How to Travel Within Walt Disney World
During my last trip to Walt Disney World (WDW), I stayed at Pop Century. I like staying at different places to give me a better understanding of how to get to the parks as well as when to head out to them!
Let’s take it park by park and review how I got there, when they opened and when I actually got into the park. I’ll also cover a little about how we got back from each park along with timing.
Our first day was Hollywood Studios (HS). It was my first time there since Galaxy’s Edge had opened up as well as the Skyliner, so I had a lot to learn. The posted opening time was 10am, but knew the parking lot opened at 9 and the park was starting to run some rides shortly after that. From Pop Century, we would have to get to the Skyliner and change lines at the hub at Caribbean Beach Resort…so we’d have to go through two lines before we even got to the line to enter the park.
We opted to have a Lyft pick us up this morning to take us to HS. This was a great decision! For about $8 we made it in as the parking lot was opening at 9am, breezed through the temperature checks and security and scanned our Magic Bands before getting in line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at 9:09. It couldn’t have been easier. Getting to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway with a 40 minute wait was amazing as the wait time for that never dipped below an hour.
The Lyft driver wore a mask as did we, and we all felt confident that we were as protected as we would have been on a bus.
Returning to Pop Century took us about 25 minutes from the gate to our hotel room door after the park closed which was just fine with us since our building is about a 5-7 minute walk from the Skyliner station at Pop Century. Each Skyliner cab holds only your party in it so there’s now weirdness riding with strangers, and the entire system is so smooth and fast!
On our second day, we headed to Animal Kingdom (AK). We weren’t in a super big rush to get there since we wanted to spend most of our time in Pandora and take pictures of the park. We took a Disney bus, and arrived close to 10am though the park opened at 9am. I’d say it took us about 20 minutes between when we left our room and when we entered the park. Super easy and straightforward.
We had dinner at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge that evenin,g so we didn’t head straight back to the Pop Century, but took a bus from AK to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since they don’t have busses between resorts, we took a Lyft again from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Pop Century since we were tired and didn’t feel like riding multiple buses.
Buses have partitions between parties, and only 8 parties are allowed on a bus at any given time. Gone (for now) is the saying, “if you can see the floor, you can take some more,” and it’s a welcome break!
Our third day was the one we were most concerned about…Magic Kingdom (MK). The park’s posted opening was 9am, but we knew they were opening the gates close to 8am. Buses typically run 45 minutes before a park opening; but with social distancing protocols, I knew they would want to vary where people were waiting.
So we got up at 6:15, were out the door and ready for the park by 6:45 and in line by 6:50. We were the 8th group in line so we knew we’d be on the first or second bus. Buses began running at 7:40 and were amazing!!!
Two buses would load at the same time pulling guests from the first and second rows of the queue, and once loaded two more buses pulled in. At one point, I saw no fewer than seven buses in line to take guests to MK with more coming down the road as we were exiting the Pop Century driveway. THIS is what Disney does well. They will get you to the parks as soon as they can because they know that’s where you want to be.
Upon arriving at MK, we were the first buses allowed to pull into the bus area, first buses to unload, about 10th in line to get our temperatures taken and again breezed through security. We waited just long enough to snap some pictures of the entrance and railroad station before being permitted inside the park. We went to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and rode it, Peter Pan, and It’s a Small World, and were in line for the Haunted Mansion all before the park officially opened!
Leaving MK took a while…we had a little shopping to do as the park was closing and wanted to take some more pictures so we didn’t leave until nearly 30 minutes after the park closed at 9pm. EVERYONE was going back to Pop Century, so I think we wound up waiting about 20-25 minutes in line for a bus. We were so thankful for the social distancing on the bus so we could cool off and have space for our bags without worrying about other guests. It was about 45 minutes between leaving the park and entering our room, but it was truly a magical day.
The final day was in Epcot. This park didn’t open until 11am, so we opted to get up and see what it would be like trying to get to HS via the Skyliner since we would have to change lines at the Skyliner hub at Caribbean Beach resort anyway. We got in line about 8:20am that looked like we wouldn’t get on until next year. But, in true Skyliner form, once they got moving it was about 10 minutes before we were taking off!
Once we arrived at the Hub, we disembarked to enter a second line. However, this is where things can be interesting! When you get into this second line, you will go down a ramp and join other guests who are staying at Caribbean Beach. This line can get long, but there is a second option. During crowded days, they have buses for you to consider taking. If they have this option TAKE IT! You will get to HS so much faster!
Since we weren’t heading there, we got in line for Epcot and waited a bit. We were the 5th group in line and waited until 9:40 when they started running the line to Epcot. Upon arriving at the Epcot station, we joined the line from guests from the Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Boardwalk Resorts to have our temperature taken, go through security and scan our Magic Bands, which went quickly, and headed over to Norway to ride Frozen Ever After. We made it to the queue before they even began running the ride and waited about 30 minutes. Then we went started sampling some deliciousness from the Food and Wine festival and enjoyed the rest of our day.
Heading back to Pop Century was a breeze as we only had to take the Skyliner back. We left about 15 minutes before closing so there was no line, and we reached our hotel in about 20 minutes which included a quick potty stop at the Skyliner hub because sometimes when you’re traveling you laugh too hard and can’t make it all the way back to your room….well you may be able to, but I needed to stop.
One of the best things about booking with me is that I share all my experiences with you to make sure you have an even better trip that I did. Email me at CFulton@WishesFamilyTravel.com to book your next trip!