Getting around the Happiest Place on Earth

Whether you’re a Florida resident with your own vehicle, or you’re a guest who’s flown in from out-of-state, you don’t actually need a car to get from Point A to Point B at Walt Disney World. Having your own vehicle might make things more convenient at times, but in other instances, it’s cost-prohibitive or just plain pointless. For the price you’ll pay for the entire vacation, why not take advantage of the transportation services Disney provides? Here, we’ll go over your options for getting around the Happiest Place on Earth without your own vehicle.

1. Disney’s Magical Express – If you’re flying into Orlando International and will be staying on Disney property, you can use the complimentary shuttle to get from the airport to your hotel. (The bus will also take you back to the airport at the end of your stay. Feel free to reserve one way or both.) Be sure to make a reservation to use this service in advance. Disney will send you a special luggage tag to secure to your checked bags ahead of time. Keep your Magic Bands in your carry-on or somewhere easily accessible.


  • Your vacation begins the minute you step on the bus (which is nice, clean, comfortable, and plays a video as you ride along).
  • Domestic passengers can bypass baggage claim entirely. Disney will make sure your checked bags make it to your hotel room. 
  • You don’t need to worry about how you’ll get from the airport to your hotel because it’s taken care of, and finally…
  • It’s FREE!


  • You’ll be on someone else’s schedule. This means it might take a little while for the Magical Express itself to arrive back at the airport, and that it will take longer than the 30-minute drive to get from the airport to your hotel. Remember, this shuttle makes multiple stops to get everyone to their various hotels. You also need to be ready to leave your hotel 4 hours prior to your plane’s departure time on the day you leave.
  • You won’t have immediate access to your checked bags. It can take 30 minutes to 3 hours after your arrival for your bags to show up. There have been reports of lost baggage, as well.

2. Disney Transportation (Buses, Boats, Monorails) – Transportation needs don’t end when you get to your hotel. There are more than 25,000 acres of land and waterways at Disney World, and Disney has a free system in place to get you absolutely everywhere you want to go without a car. If you don’t mind planning your day according to a schedule (that is typically a little behind), it’s a worry-free way to get around. Transportation begins about 60 minutes prior to the theme parks’ openings and continues 60 to 90 minutes after the parks close. You may need to take a combination of methods to get where you want to go, since the buses won’t take you directly to the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom and the monorails don’t run to every Disney hotel, for example.

3. The Minnie Van –  This adorable fleet of red vans with white polka dots takes guests anywhere they’d like to go on Disney property for a flat fee of $20. (It’s powered by Lyft.) This rate is often a better deal than using a traditional Lyft or Uber because the Minnie Vans come equipped with car seats and the drivers are Disney employees that do not accept tips. Consider it an all-inclusive price. These drivers will actually tell you about what you’re seeing as you’re riding to your destination, so it’s also a private tour. They’ll take you directly to your destination, as well, when Lyft or Uber can only get you close. Because paying $20 every time you want to go somewhere can really add up, it’s a great addition to your existing transportation plans.

If you really love your independence, you can rent a vehicle or call for a Lyft/Uber, but both of those options will cost you more than taking advantage of the transportation Disney provides. In the end, you’ll pay in either time or money. Consider which matters more to you when planning your vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

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