I appreciate the questions that I receive from visitors. It gives me an opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. I received just such a question that caused me to stop and admit, that since I am a long time resident and have always driven my own vehicle to all the local parks in Orlando, I had not realized how confusing it is for anyone not familiar with the theme parks or our public bus system.
First let me say, please ask your hotel if they provide transportation. Most hotels in the Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista area do, but a few do not. Also, some hotels charge fees for this service. This could be an important factor in determining if you want to stay on Disney property or not. The entire Disney transportation system is free. This includes Disney busses, monorails, and boats. Walt Disney World has an extensive transportation system and it should because the property is about the same size as the city of San Francisco!
So, here is the scoop about the busses. Our public bus system is named Lynx. Their web address is www.golynx.com.
Only three public busses serve Walt Disney World. The Lynx Link numbers are 50, 56, and 111. They all pick up and drop off at the same location on Disney property. This location is called the “Ticket and Transportation Center.”
The really confusing part is that since the “Ticket and Transportation Center” is just outside of the Magic Kingdom, the Lynx system, and we locals, all refer to it as the Magic Kingdom parking lot, or sometimes as just Disney. This is confusing if you want to go somewhere else, other than the Magic Kingdom, such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Walt Disney World has four parks to choose from.
You can go anywhere on Disney property after the public Lynx bus drops you off at the “Ticket and Transportation Center.” From there, walk a few steps and board a free Disney bus to Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios. A short walk from the bus area, you may board a free monorail to the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT center. There is also a free boat to take you to the Magic Kingdom from the Ticket and Transportation Center. See *Note below.
If you decide to drive and park in any of the theme park parking lots, the current daily fees range from $14 (Disney) to $15 (Universal) for a car or small truck. Also, although the public busses do not go directly to Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, or Hollywood Studios, a car or taxi will. This will save some time.
Universal has a parking deck which exits into City Walk. From City Walk you need to walk to one of two Universal theme parks. Walk towards the lake and turn left if you want to go to Islands of Adventure, which has thrill rides and Harry Potter, or turn right and go to Universal which has Fear Factor and other attractions.
Universal Orlando also has a free boat that will take you to and from a Universal Orlando hotel. So, if you stay on Universal property, you can take a boat ride to City Walk, then it’s a short walk to Islands of Adventure. Once inside Islands of Adventure, it’s another short walk to the Harry Potter attraction.
*Note: If you want to park your vehicle at the Ticket and Transportation Center, you follow the signs to the Magic Kingdom. This is another reason why there is some confusion between these two names.