Disney World Adding Preferred Bus Service from Park to Park

Magical Express BusDisney World is beginning, on December 7, to offer preferred bus service that will run between locations inside the four theme parks. Although many details have not been confirmed publicly by Disney, the service is said to operate from 10 AM until park closing from pre-determined locations inside the theme parks. The stations are as follows:

This service only travel to the theme parks and the cost is $15 per person, per day or $24 per person for multi day use. Guests are able to purchase this upgrade when buying park hopper passes or by visiting guest relations locations. We will release further details as they are known.

My Disney Experience App Getting a Navigation Feature

My Disney ExperienceDisney has just announced that Disney World’s My Disney Experience app for your smart phone is getting a new feature. The new feature will allow guests to navigate around Disney World, including inside the theme parks, much like a navigation app on your smart phone when your driving. Guests will be able to select an attraction or location on the map and hit “Get Directions” and then they will select where they are coming from. At that point they can select a location or simply allow their phone’s GPS to use their current location.

This app will not only be valuable when inside the parks, but it will make use of transportation options when outside of the park by indicating how you should make your way to other locations via busses, the monorail, or boats. It will also give an estimate of the time of travel. The new navigation feature of the My Disney Experience app certainly sounds like it will be of use and I look forward to seeing its functionality.

Exploring Disney’s Resort Airline Check In Service

Alaska Airlines Disneyland PlaneOne very useful service that Walt Disney World provides to it’s guests is the use of the Resort Airline Check In Service. This is a complimentary service for guests of Disney resorts and it allows you to save a great deal of time at the airport by printing your boarding pass, checking in for your flight, and checking your bags before you even leave your resort. All Disney owned and operated resorts will have a Resort Airline Check In desk somewhere near the front of the resort and it is usually close to the Magical Express Pick Up area. Be sure and know where the desk is located in advance so you are still able to make it onto your Magical Express shuttle on time.

When they go to the Resort Airline Check In Desk guests will need to make sure and have a valid government-issued photo I.D. if traveling domestically, or a valid passport if traveling internationally. If using this services guests must check in at the desk no later than three hours prior to your flight (not taking into account flight delays). All guests in a traveling party must be present in order for the group to be checked in. The check in area is open seven days a week from 5:00 AM until 12:00 PM (noon). You can check in early in the day even if your flight leaves later that evening. If you magical express bus departs prior to 5:00 AM you will need to check in at the airport.

We also would like to note that sometimes certain guests may be flagged for airport check in or the system will not allow Disney to check you in for various reasons. Since this service began we have only been able to use it once and have had to check in at the airport ourselves the other two times because of the ticket type or because there was a problem with the computer system. Finally, for guests to use this service their flight must be departing from Orlando International Airport and they must be flying on one of the following airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • JetBlue Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience of the Resort Airline Check In Service please comment below or visit us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Disney World to Close the Monorail on Select Days Through March

MonorailDisney World has announced that their will be a few select times when the monorail will not be available to guests. The general consensus is that Disney is continuing their work of updating the software onboard the monorail in order to make it safer and more efficient. The times the monorail is off line is listed below. Also, make sure and check the resort times guide if you are traveling during these months as they times may change or be altered as work is done. These closings are currently scheduled to happen until March 20, 2016.

Express Monorail
Mondays & Tuesdays – Will have a delayed opening time of 9:30 AM
Wednesdays & Thursdays – Will be closed between 11:30 AM and 6:00 PM

Resort Monorail
Mondays & Tuesdays – Will have a delayed opening time of 9:30 AM

Epcot Monorail
Mondays & Tuesdays – Will have a delayed opening time of 9:30 AM

Tips for Driving Around Walt Disney World

Main Entrance SignIf you are driving to Disney World there are some tips you will want to be aware of it you plan on navigating the area by car. Driving around Disney World can be a daunting task at times, but the tips below can help make the Disney roads a little easier to navigate.

  1. Follow the Road Signs – This is the best tip we can give when it comes to driving a car around Walt Disney World. The roads can be busy and go in several different directions, but if you pay attention to the signs you should get to where you want to go with no problem. The main reason people get in trouble is when they think, “Oh Hollywood Studios is this way”, instead of following the signs that may say to go a different way. Disney has things set up to help traffic to continue to flow into and out of the parks, so sometimes the direction the signs tell you may not appear to be geographically correct, but they will get you where you need to go. If you go your own way you will almost always end up having to turn around or end up stuck in a line of traffic that Disney was trying to keep you out of in the first place. Again, follow the hundreds of road signs Disney has provided, and driving is an easy way to get around.
  2. Know the Rules of Parking – There are several rules that are important to know when it comes to parking. First of all, if you are a Disney resort guests parking at the theme parks is free, which is a great benefit if you plan on driving around Disney World. Saving $20 per day can really add up! Next, don’t always expect to be able to park in resort parking lots. Disney has a guard shack at the entrance to all resort hotels so don’t expect to just drive up and park at the Contemporary or any other resort. If you do have a dining reservation at the hotel you can usually get in, but don’t count on them letting you in unless you are staying there. If staying off-site you will have to pay $20 per day to park, but always remember you only have to pay once per day. You can then go into and out of any of the theme parks parking lots as long as you keep that receipt. Finally, parking at Downtown Disney is free, but can be a hassle to get to the parks as there is no direct transportation, so we recommend avoiding this strategy.
  3. Always Take a Picture of Your Parking Area – Everyone is excited when they get to the parks in the morning, but that excitement often leads to them parking and hurrying into the parks as quick as they can, which means they don’t remember where they parked when it comes time to leave. The easiest way to remember is to just take a picture of the parking area you are in. Disney has themed signs and row numbers posted all over the parking lot that you can take a picture of so you know the area you are in. Trust me, you will be thankful you did when you leave the park for the day!
  4. Sometimes You Need To Drive – There are several reasons as to why you would want to drive your own car to the parks instead of riding the transportation system. A lot of these things are personal preference, but are things to consider nonetheless. First, if you just do not like riding busses or can’t stand the multiple stops that are made when going from resorts to the parks you may want to drive your own car. Another reason you may want to drive is if you dislike being on a crowded bus, boat or monorail as happens many times of year at Disney World. Sometimes it’s just nice to get in your car and not have to deal with a crowd. A final good reason is the ability to store things in your car. Instead of lugging the stroller or other larger things into the room after getting off of a bus or boat, you can just leave them stored in the car which saves time and effort when you are tired.
  5. Sometimes You Don’t Need to Drive – Always remember the transportation system is available if you don’t want to have to drive, but we also know sometimes jumping in your car is a more convenient way to get somewhere if you need quick transportation. With that in mind we do almost always recommend taking the Disney transportation system to the Magic Kingdom as you have to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and then ride the monorail or ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom. If taking busses, monorail or water transport from your resort you get dropped off right near the dates and don’t have to navigate that extra transportation step. Also, if you are resort hopping there is always a chance you won’t be allowed into a resort you aren’t staying or don’t have a reservation at, so taking Disney transportation is often a better way to get there. On the other hand if you are in a hurry, or just don’t like the busses, driving may very well be a great option for you.

Let us know below if you have other transportation question and we would love to help you.

5 Tips for Using the Disney Transportation System

MonorailYou have successfully made it to your vacation destination, but how are you supposed to get around? The answer: by using the Disney World Transportation System, which is a system of monorails, boats, and busses that are going to get you from one place to another throughout your vacation. We have put together some of our tips and things to know about the Disney transportation system.

    1. Leave Plenty of Time – The number one rule to remember when using the transportation system is to always leave enough time to get from point A to point B. Sometimes a transfer to another mode of transportation is needed and you always want to make sure you arrive in plenty of time, especially if heading to a dining or activity reservation.
    2. Riding the Monorail – The world famous monorail is available for transfer to the Magic Kingdom from the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary Resorts. In addition guests of those resorts can transfer to the Epcot monorail at the Ticket and Transportation Center. These are the only three resorts that sit on the monorail line, so all other resorts will have different modes of transportation. Of course, anyone is free to use the monorail to get to and from these resorts as well as the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
    3. Riding Boats – There are several resorts who have boat options that we have outlined below:
      • Grand Floridian Resort – Boat service to the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort.
      • Polynesian Resort – Boat service to the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian Resort.
      • Contemporary Resort – Boat service to the Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
      • Ticket and Transportation Center – Ferry Boat service to the Magic Kingdom.
      • Wilderness Lodge – Boat service to the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
      • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – Boat service to the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort and Wilderness Lodge.
      • Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter – Boat Service to Downtown Disney.
      • Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Beach Club & Villas, Yacht Club, Swan & Dolphin – These resorts share boat service from all resorts with stops at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
    4. Riding Buses – Buses are the most common mode of transportation at Disney World and they service all theme parks, downtown disney and resorts not mentioned in the monorail or boats section above. Keep in mind if a specific theme park is serviced by monorail or boat it will most likely not offer a bus to that destination. There are a few exceptions to this and Disney will always supplement buses if inclement weather is affecting the use of boats or the monorail.
    5. Know Your Route – Always make sure you know the route you need to take when traveling to dining reservations or activity reservations. There are a few tips to know about getting from place to place.
      • There will always be a dedicated route from each resort to each theme park and Downtown Disney. Buses to each destination will come every 10-20 minutes. Downtown Disney buses seem to be a little less frequent.
      • There are NO direct route buses between resorts. Buses only run to a theme park and back. If you are trying to get from one resort to another you must take a bus to a theme park and then transfer to a bus to the resort you are headed to. The only exception is if the resort is on the monorail or is an Epcot area resort. Some of those resorts may be walking distance, connected by monorail, or connected by boat service.
      • Always ask the concierge desk if you have transportation questions. They can give you all the transportation information you need for your specific resort.

Let us know below if you have other transportation question and a “MouseDreamer” would love to help you.

All There is the Know About Parking at Disney World

You have made it to Orlando and have arrived at Disney World or your resort and are hit with the question…do we have to pay to park? This is a topic that many people fail to think about when budgeting funds for a Disney trip, but we are here to help you know everything there is to know about parking at Disney World.

Parking at the Theme Parks

  • MK Parking EntranceAt Magic Kingdom the parking lot is located at the Ticket and Transportation Center. Once you park you will ride a ferry boat or the monorail to the entrance to the theme park. At all of the other parks the parking lot is located immediately outside the entrance to the park.
  • When parking at the four main theme you can expect to pay the following rates:
    • $20.00 – Car or Motorcycle
    • $22.00 – Camper, Trailer, Shuttle, Limo, or RV
    • $25.00 – Bus or Tractor Trailer
  • Keep in mind if you are a Disney resort guest or an annual pass holder you DO NOT have to pay for parking at the theme parks. Just show the parking pass you get when you arrive at your resort (or your annual pass) and you will get to park for free.
  • Another thing to remember is keep your receipt. What you pay for parking is good for the entire day and at any other park. So if you park hop you will not have to pay to park at the next theme park.
  • A final (and very important and overlooked) tip is to know where you leave your car. These parking lots are MASSIVE and it is easy to lose a car. Disney has good signage and a row numbering system, but you’ve got to know where your car is for that to be of use. Log it in your phone, on your receipt, or take a picture of the location so you don’t forget after a long hard day in the parks.

Parking at the Water Parks and Disney Springs

  • Not many things are free at Disney World, but parking at the Water Parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney springs are exceptions to this rule. Anyone and everyone can park for free in these locations.
  • Disney Springs will have two large parking garage structures once all of the construction of this area is complete, although right now only one of these is open.

Parking at the Resort Hotels

  • Parking at the Disney resort hotels is free, although to get into each hotel property you will have to go by the guard shack to be let in. If you are a guest of that resort you will have no problem. If you are not a guest of that resort they will have a list of dining reservations at the resort and you will be let in for that reason. You may can get in if you say you are shopping or dining at the quick service at that property, but there are no guarantees. You are better off taking Disney transportation from a park or your hotel if you want to go to a hotel that you are not a guest of.
  • Valet Parking is also available at all of the Disney deluxe resorts and the cost is $25 to use the service for the entire day. Just like theme park parking, if you valet at one resort, keep your receipt, and travel to another resort you can use the receipt to valet park there during the same day.
  • If you are a Tables in Wonderland member you can valet park for free at any deluxe resort when you are dining. Show the valet your TiW card when you check in your car and then after your meal show your card again, along with the receipt from your meal and you will get your car back with no charge.

Well, that’s about all you need to know about parking. Ask any questions you may have below and a “MouseDreamer” will answer them as quickly as we can.

How to Get to WDW if Arriving by Air

Magical Express BusSo, you have your airfare booked to Orlando, but what do you do at that point? Rental Car, Shuttle, Bus, Taxi? The options are numerous, but the process does not have to be hard. Regardless of what your vehicular preference is there are several simple and easy options for you.  Not to mention one option that is FREE, yes, FREE. If you are staying on Disney property you can get there for FREE! Here is a look at each of the options you have upon arriving at the Orlando International Airport.

Disney’s Magical Express
This is perhaps going to be the most widely used option for people trying to get from the airport to a Disney resort. This service is only available to Disney Resort guests as it is one of the free benefits you get for booking an on-sight resort. The Magical Express service has some minor drawbacks, but for the most part we highly recommend the service, especially since you are paying for it in the price of your Disney resort hotel room. See the steps below to let you know everything you need to know about utilizing Disney’s Magical Express:

  1. Before checking your bags at your home airport make sure you apply the yellow Magical Express luggage tags to your check bags if you are going to bypass baggage claim once in Orlando. Things to keep in mind: A) Luggage service is not available if your flight arrives between 10 pm and 5 am. You will pick up your bags and take them on the Magical Express bus yourself. B) If you are using the service apply the tags at your home airport and once you arrive in Orlando walk off your plane and straight to the Magical Express welcome area and do not think for one second about having to sort through hundreds of bags at the baggage claim and then drag them through the airport…because you don’t have to do that, your bags are going to magically appear in your room! C) If you do not want to use the luggage service you have that ability at any time of day. Just do not apply the yellow tags to your bags and they will come out on the baggage claim once in Orlando and you can pick them up and carry them on the Magical Express bus with you. D) Upon arriving at the Orlando International Airport you will ride a tram from the gates to the main terminal area and follow the instructions in your Magical Express booklet that was mailed to you prior to your trip. 
  2. At this point you will head towards the Magical Express area, unless you are not using the luggage service in which case you need to grab your luggage from the baggage claim first.
  3. Once you arrive on the lower level of the baggage claim you will be welcomed to the Magical Express area by some of the most excited cast members you will meet on your entire trip. Now, make sure you have your MagicBands on at this point as it will speed up your check in process. They will scan your band (or your Magical Express booklet if you don’t have your band) and put you in the correct line for your resort.
  4. Before long you will be on a Magical Express bus headed to your Walt Disney World Resort. Sit back relax, and enjoy the ride. Your bus will usually stop at 3-4 resorts, so yours may be the first or last stop.
  5. This step is the most important: When you arrive check in to your resort and enjoy your vacation! And enjoy not having to drive or worry about traffic! 
  6. This final step is the worst! The day before your trip is over you will be given a Magical Express departure time on the door of your hotel room. Keep the paper they give you as it is used to board the motorcoach. You will usually be picked up around 3 hours prior to your flight departure time. Just make sure you are in front of your resort in plenty of time. The driver will get your luggage on the bus unless you are using the resort airline check in service.

Private Car
Private car transfers are an option a lot of people enjoy because many times they will include benefits the other options won’t, like a stop at a grocery store near to the resort. There are several companies out there that offer this service. Visit us over in the forums for some ideas from other members on companies they recommend. The price will be around $130, round trip, from the airport to your Disney resort. The price may be $5-$10 more if traveling to a Magic Kingdom area resort. These prices are subject to change and are good for a standard sedan for approximately 4 people. Larger vehicles are available for an increased price.

Rental Car
If freedom is your thing a rental car is certainly the way to go. You can often times get a rental car for not much more than round trip private car transfers if you trip is a week or less. Keep checking rental car prices as they are subject to price decreases and sales as travel times get closer, so you never know when you may save on the cost. There are several rental car companies that have cars right at the airport including National, Alamo, Dollar, Avis, and Budget. There are other companies, such as Enterprise, that have cars available but you’ll have to ride a shuttle to get to the site of the cars.

Taking a taxi can be an option many people don’t often consider, but at times it may be a pretty good option. The cost of a taxi ride will be around $60, one way and for one vehicle (usually four people maximum), from the airport to a Disney area hotel. The price may be slightly less to an International Drive hotel and slightly more if the Disney resort is a Magic Kingdom area resort. Of course you will need to factor in paying gratuity as well. You can easily find taxi’s in the area outside of the baggage claim.

Please post any questions you may have on this topic below and a “MouseDreamer” will  be by to answer them as soon as possible.