Staying at a Disney Hotel on the monorail is a big deal for most of us. Who wouldn’t want to take the monorail back and forth to Magic Kingdom and Epcot during their Walt Disney World vacation? It’s a luxury that’s only offered at a handful of resorts.
While the other resorts are great, they don’t offer the same convenience and exclusivity as the monorail resorts. As you can imagine, hopping on the monorail from your resort has its perks. However, considering your specific wants and needs, one monorail resort might stand out more than the others. Ultimately, that is the resort you should choose for your vacation.
Below, we’ll discuss which resorts are on the monorail, how the Disney World monorail works, and the benefits of staying at one of these resorts. I’ll also provide a few tips for taking advantage of dining and other amenities.
This article was updated on December 6, 2023.
Disney Hotels on the Monorail
Here is a list of the Disney Resort Hotels on the monorail:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
*These resorts include Disney Vacation Club Resorts like Bay Lake Tower, the Polynesian Villas, and Grand Floridian Villas, which are part of the resorts listed above.
When it comes to a Disney Monorail Resort, you can expect convenience, amenities, and a level of grandiosity that you won’t get just anywhere. You can hop on the monorail and visit the Magic Kingdom from these resorts within a few minutes. Additionally, you can use the monorail to travel to any of the other resorts on the monorail. You can also take a transfer monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center to reach Epcot.
Three monorail lines are available at Walt Disney World. But for this article, we’re focusing on the resort monorail. We’ll also review how to take the monorail to Epcot from a monorail resort.
The resort monorail stops in the following order:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Transportation and Ticket Center
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
So, if you’re staying at a monorail resort, you’ll make several stops depending on where you are going. For instance, if you’re staying at Grand Floridian, you won’t have any stops on the way to Magic Kingdom. It’s a short trip from the resort to the park.
However, Grand Floridian is the last stop when you return from Magic Kingdom to the resort. Sometimes, the trip will work to your advantage; other times, it will take longer.
The monorail system pauses at each platform to let guests unload, and then new guests board. You’ll remain on board until the monorail gets to your stop. It takes approximately 14 minutes to travel full circle on the resort monorail. However, that time fluctuates based on various circumstances. The monorail’s time in motion between the stops is almost irrelevant, given how swiftly it moves.
Do the Monorail Resorts Have a Monorail to Epcot?
For travel to Epcot, guests of the monorail resorts will take the resort monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center. From there, you will transfer from the resort monorail to the Epcot monorail. You will return in the same manner.
This is the only form of transportation from the monorail resorts to Epcot. If the monorail goes down, bus service will be provided. I mention this because it can take a while to get to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then transfer to Epcot.
Tip: If you’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian, walking to the Transportation and Ticket Center for the Epcot monorail is usually quicker. The walkway to the monorail sits between Pago Pago and Moorea.
More details about the other monorail services are available in our monorail transportation guide.
Benefits of Staying at a Monorail Hotel
Staying at a monorail resort has its benefits. Not only will you have quick access to Magic Kingdom, but there are a few other positives to consider. First and foremost, guests of deluxe resorts and deluxe villa resorts are eligible for extended theme park hours at select parks on select evenings.
Since all the monorail resorts are deluxe resorts, you can access those late evening hours. Currently, the extended hours are available two nights a week. One of those nights is at Epcot, and the other is at Magic Kingdom.
Another benefit of a monorail resort is planning a stay during the holiday season. During the holidays, Magic Kingdom often holds special events like Disney After Hours, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Magic Kingdom is open exceptionally late for these special-ticketed events.
Your chariot (the monorail) awaits at the end of the evening. I can’t stress enough how nice it is to be able to take the monorail back to your resort. Often, the weather is cooler on these late evenings, making the monorail feel warm and cozy when you step inside. Also, it’s a great place to rest weary legs on your way back to the room.
You won’t have to worry about walking to the bus stop and waiting on a bus. Thankfully, the monorail platform is right outside Magic Kingdom’s entrance. However, be warned if you leave Magic Kingdom on a regular evening at the park closing. The monorail line can be extremely long.
On these evenings, we like to stay in the park and let the crowds clear out. However, you can walk back to all three monorail resorts if needed. Or you can take a boat back to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. We enjoy taking the walkway between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom to escape the crowds.
Staying at a monorail hotel has several other benefits. For example, the Magic Kingdom Resorts are within the heart of the action. Therefore, you can easily access restaurants, shopping, and other entertainment options at the surrounding monorail resorts.
You might spend a day or evening resort-hopping. Or you could plan dining reservations at each resort during your trip. We love to do a monorail crawl where we visit each of the Disney Monorail Hotels for a drink, snack, or maybe a meal.
Popular stops on the monorail loop include Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or Tambu Lounge if Trader Sam’s is too busy! We’ll discuss a few more below.
Related: Resort Hopping at Disney World
Dining Options on the Monorail
Since you’re on the monorail, you’re not limited to picking up a quick meal at your resort like you might be elsewhere. You’ll have plenty of other dining options a monorail ride away.
For example, we love to have breakfast at Grand Floridian Cafe. Of course, you’ll need a reservation, but they are relatively easy to obtain. We enjoy having a late morning meal here on a day we sleep late.
Additionally, we love to pick up lunch from Gasparilla Island Grill and enjoy it by one of the pools at Grand Floridian. There’s something about enjoying a salty snack out by the pool on a sunny Florida day. You might enjoy a cocktail or appetizer at the Enchanted Rose Lounge in the evening. For dinner, you could plan a meal at Citricos or secure reservations at Victoria & Albert’s if you want to splurge.
At Disney’s Contemporary, you might enjoy a casual breakfast at Steakhouse 71 or a character meal at Chef Mickey’s. You could also monorail to the Polynesian for breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at ‘Ohana.
Disney’s Contemporary is also home to the California Grill, a signature dining restaurant that offers stunning views of the Magic Kingdom. Or, if you want something simple, the Contemporary has a fun quick-service restaurant. Contempo Cafe is on the resort’s Grand Concourse floor. You can watch the monorail travel through the hotel while you eat.
If you’re in the mood for something different, you might enjoy a few meals at the Polynesian. You might like breakfast at Kona Cafe, the Thai coconut meatballs at Capt. Cooks, or the noodles for dinner at ‘Ohana.
Don’t forget to pick up a Dole Whip treat at Pineapple Lanai. It’s located outside the first-floor lobby. One of our favorite things is combining a meal, appetizers, and a few drinks from Captain Cook’s and Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. We could spend the entire evening out on the Tiki Terrace. It’s so relaxing, and the tables are first come, first serve.
Tip: If you’re at the Polynesian in the evening, you might take the time to view the evening fireworks from the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon. Also, the Electrical Water Pageant passes each monorail resort nightly.
Which Monorail Resort is the Best?
You’ve probably already figured out that the monorail resorts are fantastic options. Each choice is extraordinarily unique from the other. Their location is the common bond that ties these Walt Disney World Resorts.
So which one works best for you? You’ll need to decide that for yourself. My favorite is the Contemporary. But I do love the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian. We spend equal time at all the resorts.
For me, the Contemporary gets a bit of an edge because the monorail runs through it, and I love to enjoy the hotel’s expansive backyard. We also walk a good bit, so it’s nice to enjoy the monorail and have the option to walk back and forth to Magic Kingdom.
But the Contemporary is not for everyone. If you’re into the finer things in life, you’ll probably want to stick with the Grand Floridian. Those with dreams of a vacation to a tropical destination might like to try the Polynesian.
When I say it’s difficult to go wrong with any of these options, I mean it sincerely. They are all someone’s favorite. You’ll want to choose the option that you vibe with the most.
Transportation Guides for the Monorail Resorts
The following transportation guides will benefit your trip if you have the time to read them before your vacation.
- Grand Floridian Transportation Options
- Polynesian Resort Transportation Options
- Contemporary Resort Transportation Options
While these guides re-iterate the monorail information we’ve discussed, they’ll provide specific details for other options like walking, boating, or taking a bus. Knowing how to use transportation at Disney World to your advantage is half the battle.
Final Thoughts on the Monorail Resorts
No matter which monorail resort you choose, you’re sure to have a fun vacation right in the middle of the magic! If you want to learn more about these resorts, we have the following reviews:
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review
- Garden Wing Review of the Contemporary
- Bay Lake Tower Review
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review
- Polynesian Club Level Review
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Review
What Do You Think?
Did you find this overview of the monorail resorts helpful? Which of these options would you choose? Have you ever stayed at a monorail resort? Did you enjoy the convenience? Share your thoughts below in the comments. We love to hear your opinions and value your unique perspective.