I am always excited to plan a new Disney itinerary. I love planning the rides I want to visit and which FastPasses to choose, but there are some items very important to itinerary planning that do not always come to mind first. Always consider how transportation time is going to impact your itinerary, whether you are renting a car or using Disney transportation.
If you are staying at a Disney resort using Disney transportation, you will likely be using Disney bus transportation at one point or another, as this transportation is the most common. Officially, buses arrive about every twenty minutes. I have waited as little as five and as much as half an hour, so be sure to factor in these variables when you are thinking about when you want to arrive at the parks. Buses begin running approximately one hour prior to park opening, so if you want to be one of the first in the park to head to your favorite ride, plan to be at your resort’s bus stop in time for one of the first buses. This can be very important if you are heading to an extremely popular attraction, like meeting Anna and Elsa at the Magic Kingdom.
For some Disney resorts, you will also have access to boat or monorail transportation to select parks. Keep in mind that you may also have to wait for these to arrive, and that some may not go directly to the park. For instance, if you are staying at the Contemporary Resort and want to go to Epcot via monorail, you will have to transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
If you are staying at a Disney resort and plan to visit another resort for a dining reservation, give yourself at least an hour for transportation. There is no direct transportation between resorts, so you will have to transfer at one of the theme parks, and this can take some extra time. Plan for more time if you are visiting during a peak time of year. If you are in a rush or worried about making the transfer, you may want to consider calling a taxi – they are available at all Disney resorts.
If you are renting a car, whether you are driving from a Disney resort hotel or an off-site hotel, think about the potential for traffic. Special events or local weekend visitors may cause you some extra time waiting to enter the parking lot. Also keep in mind that, even once you reach the parking lot, you are not quite there yet. Some lots are large enough that you may need to take a tram to the park entrance. At the Magic Kingdom, you will need to take a tram or walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and then take either the monorail or a ferry to the park entrance, because the parking lot is on the opposite side of Seven Seas Lagoon.
Pay attention to the time you allot for transportation during your Walt Disney World trip, because getting to the park or resort you desire could take a little longer than you thought and may require some extra steps. Unexpected delays can come up, but keep in mind that the Cast Members are doing their best to make sure you have a great vacation, so always plan a little more time than you think you need and be patient. Plan your time well, and your vacation will benefit!
Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful family. She enjoys long walks, happy thoughts, and Disney magic! Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong – but she also realized how good planning can make such a difference for a successful vacation! Elizabeth became her family’s go-to resource for Disney planning. Now she dedicates her planning skills to helping others with their own magical vacations as a Disney travel specialist. She will plan your trip as if it were her own. Her blog, planningformagic.com, has tons of advice on how to plan your next Disney trip, including trip planning instructions, sample itineraries, dining tips, and more. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter for more planning tips and theme park news.