Navigating WDW with a car

This is our first trip with a rental car. We’ll probably drive to parks/DS, partly to see if it’s worth having as an option for future trips (no choice this time as were flying in/out of TPA, plus it’s a UOR/KSC/WDW trip).

Is signage sufficient to navigate WDW? Do GPS apps work well (we usually use Waze)? Any particular websites or resources to help figure out the best way to where we want to go?


Signage is good but not always perfect. GPS maps should be sufficient, I used the hire cars in car GPS maps last time, which weren’t great, but once we switched to a phone using Google maps, we were fine. Waze uses pretty much the same data, so should be good.

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No problem getting around, with or without navigation.

But just wanted to say that the parking garages at DS are amazing. They have this system there that is almost life-changing…I wish all parking garages had it. Not only do they tell you how many spaces are available on each level, but they have lights at the end of each row to indicate if there are any empty spaces, and lights above each space, so you can see where the empty spots are!


Haha, I loved that too, absolutely genius!

Hopefully the road construction near Pop Century and Wide World of Sports that we encountered in August 2018 has wrapped up. We had a terrible time trying to get to Polynesian Resort from Pop on that trip because there was so much construction and the signs were terrible! We finally ended up pulling off to Typhoon Lagoon (which was nearby and we knew how to get to it) and turning on the roaming on our phone so that we could use Google to get directions!


Luckily, we have unlimited data on our plan (throttled after a certain amount, but should still be pretty useful).

The signage on property is good, but it’s not perfect. It’s great for getting to the parks and DS from your hotel, but getting back is where it’s sometimes lacking. You really have to understand what area your resort hotel is considered. I’ve driven on property for 50+ stays and I usually use GoogleMaps.


No issues, get around easily with google maps. My only two cents, have offline maps Turned on for the area. Driving to WDW in July from the airport, my friend and I were chatting away and didn’t realize my phone lost data connection at one point and we went 20 mins passed our exit :joy:

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Usually the signage is fine. I had a hard time in 2018 finding art of animation and pop cenrury. The construction and signage was not up to usual par.

Agree with @ryan1 about the garages.


Agree with others that signage is good but mistakes can happen. Even after many trips I missed a turn my first park day and had to loop around.

I don’t like the garages at DS. We used to be so close to our car and now there is a giant walk to/from DS.

Yes! Especially offsite. They draw you on pretty well, but it’s not like they can direct each person back!

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I would say ignore signage completely and trust Waze. Disney uses signage as a way to direct traffic to certain routes.

This is particularly true when staying offsite but also applies to onsite. For example, traveling on the I-4 towards Magic Kingdom all signs tell you to go all the way around to Osceola Parkway instead of Epcot Center Drive which is a more direct way. Another example is trying to get the to HS from POP, the sign tells you to make a right on Victory Way when if fact if you make a left you can be there in under two minutes!

Just be careful when using Waze. I once ended up in an employee parking lot because I was not careful when I selected my destination. (In my defense the parking lot was marked as "Parking Lot Section 7 or something like that’). Also, common sense prevails…always.


One other tip for using Google Maps - when you navigate to Magic Kingdom, make sure you are going to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Last time we were there, my mom was driving from offsite and they ended up at the cast member building north of the Magic Kingdom. :man_facepalming: That was a costly mistake as they missed our first couple of rides in the morning (we took the ferry from WL).

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Excellent tip!

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We usually fly and use DME, but we currently have APs and have driven there three times the past 6 months. DH drives, I navigate. I do great when we’re going on long distance trips through major cities. But I do not like when we drive around WDW!!! Very stressful. I use Google Maps on my phone (but only as a map, not as driving turn-by-turn instructions). I also have Waze. I printed off some sections at home, to have with. I struggle to get my bearings on WDW roads, so many of them are freeway style. So easy to miss your turn and have to scramble to figure out a new route. We stayed at Pop all three times, used Disney transportation all the time while there. I can handle getting us from DS to Pop, and back via car.