Magic Kingdom Transportation Tips

First, know that the parks are often seeing an “unofficial” opening with some attractions operating as early as an hour in advance. There is no way to tell this information other than word of mouth – so I would just plan on the parks opening an hour before the official opening and work your plans around that if you desire a head start (it always helps to be early at WDW, btw!).

That said, not all transportation is equal in getting to the parks.

Rumors are that the monorails are sometimes first to arrive, with Disney buses being close or next and allowed into the gate at 8am. I wouldn’t worry too much if I was using one of these, just go with what is available at your resort!

Cars arriving and parking are often reported to be held until 1 hr to 45 minutes before opening, putting them at a disadvantage. Again, NONE of this is concrete and I just want people to know what has been happening on several occasions.

The most advantageous thing it seems one could do is be at a monorail resort (Contemporary, Polynesian or Grand Floridian) and be at the monorail EARLY. The next, for most of us not staying at these resorts, is to be at the bus stop early. I recommend even as early as two hours in advance if you want to be one of the first in the parks.

Another option would be to have an early morning breakfast reservation at a monorail resort, although it still may not be early enough if the parks are opening at 8am/9am. Could work if you have a quick breakfast. A reminder though that in this case, you’d have to Uber/Lyft to that resort – you cannot leave your car in the parking lot and then go to Magic Kingdom for the day.

If using Disney transport, I’d personally plan on getting to your bus or monorail stop 90 minutes (or earlier) in advance of official park opening. This means if the park is scheduled to open at 9am, I’d want to be at the bus/monorail stop at 7:15am-7:30am.

*do not attempt to Uber to the Contemporary or other resort without a breakfast reservation. They likely will not let you in, and then it will botch your morning plans trying to figure out what to do from there. This “hack” is well-known and is no longer seeing a lot of success and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Hollywood Studios Transportation Tips

First, know that the parks are often seeing an “unofficial” opening with some attractions operating as early as an hour in advance. There is no way to tell this information other than word of mouth – so I would just plan on the parks opening an hour before the official opening and work your plans around that if you desire a head start (it always helps to be early at WDW, btw!).

That said, not all transportation is equal in getting to the parks. Especially Hollywood Studios.

There are three ways to get to Hollywood Studios via Disney transport – the Skyliner, buses, or the walking path from the EPCOT resorts (Swan/Dolphin, Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach).

Reports of arrival times are all over the place for the Skyliner, buses, and cars; and it does make it a bit tough to determine a plan.

Walking from a resort on the sidewalk to Hollywood Studios IS the clear winner here. You’re in control and can be there as early as you’d like to line up vs. all other transport methods. 

If you want to be one of the first in the park, the best way to secure this as a plan is to make an early morning (7:30am or earlier) breakfast reservation at either Trattoria al Forno or Ale & Compass (both are delicious and inexpensive, btw!). If you finish your meal in less than 45 min-1 hour, you can walk to Hollywood Studios on the back path in 15-20 minutes and hopefully be there by 8:45am and be one of the first ones in. If you’re not familiar with the path, just look at the map on the Disney app or even Google. Super easy!

Otherwise, here are some other tips:

Skyliner – people line up early. Most recent reports are that the Skyliner starts operating about 30 minutes before the posted official opening – so if it states that the Skyliner opens at 9am, it’s likely running at 8:30am or even a few minutes before. However, all resorts besides Caribbean Beach guests will have to transfer at the Caribbean Beach hub, and this hub sees very long waits to transfer. On top of that, the resorts alone are seeing long waits to get on the Skyliner. If you can be out to the Skyliner by 7:45/8am if Hollywood Studios “officially” opens at 10am (just adjust these times proportionally if the scheduled opening is earlier or has changed when you go), that is recommended. Even getting there 90 minutes in advance on my last trip got me in the park about 25 minutes after most had entered, and wait times were quite high for the major headliners.

Bus reports, driving cars, and Ubers have reported rumors all over the place. Most cars are reporting being held at least an hour in advance of park opening, putting them a little bit behind early Disney resort guests.  Uber reports include some people being dropped off early with success, others being turned around if it’s more than an hour before official opening.

Your best bet if driving/Ubering is to attempt to get there early (90 minutes before), and just have a backup plan if they turn you away.

If taking a Disney bus, do the same thing you’d plan for Magic Kingdom – get there at 90 minutes to even 2 hours ahead of time to line up for one of the first buses.

EPCOT Transportation Tips

First, know that the parks are often seeing an “unofficial” opening with some attractions operating as early as an hour in advance. There is no way to tell this information other than word of mouth – so I would just plan on the parks opening an hour before the official opening and work your plans around that if you desire a head start (it always helps to be early at WDW, btw!).

That said, not all transportation is equal in getting to the parks.

EPCOT typically does not operate attractions as early as the other three parks, and often won’t even let people in too early.

Whether arriving via your own transport, Skyliner, or bus, I wouldn’t be as concerned about an EPCOT arrival.

Try to get there about 60 minutes in advance of park opening if you want to be one of the first, but usually, the 90 minutes to 2 hours is not necessary.

Animal Kingdom Transportation Tips

First, know that the parks are often seeing an “unofficial” opening with some attractions operating as early as an hour in advance. There is no way to tell this information other than word of mouth – so I would just plan on the parks opening an hour before the official opening and work your plans around that if you desire a head start (it always helps to be early at WDW, btw!).

Animal Kingdom often operates some attractions early, but reports vary on how early. 

The nice thing about Animal Kingdom is that you can only get there via bus or your own transport – so it’s typically not as much of a stressful competitive vibe of who can arrive first!

If you want a head start, I’d plan on being at Animal Kingdom 90 minutes or so before posted official opening – whether arriving your own transport or car.

Easy peasy.