Should I Take The Disney Monorail or Ferry

Disney Monorail or Ferry

Disney Monorail or Ferry; which should I take? Would you rather wait in a shorter line for slower transportation or wait in a longer line for faster transportation?

When you first arrive to the Ticket and Transportation Center at the Magic Kingdom, you have to make a decision, do you want to take the Disney Monorail or Ferry boat.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, however, my advice would be to plan on using both.

In order to beat the lines, going from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom, you should ride the Ferry boat and leaving the park at night you should ride the Resort Monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

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7 Best Theme Parks In Orlando

Disney Monorail or Ferry: Which Should I Take

After going through security at the Transportation and Ticket Center, the Monorail lines are located right in front of the gates.  There are 2 Monorail lines you can ride, the Express Monorail that goes directly to the Magic Kingdom or the Resort Monorail that stops at each of the resorts around Bay Lake before stopping at the Magic Kingdom.

If you want to ride the Ferry boat, when you get through the main gates, go to the left and walk down towards Bay Lake.  You will see the sign for the Ferry that takes you over to the Magic Kingdom.

If you are just arriving at Disney and heading to the Magic Kingdom, I recommend riding on the Ferry boat first.  There usually isn’t a long line and you should be able to get on the first boat that docks.

When leaving the Magic Kingdom at night, you should ride the Resort Monorail back to the parking lot.  There is usually a long line for the Express Monorail and a lot of people don’t know that the Resort Monorail also stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

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Insider Tip

When leaving Magic Kingdom at night, most people wait in line for the Express Monorail that goes directly from the park to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Get on the Resort Monorail because most people don’t know that this Monorail also stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center as well. The line is usually much shorter than waiting for the Express Monorail.

Which Is Faster The Monorail or Ferry

Both the Disney Monorail and Ferry boat have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the amount of time it takes to get across Bay Lake.  I have found that the determining factor to this is the time you arrive or leave the park.

When you arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center and you are going to Magic Kingdom, I would choose the Ferry boat because it can hold more people at one time and the wait is usually shorter. 

Every time my family goes, we get on the first Ferry that docks.  The line has never been too long that we couldn’t board and had to wait for another Ferry to come.

However, riding the Monorail, sometimes you will have to wait for 2, and sometimes 3 Monorails before you get on.  Even though a new Monorail comes to the station every 7 minutes, you can be stuck in a crammed line for a while.

When the park is closing, the fastest way to get back to the Transportation and Ticket Center is to take the Resort Monorail.  The line for the Ferry boat is usually extremely long because crowds at the park usually leave around the same time after the fireworks.

Insider Tip

Don’t leave the park right after the fireworks. This is when a majority of people try to leave the park and the Monorail and Ferry lines can be very long. Walk around the park for a while and leave 30 minutes to 1 hour after the fireworks.

Which Monorail Should I Take

There are 3 monorail lines at Disney World which include The Express Line, The Resort Line and The Epcot Line.

The Express line runs alongside the Resort Monorail but only makes stops at The Ticket and Transportation Center and Magic Kingdom. The Express line goes around Bay Lake and takes you straight over to Magic Kingdom.  It doesn’t have any stops along the way.  This Monorail is the quickest route to the Magic Kingdom.

The Resort Monorail line runs around Bay Lake as well however it makes stops at The Polynesian Village Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort and The Transportation and Ticket Center. At each stop it takes about 10 minutes to load and unload guests that are staying at the Disney Resort.

The Epcot line runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Epcot and back. It takes about 10 minutes to get from one place to the other.  This way, if you are staying at a Disney Resort, you don’t have to drive from park to park, you can hop on the Monorail system to get there.

Where Does The Ferry Go

The Disney Ferry goes from the Ticket and Transportation Center over to the Magic Kingdom.  There are no stops along the way and you can’t get to any Disney Resorts by taking the Ferry.  The Ferry docks right in front of the Magic Kingdom and on the left side of the Transportation and Ticket Center.

The Disney Ferry doesn’t run on a track system.  The captain of the ship manually drives the Ferry back and forth between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom.  The captain is fully in control of the speed and direction of the ship.  They have to properly dock the Ferry when it arrives at each of the stations.

The Ferry has 2 Wheelhouse’s for the captain to drive the boat.  It has a Wheelhouse on both ends so they don’t have to turn the boat around as they go back and forth.  The captain will transfer from one to the other, depending on if the Ferry is heading over to Magic Kingdom or going to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

How Long Does The Disney Ferry Take vs The Monorail

Waiting for the Ferry to load and unload guests is what takes the longest.  It takes about 10-15 minutes before the Ferry will head off across the lake.  To go across Bay Lake and get to the main entrance of Magic Kingdom, it takes the Ferry boat about 7 minutes.

The Ferry is very relaxing and you can feel the breeze as you move across the lake.  The Ferry boat is open on all sides so you to look out across the lake. It also has a second deck if you want to get a better view.

The Monorail takes about 15 minutes to get from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.  A new Monorail comes to the station about every 7 minutes.  It takes about 5 minutes to load and unload the passengers and about 3-4 minutes of travel time.

The Monorail is nice because it is air conditioned and you can see out over Bay Lake as you head over to Magic Kingdom.

How Fast Does The Disney Monorail and Ferry Go

The Disney Monorail has a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour. The average speed that you will be traveling is about 40 miles per hour, except for when you go through the Resorts.  Then the Monorail will slow down to about 15 miles per hour.

If you happen to be standing when the Monorail is moving, you need to hold on because the movement can knock you off your feet if you aren’t careful.

The Disney Ferry only goes about 10 miles per hour however it is a direct path over to the park.  Since the Ferry is so big, you don’t really feel the motion of the boat except for the wind blowing.

What Is The Disney Monorail and Ferry Capacity

Each Monorail car can hold about 20 seated passengers and 40 standing passengers. That is nearly 7,000 guests per direction, per hour. On a typical day, more than 150,000 guests utilize the monorail transportation.

The Ferry is 120 feet long and nearly 35 feet wide.  It can hold up to 600 guests per trip.

What Are The Disney Monorail and Ferry Hours

The Disney Monorails usually start running 1 hour before the parks open. They stop running at night about 1 hour after the Magic Kingdom closes.

There are three different Ferry boats that run from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom. Depending on the time of day, one to three ferry boats may be operating.  Ferry boats typically run from 8:30am until 45 minutes after Magic Kingdom closes.

Final Thoughts

Knowing when to ride the Disney Monorail or Ferry boat when you visit the Magic Kingdom can start and end your day without frustration.  Each has their nostalgia about them and I recommend riding both.  However, it is best to ride them at certain times, otherwise you could be waiting in a long line.

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas is the founder of Visit Orlando With Kids and loves going to theme parks with his family. Every year he has annual passes to all Florida's theme parks and loves to share tips and tricks that he has learned over the 35 years living in Orlando.

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