- I recently spent a week visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
- During my trip, I took advantage of free transportation to travel between my hotel and the parks.
- I loved Disney World’s Skyliner, buses, and ferry, but had some issues with the iconic monorail.
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Though I have fond memories of riding the monorail as a kid, I didn’t have great experiences using it in August. I first used it to travel to Epcot from Magic Kingdom. Though there was only a small group of people waiting when I arrived, the crowd quickly grew, and parkgoers who were eager to get out of the heat began cutting in front.
It didn’t help that the train eventually arrived with technical problems, leading the monorail to leave the station without any passengers.
A lack of air conditioning made it feel stuffy, and being around so many people in an enclosed space made me nervous about COVID-19. I’m fully vaccinated and wore two masks, but not everyone on the monorail kept their face coverings above their noses.
There was a ferry waiting as I approached the dock, and it left shortly after I boarded. I spent the trip on the top deck, and loved how open and airy the ship was. I could stand far away from other parkgoers and simply enjoy the view.
Disney World’s Beach Club Resort and Wilderness Lodge hotels, for example, both have direct access to boats and can bring you from the resorts to some of those theme parks.
But if you’re staying at a value hotel — like the All-Star Movies Resort where I stayed — you’d have to take a car, bus, or Skyliner to a theme park, then a monorail to one of those resorts or the Transportation and Ticket Center. Only then could you board a boat.
At the All-Star Movies Resort, bus stops are located outside the hotel’s entrance. You can get on the buses approximately 45 minutes before the parks open — though sometimes earlier, in my experience — and you can head back to your hotel via the vehicles up to one hour after the parks close.
I appreciated how the buses were always quick to arrive, clean, and nicely air-conditioned. I was able to get a seat almost every trip, and the drivers were super friendly. Two even stopped to let me board when they noticed me running toward the bus stop so that I wouldn’t have to wait for another.
There isn’t anything wrong with these buses, in my opinion. They’re still run by Disney, and they travel just as smoothly as the others, in my experience. However, being on these buses made me feel like I was on a high-school field trip rather than an expensive vacation.
Still, after my initial nerves subsided, I found myself wanting to ride it again and again. I loved that you could ride in your own car without other parkgoers, and it only took a few minutes to travel between two of my favorite parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
The Skyliner moved so quickly and efficiently, in my experience, that I was able to park hop numerous times each day without worrying about losing much time. It was also nice to avoid traffic, sit in a car without other parkgoers, and board immediately rather than waiting for another bus to arrive.
That being said, Disney’s buses are still my favorite way to travel between the resorts and the theme parks — though that could change if the Skyliner is introduced at more resorts (it’s currently only offered at four).
Still, I’d recommend trying all four methods of transportation. The monorail was having technical issues the week I visited, but I’ve always enjoyed it in the past. And while you might not be able to ride a ferry to your hotel, those who can might want to take advantage of it to enjoy beautiful views, a cool breeze, and quiet time away from other passengers.
After all, there’s one thing that all four options have in common that makes the occasional delays and technical issues worth it: convenience.