
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    Great tips! one question – we’re gonna stay at the all star movies resort, and have an 8:10 am breakfast resevation for the Cape May character meal at the beach club, do you recommend taking the bus to DHS and walking? will there even be a bus that early? DHS opens at at 9:00 am that day..

    • June 23, 2014 at 10:24 am
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      The buses probably won’t be running that early to DHS. I’d take a cab. Your other option would be to take a bus to a park doing early EMH, but that’s a whole lot of planning when $15 should get you there with far less hassle.

      • June 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm
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        Thanks so much! a cab it is 🙂

  • June 23, 2014 at 10:17 am
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    Just a thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to see a monorail line from the TTC to Disney Springs. It would greatly improve transportation from SSR, OKW to the MK. I know it’s a pipedream, but it is Disney, so sometimes dreams come true.

    • June 23, 2014 at 11:59 am
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      That or to the Animal Kingdom area, making it a lot less remote.

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