There are so many options for transportation at the Walt Disney World Resort. The real question is- why would you use an Uber or Lyft when you can use Disney’s free transportation? In this guide, we are going to go over why and when we choose to use rideshare over Disney on-property transportation and how it works.
What is Rideshare?
For some, the concept of rideshare might be completely foreign to you, or maybe you have heard of Uber and Lyft but you don’t know what it is or how to use it. For a very long time, the only way I ever used rideshare was when I traveled. They didn’t have Uber or Lyft in my area and I never had a need for it. The first time I tried it was in Orlando when we wanted to get from our Disney resort hotel to Universal Orlando Resort for the day.
One of our more frequent questions from travelers is “what is the difference between Uber and Lyft?” The easiest way to answer that is to say there isn’t much of a difference. As a matter of fact, most drivers will work for both companies. Both companies will get you to and from any destination in Orlando and allow you to “shop” them both for the best price through their apps. You’ll have the option to share that ride with other passengers for a lower price or upgrade to a larger vehicle based on comfort or party size. It is one flat price for the ride and it doesn’t matter how many guests you have as long as there are not more passengers than seats.
Why Would I Use Rideshare if Disney’s Transportation is Free?
There are a lot more reasons than there used to be to used Uber or Lyft to get around on Walt Disney World property or just the Orlando area in general. Take a look at just a few of the reasons below:
- Magical Express takes too long: I can not wait for Magical Express anymore. I have become too impatient in my old age. I would rather spend the $30 and take an Uber or Lyft and be taken right to my resort without any stops at other resorts on the way. Plus, in January 2022 there will no longer be a free Magical Express option to use.
- Not everyone wants to start their day waiting in bus lines. The time is long gone where you could hop on a bus early in the morning to “rope-drop” to get to your favorite attraction. The bus lines in the mornings at resorts are very long.
- Not everyone wants to end their day waiting on a bus. Let’s face it. Sometimes after a long day at the park, the last thing you want to do is go stand in that corral and stand and wait for a bus. Depending on where you stay, your wait may be extensive. If you’ve just missed a pick-up, you’ll have at least a 20-minute wait, and sometimes even longer. Ordering a Uber or Lyft ensures you are in an air-conditioned car and back at your resort in a much shorter amount of time.
- Early dining reservations. If you want to make sure you can get to Topolino in time for that 7:55 am dining reservation, that is only going to happen with an Uber or Lyft! You will not be able to coordinate Disney’s transportation to get there on time.
- If you’re staying off property: Uber and Lyft are probably the cheapest and easiest ways to get around if you’re not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel. It can be EXPENSIVE(not always, but often) to rent a car in Orlando. Not to mention you will have to pay to park at most hotels in Orlando. THEN, if you’re not an Annual Passholder, you have to pay to park at the parks too.
- If you’re going off property: If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel and you want to visit places like SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Universal Orlando Resort, local malls, or anywhere outside the Disney bubble, you’re going to have to use Uber or Lyft.
How Do I Use Uber and Lyft?
Both rideshare options are very user-friendly. We are going to break down how to use them here:
- First, we suggest to download both the Lyft and Uber apps if you haven’t already. *You can save quite a bit of money by having both apps. We will go over that in our “Tips” section below
- Once your account is set up, you will be presented with a map screen. It should show your current location. If you haven’t enabled location search, I would do so to be able to get an accurate and easy rate.
- Uber and Lyft both classify their types of cars and services into different categories that include a shared carpool, a car that can fit four people, and a car that can fit 6-8. You can also select a luxury or regular type of car as well. You can see the varying prices for these levels of cars.
- Unless you have a large family of 5+ people, the regular UberX or Lyft regular will be sufficient.
- Once you have ordered your car, you will see updates from the driver as well as his/her location on the app.
- You can track the car as it approaches on the map and contact the Uber driver via the contact button below their name if they get lost or are taking longer than expected.
- At the end of your ride, you will be billed for the trip and will have the option to rate the driver and leave a tip. Tips are expected and considering the cost of gas, appreciated
See screenshots from Lyft below:
See screenshots from Uber below:
Where Are Uber & Lyft Drop Off Locations?
You can check very easily on the My Disney Experience app to find the drop-off and pick-up locations for rideshare. You can also see on the transportation menus at the parks where the locations are for pick up are. At Magic Kingdom, you have to get dropped off and picked up at the Transportation and Ticket Center. All other parks have easily accessible locations.
- Magic Kingdom rideshare location is at the Transportation and Ticket Center, near the bus terminal
- EPCOT rideshare location is in the parking lot near the electric vehicle charging stations
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios rideshare location is near the Disney Skyliner station
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom rideshare location is to the left after you exit the park, near the off-property bus station
- Disney Springs has two rideshare locations: West Side is near the Cirque du Soleil theater and Marketplace is the former Disney bus stop area, near Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach does not have a designated rideshare location; the regular guest pick-up and drop-off area is used
We have a couple of tips for using either Uber or Lyft while you are at Walt Disney World! Take a look at them below:
- Always check both Uber and Lyft for the best price on your trip. Just because it says $14 for your trip doesn’t mean it isn’t much cheaper to take the other app. I have saved a ton by doing this. Just on my last trip I was able to save over $38 by shopping back and forth between the apps. Why is this? Well, Uber and Lyft both have different surge times. One might be higher than the other.
- Make sure you leave at least 30 mins+ early when you are using rideshare. You never know how long it is going to take the driver to arrive, how long your ride will take, and what type of traffic you may hit.
- If you’d prefer the ride is quiet(you don’t want to speak to the driver) you can actually make notes in the apps to ask for that.
- Make sure you are in the pick-up location before you order. Sometimes the driver will be right there dropping off another passenger and they will leave if you take more than 5 minutes to get there and you will be charged
Both rideshare companies have new health safety programs. You can read about Lyft’s here and Uber’s here. Both are essentially the same, with face masks being required for drivers and riders, new cleaning procedures, and keeping the windows open when possible.
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