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Walt Disney World Transportation & Parking – Planning 101


If you are staying on Walt Disney World property, there are so many ways to get around the Walt Disney World Resort. Take advantage of the varied options to get to where you need to go. The buses, monorail, ferry boats, skyliner, and Minnie Vans all provide service to different destinations and serve different purposes; each have their own pros and cons. In order to choose which transportation method is best, you need to understand more about each. Let’s explore!


WALT DISNEY WORLD TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

  • Buses (Free)
  • Monorails (Free)
  • Ferries/Boats (Free)
  • Minnie Vans (Additional cost)
  • Disney Skyliner (Free)
  • Taxis/Uber (Additional Cost)
  • Your own personal car
    • If you choose to rent a car or drive your own, parking fees are waived at all theme parks. Your Magic Band will be scanned at the parking lot entrance as proof you are staying on property. You will have to pay for parking at hotel if you are staying on property. There are different fees for Value, Moderate and Deluxe Hotels. See the Resort Parking section below for more details.

TRAVELING BETWEEN THEME PARKS AND HOTELS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

  • Deluxe Resorts to Theme Parks
    • Magic Kingdom Resort guests can take the monorail or ferry to Magic Kingdom; monorail to Epcot; and buses to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
    • Guests staying at the Contemporary can walk to Magic Kingdom.
    • Boardwalk Resort guests can walk to Epcot or take boats to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Buses can be taken to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
    • Guests staying at Disney’s Riviera (Deluxe Villa) have the option to take the Disney Skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
      • Note: Bus service is reduced to once per hour to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from this resorts. Guests are encouraged to use the Skyliner.
    • All other Deluxe Resort guests can take buses to the parks.

  • Moderate and Value Resorts to Theme Parks
    • All guests staying at a Moderate and Value Resort can take buses to all parks.
    • Guests staying at Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation and Pop Century can travel to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios via the Disney Skyliner
      • Note: Bus service is reduced to once per hour to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from these resorts. Guests are encouraged to use the Skyliner.

  • Off-property Resorts/Hotels
    • Many hotels in the surrounding Walt Disney World area offer shuttle service to and from the them parks. Be sure to confirm with your hotel if this service is offered.

I recommend allowing at least 60-90 min travel time if using the buses, depending on the crowds and time of year.


TRAVELING BETWEEN HOTELS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

  • The best (and quickest) way to get from one hotel to another is by taxi/Uber or Minnie Van. Buses do not travel from hotel to hotel.
  • Guests can travel to a theme park and then onto a resort as an option.
  • If you are traveling between Pop Century, Art of Animation, Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can use the Disney Skyliner option.
  • If you are traveling between Disney’s Polynesian, Contemporary or Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Resorts, you can access each of these via the monorail using the Monorail Resort Line.

TRAVELING BETWEEN PARKS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

All 4 parks have transportation available that will easily get to you to another park.

If traveling from Magic Kingdom to the following parks:

  • Epcot – Take the Magic Kingdom monorail or ferry to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and transfer to the Epcot monorail
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios –  bus
  • Animal Kingdom – bus

If traveling from Epcot to the following parks:

  • Animal Kingdom – bus
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – bus, boat, Skyliner (gondola), or you can even walk
  • Magic Kingdom –  Take the Epcot monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and transfer to either the Magic Kingdom monorail or take the ferry

If traveling from Hollywood Studios to the following parks:

  • Animal Kingdom – bus
  • Magic Kingdom – bus
  • Epcot – bus, boat, Skyliner, or you can even walk

If traveling from Animal Kingdom to the following parks:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – bus
  • Epcot – bus
  • Magic Kingdom – bus

WHAT ARE THE SKYLINER STOPS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD?

International Gateway Skyliner Station


The Skyliner has multiple stops with stations at Epcot (near the International Gateway entrance), Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century. The main hub is located closest to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, you can catch the Skyliner going in any direction to any one of these destinations. See map below.

Disney Skyliner Map

HOW DO THE MINNIE VANS WORK AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT?


Overview

  • The Minnie Van private transportation service is provided by Walt Disney World and available by using the Lyft app. Drivers are Walt Disney World Cast Members.
  • The Lyft app is available for download on iOS and Android. In order to request a Minnie Van, you must do so via the app.
  • The cost per trip is $15 flat fee plus $2.75 per mile and available throughout the Walt Disney World Resort including all 4 Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and all Disney hotels.
  • When you create an account on the Lyft app, you will need to enter a credit card as all costs associated with the service. Payment (and tip) is made direct through the Lyft app via a credit card, so cash is not necessary.
  • Each Minnie Vans fit 6-8 guests, has up to 2 car seats available, and can now accommodate wheelchairs and EVCs, if necessary.

TIP: I would set up your account ahead of time so if you decide to use a Minnie Van during your stay, you are good to go!

TIP: I suggest requesting a Minnie Van via the app at the time you are ready, as it can show up within minutes. There may already be a driver in your area, so be ready and waiting.

How Much Do Minnie Vans Cost?

The cost per trip is $15 flat fee plus $2.75 per mile, so depending on where you’re traveling the price will vary.

Here are a few examples of pricing:

  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort to Disney’s Animal Kingdom = $35.32
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to Disney’s Animal Kingdom = $27.15
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to Disney’s Hollywood Studios = $17.74

Should I Tip My Minnie Van Driver?

It is not required that you tip your Minnie Van driver, since they are Cast Members employed by Walt Disney World. However, I personally prefer to tip a few dollars for the service. It’s a personal preference and up to you. There is an option on the app itself to include the tip when paying for the service.

How Many People Can Fit in a Minnie Van?

Each Minnie Van can accommodate 6-8 guests comfortably. Car seats are available for use, and if you have an ECV, a bigger van can be requested. The same fees apply.

What Hours Do Minnie Vans Run?

The service is currently available between 6:30 AM and 12:30 AM. I have been told by several Minnie Van drivers that they will continue running until all Guests have been accommodated and taken safely to their destination(s). So it is possible that they run later.

How Do I Locate My Minnie Van?

When you request the Minnie Van via Lyft, you will be notified how long before your driver arrives to pick you up. At the Resort Hotels, Minnie Vans will pick you up in the front of the hotel, outside the Lobby. At each park, there is a dedicated area (usually near the bus depot). You will also be provided a license plate number via the app. That is how you will be able to identify your Minnie Van. Your driver will also have your name, so you will be able to confirm that way as well.

Minnie Van Airport Service

  • Minnie Van airport transportation is available to and from Orlando International Airport for guests staying at a Walt Disney World hotel.
  • The service is available through the Lyft app; payment is made by a credit card directly through the app, so cash is not needed
  • The cost per trip is $150.
  • If going to the airport, the service is offered to guests with airline flight departures out of Orlando International Airport from 9AM until 12AM daily.
  • Guests using Minnie Vans to get to the airport are advised to use the Resort Airline Check-In for participating airlines.
  • Transportation services can accommodate up to 6 persons per vehicle and up to three car seats for guests under the age of six.

Are Minnie Vans Worth It?

Do I think Minnie Vans are worth it? YES! While this is truly a matter of preference, I think the level of service is fantastic. It’s safe, reliable and usually quicker than using the free Disney transportation, such as the buses and monorail. I understand it’s more money than requesting a regular Uber (which you can still do), and it may not fit into everyone’s budget, but the idea of being driven to your destination by a Disney Cast Member is unique.


HOW DOES DISNEY’S MAGICAL EXPRESS WORK?


Disney’s Magical Express (ME) is a complimentary transportation service provided by Walt Disney World taking guests to and from Orlando International Airport. In order to use this service, you must have a reservation at an onsite Walt Disney World Resort.

When making your reservation online or by phone, you can indicate you would like to use this service. Your flight information is required so the ME knows when to be ready to pick you up and take you back to MCO. If you do not know your flight information at the time you book your resort reservation, you can call 1-866-599-0951 to update your profile with your flight information.

You will receive special luggage tags in the mail a few weeks before your vacation starts. There is one tag per person in your traveling party. Each checked luggage must have a tag. When you arrive in Orlando, you do not need to wait for your luggage, Disney’s ME will take care of it for you. It will arrive at your hotel room in approximately 3 hours from your arrival time. There are times it has taken longer, if you need your luggage quicker, you can retrieve it from the carousel and take it to the ME. They will load it onto the bus so it’s with you once you arrive at the hotel.

Note: if you arrive into MCO after 10:00PM, you will need to retrieve your luggage yourself and take it to the ME. ME’s services are from 5:00AM – 10:00PM.

There are no car seats on the ME. Children can sit on an adult’s lap or in their own seat.

Disney’s ME is located in the Main Terminal in MCO on the B side, Level 1 in the ground transportation area.

If you need a wheelchair, you will need to make arrangements with your airline. ME does not provide this service.


RENTING A CAR AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT

There are times that you may need to visit other locations off site and need to rent a car while at Walt Disney World. Keep in mind, Walt Disney World now charges daily parking fees at the resorts, so if you need to rent a car for only a day or two, this may be an option for you.

Hertz and Alamo both have rental properties onsite at Walt Disney World at the Car Care Center. You can call Hertz or Alamo directly or book online by looking up Walt Disney World Car Care Center. I recently used this service and it was seamless.

While staying at an onsite resort, you can call 407-824-3470 to schedule a complimentary shuttle from your resort to the Car Care Center, or visit your Concierge at your resort for assistance. I would recommend allowing 30-45 minutes transportation time.

The hours of the Car Care Center are:

  • 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Monday – Friday
  • 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Saturday – Sunday

RESORT PARKING

Effective for reservations starting March 21, 2018 and after, Walt Disney World will charge a parking fee for overnight self-parking at all resorts. The fees will vary depending on resort level.

For all 2019 arrivals and any reservations made on or before June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2020:

  • Value Resorts: $13 per night
  • Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
  • Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

For all 2019 arrivals and any reservations made on or after June 18, 2019 for arrivals in 2020:

  • Value Resorts: $15 per night
  • Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
  • Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night

The parking fees will be applied to the hotel bill upon check out.

For Day Guests, standard daytime parking will remain the same for resort visiting, shopping, dining, etc.

Valet parking is also available at select Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts for $33 per night (sales tax included).

Disney Vacation Members will not be charged for overnight parking if staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa. Member will also not be charged when using vacation points to stay at a WDW Resort.


THEME PARK PARKING

A purchased parking ticket will allow entrance into all 4 theme parks for the day (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). The special preferred parking lots are located conveniently close to the theme park entrances. All parking fees include applicable sales tax.

  • Automobile (car or motorcycle): $25 per day
  • Oversized Vehicles (Shuttle, Limo, Camper Trailer, RV, Bus or Tractor Trailer): $30 per day
  • Preferred Parking (car or motorcycle): $50 per day

Registered Guests of Disney Resort Hotels, select Annual Passholders, Premium Passholders and Disney Premier Passport holders may enjoy complimentary standard self-parking at Disney theme parks.


ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS

A number of ChargePoint charging stations are now available in parking lots at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Disney Springs. Guests may ask a Cast Member for directions to these charge ports, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Magic Kingdom Park: 5 spaces—1 space at the front of the Jafar Parking Lot and 4 spaces at the front of the Zurg Parking Lot
  • Epcot: 4 spaces at the front of the Journey Parking Lot
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: 4 spaces in the Medical Parking Lot
  • Disney Springs: 6 spaces—3 on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage and 3 on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage

To use this service, you will need a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card—available at chargepoint.com. The cost to charge at these stations is $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. Charging will stop once the vehicle’s battery is fully charged. ChargePoint will “ping” the owners to alert them when their car is ready.


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