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We recently returned from Disney World with a greater appreciation of the Disney World transportation system. Not only did it get us from here to there efficiently but many of the trips were fun. We even took the time to do our own version of planes trains and automobiles.
Start Your Disney World Transportation Experience with the Magical Express
The Magical Express is a free service that will take you directly to your Disney World Resort if you fly from Orlando International Airport. Like many, we planned an early morning flight to give us an extra day at the park. We got up at 4:30 AM to make our flight. With a connecting flight we did not get to Orlando until noon. Excited but tired the Magical Express was the perfect stress free, baggage free way to get to the resort.
On the way home we took advantage of the at resort airline check in of our baggage for the first time. Before our last half day at the park we dropped our bags off at the hotel baggage check. The next time we saw them was when they came off the carousel at the Hartford airport. No mess, no worries!
Our only complaint about the Magical Express was that the film loop showed coming resort attractions that we had ridden three years ago.
The new gem of Disney World Transportation: Skyliner
Our first day at the park included a bucket list ride on the Skyliner. Our travel plan was to get from the Animal Kingdom to dinner at Topolino’s Terrace. There was an option to take a bus directly from Animal Kingdom to the Riviera. We didn’t take it. Instead we took the bus to Pop Century. From Pop we took the Skyliner to the Riviera.
The Skyliner ride was smooth, steady and quick. Onboarding and offboarding was a breeze. The seats were comfortable and views amazing. It reminded us of the WEDway Peoplemover but with a purpose,
We took two more Skyliner trips during our vacation and enjoyed everyone. The Skyliner is quickly becoming the preferred way to get between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Skyliner may supplant the Monorail in Disney iconography.
From Hollywood Studios to the Contemporary: Skyliners, Boats and Monorails
There is a bus directly from Hollywood Studios to the Contemporary. We could have taken it. But we chose, instead, to celebrate the Disney Transportation System and enjoy the ride. Our odyssey began by taking the Skyliner between Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. This takes about thirty minutes (the same time as boat service). Once again we appreciated the great views and the comfortable ride,
Once we entered the World Showcase we turned right toward France and headed to the dock at Morocco. From there we took the Friendship boat across the lagoon. The boat ride was serene and a great way to view the World Showcase Architecture.
From there we headed to the monorail for a trip to the Transportation and Ticket Center. From the Transportation and Ticket Center we chose the resort monorail for the trip to the Contemporary. That was an unfortunate choice as problems with the vehicle in front of us turned that segment into a monofail. Despite the delay the trip was a success and a fun way to traverse Disney World. The Monorail takes over 150,000 passengers a day to their destinations.
Was our bus really last?
You leave for the park in great anticipation. You come back from the park exhausted. Neither condition leaves you in a mood to wait for a bus. It seems like we waited FOREVER for our buses. That is probably more perception than reality (except for leaving Epcot one night when I am sure it was reality). Overall, the buses are timely, clean, and efficient.
On the other hand, the final bus ride from Magic Kingdom to All Star Sports to meet the Magical Express home showed up seconds after we stepped into the corral. That didn’t seem fair.
A note on Lyft, Uber and Minnie Vans
We also use Lyft several times on vacation. Why Lyft over Uber? I played dumb and had my son get (and pay for) the rides. He’s a Lyft guy. I’m an Uber guy. The rides got us where we wanted to eventually. The problem we had was that all four Lyft drivers we encountered were new to the area and we knew more about the road systems than they did. In addition, several addresses in the system were wrong. A trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge almost went to the Animal Kingdom. Drivers often missed turns or made them late. Ride sharing should not be a thrill ride.
At one point we decided to go with the pros and take a Minnie Van. I don’t know what happened but the Lyft map could not call one forth. After sever tries we abandoned this option.
Which Disney World transportation method is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments,or on Facebook or Twitter!
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We have experienced Disney World and Universal Studios in all three phases of life; before kids, with kids and as empty nesters. We look forward to continue to vacation in Disney as we get older with friends and family.