What You Need to Know About Disney Bus Transportation

Updated: Oct 13

There are many different ways you can get around the Walt Disney World Resort property. The Bus system is one of the most popular ways to travel. This is a free service to use for anyone visiting Disney World property. So even if you are not staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, you can take a bus from Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom. There are around 400 buses on property, they run quite frequently and are usually pretty reliable. Disney always advises to allot up to 90 minutes to get around using Disney Transportation and some routes may require a transfer.

Buses are usually one of the easiest ways to travel around the resort property. You will find a bus stop at every Disney resort. And depending on your resort hotel, you may have more than one bus stop. Most resorts are going to offer a direct route to each of the Disney World theme parks, Water Parks and Disney Springs. Some resorts may vary, so that is something to take into consideration when choosing which Disney Resort Hotel you want to stay at.

From Resort to Park and Park to Resort

Bus Schedule Bus Display

This is going to be one of the most common ways people use the Disney buses. When you are taking Disney buses from your resort hotel to a theme park, it is important to check the running times! If you want to get to Hollywood Studios before it opens, then make sure you know when the buses start running and an estimate of how long it may take you to get there. Sometimes it may be faster to take an alternate form of transportation, such as a boat or the skyliner or even a ride share program, depending on where you are staying.

Buses will typically start running 60 minutes before park opening and 60-90 minutes after park closing. During more popular times, buses will typically run every 20 minutes to the parks. So if you just missed the bus you should only have to wait around 20 minutes to catch the next one. In less crowded times, or even just the afternoon, it may be a little longer. Resorts that have skyliner stations, buses to Hollywood Studios and Epcot typically only run every 60 minutes.

The bus stops at the resorts have a bus schedule display screen at the bus stop, telling you the next estimated arrival or if you need to take a different form of transportation. You can also check the times in the MDE app with an existing reservation. Checking for times in the app will show you when the next bus is due to arrive and what time you should arrive at your destination. Wait times can be longer in the morning or at park closing time, so it may take longer to get where you are going. There are signs posted at all bus stops advising you where to stand to get on the correct bus. The bus will also have a light up sign on the front of the bus telling you it’s destination.

Most resort bus stops will offer a direct route to a Disney theme park and Disney Springs. Thus it is worth mentioning if you are at a Disney Resort Hotel that is within walking distance to a theme park or has alternate transportation options, buses may not run to the park located closest to you. So a stay at a hotel on the Monorail loop, like The Contemporary, The Polynesian or the Grand Floridan, have no buses that run to Magic Kingdom! This is because you can get there via Monorail, Boat or even a short walk! (which if you are staying at The Contemporary, it is only about 5 minutes!)

The bus stops at all theme parks are located outside of the main entrance. If you are leaving a theme park to go back to a resort, make sure you check the Bus Directory and see what number gate to wait at. When a bus arrives, it will have a panel in the front saying it’s destination.

Resort to Resort

Unfortunately Disney does not provide direct bus transportation from resort to resort. But don’t worry, if you flew to Walt Disney World and are one of the many, many families that rely strictly on Disney transportation to get around there is a way to take a bus to that resort dining reservation! You can board a bus at your resort and take it to one of the theme parks or Disney Springs. You’ll usually want to pick the closest theme park to the resort you are traveling to. From there you can find the bus stop for the resort you want to visit and ride over from there.

One of the downsides to this is more travel time! It may take you longer to get where you need to go. So it is important to make sure you allow enough time to get there and get back to your resort as getting back might be a little trickier. If your dining reservation is after a park has closed, the buses may not be running to that park any longer for the night. This means you will have to find another way back.

Disney Springs can be a great transfer hub to go resort to resort, as buses run all day between the two during the operating hours. Buses will typically begin running 45 minutes before Disney Springs opens and and end an hour before closing. Returning to your resort, Disney Springs buses run until 2 a.m. (pre covid operating times) With varying closing times at Disney Springs currently, it seems most buses run 60 minutes after closing times.

I don’t recommend Disney Springs for those really early dining reservations, as they don’t usually open until 10 a.m. which means that buses would typically start at 9 am. So if you need to get from Pop Century to Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary by 9 am, you will need to bus to Magic Kingdom and walk over, or use a service such as Uber/Lyft or a Minnie Van. (Minnie Vans are temporarily suspended.)

Park to Park

You can take a bus from any theme park to another one. But as listed above, it may be faster to use another form of transportation if available. Buses typically run 60 minutes before park opening to 60-90 minutes after park closing, so keep this in mind if park hopping and using multiple forms of transportation. (such as driving). As an example, you drive your car to Hollywood Studio for the morning, decide to park hop to Magic Kingdom, you will need to make sure you make it back to Hollywood Studios before the buses stop running to get to your car.

A very important thing to remember is that Disney buses are only one-way when running from the theme parks to Disney Springs. Disney theme park buses to Disney Springs start running at 4PM to 11PM (or one hour after the theme parks close - whichever is earlier).

Buses to and from the Water Parks seem to start 45 minutes before opening and run 1 hour after closing. They also tend to run about every 30 minutes, opposed to every 20 minutes like main theme park buses. Most Disney Hotels are offering a direct bus to the Water Parks.

Buses are just one way of getting around! You can also use boats, ferries, monorail, the skyliner, Minnie vans as well as your own transportation or ride share program. It can be a little overwhelming and confusing the first time you visit, but I have no doubt you’ll know the best routes for your plans before your trip ends.

I always recommend to figure out in advance your travel plans. That way you aren’t wasting time trying to decide to take a bus or a skyliner. If you already know how you want to get there, you can save time and headaches.

Do you have a favorite way to travel around the Walt Disney World resort property? Feel free to let me know in the comments below. As always, I’ll see you again real soon!

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