Navigating the WDW Transportation Options

March 3, 2023

Whether you have been to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or not, you are probably aware that it is HUGE! Navigating it can be a challenge, but there is plenty of transportation throughout all the Disney areas, so you don’t have to worry about driving for any of it, unless you choose.

With that said, there are many options and it can be overwhelming to figure out how to get from place to place. Our family had annual passes for several years, visiting weekly many of those years. We have stayed at resorts and visited throughout our lifetime, and spent some of our days just resort hopping (what we call it when you visit the common areas of the resort to see the shops and restaurants and walk the property–this does not include using amenities if you are not a guest, so do not plan to do that).

Let me give you a quick overview of the options and where they are best to use them to, then I will give a few examples of navigating some of the more popular places.

Disney busses

BUSSES This is one of the biggest options and available at all Disney parks, entertainment areas, and resorts. There will be a main bus area at all locations with a schedule either on a screen with expected arrival times or a schedule of estimated times. It can vary, so be patient. Be aware the bus areas may be parked for which park or resort it is going to and you can wait there, or some will be a general waiting area, depending on volume. All busses will have a marquee displaying where it is going to. It is wheelchair friendly, has both seated and standing areas, and is air conditioned. Strollers will need to be folded and children carried, so prepare for this before it arrives.

The ferry/ boat area

BOATS Some of the parks and resort areas offer boats as transportation. The Magic Kingdom offers this to and from all resorts that connect to the lagoon (Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Fort Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Campground, Polynesian), as well as a ferry from the Ticket and Transportation area to the park. There are also boats available in the Disney Springs area to connect to those local resorts, and in the Boardwalk area to connect to those resorts. Be sure to ask since not all resorts are on waterways and accessible. These are stroller and wheelchair friendly for some. These are open air, although they do have roofs, so be aware of this when the weather isn’t favorable.

the monorail

MONORAIL A most iconic transportation system, it does not connect all areas. You can ride the monorail from the Ticket and Transportation center around the loop to the Magic Kingdom and to 3 of the resorts along the loop (Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary). The monorail also connects to EPCOT from the T&T, but not directly from Magic Kingdom, so be prepared to transfer. The monorail is stroller and wheelchair friendly, is air conditioned and has both standing and sitting room.

our family inside the gondola

GONDOLAS These are one of the newest transportation methods and are a great way to see Disney property from the air, reminiscent of the Skyway from long ago in the Magic Kingdom (I’m dating myself with that reference, but with more than 4 decades of Disney visits, I remember a lot of things). These do not connect to all areas, so if you want to experience them, be sure to plan ahead. You’ll find gondola stations behind EPCOT (the entry/exit between England & France that connects to the Boardwalk, Hollywood Studios and some resorts), as well as to some of the outlying resorts. These are vented, but do also have a small AC and heater to offset the extreme days. They have windows all around and two opposing benches, with doors on one side. It is both stroller and wheelchair friendly, and while they are in constant motion, do have an area for loading wheelchairs, so you may notice slowdowns while these recirculate into the queue.

Walkway from GF to MK

WALKABLE AREAS Many areas have walkways connecting them, including the newly added walkway from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, allowing you to walk back to the Polynesian and Ticketing and Transportation/parking if you don’t want to wait on the monorail or ferry. The Magic Kingdom also has a walkway to the Contemporary Resort. There is also a walkway connecting the back of Epcot to Hollywood Studios. This also connects to the Boardwalk entertainment area and several resorts. They are wide walkways and smooth surfaces that are both stroller and wheelchair friendly.

CAR SHARE SERVICE-LYFT I haven’t used this one, but you can’t miss seeing the “Minnie-mobiles” driving around with their red and white polka-dot color scheme. This car share service does have a minimum fee and will transport you around Disney property without sharing with others. You will need to use an app for it, just as you do for other car share services.

So let’s talk options for getting around.

There is personal vehicle parking at all the theme parks and entertainment areas for a fee (Disney Springs and Boardwalk are free at the time of this blog).

Use the busses to get from any resort to any park (except from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary since the bus area is right across from the resort). Use the busses to get from any resort to the Boardwalk or Disney Springs.

For the Magic Kingdom from TT, use the ferry, monorail or take the walkway through the Polynesian, Grand Floridian and around to the Magic Kingdom. For the Magic Kingdom resorts (on the Seven Seas Lagoon) you can use the boats (unless you are one of the 3 on the monorail system–Grand Floridian, Polynesian or Contemporary; you can also walk to Shades of Green from the TT area). Fort Wilderness connects by boats and by bus–be sure you look for Lodge vs. Campground, they are not at the same place.

For EPCOT, you can use the Monorail from Ticketing by the Magic Kingdom, the Gondolas from some of the far off resorts, the boats or walkways from the Boardwalk and Hollywood Studios area resorts.

For Hollywood Studios, you can use the Gondolas, walkways, and busses.

The bus or a personal vehicle will be your only transportation option for reaching Animal Kingdom since it is far from any other locations (including the Animal Kingdom Lodge).

resort hopping

Looking to park hop or try to ride all the transportation options? Here’s an option for you that we have used. Fair warning–you will pay for parking and it does make for a long day, so wear comfy shoes and bring water! Start by parking at the Ticketing and Transportation. Take the ferry to the Magic Kingdom. From the Magic Kingdom, take the walkway around through the resorts to Ticketing and Transportation. Take the monorail to EPCOT. On the backside of EPCOT, take the Gondolas to Hollywood Studios. From Hollywood Studios, take the bus to Animal Kingdom. Then you can take the bus back to Ticketing and Transportation, or to the Boardwalk or Disney Springs to ride the water taxi boats. Then either a Lyft or a bus back to the Magic Kingdom, then your choice to return to TT via the monorail, walkway, or ferry and to your vehicle.

If you are simply trying to resort hop or ride the transportation options, and don’t want to pay parking or admission, you can park at Disney Springs and use the busses to get to a starting point. Be aware you cannot get from the monorail at the front of EPCOT to the Gondola or walkway at the back without admission, so you can take the busses as an alternative (the busses at EPCOT are on the front parking area).

Whichever way you choose to get around, have patience and check the posted marquees for information. Realize, I have no affiliation with Disney, nor is this a paid blog, simply one traveler trying to help other travelers navigate around on their Florida Disney vacation. If you missed last week’s blog about our stay at Fort Wilderness Campground, I share more about that resort, so check it out! Happy traveling!

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find us on Facebook @BarnesOnMove, Tiktok & Instagram @BarnesOnMove OR @BarnesOnMove2, or our website

Camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness in Florida

February 28, 2023

Our site at Fort Wilderness – 1400’s loop near the Meadow

Our family decided we would spend a week at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground to celebrate our Christmas this year. We waited until January, when the prices drop and time was more available in our schedule. We have stayed there before for both tent and RV camping weekends, so wanted to enjoy an extended stay and skip the parks to just enjoy the resort and resort hopping (an activity of just visiting the various resorts and strolling around to see the shops and enjoy a snack or meal).

The check in process is pretty simple, just have your photo ID and confirmation information readily at hand. You’ll get a map to your site and a key card for access to facilities after hours. As in any campground, drive slowly and with caution, there are lots of bikes, golf carts and pedestrians around.

The roads to the sites are one way and can be narrow if you are in a large vehicle or rig, so it may be good to get to your loop and stop and walk it to plan your approach. Being a one way loop road, traffic can build up quickly.

The sites themselves are spacious and the hookups are neat and easy to access. In the sites we’ve been in, they are about midway on the pad. Be mindful as you set up to keep your vehicle and any decor clear of the road so you aren’t an obstruction as you come and go. Our 5th wheel is 37 feet, but as we were trying to park in our site, the campers across from us had posts and lights right up to the road that we had to move to have enough swing to park. We moved them and put them back in place because they weren’t home at the time, or we would have asked them to do it.

The campground is a giant loop around which is nice for walking or navigating. There is a bus stop at the loop areas for getting around within the campground, if you don’t have bikes or carts and don’t want to pay to rent them. You can stop in all the areas of the park, or get transport to the front for busses to all the other parks and areas, or the back for transport to the Magic Kingdom.

In the middle is The Meadows, a recreation area with a pool, splashpad and rental area for canoes and kayaks along the waterways in the campground. It doesn’t appear they would allow personal SUPs or watercraft, but we didn’t ask and didn’t have time to use ours since it was cooler. There is a dog park on the outside of the loop about midway, and seems to be well maintained and has an area for both large and small dogs, as well as vehicle parking if you don’t want to walk.

At the front of the park you’ll find the main bus stop to connect to other parks and areas, the front office, and the horse barn. There is also overflow parking up front for dollies or spare vehicles, as well as guests.

At the back of the park, you’ll find the camp store, a play ground, the restaurants (both sit down and walk up), and the boat area for rentals and boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast at the walkup restaurant and it was not only tasty, but a fair price, considering it is Disney property.

There are activity schedules and nightly movies and smores, so be sure to check the schedule they give you at check in.

Sidewalks are all around the park, but it does get dark at night, so be sure to have some sort of flashlight if you will be out after dark and not using the busses. They do enforce the bicycle helmet laws for children, so be sure to have those ready. Once confusion we ran into was that some cast members tell you to ride your bikes on the sidewalks, although they are not wide enough for two way traffic or for both pedestrian and bicycle, and there are blind corners. Just be sure to proceed with caution whichever surface you ride on. There are bike parking racks at the bus and boat stops for you to secure to if you are taking transportation. We forgot our bike chains, but never had an issues with them–but they are not electric either.

If you do want a golf cart/club car during your stay, the website does have information about renting them. At the time of our stay, they were $60-$80 per day and we prefer a bike ride anyway. If you do rent one, have some sort of lights or streamers to temporarily decorate with so it is identifiable in the sea of carts in the parking. Also be aware there are some Cart Only pathways and No Carts areas, so watch for signs.

Park admission is not required to stay at the campground, or any of the resorts, so that can save lots of money and you’ll still have plenty to do. We did end up spending one day at a park, courtesy of a friend with tickets. If you decide to enjoy the parks, be aware of the rotating additional hours at the parks for those staying in resorts and plan accordingly for transportation. The busses and boats can get pretty busy at peak times. We spent our time around work and school exploring the resorts, Disney Springs and The Boardwalk.

Another helpful tip, be flexible in your dates to stay–this can save you a lot of money. Our stay in January was a fraction of the cost to have stayed in December or February and we had a variety of sites to choose from.

While it does have resort prices and great amenities, it’s a bit lackluster in delivery and the sites are kind of small for larger rigs, making arrival, departure and setup a bit challenging. But it is very well maintained–all sites are washed down and reset before guests arrive.

There is resort wifi, but we didn’t use it much. We have Verizon cell service and I was able to work all week with no issues, even with tree coverage. Due to the tree coverage, Starlink won’t work well. We saw many people reaching theirs through the back of sites and out to open areas on the sidewalks for signals–not recommended.

This is a great location if you want to explore Disney property or visit the many things to do in the area. You can park your vehicle and won’t have to drive again, if you don’t want to! We did enjoy it, but are undecided on whether we will return, unless we have plans to visit parks. We had annual passes for 7 years, so have done a lot of it.

In my next blog post, I’ll go more in depth about navigating around the WDW Resort system using their free transportation, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it and other great information!

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find us on Facebook @BarnesOnMove, Tiktok & Instagram @BarnesOnMove OR @BarnesOnMove2, or our website

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