Tuesday Disney Tips: Tools for Getting Around at Walt Disney World

Last week in Tuesday Disney Tips, Brenda shared some great information on the different types of transportation at Disney World, and how to use each. This week, she is back to provide some helpful tools and tips to make the most of your time getting around the Disney parks.

There are two valuable tools I use that have helped me out when planning my transportation at Walt Disney World: a copy of the WDW Resort Area map and a PDF file I created of WDW Travel Times.

The WDW Resort Area map is a great tool to use when planning the best routes to get you where you are going. As you can see, each resort is labeled as being located in a certain area (MK resort, Epcot resort, AK resort, or DHS resort).

Used in combination with the WDW Travel Times, a listing I made of the approximate time it takes to get from each resort to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, you should be able to figure out the approximate time to get from your starting point to your destination. In my times list, I have listed the quickest method to travel, whether bus, monorail or boat. Using the map and the list of travel times, let’s check out some scenarios:

Special Tips for Going from Resort to Resort

Remembering rule #2 from last week, you will need to choose the open park nearest your destination resort and take the appropriate transportation to that resort. So, looking at the map, if you are at the Pop Century and you are going to the Spirit of Aloha Show at the Polynesian Resort, you would need to take a bus to the Magic Kingdom, and then take the monorail to the Polynesian Resort. Now, if you will look at the list of travel times, it will take approximately 22 minutes to get from Pop Century to Magic Kingdom, and an additional 13 minutes to get from the Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian Resort. You will also need to allow for time to get from the bus area to the monorail which would be approximately 10 minutes. Of course, if there is a wait at the monorail you will have to wait a little longer.

Here is another example:  You wish to go from the Polynesian Resort (an MK resort) to the Animal Kingdom Lodge (an AK resort) for dinner at Boma. Two choices you could make would be

1) Monorail to the Magic Kingdom, then take a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge; or

2) Take a bus from the Polynesian Resort to the Animal Kingdom Park (if the park is open), then take the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Looking at the list of travel times, let’s break each one down:

  1. Taking the monorail to the Magic Kingdom would take approximately 13 minutes. Transferring to the bus line is about 10 minutes. The bus trip from MK to the Animal Kingdom Lodge is 21 minutes. So, assuming no waits at any starting point, choice 1 would take approximately 44 minutes.
  2. Here we begin with a bus ride from the Polynesian to the Animal Kingdom Park; this will take approximately 26 minutes. Transferring to the AKL bus line is approximately 6 minutes. The bus ride from the Animal Kingdom Park to the Animal Kingdom Lodge will take approximately 8 minutes. So, the total approximate time required for choice 2, assuming no waits at any starting point, would be 40 minutes.

Special Tips for Going to Downtown Disney or Magic Kingdom

To go from the parks to Downtown Disney, it is easiest to take the bus, monorail, or boat from the park to the nearest resort. Then, take that resort’s transportation to Downtown Disney.

Now, remember the rule for traveling from park to MK involves a resort or the TTC. According to the map, if you were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you wanted to travel to the Magic Kingdom for extra magic hours, you could either bus to the Contemporary, Polynesian or Grand Floridian, and then monorail to the Magic Kingdom; or you could take a bus from the park to the TTC and then monorail or boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Additional Transportation Tips to Keep in Mind

When in doubt, ask your hotel desk staff for the best way to get to your destination. In addition, keep the following in mind:

  • Remember that, in addition to the actual travel time, you must also allow for other timing considerations such as waiting for a bus, heavy traffic conditions, and loading handicapped guests. You will also need to allow more time during peak season, holidays, and special events. When traveling between your resort and another resort, allow at least an hour for the trip. Generally, if we have ADRs, we allow 1 ½ hours to get from resort to resort. If we arrive too early, we enjoy exploring the resort before we dine.
  • Allow extra time when traveling from one park to the Magic Kingdom as well. Buses should not come at intervals longer than 20 minutes, but you know that if you are coming into the bus stop and the bus to your destination is just leaving, you will have to wait up to 20 additional minutes to your travel time. Also, if there is a line and you do not make the next bus, you may have to allow more time for waiting. In my experience, Disney has done a great job sending folks to the resorts and parks to see if there are heavy crowds at the bus lines and, if so, sending out extra buses to deal with the overload. The best advice I can give you is to over-allow for travel time if you have scheduled reservations or if you are hoping to see the park opening ceremony, etc. It is better to arrive too early than too late, and you can always find great things to fill your time once you are at your destination.
  • Of course, if you have your own car you may prefer driving and parking at the parks. If you are a Disney resort guest, you will be given a free parking pass good at all parks. The only park for which this is not feasible is Magic Kingdom because there is no parking at Magic Kingdom. You must park instead at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Using the bus from your resort guarantees your drop off right at the front of the park.

I hope this information and the tools I provided will help you to navigate your way around WDW, and help you plan your itinerary for a magical trip. Write a comment if you have specific questions and happy planning!

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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2 Responses to Tuesday Disney Tips: Tools for Getting Around at Walt Disney World

  1. Pingback: Things to do outside the Parks: Touring the Resorts | Chip and Company

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