Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Six Things To Expect on Your First One-Day Trip to Walt Disney World

by on April 19, 2016

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World one time or fifty times, chances are your trips have logistically all taken on a similar form. A flight or long car ride into the Orlando area, maybe a taxi, shuttle, or Magical Express ride to Walt Disney World property if you flew, and then getting around property using Disney’s occasionally efficient system of buses, ferry boats, and monorails. Sure there might have been some experiments with a rental car thrown in to facilitate a visit to Harry Potter and his friends at Universal, the beach, or to watch cars drive in circles for hours at Daytona…but odds are that most of your travel to and around Walt Disney World has been contained to the modes mentioned.

Should the day come when you find yourself in the state of Florida for some other reason, be it work or play, and Mickey’s gravitational pull proves too much to bear, you may find yourself deciding to drive over to a Walt Disney World theme park for the day, like it were Six Flags or something. There are facets of this experience that will be quite different and maybe even a little jarring to a Walt Disney World vacation vet.

(Let’s stop for a minute to mention people who live in Central Florida and visit Walt Disney World exclusively as a local day guest: 1. We are all a little jealous of you, and 2. You probably can expand on every single point I make in this article, so please join us in the comments. Oh yeah, and 3. We’re really really jealous, like for real.)

So here are six things that you can expect as a Walt Disney World vet if you are taking a one-day trip for the first time:

Interstate 4 Overhead Signs

Like seeing these mundane road signs…

Disney Traffic Sign

…and these slightly more whimsical ones!


You know how you ride around Walt Disney World property and see the purple and red road signs? You think to yourself that they are a cool feature of property and give you that “I’m somewhere different from the real world” feeling. Those are an absolutely necessary Godsend if you are actually driving a vehicle throughout property…and on first inspection they might make no sense. You may have the layout of property etched on your brain, so it makes no sense to you when you see that Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Wide World of Sports are in one direction while Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Epcot Resorts are in the opposite direction.

But you need to remember that these are road signs, they are helping you take roads in the right direction. They are not pointing to spots on property. It may sound crazy but on my first time driving around property, I found myself second guessing the road signs as if I somehow knew more about where things were at Disney World than the urban planners did. Speaking of things you’ll learn while behind the wheel…

Read the rest of this entry »

A look into the future: Walt Disney World 2025 – part 2

by on December 13, 2015

A lot can change in 10 years. In part one of our peer into the future of the Walt Disney World resort, we looked at changes in the theme parks and ticketing (hint: ticket prices will rise). In part two, we look at the resort hotels, Disney Springs, and Disney transportation, which has a more exciting future than you might imagine. We know that the Disney company is planning to develop more land on property, due to this report on a request to increase the amount of land it will restore on its preserve to offset wetlands development. Ultimately, any additions will be focused on accommodating ever-increasing crowds and growing revenue.

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Expect more well-themed value and moderate resorts in the image of Art of Animation. (Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols)

New resort hotels: Rising attendance and demand will continue to drive the development of new resort hotels in Disney’s never-ending quest to keep as many travelers in the Disney bubble as possible. Recently, high-end additions such as the Polynesian bungalows have stirred talk that Disney is catering to the “1 percent,” and neglecting middle-class travelers. To counter that notion, future development will include well-themed value or moderate resorts along the lines of Disney’s Art of Animation. The new resorts will offer more variety in room sizes, responding to a demand for larger family suites. As more “Star Wars” sequels are released, a Star Wars-themed resort will  capitalize on the success of Star Wars Land and become an attraction that draws visitors beyond the parks. The success of Pandora-The World of Avatar expands attendance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, creating demand for additional rooms near that park. Perhaps an Asian theme would complement the African-themed Animal Kingdom Lodge, though likely without the live animals of that resort. Alternately, if next year’s animated feature “Zootopia” is a big hit, Disney may opt for a more cartoony version of an animal-themed resort.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Walt Disney World Road Trip: Tips, Tricks and What Not to Do

by on January 14, 2015

Photo - Michael Dahlgren

Recently, my family decided to make a last minute trip to Disney World the week of New Year’s. Before everyone faints at the heresy of going during the busiest week of the year, my brother’s school was playing in a bowl game in Tampa, so my family decided to kill two birds with one stone. Quickly putting aside the loud warnings in the back of my head about the massive crowds, I couldn’t turn down a pseudo surprise Disney trip. The resort reservation was all set (we would be staying at a Finding Nemo Suite in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort), and I already had my annual pass, but the flight fares were absolutely insane from Baltimore, which is the closest airport to me. Being a more intelligent person than I, my girlfriend suggested a simple alternative. Why don’t we just drive down? So we did. I hope everyone who is considering the possibility of driving instead of flying finds this useful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Universal’s Cabana Bay Transportation Guide

by on April 16, 2014

Cabana Bay transportation guide

When you get tired of relaxing by Cabana Bay’s pool, use this transportation guide to get to Universal’s theme parks (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the newest Loews-operated on-site hotel at Universal Orlando, only opened at the end of March, but if you’ve been following our coverage – from my mega-sized photo gallery from opening day to Derek Burgan’s Saturday Six devoted to the property – you may feel like you’ve already stayed there. One aspect of Universal’s first moderately priced hotel that many readers have asked for more information about is the transportation options available to guests of Cabana Bay. As you may have heard, Cabana Bay does NOT offer water taxi service like Universal’s original 3 luxury properties. So I spent a recent sunny afternoon testing various methods of getting from the hotel to the parks (and vice versa), in order to bring you this comprehensive Cabana Bay transportation guide.

Parking at Cabana Bay

Cabana Bay doesn’t offer valet parking, but that deficit is offset by a $10 daily self-parking rate for hotel guests, which is significantly cheaper than parking at the other Universal hotels. Parking lots ring the hotel, so you can park right alongside your room. Unfortunately, high parking rates for non-guests ($8 for 5 to 30 minutes, $20 for 30 minutes to 24 hours) make it expensive for locals to drop in and knock down some pins at the Galaxy bowling alley.

Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Orlando Cabana Bay Pedestrian Bridge Construction Begins

by on February 11, 2014

Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge

All photos by Seth Kubersky

The first phase of Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens on March 31, 2014, and while Universal Orlando‘s first value-priced hotel will have plenty of amenities (like a 10 lane bowling alley) it won’t have water taxi transportation to the theme like the original three Loews-operated resorts. Universal will provide bus transportation from Cabana Bay to the main parking hub, but many guests will find it quicker and more convenient to walk to the attractions. In order to accommodate them, construction began last week on a new Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge, which will permit safe passage across Hollywood Way at Adventure Way.


This bridge sparked a bit of controversy in Orlando last year when the city council voted to fund the project’s $9 million dollar construction cost from a special taxing fund in the name of “public safety.”

Universal Orlando Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge

This corner will soon be the site of Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay pedestrian bridge.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Few Transportation Notes For Walt Disney World

by on December 18, 2013

Walt Disney World Buses

©Rikki Niblett

A couple of things have been brought to my attention in regards to transportation at Walt Disney World that I thought you should all be aware of since they could potentially impact your 2014 vacations.

First off, a brand new bus loop at the Magic Kingdom opened about a month ago. Because of  this third bus loop, there has been some shifting in regards to which bus stops are where. Make sure to check the directory for the load zone you are looking for.

With the addition of the new loop, Disney is providing direct transportation from the Magic Kingdom to the other three theme parks. This means that a transfer to a bus at the Transportation and Ticket Center is no longer required.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Not-So-Magic Bus: Walt Disney World and Orlando’s LYNX Public Transportation System

by on December 17, 2013

The LYNX route 50 bus from downtown Orlando to Walt Disney World.

The LYNX route 50 bus from downtown Orlando to Walt Disney World.

Most visitors to Walt Disney World must decide between renting a car at Orlando International Airport for the length of their vacation, or relying on Disney’s free Magical Express and internal transportation system if staying in an on-property hotel. But a small number of guests, and a much greater number of employees, rely on Orlando’s public transportation system — known as the LYNX bus — to get to and from the theme parks each day.

I’ve lived less than thirty miles from Walt Disney World’s main gate for almost 20 years, but in all that time I’d never taken public transit to the parks. That changed last month, when I participated in the Transit Interpretation Project (or TrIP) an educational experiment organized by arts activist Patrick Greene, curator of downtown Orlando’s Gallery at Avalon Island. Greene gathered a diverse cross-section of Orlando’s artists, writers, and performers to each dedicate a single day in November to riding LYNX buses and documenting their experiences.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do I Need to Rent a Car at Disney World?

by on December 13, 2013

There are few things that make Walt Disney World visitors as passionate as the question of whether or not to rent a car during their vacation. Some folks claim that you absolutely MUST rent a car. Others are horrified by the thought of spending money on a rental when there is perfectly good FREE transportation at Walt Disney World. The reality is that, as with most Disney questions, the answer to “Do I Need to Rent a Car?” is a resounding “It depends.”

If you're staying on Disney property, you qualify for free transportation from the airport to your hotel.

If you’re staying on Disney property, you qualify for free transportation from the airport to your hotel.

I was 100% in the no-rental camp for many years. During my first 20 or so family WDW vacations, we only rented a car twice, and those rentals were just because my husband was attending conferences on site and his company paid for it. I secretly laughed at folks who said that a car was necessary at Disney World. And then I stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time, where I learned that having a car would have saved me hours of frustration and waiting.

Staying at a different resort, one a bit further afield, made me realize that the car rental question really has many answers depending on a number of factors. Here are some things to think about to help you decide whether renting a car at Disney World makes sense for your family’s vacation.

What is my budget?

If you’re staying on Walt Disney World property, free transportation via Magical Express is included with your stay. This will get you back and forth from the airport to Disney World. Once you’re on property, there is free transportation to the theme parks, resorts, Downtown Disney, and the water parks via an extensive system of monorails, boats, and buses.

This means that if you’re on a super strict budget and don’t want to allot any money toward in-vacation transportation, then you can certainly get around Walt Disney World without renting a car. No additional expense is required.

Read the rest of this entry »

Will Saving Money Hurt My Disney Experience?

by on October 2, 2013

While scanning a recent Quora feed, I came across the question, “What are some ways to save money at Disney World without taking away from the experience?”

Over the years, I’ve seen countless requests for money saving tips and read scores of articles proffering advice on how to save money on Disney travel, but very few of them address the quality-of-experience topic. So I’m here to discuss whether saving money will negatively impact the quality of your Walt Disney World vacation. I’ll preface my discussion by saying that almost all of this is subjective. One man’s minor sacrifice will be another man’s major drag.

The main areas of potential savings are: transportation, lodging, food, souvenirs, and tickets. Here are my thoughts on whether utilizing common money saving tips in these areas will negatively impact your trip.

Saving money by not renting a car can be no big deal or a giant drag, depending on where you're staying.

Saving money by not renting a car can be no big deal or a giant drag, depending on where you’re staying.


  • Common Savings Tip: Drive instead of fly.
    • Will This Hurt My Experience?: Maybe. Depending on the number of people in your party and the distance you’re traveling, driving instead of flying can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, if you’re driving for more than 8 or 10 hours, you’re losing a day of vacation time on both ends of your trip. You’ll also likely arrive at Walt Disney World somewhat tired from the concentration of driving or the frustration of dealing with “Are We There Yet” children.
  • Common Savings Tip: Use Disney’s free transportation instead of renting a car.
    • Will This Hurt My Experience?: It depends on where you’re staying at Walt Disney World. If you’re at one of the monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian) or one of the Epcot resorts (Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club), your travel time to more than one of the theme parks will be shorter using Disney transportation than it would with a car. If you’re at these hotels and spending most of your touring at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (plus DHS for BW, YC & BC), then not having a car will be no imposition at all. However, if you’re staying at a Saratoga Springs Treehouse, which requires two steps just to get to one theme park, or at one of the larger moderate resorts (Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs) with multiple internal bus stops, then having a car will be a big plus for you.

      Read the rest of this entry »

Get to Know the Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC)

by on June 19, 2013

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, chances are you’ll encounter the term “TTC.” TTC is the Transportation and Ticket Center and we’re here to tell you what it’s all about.


The TTC is, not surprisingly, a major transportation hub at Walt Disney World, serving as a transfer point between boats, buses, and monorails, as well as the parking center for guests driving to the Magic Kingdom.

Take a look at this map of Walt Disney World and you’ll see the TTC in the lower center of the blue blob. It doesn’t look like much, but it can be a big help in getting you from point A to point B. And knowing how navigate the TTC can mean the difference between making the trip from A to B pleasant and efficient or making it a looong night of waiting around.


Here are some of the transportation related things you can do at the Transportation and Ticket Center:

Read the rest of this entry »