If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World lately, there’s a new transportation option that should definitely be on your radar. This new offering, known as the Express Transportation Option, provides direct park-to-park bus transfers utilizing backstage areas and backroads throughout Disney property. The idea being that shorter bus routes, pickups/dropoffs inside the park, and bypassing of security lines should all decrease your travel time, or at least make moving from park to park stress free.
We had heard mixed reviews leading up to our recent trip, so we decided to take the plunge and find out for ourselves.
How it Works
Visit one of the following to purchase your ticket:
- All 4 theme park ticket windows and Guest Relations
- Disney Springs ticket window
- Disney Resort hotel concierge locations
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel ticket desks
- Kiosks at Express Transportation check-in locations
The cost of the service is $15/day per person or $24/per person for the duration of your trip (7 day max).
Once the option has been added to your My Disney Experience account/Magic Band, the rest is fairly straightforward. Head to the Express Transportation check-in location at one of the 4 parks 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time (schedules listed below). A few minutes before departure, a Disney cast member will escort you backstage to your waiting Express Transportation bus. From there, you’ll be transported directly to your destination park.
Check in on the east side of Spaceship Earth. Express Transportation service departs every 30 minutes to:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: On the hour and 30 minutes after the hour
- Magic Kingdom park: 10 minutes after the hour and 40 minutes after the hour
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom park: 20 minutes after the hour and 50 minutes after the hour
Check in near the exit of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Express Transportation service departs every 30 minutes to:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom park: On the hour and 30 minutes after the hour
- Epcot: 10 minutes after the hour and 40 minutes after the hour
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 20 minutes after the hour and 50 minutes after the hour
Check in near the entrance to Dawa Bar. Express Transportation service departs every 30 minutes to:
- Magic Kingdom park: On the hour and 30 minutes after the hour
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10 minutes after the hour and 40 minutes after the hour
- Epcot: 20 minutes after the hour and 50 minutes after the hour
Our travel party consisted of 8 adults, 2 kids under 3, a few bags and 2 strollers. As DVC Members staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas with annual passes, we did heavy park hopping for 5 days. With that big of a group waiting in line to enter the park and going through security can easily take 10-20 minutes. If you go to 3 parks in one day that’s 30-60 minutes of wasted time!
Express Transportation saved time and eliminated frustration by offering direct park-to-park transfers. The buses departed on a set schedule eliminating the age old problem of rushing to your bus stop.
Traveling from backstage to backstage and bypassing security and the front gate was well worth the money spent. Additionally the Express Transportation buses we rode on were almost always empty, but this will likely change based on crowd levels and popularity.
Here’s an example of how we utilized Express Transportation to travel between parks over the course of day a with 8 adults, a 3 year old, a 19 month old, and 2 strollers.
- Bus from Epcot to Magic Kingdom for early Fast Passes.
- Bus from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios for late lunch, some rides, and a show.
- Bus from Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom for Rivers of Light preview.
- Bus from Animal Kingdom back to Epcot for late drinks and snacks at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts kiosks.
If you’ve purchased the park hopper option, you might as well use it, right? Unfortunately depending on a multitude of factors, traveling between parks isn’t exactly an easy experience these days. Long bus waits and long security lines slowly chip into your park time, sometimes making park hopping more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Express Transportation changes all of this. You know the exact time the busses will be leaving with scheduled departures. This makes more efficient use of your time since you don’t have to wait around for a bus.
Being annual Passholders that have visited Disney so many times, we’re usually indifferent when it comes to making sure we hit every park. Express Transportation allowed us to move through so easily, that we noticeably made much better use of our time.
Beyond the actual convenience of the service, it was also extremely comfortable. This may not be a good sign, but our buses were almost always empty. This made park to park transfers feel like a VIP experience.
1)You need to remember pickup times which are different for each park and route.
2)It’s not free.
The schedule aspect really isn’t a negative, you just need to be on top of your game to catch the right buses at the right times. The cost side may be a negative to some depending on your perspective, but for us, the cost is a no brainer.
At $15/day or $24/your trip, it’s a small price to pay to maximize vacation investment that can soar into the thousands of dollars.
Ultimately, if you maximize your trip and eliminate much of the travel time generally associated with Disney, the extra money is a no brainer. As I mentioned earlier, if you’ve already paid for park hopper, you might as well get the most out of it.
Do we recommend?
ABSOLUTELY! If you’re headed to Walt Disney World for a day or 10, we think express Transportation is well worth the price tag. The $24 option for your entire trip equals $96 for a family of 4, and that’s assuming your children are over 3.
Think of it this way…$96 = 50% of a character dinner for 4. So skip a sit down dinner or lunch reservation and try out the Express Transportation Option. It’s totally worth it!
If you’ve used Express Transportation or had a different experience than us, let us know in the comments below: