The Walt Disney World Monorail System is perhaps the most iconic mode of transportation at Disney World. Operating since opening day in 1971, the monorail shuttles guests between several parks and resorts.
A dozen monorail trains travel on elevated concrete tracks in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot areas of Disney World at average speeds of 40 miles per hour, providing quick and convenient transportation above the ground.
So, where does the Disney World monorail go and what Disney hotels are on the monorail? Keep on reading for answers to those monorail questions and more!
Note that the monorail station at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is currently closed due to construction. It is expected to reopen Summer 2021. The Epcot monorail line has also not reopened.
What hotels are on the Disney World monorail route?
Three Magic Kingdom-area resort hotels have stations on the Resort monorail line:
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort
- Polynesian Village Resort
The monorail track goes right through the Contemporary Resort’s main concourse where there is an indoor station.
At the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village Resort, the monorail stations are elevated above the resorts’ main entrances.
Where does the Disney monorail go?
There are three Disney World monorail routes. Two of the routes circle the Seven Seas Lagoon, the lake beside Magic Kingdom.
The Express monorail travels counterclockwise around the Seven Seas Lagoon with two stations at the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
The Resort monorail runs on a parallel track around the Seven Seas Lagoon, but travels clockwise and stops at more stations. In addition to the Magic Kingdom and Transportation and Ticket Center, the Resort monorail also makes stops at the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Polynesian Village Resort.
The Epcot line travels between the Ticket and Transportation Center and Epcot’s main entrance.
The Disney World monorail does not travel to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, or any other Disney resort hotel.
Each of these monorail stations has a security checkpoint so you’ll have to go through the standard Disney bag check prior to boarding the monorail.
Is the Disney monorail free?
The Disney World monorail is public transportation and located outside of the parks, so anyone can ride for free.
Inside the Disney World Monorail
Each monorail train consists of 6 cars with sliding doors to enter and exit.
On the exterior, every monorail train is identified by a different color stripe running down the length of the train cars, prompting many to have a favorite monorail. (I’m partial to monorail Lime, myself!)
Monorail interiors are currently undergoing another refurbishment with renovated cars also featuring the exterior stripe color inside.
The interior of the monorail trains have undergone quite a transformation over the years. When I traveled to Disney World as a kid in the 1980’s and 90’s, monorail cars only had bench seats.
Now, each monorail train car is configured with two sets of facing benches and a large empty space in between for standing. Vertical poles offer stability. Strollers and wheelchairs can roll right on!
Magic Kingdom Monorail Routes
The Seven Seas Lagoon separates Magic Kingdom park from its parking lot on the opposite shore.
In order to get from the parking lot to the park, you must travel by monorail or ferry boat from the transportation hub at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). You can either walk from your car in the parking lot to the TTC or take a parking tram to avoid the short walk.
Note: I usually avoid acronyms here on the WDW Basics blog because I understand how confusing the overuse of acronyms can be, but I’ll be shortening “Transportation and Ticket Center” to “TTC” from here on out for simplicity.
The Express and Resort monorail lines run on two parallel tracks around the lagoon with monorail trains on both tracks making stops at the TTC and the park. Therefore, you are able to take either the Express or Resort line to get to Magic Kingdom if you drive there.
However, the Express monorail travels counterclockwise around the lagoon and will be much faster with a short ride through the Contemporary Resort without stopping and then Magic Kingdom.
The Resort monorail travels clockwise from the TTC, making stops at the Polynesian Village Resort and Grand Floridian Resort before reaching the Magic Kingdom.
Monorail station inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort
If the day isn’t busy, using the Express monorail to get from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom should always be faster. However, if you are arriving at a prime time and there is a longer line for the Express monorail, the Resort monorail may be the better choice … if only to avoid waiting in line even if the monorail ride itself is longer!
The monorail isn’t your only option for traveling between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom. Ferry boat service is also available. The ferry boats travel slower, but have a greater capacity. They are also open air and travel a shorter route directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon rather than around it. Still, if you arrive at the TTC and lines for both transportation choices are comparable, the monorail will get you to the park faster.
When you’re ready to leave after a day in the Magic Kingdom, you’ll have the same monorail and ferry boat options for traveling back to the Transportation and Ticket Center on the other side of the lagoon to get to your car. Of course, when wait lines at the monorail station for both routes are equal, the Express monorail will always be faster. However, if the line is shorter, the Resort monorail may be the better choice when traveling from the park to the TTC. The Resort monorail travels clockwise on a shorter segment of the route from the park to the TTC, making just one stop inside the Contemporary Resort. The Express monorail’s counterclockwise route, slowing but not stopping at both the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village resorts, is longer.
Of course, riding the Disney World monorail is a ride in itself, so choosing the fastest route may not be your goal if you want to enjoy the ride!
A note about buses … Magic Kingdom’s bus station is adjacent to the park entrance so riding the monorail or ferry boat won’t be part of your transportation journey when taking a Disney bus from your hotel to the Magic Kingdom.
Epcot Monorail Route
The third monorail line at Disney World is the Epcot line. This route is convenient for park hopping between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot via stations at the Transportation and Ticket Center and Epcot’s main entrance.
Upon arrival at Epcot, the elevated track circles through Epcot’s Future World for a unique aerial vantage point of this section of the park.
Epcot is the only park at Walt Disney World with multiple entrances and its monorail station is located at the main entrance adjacent to the parking lot and bus station.
While there are several Epcot-area resort hotels, none of these are directly accessible to the monorail. All Epcot-area hotels are adjacent to the park’s second “back door” International Gateway entrance which is serviced by the Disney Skyliner. So, despite both the monorail and Skyliner offering service to Epcot, their stations are far apart and you must walk through the park in order to connect between these two modes of transportation. This is highly discouraged and there’s virtually no situation where connecting between the Skyliner and monorail by walking through Epcot is the most convenient or fastest transportation solution to your travel needs!
How to get from Magic Kingdom to Epcot on the monorail
While it is possible to park hop from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot (and vice versa) using the monorail, there is no direct monorail route between the two park entrances. Transferring to another monorail train is required.
When traveling to Epcot from the Magic Kingdom, take either the Resort or Express monorail from the Magic Kingdom park entrance to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Disembark the monorail train and follow signs to the Epcot monorail. Take the Epcot monorail to Epcot.
For the reverse trip from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom, get on the monorail the Epcot station and get off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. From there, transfer to either the Resort or Express monorail or the ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom entrance.
Will you be riding the Disney World Monorail on your next trip?