Guide to Using the Disney World Bus System – Schedule, Routes & More
Even with all the signs everywhere, getting around a resort as big as Walt Disney World can be intimidating and downright confusing. So, let the experts do the driving and take a Disney bus instead. Read on as we break down everything you need to know about traveling between the parks, hotels and Disney Springs, including Disney World bus schedules and routes.
How Do Disney Buses Work?
Disney World buses connect destinations around The Most Magical Place on Earth, with bus stops everywhere from the theme parks and water parks to the hotels and Disney Springs. Think of these theme park shuttles as a basic bus with a sprinkle of pixie dust.
Often plastered with colorful Disney characters and decked out with A/C and USB ports for all your charging needs, they can be a magical way to get around. However, using the Disney shuttle service isn’t always a fairy tale. Those hard plastic seats aren’t exactly what we’d call comfy, and seats can fill up quickly, forcing you to stand for the trip or wait for the next one.
On the bright side, all buses at Disney World are accessible, making it easy if you are traveling with a wheelchair or ECV. You are also welcome to bring your stroller on board, though it must be folded and carried on. Car seats, however, are not permitted on Disney buses.
Are Disney shuttles and buses free?
Yes! Like the other main Disney World transportation offerings – including the Monorail, water taxis and Disney Skyliner – using the Disney bus system to travel between the theme parks, water parks, hotels and Disney Springs is completely free. Unless the Central Florida resort is incredibly busy, you don’t even need to tap your MagicBand or flash a valid park pass – just get on and go.
Can non-resort guests use Disney transportation?
Also yes! Although taking a Disney World shuttle is an easy way to travel to and from the Disney hotels, as well as elsewhere on property, you don’t need to be staying at one of the resorts to use the complimentary service. All Disney World transportation between parks, resort hotels or Disney Springs, including the buses, is free to use (with the exception of the Uber- and Lyft-like Minnie Vans) whether you’re a hotel guest or not.
Can you take Disney buses from park to park?
Most of the time, yes. While the journey from one Disney World hotel to another can be lengthy and complicated, that isn’t the case with the theme parks. Direct Disney World bus routes are available between some of the theme parks, though there are some exceptions.
To travel between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you’ll need to use the Walt Disney World Monorail, Disney’s “Highway in the Sky,” with a transfer at the Transportation & Ticket Center, or TTC. This scenic trip takes around 35 minutes either way.
Epcot and Hollywood Studios also aren’t connected through the Walt Disney World bus system. Instead, enjoy a bird’s-eye view from the Disney Skyliner or, if you’re trying to stay fit at Disney World, get some steps in with an easy, 1.5-mile walk (about 25 and 30 minutes each, respectively).
Or, for a more leisurely adventure, hop on one of the Friendship Boats for a relaxing 45-minute trip between Hollywood Studios’ main entrance and the International Gateway Bridge near Epcot’s World Showcase – perfect for resting your feet for a bit.
For all other park-to-park connections, here’s how long you can expect your Disney bus odyssey to take, no matter which way you’re going:
Between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios – 39 minutes
Between Epcot and Animal Kingdom – 42 minutes
Between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom – 43 minutes
Between Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom – 46 minutes
How often do Disney World buses run?
In general, you can expect a Disney bus heading to your desired destination about every 20 minutes at Walt Disney World. However, actual Disney bus times vary depending on what time and crowded busy it is.
For example, since opening and closing times at the theme parks are especially busy, you can expect the Disney World shuttles to run more frequently then, perhaps every five to 10 minutes. In contrast, since fewer people head to the parks in the middle of the afternoon, you might not see a bus heading your direction for up to 30 minutes.
Can you bring food on Disney buses?
Thinking about getting an early start in the parks and don’t want to waste time sitting down for breakfast? Or, maybe you’re thinking about bringing a bucket of popcorn or gooey caramel apple back to your hotel room.
Either way, there’s no need to give yourself a stomachache or an iced coffee brain freeze before you hop on the bus. Just like you are welcome carry your own snacks and drinks into the theme parks and Disney Springs, food and beverages are permitted onto the buses at Disney World.
Just choose your container wisely, if possible. The bus can get crowded and bumpy, and sudden stops are possible. So, if you can, be sure to use a cover to avoid any spills.
Is there a Disney shuttle from the Orlando airport to Disney World?
Yes, there is a shuttle service available to take you between Walt Disney World and the Orlando airport. Unfortunately, while the previous (free!) airport shuttle, Disney’s Magical Express, is no more, you can still take a bus to and from the airport.
However, it’s going to cost you. Priced at $16 per adult or $13.50 per child one-way, the Mears Connect shuttle offers the exact same service. Or, you can also use alternative transportation options such as the Sunshine Flyer or a private transfer.
Taking a Disney World Bus: Schedules, Routes and More
While the sheer number of buses you see posted up outside the theme parks can be overwhelming, especially for guests who aren’t used to taking public transportation, using the Disney World bus service is usually pretty straightforward and convenient.
To make your bus-riding experience as stress-free as possible, you’ll want to be aware of the various Disney World bus routes, along with what time Disney buses start and stop and how frequently they run. This can help you avoid the crowds, not waste time waiting for the next bus to come and keep you from being stranded.
For guests with a valid room reservation at one of the Disney World hotels, the easiest way to do this is with the My Disney Experience app. Simply click on your active Disney resort reservation, then tap “See Bus Time.” This will tell you when the next bus is anticipated to get to your hotel’s bus stop(s), as well as each bus’s destination and an ETA for wherever it’s going.
Unfortunately, the Disney World bus tracker only lets you see the times for buses heading to your hotel and then back out to the theme parks, water parks or Disney Springs. It can’t tell you how long it will take to get from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Contemporary Resort – or if you’re going to make it in time for your brunch reservation at Chef Mickey’s – or estimate travel time by bus between any of the other Disney World hotels.
Still, it’s a great way to keep you on schedule and free up some time in the mornings – giving you a few extra minutes to get dressed in your room or polish off your Mickey waffle at breakfast, rather than having to sprint to the bus stop only to wait another ten minutes for your ride to show up. Otherwise, you can always look at the estimated wait times at the bus stop for guidance.
Here are some other things you should know about using Walt Disney World bus transportation between the parks, hotels and Disney Springs:
Walt Disney World Bus Transportation Between Theme Parks and Disney Resorts
Whether you’re planning to kick off your day with Early Theme Park Entry or close down a park at the end of the night, you can get there and back on one of the Disney shuttle buses. Buses typically start running to the Disney World theme parks about 45 minutes before each park’s opening time, operating continuously until stopping around an hour after closing time.
As we mentioned earlier, while buses to the parks run about every 20 minutes on average, the Disney World bus schedule varies depending on when you are going to the theme parks and how busy it is. Early morning hours can be especially crowded with everyone heading to the parks for the day, often meaning long lines or buses with standing-room only. Since buses tend to operate more frequently in the AM to manage the crowd levels, simply wait for five or ten minutes to snag a bus with open seats.
Closing time in the theme parks can be just as packed, and the last thing you want to do is be stuck waiting in yet another line with tired feet and a cranky kid. Instead of joining the mass exodus out to the buses right after the fireworks end, feel free to linger in the park a while longer. Not only will this allow the crowds to clear out of the park and bus area, but it will also give you time to shop for souvenirs or snap beautiful nighttime photos with fewer people photobombing in the background before enjoying a more relaxed ride back to your hotel.
Keep in mind that depending on which resort you’re staying at, you may also need to deal with a slew of bus stops. This is especially true for larger hotels, such as Caribbean Beach, or properties that occasionally share a bus route with neighboring hotels, including at Disney’s All-Star Resorts, the Port Orleans Resorts and hotels in the Epcot Resort Area, such as the Yacht Club, Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn. As a result, you may find yourself waiting a while for a bus or facing a bus full of people, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Disney World Shuttle Service Between Water Parks and Disney Resorts
Heading to the water parks instead of the theme parks? Typically, buses to the Disney World water parks start running 45 minutes before the park opens for the day and continue operating continuously, arriving approximately every 30 minutes, until ending service about an hour after park close.
Unfortunately, getting to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Water Parks isn’t as simple as traveling to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Depending on which of the Disney water parks you’re going to and where you’re staying, you may need to transfer one or two times before finally getting to your destination.
For Typhoon Lagoon, there is no direct Disney World bus transportation currently being offered between Disney hotels and the tropical-themed water park. Guests will instead have to take a bus to Disney Springs before transferring to the Typhoon Lagoon bus, which runs daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Disney Bus Transportation to Disney Springs
For those wanting to have dinner or go shopping at Disney Springs, shuttle transportation between the Disney Resort hotels and entertainment complex is available from the Disney Springs bus stop located at The Landing, beginning when the district opens for the day and continuing until one hour after it closes.
Unfortunately, although you could previously take a bus from one of the theme parks to Disney Springs, those Disney World bus routes are not currently being offered. It also isn’t possible to take the reverse trip from Disney Springs to the parks.
Disney Shuttle Service Between the Disney World Hotels
No matter if you’re resort hopping or just trying to get to your dining reservation at one of the many Disney World hotel restaurants, chances are you’ll need to visit some of the other Disney hotels at one time or another. Sadly, using Disney transportation to travel from resort to resort isn’t always short and easy.
This can be especially frustrating when trying to make a reservation or returning to your room after a late dinner, particularly since bus transportation could have already concluded for the night. So, we suggest you plan for more than enough time to get where you’re going and come with alternative transportation if you’re going to be eating late.
That said, if you do plan on doing some resort hopping, the buses will help you get to your next destination easily. The bus service is especially handy during the holiday season, when visiting the hotels is an extra-festive pastime. Add in a stop at Disney Springs to check out the Christmas Tree Stroll for a holly jolly day filled with fun.
Have you used the Disney World bus system? Which do you prefer – the buses, Monorail, Skyliner or water taxis? Let us know in the comments! Using Disney transportation is a great way to get around while also saving some cash. For even more savings, check out our Disney World discount tickets.