First Time Not Staying On-Property - Driving Question

My in-laws have a timeshare so we’re staying with them off-property. Previously we’ve used the Disney buses to get around but now we’ll be driving in.

Any tips on driving into Disney rather than using their buses? Is it really easy or a hassle? I’m just trying to get a feel for what it will be like.

like anywhere else really good signage though. I have driven while staying on and off property. I do get the sense that “all of a sudden” it gets a bit crowded - but nothing unusual. Keep an eye out for the specifica lane you need to be in as turn and other things come up and if you are following a bus - they have different lanes they can use - so don’t just “follow that bus” It is pretty easy. Keep your wallet out for the parking tolls though.

It’s very simple. We much prefer driving because we HATE the buses, so we rent a car even staying onsite. If you are going during a run or other event be prepared for traffic and depending on where the timeshare is try to avoid I-4 at all cost. Other than that getting around Orlando in general is very easy and extremely so inside the bubble where there are tons of signs.

Thanks for the tip about I-4. We’re staying at the Summer Bay Resort and Google Maps says we don’t have to get on the I-4 to get to Disney from there so that’s a plus.

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Follow up question: If we plan to park hop is it better to park the car at the park where we plan to finish our day and use the buses to get from one to the other or is getting around in the car easier.

Thanks for all the helpful advice so far.

It’s nothing to be afraid of but it’s a huge highway and it’s one of the only ones that isn’t a toll road so it gets congested A LOT! But if you can see it’s moving along ok there is no reason not to take it.

Another benefit is that you’ll be able to easily access the Disney outlets where you can get your souvenirs at a quarter of the park cost. Plus you can access some really great food for normal prices lol.

We prefer to drive from park to park. MK is the only park where driving can be kind of a pain. It’s easy at the other parks. Once you pay you can move the car without paying again. Plus buses only run to parks for about an hour after close so if you start at Animal Kingdom and end at MK which usually closes hours later you might run into issues geting back to the car.

I would probably park at the park you were going to end up the night in. Just be aware of closing times, obviously. It is easy to get around in the car if you prefer. Your parking pass is good at all parks so you can go to MK in the morning and EP in the evening on one parking pass.

We always stay off property and drive and we’ve never had an issue.

Be very aware of which roads have tolls. Florida, like other states, is moving away from tollbooths and toward electronic toll monitoring. If you go onto a toll road and don’t have a SunPass they will find you. :slight_smile: We drove to Miami to get on a cruise ship this past summer and ended up on a toll road because of a traffic jam. A few months later we got a bill for the toll. If you plan to use toll road a lot you can buy a SunPass and then you won’t have to pay the “convenience fee” if they bill you later.

I think if you are hopping - use the car in both instances. Park at the 1st park - finish - drive to the 2nd park. Getting park to park can be a pain. There are exceptions.

If doing Studios and Epcot - I would park at studios and then water taxi / walk to epcot. However - based on hours you may not be able to do the opposite. you can also vallet at any of the Hotels between the two as you have to pay to park regardless.

If doing MK / EPCOT same thing.

However if you have to take a bus between the parks - just drive

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Summer Bay is a great resort! I stayed there some years ago. While you’re right, you don’t need to get on I-4, 192 (the main road it’s on) can get pretty busy at times. So keep that in mind if you’re trying to get to any of the parks at a certain time. 192 is chock full of vacation resorts so there will be a lot of people going the same direction as you in the mornings.
I always drive, even if I’m staying on property. I personally don’t leave my car at a park… the car goes where I go if I’m changing parks. I find it to be faster. Plus, there’s many times we leave things in the car (water, change of shoes, jackets if needed, etc.) so it’s nice to be able to grab those things when we go back to the car to switch parks.

Thanks for the response. I really enjoyed Summer Bay. We only used it as a place to rest and shower but my in-laws had a great time taking advantage of the amenities. The drive into the parks every day wasn’t bad and I didn’t have any trouble with parking.

We used waze to help navigate and it worked great. Also just want to add that the only time I hated driving was at MK on a CL 10 day. We got stuck in just a huge herd of people trying to catch the ferry back to the ttc (so we could then take a tram to our parking are). The monorail was down so it was just a zoo, and it took more than an hour to get on the ferry. So, be forewarned, MK can be tricky, and timing is everything. We left about 20 minutes after the fireworks. In retrospect I would have left before, or found something to do inside the park (even if it was just to find a nice place for tired kiddos to rest) for another hour before leaving.

We found driving to be very easy. A tip - I use the Google Maps app on my phone, and it talks to me when the phone is sitting in the cup holder. There were times I was confused by the signage, but the Google lady got me where I needed to be.