Getting There: Disney World's Magic Kingdom Transportation Tips

Making the Most of Disney World's Transportation System

Image of Disney princesses at Walt Disney World.
Image © Disney / Jimmy DeFlippo, photographer. Used with permission.

With attractions designed to appeal to kids of all ages, the Magic Kingdom is one of the highlights of any Disney World vacation. Whether you arrive by car, monorail, bus, or boat, getting there is a big part of your day, and how quickly you arrive can really impact the quality of your visit. Take too long to get there, and you will arrive to long lines at your favorite attractions no matter how early you leave your hotel. (Ever seen the length of the line for Dumbo at 11 in the morning? It isn't pretty!)

Tip: Love the Magic Kingdom? Consider staying at one of the nearby resorts, and arrive right at the gates by monorail or boat.

Travel by Monorail:

One of the best perks of staying at a Deluxe Disney resort is the monorail! If you are staying at the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian, or the Polynesian, the monorail is the fastest (and most fun) way to arrive at the Magic Kingdom.

Tip: If you are traveling with preschoolers, choose the monorail if possible, many list it among their favorite Disney World rides!

Travel by Boat:

Guests staying at Magic Kingdom Deluxe resorts or Fort Wilderness have the option of traveling to the park entrance by boat. This is an excellent option if the weather is good, and if you see a boat approaching. If you arrive as a boat is departing, you may have to wait up to 1/2 hour for the next one. The boat will deposit you right at the park entrance, you will not have to take the ferry or monorail to enter the park.

Travel by Bus:

If you are staying at any Disney World resort, you can take the complimentary bus transportation to the Magic Kingdom. The bus will deposit you right at the Kingdom itself, so you won;t have to worry about parking or the tram. The downside? This can be a great way to travel for some resorts and an excruciating way for others.

If you are in a very large resort with many bus stops, you may be in for a very long bus ride. Several of the Moderate resorts, including the Caribbean Beach and the Coronado Springs are notorious for long delays, while others, like the Port Orleans and the deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge have one centrally located bus stop so they stop only once before heading for the theme park.

The bus will get you to the Magic kingdom, but it may take longer than you expect, depending on the time of day and the location of your resort. Consider alternative transportation or leave extra early if you want to arrive at a certain time.

Tip: Disney buses do not offer car seats or seat belts and they require you fold your stroller, so parents of small children may want to take an alternative form of transportation.

Travel by Car:

You can travel to the Magic Kingdom by car whether you stay in a Disney Resort or not, though resort guests park for free at any of the theme parks. Many die hard Disney fans choose to travel by car when a monorail or boat isn't available. Driving allows you to transport your family in a familiar vehicle, with car seats if you need them.

There are a few downsides to driving. Be aware that when you travel by car, you will not park near the theme park entrance. You will need to park in the lot, and take the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center and then travel by ferryboat or monorail to the gates of the Magic Kingdom. If you have arrived early enough, it may be faster to skip the tram and simply walk on the sidewalk to the TTC, and get on the monorail.

Tip: If you enjoy boats, and can actually see the ferry loading, you can get to the Magic Kingdom from the Ticket and Transportation Center relatively quickly — otherwise, take the monorail for the fastest transportation around.

Traveling to the magic Kingdom by car? Read up on everything you need to know about parking in Disney World!