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Disney transportation and park hopping

Walt Disney World: Can we use Disney transportation to park hop if we don't stay at a Disney Resort?

From John Vander Stelt
Posted November 29, 2006 at 9:59 AM
We're heading to Orlando next week! 2 days Disney (with hopper), 2 Universal and a day at Seaworld. Taking my wife and two sons (8 and 12) for the first time. Will we be able to cover more than 2 Disney parks in 2 days? We are not staying at Disney, so can we use their transportation to get from park to park? Any additional tips are welcome.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From steve lee
Posted November 29, 2006 at 10:27 AM
I've never had a problem getting around with Disney Transport, and I've never even stayed on-site. Unless their policies have gotten more restrictive, I don't foresee too many problems for you there.

From Daniel Binder
Posted November 29, 2006 at 10:38 AM

As a Florida resident, I usually drive myself to the disney parks when using the park hopper option. Once you pay for parking the first time, it covers you for every other Disney park for that day, and I find it relaxing to be able to get into my car and just drive one or two miles to the next park's parking lot. I think you actually save time doing it this way, and you could also save money by eating at the McDonalds in the Disney area after the first park and before the second park. Just my two cents.

From Chris Walton
Posted November 29, 2006 at 1:22 PM
Well I don't think so, aside from monorail transportation between Epcot, the TTC, and MK. My friend told me about a "loophole" where you can park at Downtown Disney (free parking), catch a resort bus to one of the resorts, then change buses to one of the theme park-bound buses. Supposedly they don't check for room keys, or any proof of resort occupancy.

From Robert Niles
Posted November 29, 2006 at 2:22 PM
I've had problems in recent years using the transport to get from one of the parks to the hotels (if you have dinner ressies, make sure you get something in hand that will allow you entry to the bus). But I've never had a problem going park to park.

That said, depending on the time and situation, it often can be faster to take your own car from park to park. And a parking pass from one lot gets you in all the others.

From Scott Seal
Posted November 29, 2006 at 5:40 PM
I usually drive my own car...but then again, I go in the summer, when it's BUSY. My only problem with the Disney bus and rail systems is that you have to wait for them, and when it's busy, that can be a long, stressful, uncomfortable wait.

That all being said, the system does deliver what it promises: transportation around the Disney property, for free. And, this time of year, when it's a little slower and not so hot, I think it'd be worth it to take Disney transportation.

And no, they never check for proof that you're staying at the Disney hotels or anything. You can park for free at Downtown Disney and ride the bus to wherever.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted November 29, 2006 at 6:42 PM
Downtown Disney IS the loophole....shhhhhhhh!!!


The last time I was down there, I saw a group of people do it!

From Karin S
Posted November 29, 2006 at 7:14 PM
I agree with the others that it's easier to drive your car from park to park than to use the transporation system. I have used their buses in the past, and the wait is so long, it's just not worth it. I'll use the Monorail for trips between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but that's it. You could do two parks in two days if you get to the parks early; but you might spend a lot of time rushing from attraction to attraction and that's really not a fun way to visit the parks. At this time of year, all the parks are doing something special, and it's great to take time and enjoy the holiday atmosphere. Have fun!

From Don Hubert
Posted November 29, 2006 at 8:02 PM
I have to agree, I will drive from park to park except if I amn going from Epcot to MK then I will take the monorail. I have tried the buses from park to park and they can be a long wait at times.

From Jason Jackson
Posted November 29, 2006 at 8:08 PM
I have used the Transportation System during on site and off site stays and never had any problem.

From Mitchell Sentinella
Posted November 29, 2006 at 9:50 PM
I was wondering, if you paid for parking in one park, does it also allow you to park in other Disney parks without paying again that same day.

From Karin S
Posted November 30, 2006 at 5:07 AM
Yes - You only have to pay for parking once. Just show the attendants your parking ticket and you'll be waved in.

From Scott Seal
Posted November 30, 2006 at 5:54 AM
Oh yeah, and you can do too parks in a day...it just depends on your personal tastes, how leisurely you want to stroll, and which parks.

Like, me, I can do Epcot and Animal Kingdom in one day, if I really want to. There's no night time show at AK, and there's not many rides either. You just book it over to Everest and get your FastPass, then hit up the other major attractions. Come back and do Everest, then get out of there...ride the bus over to Epcot, and get your FastPass for Soarin'...then do Test Track and Mission Space, go back and ride Soarin', walk around a bit, maybe go into Spaceship Earth...then over to the World Showcase for shopping, dining (make reservations a week ahead of time, for 6:15) then get out of there and plop down for Illuminations.

BUT, you've only got two days at Disney, and that's part of the three-day battle plan. I say, skip MGM and Animal Kingdom, and do Magic Kingdom (of course) and Epcot. First, it's the experience. You can't go to Washington DC and not see the Lincoln Memorial. EPCOT and Magic Kingdom are the classics. Second, MGM is a studios park, and you're going to Universal ANYWAY, so why double up? Epcot is a unique experience that, unless you're a world traveler, you won't get elsewhere. Animal Kingdom is fun, but only a half-day's worth of fun. After 7 o'clock, I think it closes, and then where does that leave you? Get your money's worth...do Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and since you're not going to be park hopping, drive your own car.

I hope this helped.

From John Vander Stelt
Posted December 2, 2006 at 4:45 PM
Thank you all for your insights. We are flying out tomorrow to Orlando! I love this sight for the vast knowledge base.

From Erik Yates
Posted December 2, 2006 at 10:49 PM
Here is something we tried tonight at closing. We werent staying on site at any hotels, but we did have to transport MGM. We took a hotel bus from Magic Kingdom to a hotel...cant remember which one, then took the bus from there over to MGM. We made it there a full twenty minutes before our friends who waited for the monorail and took the bus over from the parking lot. Just kind of saying....Magic Kingdom system...takes a lot of time.

From Scott Seal
Posted December 3, 2006 at 8:32 AM
You can take a bus from the parking lot of Magic Kingdom to MGM Studios? I didn't know that. I thought you had to transfer at a resort...

From Erik Yates
Posted December 3, 2006 at 8:58 AM
Yeah you can, but you have to go all the way back to the "ticket and transportation center" which truly sucks. It really is easier to go to a hotel then transfer over.

From Martha Wilson
Posted January 2, 2007 at 9:59 PM
We stayed at a Disney resort to take advantage of Disney transportation. We used it one time. It seemed to be the popular mode of transport for anybody with an overly tired child who need the magic of some extra sleep. They never checked for room keys. I imagine someone holding a screaming child, theme park gear and shopping bags at midnight may not be too pleasant if asked to get out a room key! It was nice to drive to the parks. No waiting to get back to the hotel and no waiting to get to the parks. Plus the resort supplied a parking permit that allowed free parking at all of the Disney parks. I never intended to rent a vehicle to get around Disney since we did stay at a resort for that convenience. However, one trip was enough to convince us not to return that rental car.

From steve lee
Posted January 2, 2007 at 10:30 PM
Wow - I had never heard of the parking permits before. That's really classy of them to provide. Most other places would be more than happy to grab an extra $10 a day from you.

We went in early December and hit all 4 parks in one day (we just wanted to see the Christmas stuff). I can't imagine how long it would have taken if we had stood around waiting for a bus. In the car, it took no more than 10 minutes to get from one park to the next. Of course, we didn't want to wait around for trams either, so by the time the day was over we had hoofed about 20 miles (not hyperbole. We had a pedometer)

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