Getting Around Walt Disney World

by Steve Russo, staff writer
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Here’s a quiz:

You’ve just ridden a train into New York City’s Pennsylvania Station. You need to make your way to an address on the Upper East Side—Lexington Avenue and 93rd Street to be precise. Here are your options:

  1. Take the 1 train to 86th Street, hop on the 86th Street Cross-town bus, exit at Lexington Avenue and walk 7 blocks to your destination;
  2. Walk out of Penn Station and hop on the 34th Street Cross-town bus to Lexington Avenue, get on the 6 train, take it to 96th Street, walk down three blocks to your destination;
  3. From Penn Station, walk to the blue A, C, E line, hop on the E train and get off at 51st Street, transfer to the 6 train and get off at 96th Street, walk three blocks to your destination;
  4. Take a taxi from Penn Station to your destination.

It’s so nice to have options, isn’t it? Which did you choose? Which is correct? The answer, as it is for so many questions about travel, is “it depends." Is it rush hour? Is it raining or a particularly hot or cold day? Are you nursing a bad ankle?

I should note here that someone who lives or works in Manhattan could probably add a few other options to that list. My point here is that the “best” method of getting to a destination may vary based upon circumstances. What does this have to do with Walt Disney World? Everything.

I know that many of you either drive to Walt Disney World or are die-hard advocates of the rental vehicle. You wouldn’t be caught dead taking Disney transportation to a park, resort or Downtown Disney and trust me…I understand. I would offer you, as a group, one piece of advice: it’s still easier to bus from your resort to the Magic Kingdom. I know you’d like the control of having your own car, but the best you’ll do is park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then take a ferry or monorail to the park. A bus from your resort will drop you off at the park entrance—much more convenient, in my opinion.

Let’s get back to the issue of using Disney’s transportation to navigate around Walt Disney World. Disney World is similar to the island of Manhattan in size and it can present similar travel scenarios. The above quiz was based on our real world experience in the couple of years our daughter lived in New York. Here’s another real world quiz for you: I once was staying at the Boardwalk Villas and had dinner reservations at Boma, a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. During this particular trip I did have a rental car so our transportation alternatives included:

  1. Drive the rental car;
  2. Bus from the Boardwalk to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and switch to a bus that would take us to the Animal Kingdom Lodge;
  3. Walk to Epcot via the International Gateway, then walk through Epcot, exiting at the front of the park and catch a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge;
  4. Walk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and catch a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge;
  5. Bus from the Boardwalk to Downtown Disney and switch to a bus that would take us to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Which would you choose? I ruled out the rental car (#1) because I planned to have cocktails before and with dinner. I also ruled out the bus to Downtown Disney (#5) because these buses seem to be on a schedule less frequent than all others (I can’t prove this scientifically but I’ll bet you a Mickey Premium bar it’s true.) We ended up walking to the Studios (#4) essentially because we felt like walking. There is very little difference between the walk through Epcot (#3) and to the Studios (#4). You could just toss a coin.

On a previous visit, we made this same trip by taking the bus to Animal Kingdom (#2) and I truly believe this is the best, most efficient option. Why didn’t we use it this time? The Animal Kingdom had closed at 5:00 PM this day and our dinner reservation was for 7:30 PM. I didn’t think the buses to the Animal Kingdom would still be running. You should also note that in most official Disney literature, they would advocate using option #5. They seem to view Downtown Disney as the ideal transfer point between buses to and from different resorts. That may be because it’s open consistently later than the parks and should be available for longer periods each day. In my experience, transferring at Downtown Disney should only be your primary option when it’s so late that the parks are near closing or have already closed.

When you check into a Disney resort, one of the items in your information packet will have a breakdown of suggested travel between two locations. While it’s helpful, it’s not always right, and at times does not represent the most efficient means. I once checked the Disney transportation guide for the best means of traveling from the Boardwalk to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, held in Pioneer Hall in Fort Wilderness. The guide said to bus to Downtown Disney (again, the accepted transfer point), transfer to a bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center, then to a bus for transportation to Fort Wilderness. Using our own ingenuity, we rode a bus to the Magic Kingdom and switched to a boat to Fort Wilderness that dropped us at a dock very close to Pioneer Hall. The total elapsed time was 30 minutes—but we did have a very short wait for the bus and the boat was essentially waiting for us at the Magic Kingdom dock.

Similar to a native New Yorker making his way around Manhattan, nothing will replace experience in navigating your way around Walt Disney World. You will always have options and alternatives, and to be perfectly honest, I consider navigating the World to be part of the fun (your mileage may vary.) If you’ve visited Walt Disney World multiple times, you may know the transportation systems like the back of your hand. If you’re a relative newbie, it can be overwhelming. Consider your options:

Bus:


We all know what this is, don't we? Photo by Steve Russo.

Most locations at Walt Disney World are accessible by bus although you may need to transfer from one bus to another to reach certain destimations.

Boat:


A small part of Disney's "navy.' Photo by Steve Russo.

I have no way to substantiate this but I once heard that, based on the sheer numbers of watercraft, Walt Disney World has the third largest navy in the world. In any event, there are many boats.

The Magic Kingdom is accessible by water taxis from the three monorail resorts (the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian) as well as from the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.

Ferryboats are available to and from the Magic Kingdom theme park and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios are serviced by a fleet of Friendship boats. The boats travel between these two parks and service the Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin.

The Downtown Disney area is accessible by ferryboat from the Port Orleans resorts (French Quarter and Riverside), Old Key West and Saratoga Springs.

Monorail:


Monorail Red. Photo by Steve Russo.

I could argue that the Monorail is as much an attraction as a means of transportation. For me, no trip is complete without at least one spin on the Monorail, preferably a trip into Epcot after dark. The Walt Disney World Monorail System has three separate loops through the Resort:

  1. The Resort Monorail connects the Magic Kingdom park with the three monorail resorts (the Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian) and the Transportation and Ticket Center;
  2. The Express Monorail runs essentially the same loop, but on a different beam. It connects the Magic Kingdom with the Transportation and Ticket Center but makes no resort stops;
  3. The third loop offers round-trip service to Epcot from the Transportation and Ticket Center.

So what does all this mean? When you need to get somewhere at Walt Disney World, you will often have several options available to you. Determining the best alternative, unfortunately, requires a level of experience with the Resort and the different transportation systems. That’s what I refer to as my Disney “street cred." If you simply rely on Disney’s Transportation Guide you will likely be routed for convenience—theirs, not yours.

To illustrate, let’s try another scenario. Let’s assume you’re at your resort—in this case we’ll use All Star Movies—and you need to get to the Polynesian for a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana. How would you do it?

A look at the Disney-supplied Transportation Guide would tell us to:

  1. Board a bus marked Downtown Disney;
  2. At Pleasure Island, exit and board a bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center;
  3. Board the Monorail and exit at the Polynesian.

Whew! As an alternative, the Guide offers boarding a bus at Pleasure Island directly to the resort, in this case the Polynesian.

How would I handle this issue? A taxi from the All Star Movies would be the easiest and most direct means of travel but let’s assume we’d like to do this without additional cost. It would seem that a bus from All Stars to a theme park would be the way to begin. You could simply hop the first bus that came to your stop and then, from the theme park or Downtown Disney, transfer to a Polynesian bus. Personally, I’d opt for a bus to the Magic Kingdom then choose either a boat or the monorail to the Polynesian—making that decision on what looked to be the quickest method once I arrived. That’s not a clear winner but I like the flexibility of taking the boat or Monorail, and from experience, recognize that the Monorail is probably the fastest way to get there. Let’s also not lose sight that you might want to take the Monorail (or the boat) just because it’s fun.

If you’re a Disney World veteran, you probably haven’t learned anything new reading this column, but hopefully you might have had some fun with some of the scenarios presented… or you might want to take issue with some of my claims. That’s fine, too.

If you’re less experienced, I hope this advice will help you better navigate your way around the World on your next trip. I’ll leave you with some advice; some words of wisdom regarding Disney World’s transportation options:

  1. DON’T ask a cast member for guidance. I believe too many of them rarely use Disney transportation and I’ve been steered wrong on more than a few occasions;
  2. DON’T trust Disney literature or Transportation Guides. While they may work, they won’t offer the most efficient means. For example, they won’t take weather or time of day into consideration;
  3. DO ask bus drivers for advice. They all drive multiple routes and are familiar with the roadways, theme parks and resorts. They can also be enlightening on special circumstances involving weather, park closings, etc.

Those are a few more opinions, so have at them…and, as always, thanks for reading.

Comments

  1. By mwalter

    Hi Steve:

    I agree with your statement that nothing replaces experience when it comes to Disney transportation. I also consider the entire system as almost an attraction itself. We have been fortunate to stay on the monorail line at the Poly and there is nothing quite as relaxing as walking out of the Magic Kingdom and hopping on the monorail for the short ride home. My one quibble with the whole system is leaving the Magic Kingdom for a non-monorail resort after Extra Magic Hours. The lines for the buses to ALL resorts is nothing short of chaos. My advice to people in this position is to linger in the park as long as possible because you aren't going to get back to your resort any faster anyway. Just make sure you don't miss the last bus. LOL

  2. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by mwalter View Post
    Hi Steve:

    I agree with your statement that nothing replaces experience when it comes to Disney transportation. I also consider the entire system as almost an attraction itself. We have been fortunate to stay on the monorail line at the Poly and there is nothing quite as relaxing as walking out of the Magic Kingdom and hopping on the monorail for the short ride home. My one quibble with the whole system is leaving the Magic Kingdom for a non-monorail resort after Extra Magic Hours. The lines for the buses to ALL resorts is nothing short of chaos. My advice to people in this position is to linger in the park as long as possible because you aren't going to get back to your resort any faster anyway. Just make sure you don't miss the last bus. LOL

    Excellent points. Thank you.

  3. By jdb in AZ

    Now try all that with a scooter. The Monorail is much easier to "load" than a bus, but of course the Monorail doesn't go to all sites. We didn't try any of the boats.

    You really have to be an excellent navigator to get a scooter onto a bus, and turned/backed into the correct position so the driver can chain/belt it in place. While all the other passengers try to be patient. For the monorail you just drive on board. Unless you're in Disneyland and then they have to chain the scooter in place too. Go figure.

  4. By Drince88

    A reason (besides cost) why people don't use taxis is having children who require car seats. Not a good thing to gamble with!

    My sister and I rely on Disney transport, but will take taxis to get 'home' from a nice dinner at a resort, for both speed and because a bus full of tired people (of all ages) can REALLY kill the vibe of a nice relaxing meal.

  5. By danyoung

    Excellent and comprehensive article, Steve. The only point I disagree with is the approach to the Magic Kingdom. I always have a rental car, and I always drive from my hotel to the MK, or rather to the Transportation and Ticket Center. That ferry across the water or that monorail around the lagoon are important parts of the approach to the MK. Walt Disney specifically designed this part of the park to allow a more remote feel to the MK. Getting there by bus directly to the front gate kinda feels like cheating to me. Of course, this appraoch can be a big problem at the end of a park day, when tens of thousands of people are all storming for the ferries and monorails. My solution? The short walk from the MK to the Contemporary, and then getting on the monorail there where there's no huge crush of people waiting to board. I get to the TTC in one stop, and from there it's a short tram ride out to my car. Works like a charm!

    I also wanted to comment on the busses. There's been a huge discussion on another site about the busses, with some people feeling that they're not very cool or very themed or very Disney, and that Disney somehow needs to come up with something better than boring ol' busses. But no one in that discussion could ever come up with what that "something" would be. Sure, it would be cool to have a monorail network that goes from everywhere to everywhere. But it would be completely cost prohibitive (not to mention extremely complicated!).

    The busses, while not glamorous, work very well at moving large amounts of people from A to B (to C to D to E). But for some routes you just have to give yourself more time. If you're travelling from your hotel to most other hotels, the only way short of driving or using a taxi is to take two busses (or a bus and a boat) - one to a park or Downtown Disney, and then transfer to another bus (or boat) that goes to your chosen location. This can take 45 minutes to an hour, when you include the waits for your bus or boat at both locations. And then do the same thing in reverse to get back to your own hotel. So the transportation system will get you there, but for me it's much cooler to use that rental car.

  6. By Little Mitchie

    I've made 5 trips to WDW and have never had a rental car. I have relied on their transportation for everything. I've had friends that completely despise it and others that have no problem with it, like me. Sure, there are times if you wonder if a bus will ever come by the Winter Gardens mini golf at 9:00 in the evening to take you home. And then there is the 3-4 bus wait at the end of a night in front of a park. You just have to live with it.

    Several years ago my brother joined me for what was his first trip. We stayed at the All-Star Movies resort. We checked in and our room was ready so we went to our room to change--then off to the Magic Kingdom. To me, all of my trips have to start at the MK. That's what it's all about, right? It was about 9:00 in the morning and to our surprise there was a wait for a bus in front of our hotel. There were about 5000 cheerleaders heading to the park. Okay, I'm exaggerating, it was only about 2000. What do we do? We won't be getting on the next bus and it is questionable about the second bus. That's when I came up with a brilliant plan. We're going to Epcot even though our goal is still the MK. There was nobody waiting and the bus was just arriving. When we got there we went through security then immdiately up the ramp to the monorail. The park is just opening, who is leaving? We were. Nobody was at the departing monorail and we got to ride in the cab. At the TTC we thought about jumping monorails but then decided to take a ferry. It was a beautiful morning and a nice float across the bay.

    All in all, it may have been faster to have waited for the bus at the resort but it was a great experience. My brother still thinks that was a fantastic introduction to the Wonderful World of Disney.

  7. By danyoung

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Mitchie View Post
    We're going to Epcot even though our goal is still the MK.

    Great innovative use of Disney transportation! Many times I've headed for the Epcot parking lot and jumped right on the monorail for the MK or for dinner at one of the MK hotels. As long as my plan has me finishing at Epcot, it works out great (and is fun, too!).

  8. By mom22gls

    If we plan to have dinner at another resort, we, typically, will plan to go there directly from a park, so we can take Disney transportation directly to the other resort. In fact, very often I plan our resort dinner reservations logistically, close to whichever park we plan to go to, anyway. Last month, I spent a long weekend at WDW with my kids. Day one, we arrived around lunchtime, and, after checking in, we went to the MK. I had, already, made a dinner reservation at the Kona Cafe, figuring we usually go to the MK as our first park of the trip, and it would be easy to use the monorail to get to dinner, then, back to the park, either to go to the park, or to grab a bus back to our hotel. We frequently plan a meal in the Boardwalk area, and just plan to be at Epcot first. Last summer, we had a large group meeting for dinner at Boma, and everyone was spending the afternoon at different parks, so we all took buses from the park, except for my daughter and niece, who decided to return to the resort first. From Saratoga Springs, they took a boat to Downtown Disney, then transferred to the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus-the kids were 11 and 14, and my 11 year old was the one who knew how to get around. Yes they made it to dinner with no problem.

  9. By mrshiny

    I would agree that the Downtown Disney buses always seem the most infrequent. I still recall going from SSR to DTD for an ADR at Raglan Road - and having the process (due to the wait for the bus and the inexplicable route used) take about an hour!

    A couple of notes:
    Going to the Polynesian I too agree best to go to MK. Once there, there are a lot of options - just take whichever is available:
    As you mention
    boat to Poly
    monorail to Poly

    But also, you can take the express monorail or ferry to TTC. Unlike the guide suggests, don't take the monorail though. Just walk from the TTC onto the grounds of the Poly! There is a path and it's fairly short.

    Also, i would agree that the walk through Epcot or to DHS from BW is about the same, but the walk to DHS is so much less interesting and so more exposed. On a hot/rainy/cold day, it can seem much longer. At least there is a lot to look at going through Epcot!

    Final tip that we learned from experience - if you are on a boat (or probably any other form of transit that allows it) and the weather gets dicey - just stay on! We were stranded at the DHS boat dock because we got off just as a storm was rolling in. "Why did we get off the boat?" we kept thinking!

  10. By worldlover71

    Last April I was at the Carribbean Beach Resort and had dinner reservations at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I planned on taking a bus to Animal Kingdom (it was 4:30 and AK closed at 5pm) and then switching to a bus to AKL. When the bus arrived, I was the only one on it since AK was closing so soon. I chatted with the driver and when I mentioned that my actual destination was the Lodge, he radioed to the dispatcher and got permission to take me there instead! I got there much earlier than expected and had plenty of time to wander around the grounds and enjoy the animals before dinner. The moral of the story is that Disney cast members (including bus drivers) know what they are doing and will go out of their way to help you when they can.

  11. By danyoung

    That's one of the many things that is so cool about Disney resorts - if you get there early, there's plenty to see and do to kill time!

  12. By disnut8

    Excellent article. When it comes to Disney transportation, I always tell anyone to use their imaginations. There have been many times when my husband and I have come out of one park, heading for a second one and have come up with interesting ways to get there. Usually, it's going over to Epcot so we've taken the bus to the front, bus to the Epcot resorts and then through the International Gateway, bus to a monorail resort and then the monorail over to Epcot (transferring, of course) or even bus to Wilderness Lodge and then a boat to Magic Kingdom and then either the ferry or monorail to the TTC and then over to Epcot. Yes, transportation at Disney World can be a lot of fun if you have the time and imagination.

  13. By Belgarion42

    One tool that I used on my first trip last October was the OLP Transportation Wizard. You can see the online version at http://www.ourlaughingplace.com/asp/twiz.aspx, and it is also available as a free app for the iPhone/iPod Touch (does not require an Internet connection). Select your start and end points and it provides a few possible routes, with estimated times for each. It's not perfect, and it doesn't cover all possible options, but it seemed to hit the main ones.

    In your All Star Movies --> Polynesian example, I looked it up in this app, and the first choice was drive, followed by Bus to the Magic Kingdom, transferring to a Monorail to get to Poly. Interestingly, it also provided as an option bus to Blizzard Beach, then transfer to a bus to the Polynesian Resort.

  14. By Lloydian

    A quick note about the "third largest navy" thing. I think you're remembering the description of the Disney submarine fleet as the world's third largest sub fleet. Now back to your originally scheduled program.

  15. By Chewyswimmer

    Here is a transportation question for you. At the end of the day, leaving the Magic Kingdom, which way via monorail is quicker. Express to TTC which has crazy sick lines, or take the resort line with a stop at Contemporary and then to the TTC. Distance wise it is resort line, timewise, now that is my problem. Anyone tried it?

  16. By suebear

    My husbands loves to drive, but when we get to Disney World, we love to just park the car and never get in it again until we have to leave We find Disney Transportation to be a major part of the magic -- here's our latest example:

    In January, we were staying at All Star Sports. My family and I decided that we would like to visit the Wilderness Lodge. We took the bus to Magic Kingdom, then the boat to Wilderness Lodge. While we waited for the boat, we enjoyed watching boats pull in and out, hearing the monorail whir by, and the steam engine train whistling and clanging into the station . . . it was magic! Then the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge, as the sun set, was glorious. The walkway to the Lodge was beautiful, with wooden walkways and glowing lanterns. We experienced the grandeur of the Wilderness Lodge, and then took the boat back to the Contemporary -- again the walk from the boat to the resort was beautifully themed, just more, well, contemporary. We enjoyed dinner in the Contemporary, and afterwards took the monorail, back to Magic Kingdom, then the bus back to the hotel. During our monorail ride, we got to see the Light Parade on the water. And all of this (other than the meal) was completely free!

  17. By suebear

    The resort monorail is usually faster, and even if it isn't, it's less crowded and you get to sit down.

  18. By danyoung

    Quote Originally Posted by Chewyswimmer View Post
    Here is a transportation question for you. At the end of the day, leaving the Magic Kingdom, which way via monorail is quicker. Express to TTC which has crazy sick lines, or take the resort line with a stop at Contemporary and then to the TTC. Distance wise it is resort line, timewise, now that is my problem. Anyone tried it?

    Assuming they both travel more or less the same distance, the stop at the Contemporary adds no more that 2 or 3 minutes to your trip. So the answer to your question is whichever one has the shortest lines.

  19. By m1ckeymouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Chewyswimmer View Post
    Here is a transportation question for you. At the end of the day, leaving the Magic Kingdom, which way via monorail is quicker. Express to TTC which has crazy sick lines, or take the resort line with a stop at Contemporary and then to the TTC. Distance wise it is resort line, timewise, now that is my problem. Anyone tried it?

    You also have to consider that the express monorails arrive more frequently that the resort monorails do. So a longer line does not always mean longer wait.

  20. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by suebear View Post
    My husbands loves to drive, but when we get to Disney World, we love to just park the car and never get in it again until we have to leave We find Disney Transportation to be a major part of the magic -- here's our latest example:

    In January, we were staying at All Star Sports. My family and I decided that we would like to visit the Wilderness Lodge. We took the bus to Magic Kingdom, then the boat to Wilderness Lodge. While we waited for the boat, we enjoyed watching boats pull in and out, hearing the monorail whir by, and the steam engine train whistling and clanging into the station . . . it was magic! Then the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge, as the sun set, was glorious. The walkway to the Lodge was beautiful, with wooden walkways and glowing lanterns. We experienced the grandeur of the Wilderness Lodge, and then took the boat back to the Contemporary -- again the walk from the boat to the resort was beautifully themed, just more, well, contemporary. We enjoyed dinner in the Contemporary, and afterwards took the monorail, back to Magic Kingdom, then the bus back to the hotel. During our monorail ride, we got to see the Light Parade on the water. And all of this (other than the meal) was completely free!

    I agree 100%. We once took an entire day in December to visit resorts looking at Christmas decorations. We rode buses, boats and monorails and it was totally relaxing.

    The difference comes when you're trying to make a reservation somewhere and you're anxiously awaiting that same bus, boat or monorail. It's not as relaxing when you've been waiting 20 minutes ;-)

  21. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by m1ckeymouse View Post
    You also have to consider that the express monorails arrive more frequently that the resort monorails do. So a longer line does not always mean longer wait.

    And the express monorails usually have everyone exiting at the stop - either TTC or MK. The resort monorail may have half the people staying on board for the "next stop".

  22. By m1ckeymouse

    Another great article Steve,

    As a semi local we always drive to the world (actually have been there 10 straight weekends, 8 of which were only to play golf) having the car available gives us 100% flexibility. But, the only park we take the bus to is the MK all the other parks are far easier to drive to. We also always have a ADR at the contemporary so we can have a good meal and just walk over, by far the best way to the MK.

    Also the above statement changes depending which resort we are staying at. If we stay at an all star we will never take a bus,the same applies to saratoga,riverside or any of the big multi stop resorts. In short no matter if you have a car or not the resort you choose will determine most of your transportation decisions (unless you have a 4 year whose favorite attraction is the bus ride)

  23. By m1ckeymouse

    Quote Originally Posted by srusso100 View Post
    And the express monorails usually have everyone exiting at the stop - either TTC or MK. The resort monorail may have half the people staying on board for the "next stop".

    Agreed excellent point, also most nights if you leave the park late (still trying to be the last one out) the resort monorails are the only way to get to the TTC.

  24. By mickeymom5

    Steve,
    Another great article! We always leave the "transportation" to Disney on all our WDW trips. It is nice that we don't have to do the actual navigating. My kids enjoy the buses, boats and monorails. They are more like "attractions" to them. It is also great places to "meet" other families and talk about where they are from and what all they have been enjoying.

    Thanks again!

  25. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by mickeymom5 View Post
    Steve,
    Another great article! We always leave the "transportation" to Disney on all our WDW trips. It is nice that we don't have to do the actual navigating. My kids enjoy the buses, boats and monorails. They are more like "attractions" to them. It is also great places to "meet" other families and talk about where they are from and what all they have been enjoying.

    Thanks again!

    Thank you.

  26. By marclichon

    Quote Originally Posted by suebear View Post
    My husbands loves to drive, but when we get to Disney World, we love to just park the car and never get in it again until we have to leave We find Disney Transportation to be a major part of the magic -- here's our latest example:

    In January, we were staying at All Star Sports. My family and I decided that we would like to visit the Wilderness Lodge. We took the bus to Magic Kingdom, then the boat to Wilderness Lodge. While we waited for the boat, we enjoyed watching boats pull in and out, hearing the monorail whir by, and the steam engine train whistling and clanging into the station . . . it was magic! Then the boat ride to Wilderness Lodge, as the sun set, was glorious. The walkway to the Lodge was beautiful, with wooden walkways and glowing lanterns. We experienced the grandeur of the Wilderness Lodge, and then took the boat back to the Contemporary -- again the walk from the boat to the resort was beautifully themed, just more, well, contemporary. We enjoyed dinner in the Contemporary, and afterwards took the monorail, back to Magic Kingdom, then the bus back to the hotel. During our monorail ride, we got to see the Light Parade on the water. And all of this (other than the meal) was completely free!


    I have to agree; look at our trip reports and you'll see that we schedule a day of doing nothing but resort-hopping. Sometimes we try to make the most convoluted itineraries to see out-of-the-way resorts (Port Orleans) and hit as many different types of Disney Transportation as possible. It's a great way to see the different facets of Disney theming (beyond the parks) and it's free. Also, you can get things in some resorts that you can't in others (Dole Whip in the Poly, Gelato at Coronado Springs, etc...); it's one of our favorite things to do.

  27. By danyoung

    Quote Originally Posted by srusso100 View Post
    And the express monorails usually have everyone exiting at the stop - either TTC or MK. The resort monorail may have half the people staying on board for the "next stop".

    While that's true in the daytime, it's not usually true at park closing, when people are swarming on at the MK and getting off at the hotels and the TTC. By the time the resort monorail gets back to the MK it should be mostly empty.

  28. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    While that's true in the daytime, it's not usually true at park closing, when people are swarming on at the MK and getting off at the hotels and the TTC. By the time the resort monorail gets back to the MK it should be mostly empty.

    I agree in theory but I can tell you on my last trip, after 8:00 closing, approximately a third of the folks on the monorail arriving at the MK, stayed on. Either traveling resort to resort or (maybe) GF to TTC?

  29. By danyoung

    Or perhaps people coming back from Epcot and transferring at the TTC. Interesting observation.

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