Transportation at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge


  1. This information is super helpful Amber! My family will be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge and we’re all very excited. What travel method/route would you recommend when we visit Epcot? We will have a rental car, but I can’t tell whether the bus would be the better option. We plan to rope drop at park open and come in through the International Gateway back entrance in order to beat the crazy crowds.

    1. Hi, in order to enter Epcot through the International Gateway, you would need to already be in the area. The only parking lot for Epcot is at the front entrance. The IG is for guests coming from the Epcot Resorts and Skyliner Resorts. In this scenario, I would personally book an early morning breakfast reservation at one of the Epcot Resorts, for example, Ale and Compass. I would then park at the resort, enjoy breakfast, and continue on to the International Gateway.


      If you take a bus from Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll want to leave as soon as the bus starts operating, which is typically one hour before the early morning entry time. So if Epcot opens at 9:00 a.m., the park would open at 8:30 a.m. for resort guests (during this time) so the bus should start running at 7:30 a.m. (If you wanted to take advantage of early morning entry, this is probably the best scenario. Or you could always drive and park at Epcot.)

      I usually prefer to drive, so I don’t have to wait for buses. But if I’m not in the mood to drive, I would take the bus.

      1. Amber,
        If staying at Kidani, would it be possible to make it to Epcot International Gateway early entry by taking a bus to Animal Kingdom and switch to a bus going back to reload passengers at one of the resorts/hotels near the entrance to the International Gateway.

        We would like to start our day entering at the International Gateway because of the smaller crowd size and proximity to certain attractions.

        1. Hi, I personally wouldn’t try that route so early in the morning. From my experience, the buses dropping off that early don’t always return to the same hotel. For instance, one morning, we did the same thing to get to an early dining reservation at the Contemporary. We had to take a bus to another resort on the monorail because the Contemporary driver wasn’t picking up.

          If you wanted to do this, you could take a bus from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Hollywood Studios. Then boat, walk, or take the Skyliner. However, the timing might not work to your advantage first thing in the morning.

          Additionally, all the above-stated transportation options will take some time, with various stops along the way. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. We have a separate article that details how long it took us: Walking from Hollywood Studios to Epcot

          Edited: If it were me and I needed to get to the International Gateway at rope drop, I would take a taxi from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Boardwalk and walk to the IG. It shouldn’t be more than $15.00 since they are within close proximity.

  2. Hi Amber! Thank you for all the info!! We are staying at the AKL next week and I’ve been absolutely stressing about the whole transportation thing until I read your article. I see you mentioned in a reply that the buses start running an hour before the early entry. (I had no idea!) So the day we go to HS the early entry is at 8 am so the buses should start around 7 that means. Since we’re somewhat local, we are driving and had thought about taking our car to the park instead of waiting for the bus like you also prefer. However, my question is would the park let us in so early if we drove? Or if by taking the bus, that allows us to bypass all the car drivers? Our goal is to be like the first ones there lol.

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