James D. (NDD#152) (8 Posts)

A happily-married father of 4 children, James is a lifelong Disney nut. Ever since he found a map of the Magic Kingdom on his aunt's refrigerator over 25 years ago, he has been obsessed with planning trips to Walt Disney World, whether those trips were for himself or for others. This obsession led to the founding of MousePlanning.com which provides concierge-level custom itineraries for people traveling to Walt Disney World.


Photo Credit: Dennis Brown, NDU 5

Although Walt Disney World is the Most Magical Place On Earth, there is at least one component that many guests will tell you isn’t always so magical – Disney Transportation! Have you ever been stuck on Highway In The Sky? Ever missed an ADR because you had to wait 45 minutes for a bus? If you haven’t, I’ll bet that you know someone who has.

Personally, I think that many of the complaints I hear about Disney Transportation are not-so-well-deserved. The system is not perfect, but Disney does an excellent job when you consider the number of people transported every day. There are times when you will be dealt a bad hand, but while there is nothing you can really do about mechanical breakdowns or large crowds, there are some great ways to stack the deck in your favor.

1. Learn All Your Options

As my grandpappy, Ol’ Reliable, used to say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Yes, it is a sad truth that sometimes you don’t have much of an option. If you’re staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, your only Disney Transportation option is taking a bus. But sometimes the best options are not obvious at all. For example, let’s say that you’re at the Polynesian and you want to go to Epcot. Most people are going to take the Monorail to the Transportation & Ticket Center, and then switch to the Monorail going to Epcot. Not counting wait times for the Monorails, this is a journey of approximately 45 minutes. If you want to shave five or ten minutes off the trip, you’re better off walking to the Transportation & Ticket Center and then getting on the Monorail to Epcot.

How can you learn what your options are? A really great place to start is the Our Laughing Place Transportation Wizard. It will give you many (but not all) options for getting from here to there around The World and it will give you a good idea of the travel time as well!

2. Give yourself enough time.

Knowing all your options is the first step, but you need to be realistic about how long you’re going to wait before you board a vehicle and get moving. According to Disney, the average wait is only around 20 minutes. Don’t believe that. A good rule of thumb is to figure on a minimum wait of 20 minutes for each vehicle you use. Raise this estimate at busier times of the year.

This point can not be stressed enough. I’ve been told on occasion that my advice on this subject is overly cautious. But arriving earlier than you expected gives you extra time to do something fun, while underestimating the time you needed results in nothing but spending additional time in line for transportation and/or a missed reservation.

3. Enjoy the journey.

When you’re on the Monorail or a ferry boat, it’s usually easy to enjoy the ride. A 25 minute bus ride isn’t always so pleasant. That is why I said “enjoy the journey.” No matter what mode of transportation you’re using, chances are you’ll be sitting near other people. Talk to the them! You know that you already have a common interest in Disney World to some degree, and Disney has a magical way of making even the most cantankerous curmudgeon smile and chat. Open your mouth and magically make twenty minutes seem like five.

Contributed by: James Dolan (NDD#152) James is the DDL Travel Tips Blogger. He is also the creator of Mouse Planning.

2 thoughts on “3 DISNEY TRANSPORTATION TIPS

  1. Excellent advice, I don’t think we’ve missed an ADR because of transportation but my husband always takes into account the transportation times and we usually show up early.
    I like to stay at the Wilderness Lodge because of all the different transportation options. I never see fit to blame the transportation system itself. Even when the bus shows up and there is no more room, we just wait for the next (we’ve also been known to stand aside when there is standing room only and wait for the next one).

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