Disney World’s monorail system is the most well-known form of transportation at Walt Disney World. This article discusses how the monorail system works, where you can take it, and a few tips for using it.
Whether you’re staying at a Disney or visiting as a day guest, you’ll probably want to ride the monorail at least once. It’s a rite of passage when it comes to a Disney World vacation.
Did you even visit Walt Disney World if you didn’t ride the monorail?
Of course, there are times when you will want to take the monorail to get to a specific destination. Other times you might only want to ride it for leisure.
Since Disney provides complimentary transportation for all guests to and from its parks, you’ll want to be aware of all your transportation options. You’ll also want to know how to best use each option to your advantage.
Therefore, learning the ins and outs of the Disney monorail will benefit your trip. After all, time is money, and you’ll probably spend a lot of both at Disney World.
Disney World Monorail Transportation
The Walt Disney World monorail system is the most classic form of transportation. It is available to all guests visiting Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
Three monorail lines service Disney’s Magic Kingdom, select Disney World Hotels, and Epcot. They are:
- Resort Monorail
- Express Monorail
- Epcot Monorail
Monorail colors include blue, lime, orange, peach, yellow, red, black, silver, gold, coral, green, and monorail teal. Each monorail has a colored stripe down the center. From time to time, some monorails will have special wraps to celebrate new films or anniversaries.
Additionally, most monorails have received interior updates and refurbishment in recent years.
Disney World Monorail Hours
Disney’s monorail operates from at least 30 minutes before the earliest park opening time until one hour after the park closing. Therefore, the monorail begins running at least 30 minutes before the park opens for guests with early theme park benefits.
Guests staying at a Disney Resort can take advantage of the early theme park benefits. Every day, each park opens 30 minutes early for resort guests.
Additionally, 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.
Hours of operation are the same for extra-ticketed events. So, for example, when you attend Disney After Hours or a seasonal party, the monorail will continue to run after the event.
That said, it is important to note the hours of operation before using the monorail. If the monorail is operating on a reduced schedule, signs are posted at the resorts and monorail stations.
Here is an example of the signage you’ll see before boarding one of the monorails at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Note that these signs, indicating the monorail’s operating hours, can change daily.
During this visit, the express monorail to Magic Kingdom was operating between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m.
Additionally, the Epcot monorail was running between 7:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Lastly, the resort monorail was running between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m.
For the most part, these hours are relatively standard during the busier times of the year. However, during slower seasons, these hours are likely to be reduced.
A note for guests in wheelchairs or ECVs…
When you arrive at the monorail platform, a cast member will direct you where to wait. Usually, two areas are roped off to accommodate guests in wheelchairs or ECVS.
When the monorail arrives, a cast member will lay down a ramp to allow guests to load or unload. If you are using the resort monorail, they’ll ask where you plan to exit. Someone at that platform will then be prepared to unload you.
*Details for those with mobility issues (i.e., wheelchair, ECVs) can be found here on Disney’s site.
Disney World Monorail (Resort-Line)
We’ll start with the monorail that services Disney Hotels. These monorail hotels are part of the Magic Kingdom Resorts area. They all fall under the deluxe resorts category.
Here is a list of each stop in order starting with the Magic Kingdom:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Transportation and Ticket Center
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Grand Floridian Resort Monorail
Disney’s Grand Floridian’s monorail platform is off the hotel’s second-floor lobby. Once you enter the resort, you can take the stairs or elevators down to the lobby.
When catching the monorail from the resort, you’ll exit at the large set of doors toward the back of the second floor. Here you will go through a security screening.
If you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom, you will not have to go through security again to enter or leave the park. However, when you board the monorail from other resorts, you will have to walk through security each time.
This security process was implemented in recent years. While it requires a little extra effort for anyone who’s resort hopping, overall, the process is much improved.
Polynesian Resort Monorail
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is another stop on the monorail resort loop. Similar to Grand Floridian, Poly’s monorail station is located off the lobby on the second floor of the resort hotel.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort is an excellent place to take a break from the Magic Kingdom. We’ll often hop on the monorail and stop at the resort for a meal or a stroll through the tropical grounds.
When you leave Magic Kingdom, you’ll want to board the resort monorail. You’ll then stop at the Contemporary and Transportation and Ticket Center before arriving at the Polynesian.
Related: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the last hotel on the resort monorail loop. So when leaving the Magic Kingdom, it’s the first stop.
However, when leaving the hotel, Magic Kingdom is the last stop. Therefore, most guests will walk to Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary.
Disney’s Contemporary is unique because the monorail runs through the hotel. While all of the monorail platforms are covered, it’s the only platform inside a hotel.
Related: Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review
When should you take the Disney Resort Monorail?
In some instances, you will want to take the resort monorail line over others. Here are a few scenarios:
- When arriving at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) and you want to visit a monorail hotel or if there’s a long line for the express monorail.
- If leaving the Magic Kingdom and want to go to any of the stops on the loop. For example, you might visit one of the monorail resorts for lunch or dinner.
- If you need a break, take the monorail to one of the resorts and find a seat in the lobby to relax.
- If you are at one of these resorts, use the resort monorail to travel to other resorts on the loop.
Whatever your reason, remember the resort monorail makes five stops before it comes full circle. Also, take into account that it takes time to load and unload at each stop.
Disney World Express Monorail
Disney’s express monorail provides service solely between Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center. For reference, the Transportation and Ticket Center is basically the Magic Kingdom parking lot.
All guests arriving by vehicle must park here and then walk or take a tram to the TTC. 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. We have a separate article that discusses taking the ferry boat.
Once you pass through security, you’ll run into a large open area with three monorail entrances. The Magic Kingdom monorail is in the center.
In most cases, the express monorail will be your fastest option to get to the Magic Kingdom since there are no stops on the way.
For most, the fun thing is traveling through Disney’s Contemporary Resort on the way to the park. The picture below shows the Express Monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center. It will soon be on its way through the Contemporary and onward to 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 browsing the resort’s Grand Concourse floor.
However, in the event of extensive lines, you might elect to take the resort monorail line we discussed above. That line is to the left of the Magic Kingdom monorail.
Its entrance is a little inconspicuous. You’ll also want to remember to stay on until you get to the Magic Kingdom stop.
When returning in the evening, the same rules apply. In most cases, you’ll want to take the express monorail back to the TTC.
Tip: We like to wait until about 30 minutes after the fireworks to leave in the evening. Crowds are terrible during this time, and merely trying to exit the park is a hassle.
When leaving the Magic Kingdom, you might board the resort monorail over the express in the event of long lines. On the return trip, the resort monorail will stop at Disney’s Contemporary before arriving at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Magic Kingdom Monorail Stop
Below is a photo of the entrance to the line for the express monorail at Magic Kingdom. This entrance will be on the immediate right when you exit Magic Kingdom.
When you arrive at Magic Kingdom, there’s an exit ramp between the two monorail lines. If you look closely, you can see guests walking down the ramp and toward the park in the photo.
Epcot Monorail at Disney World
Perhaps, the most popular monorail ride is the one to Epcot from the Transportation and Ticket Center. Below, the picture gives you an idea of what a beautiful ride it is, especially during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
So guests visiting Epcot via their car have two options. You can park at Epcot, which only requires walking into the park. Or you can park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then monorail to Epcot.
If you don’t have plans to park-hop, you will likely want to park at Epcot. If not, you’ll have to take the monorail again in the evening to return to your car. After a long day in the parks, everyone’s usually exhausted, and this extra step will require more effort.
Additionally, monorail resort guests (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) must use the monorail to travel to Epcot. Guests of these resorts will need to take the monorail from their hotel to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
From there, they will unload and join the line for the monorail to Epcot. However, guests of Disney’s Polynesian will find it’s usually easier to walk over from the resort to the Transportation and Ticket Center since they are next door to each other.
For travel to Epcot, guests will want to join the Epcot monorail line on the far right side of the Transportation Center.
Epcot’s monorail leaves the Transportation and Ticket Center and travels toward Epcot. Before arriving at Epcot, the monorail enters the park and makes a large loop through the center of it.
It will then exit the park and stop at the monorail platform. After arriving, guests can walk down the ramp and head straight to the park ticket entry area. Since the Transportation and Ticket Center is within a secure area, you won’t have to go through security at Epcot again.
Tip: If you aren’t visiting Epcot during your vacation, you can still take this monorail for a look inside the park. You’ll want to stay on the monorail and take it back to the TTC instead of exiting at Epcot.
When the monorail takes the loop inside Epcot, it offers different views from each side. For example, from the interior side, you will see mostly construction.
On the exterior side, you will see more along the lines of Mission: Space, Test Track, and a view of the World Showcase. Then, you’ll pass the Imagination and Land Pavilions before it exits outside of the park past Spaceship Earth.
Either side offers terrific views of the park. However, those views only last a few moments as the monorail glides through the park to its destination.
Using the Epcot Monorail for Park-Hopping
Here are a few other scenarios with guidance for using the monorail to Epcot.
Take this monorail when park-hopping. (Parking at Epcot)
When park hopping, you might park at Epcot when planning to end the day there. So you would take the Epcot line to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Then you would board the express or resort monorail to Magic Kingdom.
Take the Epcot beam 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.
When you leave Epcot, you’ll walk up the ramp and board the monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. After arriving, you’ll board the express or resort monorail to Magic Kingdom.
Final Thoughts on the Disney World Monorail
Overall, the monorail is a fun and unique way to travel to and from several destinations at the Walt Disney World Resort. Hopefully, this guide provided you with everything you need to know to use it efficiently.
Now if your child asks to ride the monorail, you’ll know when and where to use it. For instance, if the monorail looks like it will be crammed full of so many people that it’s difficult to move, you might take the ferry.
Then you can tell your child you’ll take the monorail later in the day when it’s less crowded. Or you’ll use it later when you leave the park for a dining reservation at one of the nearby resorts.
If you’re visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll know the monorail isn’t available at those parks. So you probably won’t encounter it unless you decide to park-hop later.
For more transportation at Walt Disney World, you might want to familiarize yourself with the following:
- Disney Skyliner Guide with Resorts, Hours, and Travel Times
- Disney Friendship Boat Service
- Disney Springs Transportation Tips
Disney Springs offers excellent dining options, shopping, and entertainment. We have several restaurants that we enjoy dining at when we visit.
Related: Best Disney Springs Restaurants
If you are interested in planning a stay at one of 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.
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
- JW Marriott 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?