Disney World’s monorail system is one of the most well-known transportation systems at Walt Disney World. Whether staying on Disney property or visiting as a day guest, you’ll probably want to ride the monorail at least once.
This article will look at how the monorail system at Disney World works, where you can take it, and a few other tips for maximizing your time when using it. Additionally, I’ve provided a few updates for using the monorail in 2022.
Whether it’s your first visit or 100th, one of the most important ways to prepare for your Walt Disney World vacation is to familiarize yourself with transportation. Disney provides free transportation to and from its parks and resorts.
And let’s face it, almost everyone wants to take a ride on the Walt Disney World monorail during their vacation. It’s a classic, fun tradition that’s relatively unique.
Therefore, learning how to best maneuver Disney World’s monorail will benefit your trip. After all, time is money, and you’ll probably be spending a lot of both while you’re at Disney World.
Thankfully, all of the monorails at Disney World are now fully operational.
This article was updated on April 13, 2022.
Disney World Monorail Transportation
The monorail service is probably the most classic form of Disney Transportation. It is accessible to all and a must-do experience while on vacation.
Children and adults alike love a ride on the monorail. Three different monorail lines service Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot. They are as follows:
- Resort Monorail
- Express Monorail
- Epcot Monorail
Disney World Monorail (Resort-Line)
We’ll start with the Disney Resort Monorail. This line services the resorts at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Resorts Area. The monorail stops at the following locations on the resort loop:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Transportation and Ticket Center
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Related: Monorail Hotels Guide
The monorail stop for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is located on the hotel’s second floor. There are loading and unloading areas. If you enter the monorail service area, you will have to go through security first.
Once on the monorail, Disney defines you as being in a secured area. Therefore, you will not have to go through additional security if you exit the monorail at Magic Kingdom.
This security process has been something new to Disney in recent years. While it does make it a bit of a hassle for resort hopping, the overall approach for getting to the Magic Kingdom is much improved.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the next monorail stop in the Magic Kingdom Resorts area. The monorail station is located on the second floor of the resort hotel, just off the lobby.
Related: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review
You will have to go through security here as well. When boarding the monorail from any hotel, all guests go through security.
Thankfully, the process is simple and not time-consuming with the new system.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort is usually a great place to take a tropical break from the parks. In addition, we often enjoy visiting the resort as day guests for a meal or walking through the grounds.
There are several ways to get to the Polynesian from Magic Kingdom. You can take the monorail, boat, or even walk.
Here is a look at the new entrance to the Polynesian. The large backdrop is the new cover installed for the Polynesian monorail station last year.
It all turned out nicely.
The last resort on the Magic Kingdom loop is Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Contemporary is the first stop when leaving the theme park.
Unfortunately, the resort is the farthest away from the Magic Kingdom when leaving the resort. Therefore, most guests will elect to walk to Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Contemporary.
Related: Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review
For reference, the resort monorail circles the area clockwise when facing the Magic Kingdom.
When should you take the Disney Resort Monorail?
- When arriving at the Transportation and Ticket Center and you want to head to a resort hotel or Magic Kingdom. (There is also the express monorail option for those headed directly to Magic Kingdom with no resort stops.)
- If leaving the Magic Kingdom and wanting to go to any of the stops on the loop. Or when visiting one of the monorail resorts for lunch or dinner.
- Use the monorail when you need a break and want to take a ride on the monorail.
- If you are at one of these resorts, use the resort monorail to travel to the other resorts on the loop. (Check operating hours before boarding.)
- Additionally, use this monorail to travel to the Magic Kingdom or the Transportation and Ticket Center to access the Epcot monorail line.
Whatever your reason may be, remember, the resort monorail makes five stops before it comes full circle. It takes time to load and unload at these stops.
I always recommend keeping these things in mind and being patient so that you can enjoy the ride!
Disney World Monorail Schedule
As of 2022, the Disney World Monorail is running on a regular schedule again. The monorail operates from at least 30 minutes before the earliest park’s opening time until one hour after the latest park’s closing time.
Therefore, if you are participating in the early theme park benefit, the monorail will begin operating at least 30 minutes before the park opens for the benefit.
And if you’re participating in extended evening hours (deluxe and deluxe villa resort guests only), the monorail will stay open until one hour after the park’s extended hours.
The monorail hours will work the same for any extra-ticketed events held. So, for example, you could purchase seasonal party or After Hours tickets. The monorail should continue to run until one hour after the event is over.
With that being said, I can’t stress how important it is to note the hours of operation before using the monorail. If the monorail is operating on a reduced schedule, signs are posted at the resort and monorail station.
Here is an example of the signage you’ll see before boarding one of the monorails at the Transportation and Ticket Center. These signs, indicating the monorail’s operating hours, can change daily.
If you stay at a Magic Kingdom Resort, a schedule is posted for the monorail. The time can vary depending on the hours of operation. So again, make sure to check when you are there if you plan to take the monorail.
Disney World Express Monorail
Next on our list is the Express Monorail service. The Express monorail runs solely between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom.
The Transportation and Ticket system at Walt Disney World is where anyone driving will have to park to reach the Magic Kingdom. Parking fees are available here on Disney’s site.
A large body of water, Seven Seas Lagoon, sits between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom. Guests can take the ferry or monorail to reach Magic Kingdom.
Additionally, a bus makes express trips between the park and the center. But what fun would a bus be?
Anyway, the Express monorail will take you directly to Magic Kingdom. On the Express monorail, there are no other stops along the way.
Therefore, the Express monorail is the most appealing way to reach Magic Kingdom from this point. And it will typically have the longest line.
Additionally, the same applies when you leave the Magic Kingdom to return to your car. Once again, the express monorail will have the longest line.
For those planning to leave Magic Kingdom after the evening fireworks, I highly recommend waiting about 20-25 minutes before attempting to leave the park. The crowds are the worst at the end of the evening. Merely trying to exit the park can be a hassle.
The Express monorail moves in the opposite direction of the resort monorail. So you will meet that monorail in passing, side-by-side on the beams.
Typically, the lines for the Express Monorail are a bit longer in the mornings. So you might wait longer in line. However, there aren’t any stops, so that will make up for some of the wait.
When leaving the Magic Kingdom, you might elect to board the resort monorail over the express in the event of long lines. The resort monorail will stop once at Disney’s Contemporary before arriving at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
However, the Contemporary is the only stop before reaching the Transportation and Ticket Center. (Remember, there are two stops on the way to Magic Kingdom after the center.)
The fun thing, for most, is traveling through Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The picture below shows the Express Monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center. It will soon be on its way through the Contemporary and then Magic Kingdom.
The Express monorail slows down as it travels through the Contemporary. You can look down from the monorail and see guests dining at Chef Mickey’s or spending time on the resort’s Grand Concourse floor. If you look up, you can see the different levels of the hotel.
Magic Kingdom Monorail Stop
Here is a look at Magic Kingdom’s monorail stop. In the center of the image below is the ramp that guests will walk down after exiting the monorail.
From here, all you have to do is walk up to one of the entry points, scan your ticket and fingerprint, and then you can enter the park.
Here is a closer look at the exit area. The loading area is on the opposite side of the monorail beam.
Epcot Monorail at Disney World
Perhaps, the most popular monorail ride is the one to Epcot from the Transportation and Ticket Center. The picture below will give you an idea of what a beautiful ride it is, especially during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
When you’re at the Transportation and Ticket Center headed to Epcot, you will see three lines:
- Express Monorail
- Resort Monorail
- Epcot Monorail
The monorail signage recently received a new paint job in honor of Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Make sure to enter under the correct signage for your destination.
The Epcot monorail leaves the Transportation and Ticket Center and travels toward Epcot. Before stopping, the monorail enters the park and makes a large loop around the former Future World and the Spaceship Earth attraction.
It will then exit the park before stopping at the monorail platform.
If you don’t plan on spending any time at Epcot during your vacation, you can still take the monorail if you’re interested. There is no charge to use Disney transportation for anyone visiting.
You’ll want to stay on and take it back to where you started instead of exiting at Epcot.
When the monorail takes the loop inside Epcot, it offers different views from each side. For example, if you are on the interior (closest to Spaceship Earth), you will see views of the grounds and flower murals during the Flower and Garden Festival.
On the exterior side, you will see more along the lines of Mission: Space, Test Track, and a view toward the World Showcase. Then, you’ll see the Imagination and Land Pavilions as it moves on around.
Either side offers terrific views of the park. However, they only last a short few moments as the monorail glides through the park to its destination.
Take the Epcot Monorail when:
Here are a few scenarios with guidance for using the monorail to Epcot.
- Take this monorail when park-hopping. (Parking at Epcot)
Sometimes park hoppers might park at Epcot and then visit Magic Kingdom first before hopping back to Epcot later in the day. When you park at Epcot, you’ll take the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Then when you exit at the center, look up immediately. There is a short walkway that adjoins the monorail line for Magic Kingdom.
When you’re ready to head back to Epcot, take the monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Then board the Epcot monorail.
- Take this monorail when park-hopping or visiting Epcot. (Parking at Transportation and Ticket Center)
Others like to park at Magic Kingdom (Transportation and Ticket Center) and then monorail to Epcot for the day. After that, they visit Magic Kingdom for the evening.
You will exit Epcot and walk up the rampway to board the monorail on the way back. This monorail will take you back to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
From the Transportation and Ticket Center, you can take a tram back to your car at the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Or you can exit the monorail, head down the ramp, and re-enter the line for the Express monorail or Resort monorail.
- Take this monorail when you stay at a monorail resort and visit Epcot.
Use the same scenarios as described above. However, board the resort monorail line on your return to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Additionally, you can walk between the Transportation and Ticket Center to Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The walkway extends to the Grand Floridian if you find yourself in the mood to walk.
And since the new walkway opened, you can extend the walk from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom via the Grand Floridian walkway.
However, that will be a very long walk averaging approximately 30 minutes at an average pace. But it is a beautiful journey!
Disney World Monorail Final Thoughts
Hopefully, this article provided you with a good overview of the comings and going of the monorails at Disney World. Riding the monorail is a treat for most!
Except when the monorail is crammed full of so many people, it’s had to move. In those cases, I prefer the ferry.
On a high note, most of the monorails have had interior updates and refurbishments in the last few years. And for those heading to the parks in 2022, you’ll likely see the celebratory transportation wraps on the monorails.
As far as new transportation goes, you’ll likely want to familiarize yourself with the Disney Skyliner and those travel times. The Skyliner runs between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and a few resorts.
And if you’re planning a trip to Disney Springs, don’t miss our tips on how to get to Disney Springs from various areas of the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Springs offers excellent dining options, shopping, and entertainment. We have several restaurants that we enjoy dining at when we visit.
Related: Best Restaurants at Disney Springs
If you are interested in planning a stay at the Walt Disney World Resorts, you might like to browse our complete list of Disney World Resort Reviews. It provides every single resort review we have available related to Disney.
Or check out our article, The Best Marriott Hotels Near Disney World.
You might also enjoy an off-site trip. If so, we keep an updated guide to the best off-site hotels near Disney World.
Some of our favorites include:
- Wyndham Grand Orlando Review (Bonnet Creek)
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Review
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando Review
- Signia by Hilton at Bonnet Creek Review
In the comments: Did you find this guide for using the monorail helpful? What are your thoughts on using the monorails at Disney World?