When choosing a transportation option at Disney World, the best option would seem to be whatever the easiest is but that isn't always the case. Perhaps the biggest decision will be based off of where you are staying and how many different options you have to make.
I wanted to jump in here and rank the transportation options but not just a "Oh this one is so much more fun than that one" type of ranking. You have to make decisions and when you do get ready to do that you should have more than just a "fun" factor at your disposal.
Here is my breakdown of the best transportation options you have to work with and which ones are the best for you.
On or off property transportation plays a huge role in any decision that is going to be made.
Monorail's - If you are staying at any Disney resort along the monorail path, such as the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary resort you obviously want to take the monorail because they literally drop you off at your doorstop.
Busses - If your destination is not Magic Kingdom or EPCOT you will need to bus to Hollywood or Animal Kingdom.
If you are staying at one of the hotel/resorts on Hotel Plaza Blvd, your best option is to walk to Disney Springs and hop a bus to any of the parks but know that if you do not have an in-house hotel option, you have to walk back to your hotel.
Boats - If you are staying at the Swan or Dolphin resort, you can take a ferryboat to EPCOT and then catch the monorail to Magic Kingdom or take the Skyliner to Hollywood. You will need to bus to Animal Kingdom.
Ranking your options for transportation to and from all of the Disney World parks.
Yes, the Minnie Van is back and while it will take you anywhere in Disney World, it also costs you as much as $45.00 per trip. That's a lot of money that could be spent somewhere else.
- The buses are by far the most convenient because they literally connect everything together. Doesn't matter if you are doing a water park or night hopping for a fireworks show, the busses will get you there. The problems, however, come late in the evening.
- While taking a bus to a park is typically pretty easy with far fewer passengers, everything changes at night and you could literally wait more than 45 minutes for a bus to your resort. Then add in the number of guests who are also leaving and you have usually hot, sticky and sweaty ride home with worn out kids and parents who lost their patience hours before.
- For many, the busses are the only option and if it is, so be it, they will get you home but they are not fun when they are full. Adding to that chaos is wheelchairs and strollers.
- The ferry service is typically a great option. The big ferries from Transportation Station to Magic Kingdom hold a lot of guests making your wait times much better than the bus or even the monorail later in the evening.
- There are other boats as well and taking them from Hollywood to EPCOT is a nice change of pace that is quite relaxing. At Disney Springs there is also a boat service that will take you from hotels to the shopping.
- At Wilderness Campgrounds and the lodge, the ferryboat options are perfect for a quick trip to one of the three connected parks.
- While the boats and ferry services are quite nice, they tend to take longer for obvious reason, water speed, embarkation, and debarkation. You could also have to wait for the smaller vessels if the crowds are high.
- The monorail system is not only convenient but it is fun at least until the parks unload and you have to stand in line forever and then get crammed into the cars. That is pretty typical of any transport that isn't your car or the Minnie Van.
- The monorail will connect you to several hotels as we said earlier as well as serve as a link between EPCOT and Magic Kingdom via the Transportation Station hub.
- Overall, the monorail is quite easy to use and while it can get crowded it can also provide quicker service to and from the parks.
- The Skyliner is absolute fun. It is quicker than the buses and quicker than the boats and ferries as well as keeping pretty good pace with the Monorail system. The downside is that only connects Hollywood Studios and EPCOT but if you are savvy enough, you can jump the monorail and hit M.K. from EPCOT.
- The Skyliner also connects directly to several hotels including the Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the Riviera.
- The Skyliner typically doesn't have huge lines even at the end of the evening and in most cases depending on your group size you could ride alone but you can also ask to do so and a cast member will allow you to do so should you not want to share a gondola.
What mode of transportation is right for you? That depends on what you need and what is important.
Parents with strollers need to know which transportation modes are the easiest.
- Boats/Ferries - most do not require you to break down the stroller
- Buses - you can't board unless the stroller is broke down.
- Skyliner - No need to break down the stroller
- Monorail - No requirements to break down.
- Minnie Van - You must break down the stroller.
So our final rankings based on convenience, for parents, fun, and getting from park to park may not be what you think.
5th ranked - Mini Van: The time to get from location to location and the cost doesn't make this a great option unless you simply do not want to be around other people.
4th ranked - Ferries and Boats: While this service provides a relaxing trip to several parks, the reality is that only a handful of resort hotels can be directly accessed by the boat services and that can be a little bit of an issue if you have to stop and get on another transport to get back to your hotel.
3rd ranked - Monorail: The monorail is a great service and one that you can ride without having to buy a park ticket but only three hotels are serviced by the rail and that limits everyone else to a park to park option and while it is great, it isn't as convenient as the other two.
2nd ranked - Skyliner: The Skyliner drops off to four resorts and leaves everyone else out. It also only goes between those hotels, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios but the Skyliner is like a free ride you don't have to be crammed in with a lot of other people and frankly, it's a great view and a relaxing trip.
1st ranked - Buses: It kills me to put this here because the only thing redeeming about the bus system is that in the morning you typically don't have to deal with a lot of people. It is cramped and you have to break down strollers but this is the only service that will take you to every single park from every single park and back to your on-property resort taking all the guesswork out of everything else.
For what it is worth, if we are talking about only the fun factor in taking Disney World transportation, the rankings would most certainly look like this.
5 - Mini Van: 4 - Buses: 3 - Ferries/Boats: 2:- Monorail: 1 - Skyliner