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View Full Version : Driving around Disney


Bunch24
01-12-2012, 09:20 PM
Hey Dads,

First of all, thanks for the help on the dining suggestions. Got them all nailed down, even doing a Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast (gotta love the new ADR requirements).

Got another issue I'm looking for some guidance/input. In the three times we've gone to WDW, we've driven but haven't touched our vehicle once it's parked. We have always relied on Disney transportation. But the more I listen to podcasts, the more I hear the experts say if you have a vehicle, it's a lot easier to just drive instead of relying on somewhat erratic Disney transportation.

So, how many of you have used your own vehicles around property? First off, is it easy to navigate? I find myself trying to memorize bus routes, but different drivers like to take different routes and then I get all confused. Secondly, how is the parking situation at each park? I remember when we used to go to Astroworld (:yay:) that parking was a nightmare for my parents. We'd end up a mile from the front of the park, and I don't really look forward to that with two kids.

I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of each. I like the freedom of having my own car and not having to wait for a bus with hundreds of other people 10 minutes after Wishes. At the same time, I like the idea of having someone else bringing me around property. We usually wake up pretty early, so getting to the resorts has never been a big issue as far as waiting for buses. The biggest headache has been that late-night 45-minute wait for a bus.

So, what do you guys think?

afwdwfan
01-13-2012, 07:47 AM
We always drive when we go and in the past always used Disney Transportation once we were on property... This last trip, however, having a stroller with us, we decided to drive instead.

We stayed at Wilderness Lodge so, of course, we just hopped on the boat to MK. Personally, no matter where I'm staying, I'd probably take the bus or any other form of transportation to MK anyway instead of driving. You'll have to park and transfer onto another form of transportation anyway, so a bus is just as good.

We drove everywhere else and there was no problem getting anywhere. All the parks are well marked by signs. The only thing you'd really need to do is maybe know which area of the property your certain resort is in so that you go the right direction when you leave the park. They have signs for the resorts once you get close, but if you're leaving EPCOT for example and going to Wilderness Lodge, you'd follow MK signs until you'd get closer. Really not too hard to navigate though.

It was really great driving, because we'd just throw the stroller in the back of the truck, strap DS into his seat and sometimes, he'd actually fall asleep by the time we were back at the resort. Waiting for the bus would have been miserable. We never had any trouble leaving the parks at night. I timed it the night we left DHS after Fantasmic! and from the time we walked out the front of the park, to the time we opened the door to our hotel room was less than 20 minutes.

As far as parking far from the front of the park, they do have trams available if you're far away... whether you want to ride on or walk, I guess would be up to you. We booked our trip through AAA so we got the AAA diamond pass. This thing was great. It allowed us to park right up front in all the parks. In AK and EPCOT they had a sign that said to follow a certain colored line painted on the asphalt and it took us right up by the handicap parking. In DHS we just had to show the pass to the parking attendants directing traffic and they pointed us the right direction.

AJRitz
01-13-2012, 10:43 AM
I use my Garmin GPS to navigate, and it does a great job of getting me around. Having your own car does kind of spoil you - it's nice to be able to be on the move when you want to be, without having to wait on transportation.

IamTrike
01-13-2012, 11:51 AM
We always drive when we go and in the past always used Disney Transportation once we were on property... This last trip, however, having a stroller with us, we decided to drive instead.

We stayed at Wilderness Lodge so, of course, we just hopped on the boat to MK. Personally, no matter where I'm staying, I'd probably take the bus or any other form of transportation to MK anyway instead of driving. You'll have to park and transfer onto another form of transportation anyway, so a bus is just as good.

We drove everywhere else and there was no problem getting anywhere. All the parks are well marked by signs. The only thing you'd really need to do is maybe know which area of the property your certain resort is in so that you go the right direction when you leave the park. They have signs for the resorts once you get close, but if you're leaving EPCOT for example and going to Wilderness Lodge, you'd follow MK signs until you'd get closer. Really not too hard to navigate though.

It was really great driving, because we'd just throw the stroller in the back of the truck, strap DS into his seat and sometimes, he'd actually fall asleep by the time we were back at the resort. Waiting for the bus would have been miserable. We never had any trouble leaving the parks at night. I timed it the night we left DHS after Fantasmic! and from the time we walked out the front of the park, to the time we opened the door to our hotel room was less than 20 minutes.

As far as parking far from the front of the park, they do have trams available if you're far away... whether you want to ride on or walk, I guess would be up to you. We booked our trip through AAA so we got the AAA diamond pass. This thing was great. It allowed us to park right up front in all the parks. In AK and EPCOT they had a sign that said to follow a certain colored line painted on the asphalt and it took us right up by the handicap parking. In DHS we just had to show the pass to the parking attendants directing traffic and they pointed us the right direction.

We really like having a car too. I would also agree about the Magic Kingdom. Because you have to transfer at the TTA to get to it the buses or other transportation to that park is usually better. Even with the AAA diamond pass parking may not be that bad. I think it will depend on how crowded it is when you visit and what time you get to the parks.

If you want to do any resort hopping its much much easier if you have a car. Your parking pass will get you into any resorts parking lot.

I use my Garmin GPS to navigate, and it does a great job of getting me around. Having your own car does kind of spoil you - it's nice to be able to be on the move when you want to be, without having to wait on transportation.

We use a Garmin too. The only issue we have with it is that for some reason it doesn't recognize Overpass Rd as being a valid road. That makes getting in and out of the PO resorts and I think Old Key West a little wierd. It usually suggests really round about ways to get there.

afwdwfan
01-13-2012, 11:59 AM
We use a Garmin too. The only issue we have with it is that for some reason it doesn't recognize Overpass Rd as being a valid road. That makes getting in and out of the PO resorts and I think Old Key West a little wierd. It usually suggests really round about ways to get there.

Agreed. I've used my Garmin enough that I always have it with me for reference, but I don't always go by what it says. I think the signs on property are usually a better reference than my GPS is.

FWIW, I've had my Garmin for about 5 or 6 years, but my updated maps are about 2 years old.

Bunch24
01-13-2012, 12:16 PM
I'll have the GPS, so I should be fine there.

I've also heard that MK is the one park you don't want to drive, because of the parking situation.

I'm still kind of wrestling with it, because Disney transportation has been so convenient. But then I think about those horrible, horrible nights of waiting in line, holding two heavy kids, for a bus that's going to be so packed my wife and I will have to stand the entire ride home.

I think I'll try it out our first day and see if my wife/kids like it. Like I said, Disney transportation is like a ride in and of itself to our kids, so they may be upset if we don't take the buses/monorail.

trennr
01-13-2012, 01:14 PM
I have always driven. I prefer to drive...and the only Disney Transport I have used are...

1]Monorail
2]Parking Tram
3]Boats

I've only gotten "off track" once with Hollywood Studios 2009...I left my Resort (Coranado) Turned Left onto Buena Vista...then took an almost immediate right onto World Drive (that was a mistake) We actually left the WDW property...I turned around on Irlo Bronson (us192).

I had only been to HS once before and that time we were staying off-property...soo I didn't know the Back door entrance was off of Beuna Vista...and Signage from Coranado to the Turn off I had made...did not state that HS was Straight Ahead...until after where I turned off. :headache:

Lesson learned...this was more of a "Nate just thought he knew where to go" thing rather than Poor Signage by Disney.

I think they have everything signed pretty well...to get from point A to point B.

Study Google maps...street view.

Tell me where you are staying and I could probably tell you turn by turn how to get to wherever. (PM if you want)








Recalculating!!! :lmao:

DisneyFed
01-13-2012, 09:42 PM
You should be fine as long as you pay attention to the signs.

The property is marked pretty well.

As someone pointed out, Garmins work pretty good too, however, they will take you some pretty interesting back routes;)

Wherem I Now
01-14-2012, 08:24 AM
You should be fine as long as you pay attention to the signs.

The property is marked pretty well.

As someone pointed out, Garmins work pretty good too, however, they will take you some pretty interesting back routes;)

::yes:: Been some places around the World that I doubt most get to see... We usually stay off-site and getting back and forth to the Magic Kingdom has taken us through the cast member areas (which are not restricted) and residential areas that you would never know were there.

The frustrating part is circling around the entire MK parking lot and still not getting in through the parking toll booths without taking a U-turn.

twokids0204
01-14-2012, 09:13 AM
We have driven all around WDW and have never had any problems. The grounds are very well signed. You should have a general idea of where things are, as some of the resorts may not be signed as well from far away. But you may see a sign that says EPCOT AREA RESORTS, and as you get closer it will become more specific.

We also use a Garmin GPS. A good idea before you go is visit this websight (http://www.mousesavers.com/gps.html) and download there WDW POI file, it's free and easy to install.

billybobblockhead
01-15-2012, 05:52 AM
Guess that I'm the oddball here. I don't touch my car until it's time for us to go home. For us, the bus rides are part of the fun.

stopher1
01-15-2012, 01:01 PM
I've never driven my own vehicle there - but many rental cars. It's very easy to get around. The signage is great - very clear & concise. There are basic routes to different places, but you don't have to stick to just those. It's fun to explore and see where different roads go. Plus it's nice to not have to constantly wait for a bus.

Cinderella's Fella
01-15-2012, 02:46 PM
I'll be renting and driving for the first time in March. We're only going to MK. So we have to park at TT, right?

twokids0204
01-15-2012, 04:40 PM
I'll be renting and driving for the first time in March. We're only going to MK. So we have to park at TT, right?

You will park at the TTC, but follow the signs to Magic Kingdom. Once you get in through the gate, there will be attendants leading you right to your spot.

From there you will either take the ferry across Bay Lake or the Monorail around.

Cinderella's Fella
01-15-2012, 04:57 PM
You will park at the TTC, but follow the signs to Magic Kingdom. Once you get in through the gate, there will be attendants leading you right to your spot.

From there you will either take the ferry across Bay Lake or the Monorail around.

Which is quicker?

twokids0204
01-15-2012, 05:02 PM
Which is quicker?

About the same... (Monorail is probably a bit quicker)

If there is a boat loading, I take it.

If not, I go up the monorail ramp.

Wherem I Now
01-15-2012, 08:38 PM
About the same... (Monorail is probably a bit quicker)

If there is a boat loading, I take it.

If not, I go up the monorail ramp.

::yes:: I Concur!

trennr
01-18-2012, 09:34 AM
Which is quicker?

I found that the Ferry is quicker... ONLY if you get there right as it is about to depart.

I think the Monorail is quickest...skip the express monorail to the MK and take the Resort...you will have 2 stops at the Poly and the Grand...but you will not have a line to wait in. :thumbsup2

Bunch24
01-18-2012, 03:45 PM
Guess that I'm the oddball here. I don't touch my car until it's time for us to go home. For us, the bus rides are part of the fun.

That's how we've always done it, but like I said I've listened to so many Disney experts bemoan Disney transportation that I'm willing to give driving a shot.

The hardest part will be to convince our kids to do it. They love riding Disney transportation. My kids love to ride buses, trains, boats, etc.