Transportation advice -- when should I use my car?

Since we’re driving to Orlando we have the option of driving to/from the parks along with using Disney’s transportation and ride share. Below is my current planning, but I don’t have a good sense of how much time parking will take. Any sanity checks are welcome!

Thursday August 22nd: we’ll drive from UOR to CBR, check in in the afternoon (bags with Bell Services if the room isn’t ready) and then drive over to Hollywood Studios from around 3pm to 8pm.

Friday Aug 23rd: aiming to be at EMH at MK about 30 minutes before EMH starts (heading to Space Mountain) – should we drive? I know it means parking at TTC and then monorail or boat from there but how much time do I allow for that? I’m planning to be out of MK by 2pm, then either back to CBR or heading to AKL for a few hours before our dinner at Boma. After dinner we might go to Epcot for a bit of World Showcase and Illuminations, so having the car seems easier.

Saturday August 24 – bus from CBR to Epcot for our PPO Garden Grill Breakfast, maybe Lyft back to CBR for afternoon break. We need to be at MK by around 5pm so if we powered through the afternoon at Epcot we’ll take the monorail over around 4pm and if we went back for pool time we’ll drive to MK or Lyft to Contemporary and walk. We’re staying in the park for 30-45 minutes after HEA. If we don’t have the car, what’s the best way back to CBR?

Sunday August 25th – very uncertain plans, but probably driving everywhere. Maybe we’ll do EMH at HS, maybe we’ll go to Disney Springs mid-morning for the Void, maybe we’ll just sleep in and hang out at the pool. We have dinner at 'Ohana at 4 so we’ll drive to the TTC and walk to that. We have FPPs at MK for after 'Ohana so we’d monorail or boat to/from MK. This may end up being a non-park day though. If you have FPPs but never enter the parks that doesn’t count as using your ticket, right? I’d cancel the FPPs anyway but thinking about it made me wonder.

Monday August 26th, all day at AK – depending on how tired/motivated we are we’ll either want to get there 30min before EMH starts or around 9:30am. Staying until Rivers of Light. Driving seems to make sense.

Tuesday August 27th is the day I’m most confused about. We check out of CBR and into the Swan, we have PPO breakfast at Be Our Guest, and our FPPs (SDD finally!) are at HS from 2:45pm onwards. We’re staying until Fantasmic! and can walk to the Swan afterwards. If we want to be at MK to check in for breakfast by 7:45am, how early would we need to leave CBR if we drive? I’m planning on having Bell Services move our bags between hotels so driving to MK and then from there to the Swan seems easiest. Then boat or walk to/from HS.

Wednesday August 28th – nothing planned other than 11:30am breakfast at TaF, and I may drop that. Maybe we go back to AK (drive or bus?), or walk over to Epcot or drive over to Disney Springs. Aiming for a very early bedtime.

August 29th: walking to HS around 4am. If everyone is up for it maybe we’re doing a 4 park challenge using Disney transportation once we’ve ridden the Millennium Falcon and explored SW:GE.

August 30th – checking out (bags with bell services/car still parked), walking or boating to/from HS for the Droid experience, driving to Disney Springs if we haven’t yet been there, then driving back towards Canada.

When we had our car at FW, we sort if played it by ear. Typically we planned on taking the bus, but if the wait for the bus was going to be longer than we wanted, we would just walk over and hop in the car.

I would plan not to do a car to MK just because of TTC, Be aware that CR can be fiesty about drop offs if you don’t have an ADR. If you do park at TTC, I would allow 30 min for parking and getting to MK.

I would definitely do the car if you are going to be going between two resorts, and I would definitely do the car on days where your plans are flexible. That way you don’t have to go back and get it if you want it.

In general, I would not do the car going from resort to park unless I am on a particular schedule and the bus is not cooperating.

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Yay, those sound like exactly the general principles I was looking for. Thank you.

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I have to say, I learned here that early morning driving to MK can be very easy. Last February I left POR at 7:10. We drove to TTC and got one of the front rows.We walked to security, took the resort monorail (express was not running) and we were in the ADR line by 7:40. We took a mid day break. We left our car and went to/from the resort by bus. At the end of the night we took the monorail back to our great parking spot.


Oh yes! If going for a PPO breakfast, do it! This would be my exception for driving to MK. We did this when staying off property and it went so easily.


I think since Main Street opens by 8 if you are making that entrance the TTC would work.

We have always had our car at WDW and drive to every park for the most part. We always arrive before rope drop so we found it easier to hop in the car once we were ready and drive to the parks. It was also easier since we just left the stroller folded in the car at the end of the day and didn’t open it until we arrived at the park. In the morning parking is usually really close so no need for trams.

If we were taking a break it depended on the plans for the day. Sometimes we drove back and forth since we didn’t have to wait on busses then, other times we rode the bus. Sometimes it depended on if a bus was pulling up as we walked past the bus stop. If we did drive and then return to the same park after our break we frequently drove past the CM parking cars and ended up back in the close spot we have left earlier. Some CM are willing to let you look for those spots.

We found it easier with small children to be in our own car instead of waiting for buses. We did use Disney transportation going to Disney Springs when we were staying at places on the boat line or if our group was splitting up for a few hours. (One person staying with a little one still napping, for instance).

We always drove when we were changing hotels and actually never even dropped of bags at bell services but just left them in the car. It saved time since many of our split stays were between off site and on site locations.

I know many people skip driving to the MK but we love riding the monorail or the ferry over in the morning from TTC. It just makes the trip more magical for us.


We have always had a car (except for my last trip in July when we relied on Disney transport–never again) and we drive to all the parks including MK. I know that people don’t agree about driving to MK but if you are there early it’s really easy to walk to the TTC.


Yikes, your “never again” makes me happy we’ll have the car when we want it. Did you write up your four park challenge somewhere?

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No. I really need to because it was a fun day (long but so fun). I got sick on the trip towards the end and am just now starting to feel a little better.

I say never again, but that’s more likely because the trip just occurred. So who knows. Minus the cost I really enjoy having a car and the flexibility it allows.

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If it helps (probably not but hey :grin:), we never drive to any of the parks or other resorts. Except when moving resorts.

We hire a car and we use it to go offsite, but we prefer to be in the Disney bubble. DH is the only driver, he likes a drink with meals and he doesn’t like acting as a chauffeur. Plus he rarely lasts more than 3-4 hours in a park anyway, he’s always first to go back to the resort.


This is why I always rent a car. If it makes sense to drive, I can drive. If we want to ride the bubble buses, we do that. If we want to drink around the world, then buses. If we are park hopping, then drive. I also drive for runDisney 5K and 10K (but use the buses for the Half and Full races).

I don’t love the TTC routine even if arriving early and parking close – the buses from the resort are so much better in dropping you off right there at the entrance. But I will admit I had never thought about driving, parking at TTC lots, and then walking to the Poly to take the resort loop monorail. we might try that next time!


We always use the bus. Or boat. Or monorail. Or walk. Some of it is the adult beverages and some of it is we ALWAYS get lost. Apparently we can’t read.

Oh, wait. We were off property in one of those cheap multi-bedroom vrbo places Thanksgiving 2017. Of course we drove then. Got to MK early - stop me if you’ve heard this - and directed to park in Ursula. We - there were two cars of us - made a huge point of noting where we were. Niece put the gps in her phone, etc. Ursula up on the sign. Walked to TTC - no tram yet, cause it wasn’t busy enough.

About noon we took the tram out to the parking lot. Nothing looks right. My niece is not understanding her phone - it’s saying our cars are way over yonder. The CM is like, no, we’ve only been using Heroes.

Finally he found out some Disney somebody switched up the parking lots, so we tram back to TTC and walk to our vehicles.

This was along the lines of never again.

This recurring discussion merely points out how great Disney is in that some can get around in their private vehicles perfectly fine. We enjoy the buses. Others find ride-sharing to be the answer. Excellent.


Why would you walk to Poly to get resort loop when you can just get it at TTC?

the TTC monorail is often not open first thing in the mornings.

Resort loop is because of early ADRs. It stops at TTC so people coming from off property can get to the gate.

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so no need to walk to Poly? ignore the regular monorail and get on the TTC resort loop station? I thought when we tried the CMs told us NO monorail at TTC but i’m up for trusting you!

So the resort loop goes through the TTC and I have for sure picked it up at the TTC at around 7:30. I know we were not the first pickup too. You cannot get the Express monorail that early


We just left CBR today and rented a car for our week there after hearing how spotty the bus service can be. We ended up in building 56, far end of Aruba, which is the last bus stop. The few times we tried to take the bus, there were always issues with not being enough room on the bus by the time it got to our stop. So we walked a few steps to our car and drove instead. The only time that WDW bus service went smoothly for us was when we took the bus from MK to WL and back for our Storybook Dining meal (excellent by the way!). At CBR it seems very dependent on where you are or what stop you are willing to walk to, and then if you get on early in the route you have to spend the time going through all the stops. I really think WDW needs to make two separate bus routes, doubling the buses, at CBR to accommodate the number of people there, one for Aruba-Jamaica and one for the other islands. Anyhow, car worked out well for us. All of the parks are only around a 10 minute drive from CBR except HS which is only 2-3 minutes away. Do allow plenty of time to go between TTC and MK if you drive. This morning it took about 30-40 minutes to get from our car into the park for PPO at BOG, with only the resort monorail running. That sounds bad but looking at the crowds at the bus stop as we left CBR at 7 am, we were still glad to be driving.


thx ! i will look or that next time!

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