On your travel to Disney World, whether using Disney’s own transportation or getting through Disney Travel Agents is a decision that should be based on several factors.
A very commonly asked question regarding Disney World vacations is which is the better option for getting to the parks: Disney World’s bus and monorail transportation or getting a rental car. The answer lies within both one’s individual preferences and desired experience, as well as factors such as in which resort your travel group will be staying. Let’s take a look:
Getting From the Airport to your Disney World Resort via magical Express
The initial impact of your transportation choice will be felt at the airport. Disney provides coach transportation from the airport to your resort via their Magical Express. Finding your way to the Magical Express area of Orlando International is not difficult, as it has its own separate area of the airport, and any airport personnel can direct you to it if you don’t catch one of the many signs pointing the way.
Wait times for your Magical Express ride vary by time of day, time of year, and other factors that also impact the overall crowds visiting and staying at The World. It is rare to wait more than 45 minutes to board your bus from the time you hit the boarding area, but there are occasions when it may be a little longer.
It is generally a well-organized, efficient process. My personal experiences have averaged out to around a 15-20 minute wait from getting to the staging area until on the bus, before making the 25-minute ride to the resorts.
If selecting the rental car option, it is typical of any major airport: Several rental car companies, including all the major brands, are represented in Orlando’s airport. The time it takes to get your car varies by company, staffing on that particular day, and demand. Again, no different than at any other major airport.
Getting Back and Forth from Your Disney World Resort to the Parks
Disney World has a full fleet of buses that are used to transport guests to and from all of their resorts and all of their parks and major attractions. The bus transportation time varies – albeit, not greatly – between resorts. The bus routes service different numbers of resorts.
For instance, the 3 All-Star resorts share buses, while Pop Century has their own. This might seem that Pop Century’s wait times would be substantially less, but that is not necessarily the case. Disney World is well-versed in all aspects of their provided travel and transportation, so they offer more buses to the All-Stars than are run for Pop Century. Basically, over time, they come out about even.
Very generally, wait time for a bus is typically not more than 15 minutes. The exception is at the closing of the parks, as then the wait can be a bit more, as two, three, and even four buses may fill up for certain destinations. At the end of a long day, the waiting can be tiring, but one should keep in mind that they are on vacation and just grin, bear it and enjoy some conversation with fellow vacationers.
Renting a car to go to the parks can cut down on that wait time at the end of a long day, but remember, you are probably not going to be parking anywhere near as close as the buses take you, so there will likely be more walking involved. If waiting in a line for a bus is going to make you crazy, maybe a rental car would be your best bet. If you can enjoy the wait time by taking in the feel of being in a magical place, and enjoying the company of others, waiting for the buses is not a big deal.
Monorail and Boat transportation at Disney World
Some of the deluxe resorts at Disney feature monorail service. Both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are serviced by the monorail. This is a fun, convenient method of getting around, although the wait time might be slightly less than the buses, but not by a lot. The monorail is extremely convenient if you have little ones in strollers, as there is no folding and unfolding; just wheel them on and go.
If your resort is serviced by the monorail, it makes the idea of car rental a little less ideal. One of the major perks you are paying for in a deluxe resort is monorail service, so why not take advantage of it?
Boats run the waterways from certain resorts and to the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney. They are convenient, and generally not too overly crowded. When looking into resorts, make sure to check out possible boat transportation.
Of course, if you are planning on doing things outside of Disney World during your stay, the idea of a car rental becomes more attractive. However, if your plans revolve strictly around Disney World events, my personal advice is to utilize Disney World’s travel and transportation services and spend your car rental budget on some extra corn dogs at Casey’s on Main Street.