What You Don’t Know About Disney World Transportation Shortcuts
Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines. After enduring lengthy lines for attractions, characters, meals, and Starbucks, the last thing I need are lines for the buses, Monorails, and trams. Now Walt Disney World provides a variety of options for getting around property. However, they can be confusing, time consuming, and lots of hurry up and wait. So to maximize your vacation time, and minimize stress, check out what you don’t know about Disney World transportation shortcuts.
When to Use Minnie Vans
Walt Disney World’s newest mode of transportation is Minnie Vans. Driven by a Cast Member, Minnie Vans are covered in Minnie Mouse’s signature white polka dots and transport guests all around property. A Minnie Van costs $25 per trip per vehicle and can be booked and paid for through the Lyft app. Up to six guests can ride in a single Minnie Van which comes with two car seats. This transportation service also accommodates guests with wheelchairs and ECVs as well.
Now I get that Minnie Vans offer that extra Disney touch, but a ride in a standard Lyft car costs less than the price of a Minnie Van. Basically, this means I’m paying for a Cast Member driver and a polka dotted car. Lyft also consistently offers promo codes making a standard ride even more affordable.
That being said, there are two instances where a Minnie Van may be worth the splurge. The first is when visiting the Magic Kingdom, but only if I’m not staying at a Magic Kingdom resort with Monorail access. Guests can’t drive or be driven to the Magic Kingdom, except by Disney bus or…Minnie Van. Yes, Minnie Vans are the only private vehicles which can drop off guests right outside the park gates. If I want to make rope drop or a dinner reservation at the park, the $25 cost may be worth it.
The only other instance where I would consider a Minnie Van is when visiting the Settlement at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The Settlement is home to the resort’s marina, Trail’s End restaurant, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. The Settlement can’t be reached by car; and the resort’s internal bus system is notoriously complicated and time consuming. But once again, Minnie Vans are the exception. Minnie Vans can transport guests right to the Settlement; and believe me, that convenience is worth the price!
Take the Resort Monorail, Skip the Express
The Monorail is Walt Disney World’s signature mode of transportation, an experience as well as a convenience offering elevated views of the most gorgeous areas on property. If only the Monorail itself looked (and worked) better these days, but that’s another article…
Anyway, there are technically three Monorail routes. The Epcot route runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Epcot while the Express route runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and the Magic Kingdom. The Resort route, however, runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Polynesian Village Resort to the Grand Floridian Resort to the Magic Kingdom and then to the Contemporary before looping back to the Transportation and Ticket Center again.
Of course, guests going to and from the Magic Kingdom gravitate to the Express Monorail; and boy, does it show. One of the best Walt Disney World transportation shortcuts is to skip the Express Monorail’s long, long line and take the Resort Monorail instead. Even though it’s not a direct connection, the only stop between the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center is the Contemporary Resort. Even with that stop, the Resort Monorail is often the quickest way to get back the Transportation and Ticket Center at the end of the day.
Don’t Drive to the Magic Kingdom
Unlike the other parks at Walt Disney World, guests technically can’t drive to the Magic Kingdom. Instead, guests park at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) where they then board a tram to take them to either a ferryboat, Monorail, and sometimes a bus in order to reach the park. The whole process takes half an hour easy, if not more. This is why you shouldn’t drive to Magic Kingdom. Save yourself the time and frustration and take advantage of Disney resort transportation, a Minnie Van, or plan accordingly.
Take the Walking Paths
If you prefer determining when you get where, consider taking one of the many walking paths found on property. They’re some of my personal favorite Disney World transportation shortcuts.
One of the best walking paths is the International Gateway, a somewhat hidden entrance/exit between the World Showcase’s United Kingdom pavilion and France pavilion at Epcot. The walking path beyond the International Gateway leads to the Boardwalk Resort, the Yacht and Beach Club Resort, and the Swan and Dolphin Resort. But it doesn’t stop there. The path continues to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! I love being able to explore and enjoy so many destinations without bus hopping. Note: The path spanning Epcot and Hollywood Studios is about a 30 minute trek with little shade. FriendShip boats transport guests to and from both parks, but they do make stops at the resorts along the way and aren’t always operating.
Another convenient walking path connects the Contemporary Resort and the Magic Kingdom. It’s one of the best perks of this resort; and even if you’re not staying there as a guest, you can still use it.
A number of walking paths connect the resorts, which is great for exploring, shopping, and dining. Some of the best? The path between Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter and the Generation Gap bridge between Pop Century and Art of Animation. One in particular is the path connecting the Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort along the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon. It passes right in front of the Disney Wedding Pavilion and offers gorgeous views of the Seven Seas Lagoon area.
Save Money with Disney’s Free Services
Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary bus transportation and luggage delivery for Disney resort guests traveling to and from Orlando International Airport. It’s an awesome service, and one I take advantage of often to prevent the cost of a rental car. But now, I’m using Magical Express to avoid those new pesky overnight resort parking fees.
For all resort reservations made on March 21st, 2018 and beyond, resort guests pay a parking fee upon check-out. Currently, overnight parking at a Value Resort is $13 per night, $19 at a Moderate Resort, and $24 at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort. Personally, I don’t want to forfeit anymore of my cash than I have to; and those fees add up quickly! If it works for your vacation plans, Magical Express can definitely be a Walt Disney World transportation shortcut for your budget!
Those are just a few Walt Disney World transportation shortcuts to help maximize your vacation time and minimize time spent in line. Do you have any transportation tips, hacks, and shortcuts to share?