WDW provides transportation to get you anywhere on property, but how effective is it? If you’re staying at a WDW you can use their buses (at all resorts) to get to the parks. Some of the deluxe resorts provide alternative ways to get to the parks, like boat or monorail. Port Orleans-both French Quarter and Riverside-offer boats to Disney Springs. So why would you bother renting a car at all? Let’s look at the pros and cons here.
Kids vs No Kids- This is one of the major deciding factors for me. When my kids were little and needed a stroller (a double one at that) I was firmly in the use your own car category. It was worth the expense of renting a car to not have to unload a double stroller, hold all my stuff, fold it, drag it on the bus, try not to knock people over and handle 3 kids all at the same time. Even with my husband helping it was a pain in the rear. And when we would trade off and take turns taking the twins for a nap? Forget it.
On adult only trips, or even a trip with my oldest, I am all about Disney Transportation. On the last trip I left my car parked at our resort the whole time. It’s a breeze to jump on the bus and relax while someone else drives.
Remember you get free parking at all parks when you stay at WDW resorts!
Magic Kingdom-In this case I’d almost always use Disney transportation. If you drive you need to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and then take the monorail or ferry to the park. When you’re leaving with a kid in need of a nap in the middle of the day it adds at least 30 minutes to your departure. A bus is almost always faster. However, if you’re dragging a double stroller with you avoiding the bus might be the easier route-that’s a personal choice.
Epcot- This one is easier to drive to, you can park at Epcot itself. If you plan to leave midday I suggest driving in the am where you’ll get close parking. However when you return in the late afternoon evening you need to park far out in the back, during less busy seasons I’ve been able to drive up to get better spots. Buses from resorts do go directly to the park, but the monorail requires a stop at the TTC. Yacht and Beach Club, along with the Boardwalk resorts, have boats that will deliver you directly to the world showcase. You can also walk from those resorts.
Animal Kingdom-Car is the hands down favorite here, it’s the farthest bus trip from most resorts. You can drive straight to the park by car and never have to wait for the bus.
Hollywood Studios- Like Epcot this park has boat transportation from some resorts. For the others I would use my own car if I had one so I could leave quickly and easily.
From resort to resort– You have 3 choices to get from resort to resort. If you have your own car it’s simple to drive to another resort. You are welcome to park there if you are exploring the grounds, eating at one of the restaurants or using one of the resorts spa or salons. You are not supposed to leave your car at a resort while you visit a park. Some people have been known to eat at Ohana, for example, and then hop on a boat or the monorail to the park. Parking at a resort is mostly on the honor system, especially since many don’t use the paper parking passes anymore, but they have the right to tow you.
One of the most convenient ways to resort hop is Uber. You can usually go from resort to resort for under $7, your first trip is free with this code (clares2678ui) if you are new to Uber. Taxis will also take you for a little more, about $10-$12 currently. Generally someone is available 24/7 via Uber. We’ve used them as early as 6:30 and had at least 4 cars offered.
The most challenging way is Disney Transportation. No bus runs from resort to resort. The monorail does stop at the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian. There are also some resorts you can walk between-like Yacht Club to Boardwalk, or even Pop Century to Art of Animation. But for the most part you need to hop a bus to the resort and then take another to the resort of your choice. Buses run from one hour before the park opens till an hour after park close. This means if you have a 7:30 reservation at Cape May Cafe you can’t take a bus to get there.
Short answer longer, different situations bring different answers. For a trip over 4 days or with wee ones I opt for the car. For quick weekend getaways with older children or just adults I highly recommend the free transportation. Happy travels!!