Express Monorail Entrance at Magic Kingdom

There's nothing quite as magical as a date night at Walt Disney World Resort. Whether you and your sweetie have snagged a dining reservation at one of the most romantic restaurants at Disney World or you're planning to snuggle up while riding attractions at Disney's theme parks, easily getting from one place to another is critical. As someone who's been taking my husband on Disney dates for years, I know there's nothing more essential for a fun time at Disney World than knowing the best, most stress-free way to park our vehicle.

There are lots of different scenarios for parking at Walt Disney World. From taking your date on a monorail bar crawl to enjoying a lavish dinner at one of the romantic Disney hotels, every date night scenario at WDW requires a bit of parking know-how to pull it off.

Curious how to take the Disney Skyliner to dinner at Topolino's Terrace? Want to spoil your date with a preferred parking spot before your trip around EPCOT's World Showcase? Here's everything you need to know about Disney World transportation around the theme parks, Disney Springs, Disney water parks, and beyond.

California Grill Bar Menu and Wine - image by Terri Peters
California Grill Bar Menu and Wine – image by Terri Peters

Parking at Walt Disney World

If you’re driving your own vehicle (or a rental car) onto Walt Disney World property, there’s lots to know about how parking at Walt Disney World works. Guests driving a vehicle at WDW can park at Disney Springs, the four WDW theme parks, Disney resort hotels, Disney water parks, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports, but each has its own set of rules and guidelines.

Theme Park Parking

  • Theme park parking is included for guests of WDW hotels and some annual pass holders. Non-hotel guests and guests who are not annual pass holders pay $30 per day to park, a fee which is good at all four theme parks if you park hop during your Disney day. Preferred parking is available for a higher rate, and hotel guests and annual pass holders can pay the difference between standard and preferred parking if they want to upgrade for the day.
  • Trams are present at each theme park to take you from your parking area to the park entrance. You’ll also find electric vehicle charging at each park, as well as a “car locator” feature in the My Disney Experience app, which helps you remember where you parked that day.
  • Parking at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks is included for all guests.

Disney Hotel Parking

  • Parking at Walt Disney World resort hotels is complimentary (for hotels owned and operated by Walt Disney World).
  • If you’re hoping to park at a Disney owned hotel where you’re not an overnight guest, it’s a good idea to make a dining reservation there to secure a spot.
  • At deluxe and deluxe villa resorts, as well as at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, valet parking is available for $33 per night.
  • Parking at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is $34 per night for self-parking and $44 per night for valet. Parking is validated for non-overnight guests who are dining at Amare, Il Mulino, Kimonos, Rosa Mexicano, Shula’s Steak House, and Todd English’s BlueZoo, or visiting the Mandara Spa.
Tacos at Rosa Mexicano Walt Disney World Dolphin
Tacos at Rosa Mexicano Walt Disney World Dolphin – Terri Peters

Disney Springs and ESPN Wide World of Sports

  • Parking at Disney Springs is complimentary for all guests.
  • Parking at the ESPN Wide World of Sports is complimentary.

Walt Disney World Bus Service

Other than driving your own vehicle, bus service at Walt Disney World is the most vast method of transportation. This complementary service can take guests to all Disney theme and water parks, Disney Springs, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports and offers pick-up and drop-off at all Disney resort hotels.

  • Bus service between Disney resort hotels and WDW theme parks starts 45 minutes prior to each theme park’s opening and ends one hour after the park has closed.
  • Bus service between Disney resort hotels and Disney Springs starts when Disney Springs operating hours begin and ends one hour after Disney Springs has closed.
  • To access Disney’s water parks by bus, most Disney resort hotel guests will need to take a bus to Animal Kingdom, and then transfer to a bus that heads to the water parks. The exceptions are guests of the All-Star hotels and Coronado Springs, which offer direct transportation to the water parks.

Walt Disney World Monorail Transportation

While its scope isn’t as large as Walt Disney World’s bus service, the WDW monorail can get you to several Disney resort hotels, EPCOT, the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and Magic Kingdom Park.

  • There are three monorails at Walt Disney World: the Resort Monorail, the EPCOT monorail, and the Express Monorail.
  • The Resort Monorail makes stops at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • The EPCOT Monorail and Express Monorail both stop at the TTC and make stops at EPCOT or Magic Kingdom Park.
  • The Resort Monorail is home to the unofficial “monorail crawl.” A great way to spend an afternoon or evening seeing everything the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian have to offer is to travel this monorail loop, getting off at each resort for a snack, meal, or simply to check out what each resort has to offer.
Disneys-Polynesian-Village-Resort-from-the-Monorail-Platform - Dani Meyering
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from the Monorail Platform – image by Dani Meyering

Walt Disney World Water Transportation

Another vast method of transportation at Walt Disney World is the water transportation on property. Water transportation at Walt Disney World will get you to all theme parks (except Animal Kingdom), as well as Disney’s BoardWalk and Disney Springs.

  • Magic Kingdom Park and the Magic Kingdom resorts can be accessed via water taxi from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
  • Ferry boats connect Magic Kingdom Park and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • Water taxis travel between Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

EPCOT Boat Transportation

  • Disney’s FriendShip boats transport guests to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make pick-up and drop-off stops at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Walt Disney World Swan Hotel.
  • The Sassagoula River Cruise boats take guests to and from Disney Springs from Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, and Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.
Disney Boat Transportation Coming from Disney's Yacht Club - image by Terri Peters
Disney Boat Transportation – image by Terri Peters

Disney Skyliner Transportation

The Disney Skyliner offers transportation to and from a few Disney resorts, as well as EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The sky-high option, which features a series of gondolas that move on cables high above WDW, can be a great way to visit resorts along its route for dining.

  • Both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be accessed via the Disney Skyliner.
  • The Skyliner also makes stops at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
  • Like the monorail, the Disney Skyliner has become known for an unofficial “Skyliner crawl,” meaning guests can visit, dine, and look around all of the resorts on the Skyliner loop in one trip.

Minnie Van Service

While it can be pricey, Walt Disney World’s Minnie Van service, powered by rideshare app Lyft, is an incredibly efficient and simple way to get from point A to point B on WDW property. Minnie Van drivers are Disney cast members and can pick you up and drop you off at just about any location at Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney Minnie Van Pick Up Location at EPCOT - image by Terri Peters
Disney Minnie Van Pick-Up Location at EPCOT – image by Terri Peters
  • Using the Lyft app, guests of Walt Disney World Resort can call a Minnie Van to pick them up and drop them off all over WDW property. The rideshare-style ride system can transport guests anywhere at WDW, from up close to theme park gates to straight to the door of the resort where you’ve got a dining reservation.
  • Minnie Vans run from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily.
  • Prices for Minnie Van rides vary, but are normally around $40 per trip. Pricing can be seen in the Lyft app before you select your Minnie Van ride, so there are no surprises later on.
  • Children under 6 must ride in a car seat and two complimentary car seats are provided in each Minnie Van.
  • While pricey, Minnie Van is a great way to save time with Disney transportation. And, the vehicles are adorably painted red with white polka dots in homage to Minnie Mouse herself. 

Expert Tips for Using Disney Transportation

  • Parking at Walt Disney World often requires a bit of planning. If you're parked at EPCOT, for example, it's a great time to hop on the Skyliner for dinner at Sebastian's Bistro at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Hanging out at Disney Springs but craving a cocktail at Enchanted Rose? Consider taking a Disney bus to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for a break from the crowds.
  • When in doubt, make a dining reservation. My husband and I always start our non-theme park Disney date nights with some strategy. If we're hoping to walk around Disney's BoardWalk, for example, we'll snag a dining reservation at one of the BoardWalk resorts to keep parking simple.
  • If a monorail bar crawl is on our to-do list, we make a dining reservation somewhere along the resort monorail loop so we're guaranteed a stress-free parking experience.
  • Another simple way to visit Disney resort hotels without an advance dining reservation is to park at Disney Springs and catch a bus to your chosen destination. When you're finished exploring the resort, simply hop back on a bus to Disney Springs and head to your vehicle.

By the way, here's what to do if you can't find a Disney dining reservation.