Which Is Better: The Magic Kingdom Ferryboat or the Monorail?

April 21, 2020, 5:20 PM · Here's the first question that most fans ask themselves when visiting the world's most popular theme park — the ferryboat or the monorail?

Walt Disney World provides these two ways to get to the Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center parking lot. You can ride across the Seven Seas Lagoon in one of the ferryboats or glide around the edge of the lagoon on the monorail. But, as many Disney fans will argue, these two options are not equal.

Which one is the better choice, though?

The monorail is the closest option to the parking lot trams and ticket booths, just steps up the ramp to its loading station. The ferryboat lies farther away, down the slope to your left. The monorails also cycle faster, which should make its line move more consistently. But the ferryboats have much greater capacity, meaning that it can suck in a huge crowd at once.

Riding the ferryboat can provide a nice breeze as you sail across the wide-open lagoon, cooling you in what is so often Orlando's hot, humid weather. But the monorail gives you much better views of the resort as you glide by, including an aerial "sneak peek" of the Magic Kingdom as you approach the park. You also get an inside view of the Grand Canyon concourse of the Contemporary Hotel on your trip.

For many fans, this choice comes down to something else, however — uptime. By that criterion, many fans have been avoiding the monorail in recent years, dissuaded by reports of frequent delays as well as nightmarish stories about guests being stuck inside the elevated trains during extended downtimes.

And for many Walt Disney World visitors, the choice isn't necessary at all - not if they are taking buses from their on-property hotels directly to the Magic Kingdom's front gate.

Let's put this up for today's "which is better" vote. And please share your analysis of this choice, in the comments.

Replies (28)

April 21, 2020 at 7:05 PM

During most of my kid years (late 70s to mid-80s), I would have voted monorail both ways. I used to especially love riding thru the Contemporary. But these days I feel like the monorail experience is only one step up from the cattle-car buses. The last few times I’ve gone to the MK, it’s been a no-brainer to take to boat both ways - shorter line and more relaxing ride.

April 21, 2020 at 7:26 PM

Agreed, back in the 90s or even 00s I would have said the monorail no brainer, but these days in the monorail’s current condition I would pick the ferry. The monorail sorely need a refurb.

April 21, 2020 at 7:55 PM

I voted for monorail both ways, but solely the resort line. The ride itself takes a little longer, but it has much shorter waits and runs earlier than the direct line, giving you an advantage in rope-dropping the park.

April 21, 2020 at 8:42 PM

MK is a pain to get to and get out of. It's great if your a tourist, but for local passholders I just want to get in the park.

There needs to be a way to walk to and from the TTC.

Protip: There's a secret bus that goes to and from the TTC to the loop.

April 21, 2020 at 10:31 PM

The Mouse House bus doesn't run every day, it picks up on really busy days.

April 21, 2020 at 11:32 PM

On my one visit to Walt Disney World, we did three trips on the monorail and one on the ferryboat. I'd probably say I'm partial to the monorail for opening arrival or closing departure just due to efficiency, but the ferryboat is a more enjoyable ride if you're crossing the lake midday and time isn't as critical.

April 22, 2020 at 12:19 AM

Still have to pick monorail, just can't stop loving how great it works on the trip and the views of parks.

April 22, 2020 at 3:00 AM

I love the whole idea of a monorail, and would love to see Disney extend it to Animal Kingdom park - they won't, I know. I also would like to see them connecting cities to airports. They're great!

With that being said, I chose Ferryboat. It's a pleasant experience, and Seven Seas Lagoon is wonderful - I like water.

On top of that, nothing beats the monorail on the EPCOT line. It goes inside the park!!! Come on! The Magic Kingdom line doesn't go inside the park!

I do give brownie points to the MK line due to it stopping inside the Contemporary. That's pretty cool.

April 22, 2020 at 3:41 AM

I love them both, equally. Decision on the day is usually driven by the crowds and the weather. Hot, sunny mornings it has to be the ferryboat, overcast mornings the monorail. On leaving, it is usually the ferryboat purely based on its capacity for the mass exodus.

The ferryboat on arrival always heightens my anticipation as the castle beckons me and I can see it getting closer and closer, whetting my appetite more and more by the second. However, I need to be at the front to fully get the most out of the experience.

We use the resort monorail to stop off and have a mooch around the resorts, especially prior to the Halloween and Christmas nights. It is tradition that we experience a few hours in the resorts prior to going to the events.

The ferryboat and monorail make Magic Kingdom that extra magical.

April 22, 2020 at 5:33 AM

Honestly, I see them both as a source of frustration. Just an extra layer of transportation that takes up time for us getting to where we want to be. The most valuable thing we have on a trip is time, and I don’t like it being taken up by things like this. The parks which you can drive straight there and park, is my favorite arrangement.

In the morning, it’s always stressful enough trying to get to the parks at opening time. The last thing I need is an extra line to wait in just to get there (to then wait in another crazy line at the turnstiles). For me, the enjoyment begins when I’m past the turnstiles.

But nothing is worse than having to wait in a line for a monorail, boat, tram, bus or whatever at the end of the night. I’m tired and just wanna get back to my hotel ASAP. When we go to Disneyland, we always stay at an offsite hotel within walking distance, so we do not have to deal with the buses at the end of the night. I’ll walk a mile, instead of waiting in line for those buses without question. When I’m moving, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. When I’m waiting in line to get somewhere, I get the opposite feeling.

April 22, 2020 at 6:43 AM

I dislike MK with a passion ..... because of the transportation system to get there. I would go much more often if it was direct access like all the other parks. The park itself is great, but getting to it is such a chore.

Back in the day we used to park at the Contemporary and take the resort monorail, and that was perfect. Those were indeed the good old Disney days. The transportation system was not designed for the amount of people it's been seeing over the past few years. Maybe once the parks open up again, and FL residents are given first dibs, I'll go back over to the MK.

One thing's for certain, no matter how many people are let into the parks for the first month or 2, I won't be going on the monorail.

Oh ... and in answer to Robert's question ... Ferryboat 99% of the time, or the resort monorail. Haven't used the regular monorail in eons.

April 22, 2020 at 7:26 AM

I like them both, but the past few times I've been there with the family the lines for the monorail have been horrendous. So we choose the boat. The boat had lines too, but didn't seem nearly as bad. Plus if you ride the ferryboat, you can play Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" in your head on your way into MK, and it fits nicely. It doesn't work the same in a monorail car.

April 22, 2020 at 7:56 AM

My best choice is (was) to park if I had a car in the lot near the Contemporary Resort and walk the short walk to the gate.
Now with pay parking and higher security I doubt that this is an option.

April 22, 2020 at 8:04 AM

I understand the concepts behind taking the monorail and ferry, but for me they're just time consuming barriers to get guests to the park. I voted for resort buses, because in the end, MK is the draw, not riding the monorail or boat around/across the 7 Seas Lagoon.

April 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM

As a local, Magic Kingdom is the park I visit the least, by a wide margin. This is almost exclusively due to how much of a pain it is to get in the park because of either option.

April 22, 2020 at 9:44 AM

I almost always take the Ferry to the park in the morning and then return on the Monorail. I love the view approaching the park from the boat, but I love the AC on the Monorail later in the high heat and humidity of Central Florida.

As a Disneyland AP holder now, I'd be curious to see a similar pole regarding people's arrival preferences. I'm a die-hard fan of the parking structures. I feel that way mostly because I prefer riding the trams to and from the park rather than the busses that run from Pixar Pals.

April 22, 2020 at 10:03 AM

It's always a "moment of" decision for us. We look up to see if a monorail is in the station and scan the line... and then we glance over to see if a boat is loading or about to dock. If a boat is arriving, or if the plank is already down and people are boarding, then it's always the boat.

April 22, 2020 at 10:09 AM

When we are able to make the trip to WDW we have always taken the ferry to the park and the monorail back. The site of the castle getting closer always gives a bit of anticipation, also its always fun to watch the reaction of little kids as the park gets closer.

My opinion of the monorail took a serious hit on our last trip at Easter 2019, we took our son's girlfriend with us and so we took the the ferry to MK the first day and the monorail the second. We were a couple of hundred feet from the station when the train came to a stop and for the next half hour we got to sit in a closed space looking at a construction site. The only advantage is that it gave everyone time to check the various options for lunch and reach an agreement on where to eat.

April 22, 2020 at 10:53 AM

Having spent time at Disneyland, and it not more than a 15 minute walk back to room from ANYWHERE in the park, I'll probably never go to Disneyworld again.

The last time I was at Disneyworld, we had to wait in a 30 minute line to leave at night. Completely destroyed the vibe, I remember the stress of waiting to leave more than I do the good times.

April 22, 2020 at 11:43 AM

I like both--for a leisurely ride on a non-park day. I voted for the bus, as we've been staying on property, and it saves time going directly to the gate.

April 22, 2020 at 12:33 PM

My heart loves the monorail every time.

April 22, 2020 at 12:34 PM

Monorail. I wasn’t a fan of being in a huge crowd on the boat.

April 22, 2020 at 12:41 PM

In an ideal world where they were both reliable and there wasn't huge crowds, I like them both. More so the monorail and being able to travel through the Contemporary along the way.

Like what was mentioned above, on my last trip two years ago, I would just look to see if the ferry was currently loading or if the monorail was present and wasn't experiencing the usual technical problems it has. Since time was so precious when visiting and trying to maximize how much you can do, both options felt like time consuming obstacles that you couldn't avoid.

I really have considered walking around the lagoon to get to entrance. At least you would be moving constantly and you're not waiting for either mode of transportation with no guarantee that there will be enough room for you to board on the next trip. I ran that route via the marathon so I know it's not too bad.

April 22, 2020 at 12:59 PM

It is telling the different ways to get around have changed so much. I'm old enough to remember that the only way to get to MK was to hit the TTC and then monorail/ferryboat to the front gates. Ditto monorail for EPCOT.

That changed with the big expansions when Studios opened and buses coming up closer to the MK gates as more hotels meant TTC would be too clogged. It is interesting to remember.

Likewise, I can vividly recall when only way to enter EPCOT was the front gates and through Future World as the World Showcase entrance for their resorts didn't open until 1991 or so. Amazing how they've had to adapt with the changes for resorts.

April 22, 2020 at 5:11 PM

Boat / boat ... Monorail for resort pub hopping.

April 22, 2020 at 7:59 PM

I prefer the monorail in the morning and the ferry after dark. Nothing beats going through the Contemporary Resort hotel on the monorail to start the day, and riding the ferry back across the lake and getting a leisurely view of the lights around the complex is a great ending to a busy day.

April 22, 2020 at 8:18 PM

Just had this conversation with a friend. I prefer the ferryboat upon arrival, as I've found it really helps prep the brain for the adventure filled day ahead. There's also something psychologically comforting about the slightly more leisurely pace of the ferryboat. It creates a kind of disconnect, fooling me if only for a moment, that I'm really leaving the real world behind and approaching someplace truly magical. After a day of adventuring, cap it off with a quick stroll on the monorail back to the parking lot. Still feels like a ride, but eases back on the sensory stimulation for dim lightly, and speedy utility. Its like coming in and out of a deep meditation.

April 23, 2020 at 10:13 PM

Monorail no questions asked

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