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A Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Disney Transportation and Parking at Walt Disney World

There are lots of ways for families to enjoy time at Walt Disney World Resort (WDW), from a day of splashing at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park to leaving the theme parks for character dining at a Disney resort hotel. We especially love the restaurants at Disney Springs for a memorable meal.

The key to any good family outing to Mickey’s house, however, is knowing the best way to park and get from point A to point B at WDW. And that’s why this guide to transportation at Walt Disney World is here for you!

As a mom of two, I’ve been taking (sometimes dragging) my kids all over Disney property for years, and we’ve had more outings get a stressful start due to transportation issues than I care to recount. Over the years, however, I’ve streamlined how to park at and use Disney transportation like a pro.

Transportation and Parking at Walt Disney World

Whether you’re planning the best way to get from a day at Disney Springs to that evening reservation at Hollywood and Vine or you’re looking to get the kids out of the house for a walk around Disney’s BoardWalk, here’s everything parents need to know about how to navigate Disney transportation.

The main forms of transportation at Walt Disney World:

  • Bus
  • Monorail
  • Boat
  • Skyliner
  • Minnie Van

Parking at Walt Disney World

If you’re driving your vehicle (or a rental car) onto Walt Disney World property, there’s lots to know about how parking at Walt Disney World works.

Guests driving a vehicle at WDW can park at Disney Springs, the four WDW theme parks, Disney resort hotels, Disney water parks, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports, but each has its own set of rules and guidelines.

Parking at Disney Theme Parks

  • Theme park parking is included for guests of WDW hotels and some annual pass holders.
  • Non-hotel guests and guests who are not annual pass holders pay $30 per day to park at a Disney theme park.
  • Paid parking is good at all four theme parks if you park hop during the same day.
  • Preferred parking is available for a higher rate, and hotel guests and annual pass holders can pay the difference between standard and preferred parking if they want to upgrade for the day.
  • Trams are present at each theme park to take you from your parking area to the park entrance. You’ll also find electric vehicle charging at each park, as well as a “car locator” feature in the My Disney Experience app, which helps you remember where you parked that day.
Rideshare and Drop Signs at EPCOT Parking Lot - image by Terri Peters
EPCOT Parking Lot image by Terri Peters

Disney Hotels Parking

  • Parking at Walt Disney World resort hotels is complimentary for overnight guests and for guests who are visiting the resort for select dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation activities at the resort.
  • If you’re hoping to park on property at a WDW hotel where you’re not an overnight guest, it’s a good idea to make a dining reservation there to secure a spot.
  • At deluxe and deluxe villa resorts, as well as at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, valet parking is available for $33 per night.
  • Parking at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is $34 per night for self-parking and $44 per night for valet.
  • Parking at Swan and Dolphin is validated for non-overnight guests who are dining at Amare, Il Mulino, Kimonos, Rosa Mexicano, Shula’s Steak House, and Todd English’s BlueZoo, or visiting the Mandara Spa.

Where Can You Park for Free?

  • Parking at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks is complimentary.
  • Parking at Disney Springs is complimentary for all guests.
  • Parking at the ESPN Wide World of Sports is complimentary.
T Rex Restaurant at Disney Springs image by Dani Meyering

Walt Disney World Bus Service

Other than driving your vehicle, bus service at Walt Disney World is the most extensive method of transportation on property.

This complimentary service can take guests to all WDW theme and water parks, Disney Springs, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports and offers pick-up and drop-off at all Disney resort hotels.

Using Disney Bus Transportation to get around is great for touring the Christmas decorations at the Disney Boardwalk Hotels.

  • Bus service between Disney resort hotels and WDW theme parks starts 45 minutes prior to each theme park’s opening and ends one hour after the park has closed.
  • Bus service between Disney resort hotels and Disney Springs starts when Disney Springs operating hours begin and ends one hour after Disney Springs has closed.
  • To access Disney’s water parks by bus, most Disney resort hotel guests will need to take a bus to Animal Kingdom, then transfer to a bus that heads to the water parks. The exceptions are guests of the All-Star hotels and Coronado Springs, which offer direct transportation to the water parks.

Walt Disney World Monorail Transportation

While its scope isn’t as large as Walt Disney World’s bus service, the WDW monorail can get you to several Disney resort hotels, EPCOT, the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and Magic Kingdom Park.

It’s also a popular holiday season pasttime to tour the Christmas decorations at the Monorail Resorts.

  • There are three monorail loops at Walt Disney World: the Resort Monorail, the EPCOT monorail, and the Express Monorail.
  • The Resort Monorail makes stops at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • The EPCOT Monorail and Express Monorail both stop at the TTC and make stops at EPCOT or Magic Kingdom Park.
  • The Resort Monorail is home to the unofficial “monorail pub crawl.” A great way to spend an afternoon or evening seeing everything the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian have to offer is to travel this monorail loop, getting off at each resort for a snack, meal, or simply to check out what each resort has to offer.
View of Monorail from Contempo Cafe
View of Monorail from Contempo Cafe Dani Meyering

Walt Disney World Water Transportation

Another vast method of transportation at Walt Disney World is the water transportation on property. Water transportation at WDW will get you to all theme parks except Animal Kingdom, as well as Disney’s BoardWalk and Disney Springs.

  • Magic Kingdom Park and the Magic Kingdom resorts can be accessed via water taxi from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
  • Ferry boats connect Magic Kingdom Park and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • Water taxis travel between Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
  • Disney’s FriendShip boats transport guests to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make pick-up and drop-off stops at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Walt Disney World Swan Hotel.
  • The Sassagoula River Cruise boats take guests to and from Disney Springs from Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, and Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.
Disney FriendShip boat leaving EPCOT image by Dani Meyering

Disney Skyliner Transportation

The Disney Skyliner offers transportation to and from a few Disney resorts, as well as EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The sky-high option, which features a series of gondolas that move on cables high above WDW, can be a great way to visit resorts along its route for dining.

  • Both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be accessed via the Disney Skyliner.
  • The Skyliner also makes stops at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is considered to be the hub of the Skyliner system.
family of 2 adults and 2 children poses for picture at Disney Skyliner Caribbean Beach Station

Adults may also love the idea of a Disney Skyliner crawl.

Minnie Van Service

While it can be pricey, Walt Disney World’s Minnie Van service, powered by rideshare app Lyft, is an incredibly efficient and simple way to get from point A to point B on WDW property. Minnie Van drivers are WDW cast members and can pick you up and drop you off at just about any location on Disney property. 

  • Using the Lyft app, guests of Walt Disney World Resort can call a Minnie Van to pick them up and drop them off all over WDW property. The rideshare-style ride system can transport guests anywhere at WDW, from up close to theme park gates to straight to the door of the resort where you’ve got a dining reservation.
  • Minnie Vans run from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.
  • Prices for Minnie Van rides vary, but are normally around $40 per trip. Pricing can be seen in the Lyft app before you select your Minnie Van ride, so there are no surprises later on.
  • Children under 6 must ride in a car seat and two complimentary car seats are provided in each Minnie Van.
  • While pricey, Minnie Van is a great way to save time with Disney transportation. And, the vehicles are adorably painted red with white polka dots in homage to Minnie Mouse herself.
Disney Minnie Van at Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney Minnie Van image by Terri Peters

Tips for Parents for Parking and Using Disney World Transportation

  • Try to map out in advance the best way to park and get where you need to go at Walt Disney World. Headed to Hollywood Studios after character dining at Topolino’s Terrace? Leave your car parked at Disney’s Riviera Resort and take the Disney Skyliner to the park.
  • Running late? While pricey, Minnie Van is a great way to get kids out the door and on to the next destination with less stress.
  • Remember: Your stress level sets the tone for your entire family’s day. Take a deep breath and remember, there are tons of transportation options available at WDW and most activities offer a grace period if you’re running late.
  • When in doubt, ask a cast member for help. WDW cast members, whether at a resort hotel or in the theme parks, are usually very knowledgable about all the ways to get around at Disney World.
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Terri Peters

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