Navigating the Disney Property by Car


We’re thinking of renting a car for the first time for our upcoming trip. How difficult is it to navigate the Disney property by car? We’ll be staying at POFQ and need to know how difficult it is to drive around the property and find the various parks? Are the parks and resorts well marked? Is there someplace I can maybe download a map of the roads around WDW? We don’t have a GPS and don’t really want to spend the extra money to rent one for the week, and my cell phone is not app friendly.


With the signage around the property it isn’t really that difficult. I have learned many of the backroads and shortcuts around the property after 20 years of visiting and you will too after driving around a few times. You can get get all the info you need on the roads on any website related to Disney.


There are a couple of signs on top of signs that seemingly contradict each other, but they are a small exception. I too have learned a few short cuts over the years and it isn’t hard at all driving around WDW. Our most frequent drives once on property are between our hotel and DTD or our hotel and the water parks or our hotel and AK.
However, most of the time, you’re better off taking Disney Transport and not even bothering to take the car so you won’t need to deal with park parking and trams. The buses do drop you at the gates (except MK where the lagoon is the big equalizer).
What you need to do is study the maps if you’re going to drive. Also, consider the routes the buses take because they are usually the shortest routes between two points.
A great resource is Bing maps Bing Maps
You get three choices, street map, aerial photo, and bird’s eye view photo for close ups.

Let me repeat, you don’t need a smart phone to tell you where to go, and you don’t need a GPS unit to tell you where to go. The Disney World map in the Disney World guest information book that every guest is given works just fine.
Images printed on paper via ink impregnation still works just fine in the 21st Century:rolleyes:


Its a doddle with a car, and makes such a difference I’m sure you’ll find. Its so nice to be able to hop in the car and go eat at other resorts in the evenings- and with the signage, you’ll be absolutely fine.


and if worse comes to worse you can always print out map quest directions to anywhere you want to go just in case you want a back up. I never have and never will rent a car in disney but watching the bus routes I pretty much know the ins and outs of the area. It is very easy to navagate.


I have found that Disney does a good job marking the property. I would suggest if you are going to drive to do what Soundgod said and study maps from Bing or Google maps. they will help you get an idea of how things are laid out.

Personally I would suggest not driving around property. Disney’s on property transport is pretty efficient. Driving can actually take longer (except at park close) as you still have to exit the park and then get transportation out to your car then walk to your car.

I will say that a car is great if you are doing a lot of extra stuff during your stay, like early Chefs Mickeys then a day at the MK or resort hopping or heading to DTD or the outlet malls, etc. If you are just going to parks I would suggest taking the bus.


We drive onsite all the time. We love the flexability. We can usually hop park to park quicker by avoiding some bus/monorail conections. We also use the AAA Diamond pass which you can get if you buy one of your tix or an AP from AAA. There are AAA lots at the front of each park, next to the handicapped parking area. We are usually in our car quicker than getting on the bus, especially at EP, HS and AK.


It may be indicative of where I’m from, the middle of nowhere, that I prefer to have a car when we’re at WDW. We do a lot of park hopping and dining at other resorts. Shh, don’t tell Disney, but we also go off property to go outlet shopping!:wink:


We have had a car most of the time we have visited WDW. The only park I hate driving to is the MK. This is only because you park then have to take the monorail or boat to the main enterance where the bus service drops you off right at the main enterance. It is not a big deal but sometimes at the end of the night trying to get back to the parking lot can be a bit of an effort…and depending on how far away you parked once you get to the other side of the lagoon you need to take the tram to the car. All the other parks I have never had an issue with parking.


you took the words right out of my mouth!
i prefer to drive to every park except the MK!


That’s exactly what we do! And, we go to Sea World too:ohmy::laugh:


I get lost anywhere and still manage to find my way around Disney Property fairly well. I think you’ll do great with a car - just follow those purple signs!


Thanks everyone. I think we’ve decided to go with renting a car for this trip. I managed to find maps through mapquest and google maps. We’ll be putting in the rental request as soon as we book the airfare which will be as soon as JetBlue opens up their dates for June.

Thanks again.


I prefer to have a car, and they do a good job with the signage. Plus we like to go off property to do other things.


We prefer to have a car also. I would suggest that you get a property map from your resort so that you can use it if needed. There are some signs that are a bit confusing. Disney uses properties to give directions as opposed to road names, which can get confusing. DW is an expert navigator and knows the property well. We also like being able to go to the car and be able to leave as soon as we get there as opposed to waiting on a bus (especially if you are at a value resort).


We also enjoy checking out other resorts and it is difficult to resort hop (or dine at other resorts) by just using Disney transportation.


We always rent a car when we fly to WDW. WDW is very, very easy to navigate. If you have a WDW Passporter book, their maps are very good. We’ve never used anything else.

  1. Sign up for Dollar Rental. They have great deals “and” if you are a member, you are taken over the people waiting in line. Plus we got a free upgrade:)
  2. We have flown into Tampa Airport twice now and found cheaper airfare. The ride is about the same time getting to WDW as it would take from Orlando Airport to WDW. Straight shot, Route 4.
  3. You save SOOOOOO much time driving to the parks. If you get there early, you get a closer parking spot and you do not need to wait for the tram. Then you can leave when you want without waiting. If you go to a park later in the day, you can hunt for a close spot too as they do not direct you to a lane in the parking lot later in the day. Plus if you go to the water parks, you wait longer for the buses and lose time. Also, the mini golf courses do not have buses that run to them. With a car, you can take advantage of the coupon you receive.
  4. If you are planning meals at other resorts, there is no jumping from bus to bus or park to bus, you just drive straight to the resort, tell them you have a ressie, you park and go. If you are eating at a resort (MK resorts or BW BC/YC) leave your car there and take the Disney transportation to the parks. It is easier than leaving the resort and parking at the park.
  5. You can take a night and eat off property or pick up necessities like snacks, water.

We normally go for 10-12 days and we think we actually save a day of waiting by using the car.

Now if you are staying at the Poly, there is no need for a car unless you are going off property or plan on going to the waterparks often. We had our car with us since we drove and only used it for the waterparks. That was the first time we used the on property transportation almost the entire time.

Good luck and have fun exploring and finding the shortcuts:)


We always take a car, and always drive around property. The property signage is pretty good for major things like the parks, but we have found through the years that they mark exits much differently than they do at home.

Specifically, we are used to not only getting a heads up that a turn is coming, but also another sign at the turn itself. You may only get one of those signs on WDW property.

It makes sense I guess, because there are so many places to go there. But it is always a good idea to have a co-pilot to help you watch for turns.

And, parking is free for Disney guests, so we take the car to most places. I abhor the buses and will avoid them at all costs.

I think the worst signage is to get OUT of the parks! Seems like they really want to keep you there. :laugh:


I agree with everyone and its just that easy, follow the signs. It does help to have a map so you have a feel for what resorts are by certain parks.


We always take a car, the signs are good and easy to follow. Last time we brought our GPS and downloaded from somewhere (I think Mousesavers) free Disney software, which worked out great, has a list of all hotels, parks, attractions.