Disney: Drive or Bus to the Park


Everyone knows that the House of Hills LOVES us some Disney. Our last trip was in March to the Disney Social Media Moms conference, and we’re already itching to go again.

Because we are Disney “Freaks” and love to shout about it, we often get questions from friends and family about what to, how to, and when to do the Disney experience. It kinda makes sense for us to start answering some of them here on the blog. So, here we go.

I got this tweet the other night.

Now, this is a common question. If you stay “on property” – meaning any of the Disney World hotels – there are shuttle buses that will take you to all the parks. Pretty cool huh!?

What I thought was interesting were the two answers my friend Jessica got back. (Notice she was asking me and another friend of hers who was also at Disney Social Media Moms.)

I said:

Her other friend said:

Pretty funny – right?! I mean, you’d think there would be a BEST way to do it. However, what we’ve discovered is that there isn’t a universal BEST. However, there is a BEST way for YOUR FAMILY. You have to figure out what that is.

We drive to the parks from the hotel because:

  • We don’t have to wait for a bus either at the hotel or the park.
  • We have a child who can no longer be carried once she falls asleep. My Sweetie can drop us off near the hotel room and then go park the car.
  • Our car is not crowded with grumpy, crying children and {whisper} rude tired adults. (Except for maybe me, but My Sweetie took me for better or worse right.)
  • Parking is FREE for on property hotel guests. You just need to make sure your hotel parking pass is displayed.
  • We drive to Orlando and therefore have a car there.
  • We can go wherever we want from wherever we want and don’t have to “work” the transportation system to get there as you might have to do with the buses if going to a different resort for a meal or show.

People take the buses to the park from the hotel because:

  • They don’t want to navigate it on their own. They’d rather not think about where to turn and when. Taking the bus is just easier. (Um, if I was doing the driving, we wouldn’t be driving. My Sweetie is a human GPS.)
  • The buses run to every park all the time – from well before the park opens until well after it closes.
  • They flew to Orlando and don’t have a car.
  • They have children who can either be carried when they fall asleep (and it’s a relief not to have to deal with the car seat) OR are big enough that they can pretty much take care of themselves.

There are pros and cons to both choices. It’s something that you need to think through for your family. I dare say if you have a car in Orlando, you could try it both ways and then go with the one that works best for you.

If you’ve been to Disney World, what do you do? Drive or take the bus?

9 thoughts on “Disney: Drive or Bus to the Park

  1. Way back when, my parents used to always rent a car at the airport and we would drive to the park. Since our honeymoon, almost ten years ago, we have been using transportation to the resorts and buses all the way. If we drove to WDW, sure we may drive in. Flying in from NY means saving money on the car for other items in the parks. The transportation is not perfect, but it works and you quickly learn the ways to make it better for your family.

    • Exactly- it’s learning what’s best for your family.

      When we fly in, we don’t rent a car. Then, it’s buses all the way and we make it work and work well I might add.

  2. I’m a fan of Disney transporation. It’s just another separation from life, you know? Getting back in my car would remind me of the stuff I didn’t clean up, etc.

    And for some odd reason, I like the buses, the boats and the trams. #callmecrazy

    Oh! But what about when staying on a monorail resort? Did yall use the monorail when you were at the Grand Floridian? Because when you are on the monorail getting to/fro Magic Kingdom & Epcot is pretty awesome.

    Ps-this question gets asked ALL THE TIME on the Moms Panel. Maybe I can just link to you now instead?

    • We liked the transportation too – especially the boats… Our switch to the car came when we couldn’t carry the Princess anymore when she was dead asleep. A five minute walk is forever when you’re carrying 70 lbs and waking her up for that long a walk is near impossible. I can get her to sleep walk from the car, up the elevator, and to the room.

      Now, the monorail – that’s something TOTALLY DIFFERENT. When you’re in a monorail resort and going to MK or E, FOR SURE going to use the monorail. If we could monorail everywhere, that would make me SO VERY happy.

      You bring our mom’s panel questions on over… LOL!

  3. Love the post! 🙂

    Our almost 4 year old almost always falls asleep in the stroller – we bring ours from home, (esp since we usually close the park down).

    I love being able to hold her as she’s sleeping on my shoulder in the bus….instead of having to put her in a car seat to drive back to the hotel. It’s easier for us….I wouldn’t use the shuttle if we left with the crowds though.

    I always find it quiet….. noone talking in the shuttles at the end of the day….everyone’s too tired. LOL

    • You must leave even later than we do. LOL!

      When the Princess was four, and I could transfer her, we LOVED the bus. If only she would have stopped growing then…

  4. You are absolutely right on with that, there is no real right answers to your question. I have been on both sides of this spectrum. There was a time when I was all for only using a car for transportation to the parks even when staying on Disney property. (I had 4 kids under the age of 4 & had 2 strollers) buses were not an easy thing to use with that many kids and that much stuff that you carried with you then. And when leaving the parks at night and they would fall asleep in your arms and you then had to get that child from the bus-to a stroller-off the bus- walk to your room and then they re-awake as you walk into the room- it was not easy to do then, or fun. I instead opted to walk to the car, and go straight to the hotel and then transfer the child (& siblings) to strollers & head straight to the room. For me it was easier.

    These days, my kids are between 11-16. Life has changed as we venture to the parks at least once a year, which is way different from when they were little and we went 2-3 times a year. Now, I absolutely love using Disney transportation. It’s so easy when I don’t have to juggle all of those extras!

  5. I am a big fan of Disney transportation. With four kids, it is easier, even with a stroller. But… there can be long lines for your bus after an event. However, we fly in and don’t even have a car there, so bus is great. However, my kids ask, why do all the rides have seat belts when the buses don’t. Interesting.

  6. Great tips! We plan on getting season passes in the near future and it’s great to see what other people do. I just wasn’t sure because I remember people saying that with the buses from park-to-park it can sometimes take 2 hours to relocate but I guess you just need to know the bus schedules so your not waiting forever..also I guess you could just use the middle of the day to regroup and change parks…i guess we’ll see what we do…

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