It can be intimidating to try and find all of the transportation options at Disney’s Swan. If you find it overwhelming to figure out how to travel from the resort to the theme parks, shopping areas, and other Orlando area activities, this article is for you!
I know when our family travels to Disney, knowing our transportation options BEFORE we arrive is incredibly comforting.
In this post, you will learn about all the modes of transportation available at the Swan so you know EXACTLY how to get around.
7 Transportation Options at the Swan:
Option #1: Take the FREE bus!
One incredible benefit of staying at the Swan is that FREE bus transportation is provided directly to a few of the theme parks and Disney Springs. In addition, you can use the bus service to get to two waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) and any of the other Disney hotels!
Where can you take the bus from the Swan?
Once you arrive at the bus stop at the Swan, you must pay attention to the signs to ensure you get on the correct bus! Everything is clearly marked, so this should not be a problem.
The buses at the Swan Resort provide direct service to:
- Magic Kingdom: The bus ride is approximately 10 minutes. It is 4.5 miles (7 km) away. Your bus will drop you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. To avoid this, you must take a Minnie Van (Option #3)!
- Animal Kingdom: The bus ride is typically between 10-15 minutes. It is 4.8 miles (7.2 km) away.
- Disney Springs: The bus ride is approximately 10 minutes. It is 2.7 miles (4.3 km) away.
Epcot and Hollywood Studios are accessible by other transportation options at the Swan.
In addition, you can get to these locations from the Swan with ONE bus transfer.
- Blizzard Beach: Take the bus from the Swan to Animal Kingdom. Then, get off the bus and find the shuttle going directly to Blizzard Beach.
- Typhoon Lagoon: Take the bus from the Swan to Disney Springs. Then, get off the bus and find the bus going directly to Typhoon Lagoon.
- ANY of the other Disney World Resorts: Do you have dinner reservations at the Wilderness Lodge? Or do you want to check out the Polynesian Resort for your next vacation? Luckily, it’s EASY to get to any of the other 20+ Disney hotels from the Swan using the free Disney bus transportation. All you need to do is take the bus to Disney Springs. Then get off the shuttle and find the bus that goes directly to the resort you want to visit!
- ESPN Wide World of Sports: Check with the front desk regarding bus transportation here. The schedule and operating hours change depending on what events are being held. If there are no direct buses, you must take a bus to one of the parks and transfer to ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Where is the bus stop at the Swan located?
The bus stop is just a short walk outside the main lobby entrance. When you exit the front lobby, turn left and follow the covered walkway until you arrive at the bus stop.
What is the bus schedule at the Swan?
Bus service to the theme parks typically begins 45 minutes before the park opens and ends 1 hour after closing.
Bus service to Disney Springs begins when it opens and ends 1 hour after closing.
Once they start, the buses run continuously throughout the day. I have found that you can typically expect a bus to arrive around every 20 minutes.
In addition, you will find screens that show the approximate times the next shuttle is expected to arrive at the bus stop!
As you can imagine, since the buses do not cost anything extra, they’re the most popular way to travel. However, at certain times of the day, such as the park opening, you might experience a bit of a line to board the bus. So make sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination, especially if you have a dining reservation.
Option #2. Take a ride on the FREE Friendship Boats
One of the benefits of staying at the Swan Hotel is the Friendship Boats. This additional transportation option is located on the walkway between the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
To find the boat dock, walk out the back of the Swan and head toward the Dolphin Resort on the path between the hotels until you reach the signs for the Friendship Boats. The Friendship Boats will be on your RIGHT.
Line up on the RIGHT for direct service to Hollywood Studios:
- The boat trip to Hollywood Studios takes about 10 minutes. It’s one of the fastest ways to get there! The friendship boats dock at the front of Hollywood Studios. And for me, this is a great thing because Hollywood Studios is my FAVORITE Disney Park. 🙂 In no time at all, you can be catching the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, dropping to your doom on the Hollywood Tower of Terror, or enjoying a fantastic meal at 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
Line up on the LEFT to go to any of these destinations:
Disney’s Boardwalk: Stop # 1
Most guests automatically go to Disney Springs for shopping, dining, and nightlife, but the Boardwalk has some of the best restaurants and entertainment, in my opinion! You can visit the arcade, rent a four-person bike, or enjoy street performers without going to one of the parks. The Boardwalk is about a 5-minute boat ride from the Swan.
Yacht Club & Beach Club Resorts: Stop #2
You can also take the Friendship Boat to the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts! These resorts are about a 10-minute ride from the Swan, and the boats stop here after the Boardwalk.
It’s fun to stop at the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts for a change of scenery, a new dining experience, or to research your next Disney trip. The cool, coastal theme will remind you of an East Coast vacation, and there’s even an ice cream shop for those with a sweet tooth!
Epcot: Stop #3
When you board the Friendship Boats at the Swan, you will first stop at the Boardwalk and the Yacht Club & Beach Club resorts before finally arriving at Epcot.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to get to Epcot with these stops. The boat dock at Epcot is at the International Gateway, near Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France area of the World Showcase.
I love going to Epcot not only for the rides and entertainment but also for the World Showcase, where you can experience food, drinks, and culture from countries around the world. And if you happen to be at Epcot during one of their festivals, you have even more to enjoy! For example, during the winter holiday season, you can go for a cookie stroll, sampling holiday treats and stamping your passport along the way.
It’s convenient and fun to be able to travel around Disney by water.
The worst part about taking a boat to your destination is that you have to WAIT for a boat to arrive. This can be especially frustrating if you walk out to the pier and see a boat just pulling away. In my experience, you can expect a new boat to arrive approximately every 20 minutes.
If you miss a boat, don’t worry – the next option will have you at the park in about the same amount of time! 🙂
Option #3. Walk!
The best part about walking from the Swan is that you don’t have to WAIT for a boat. Once we start walking, our family knows that within 20 minutes, we can get to some of our favorite places in WDW!
Here are all the places you can comfortably walk from the Swan:
This is the first destination you’ll come to if you walk toward Epcot from the Swan. There are tons of things to do here as well! The Boardwalk has restaurants, street performers, a classic arcade, and incredible views over Crescent Lake. It only takes 5-10 minutes to walk here from the Swan!
If you plan to visit Epcot during your stay at the Swan, don’t skip this relaxing and fun walk! After passing the Boardwalk, you’ll continue down the path and cross the bridge over the canal, then turn right.
From there, you can enter Epcot at the International Gateway, right in the heart of France in the World Showcase! It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Swan.
Beach Club & Yacht Club Resorts:
Maybe you have a dinner reservation at one of these resorts, or you want to check them out for your next trip to Disney. Whatever the reason, you can walk to the Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts from the Swan in about 10 minutes! Just follow the path from the Boardwalk, and once you cross the bridge over the canal, turn left to arrive!
You can arrive at Hollywood Studios in about 20 minutes if you walk there from the Swan. You’ll follow the canal on a walking path directly to the front of the park!
But don’t rush, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets!
Disney’s Dolphin Resort:
The Dolphin is the sister resort of the Swan, and it’s often overlooked as a place to walk when you stay here. But you can enjoy different restaurants, a new view, and another atmosphere just by walking across the water into the Dolphin!
Option #4: Take an Uber
If you want to reach your destination quickly, using a rideshare service (Uber or Lyft) from the Swan is easy. This option can save a lot of time, especially if you just missed the bus. I would also advise using a rideshare if you have an early breakfast at another resort since taking a bus from the Swan to another resort involves a bus transfer, which adds a considerable amount of time!
The easiest place to meet your driver is outside near the Swan Resort’s front lobby, as there are plenty of spots for them to stop and for you to get in the car.
You can also visit places OUTSIDE Walt Disney World Resort with a rideshare service.
We have often stayed at a Disney resort but wanted to visit somewhere else for a day or evening. To help save money, we rarely rent a car, so we have to find alternate transportation.
Luckily, rideshares like Uber can easily take you from the Swan to the following locations:
- Sea World <– One of my favorite places. 🙂
- Universal Theme Parks
- Downtown Orlando
- Restaurants, parks, etc. Honestly, you can go anywhere you want!
TWO rideshare companies operate in Disney World – Uber and Lyft. Between them both, there are a lot of drivers cruising around. Almost every time I’ve used a rideshare from the resorts, I’ve had to wait less than ten minutes to get picked up.
I have found the one-way fare around Walt Disney World averages about $15. In my opinion, if you have limited time to travel somewhere, it is money well spent!
Option #5: Ride in a MINNIE VAN
Another transportation option at the Swan is to take a Minnie Van!
Disney World has partnered with Lyft to provide MINNIE VANS, Minnie Mouse-themed mini-vans! Please be aware that this option will be more expensive than a regular Lyft vehicle.
Here are the advantages of using a Minnie Van:
- A complimentary car seat.
- A big benefit of using a Minnie Van from the Swan is they are driven by DISNEY CAST MEMBERS. I know many people like this fact because the drivers are Disney employees, which provides additional peace of mind.
- Accessible vans are available and provide two spaces for mobility devices.
- Minnie Vans can access areas that regular rideshares cannot. One example is that you can get dropped off directly in front of Magic Kingdom instead of at the Transportation and Ticket Center! This is the ONLY option from the Swan that will drop you off directly at the front of the park.
If you want to use a Minnie Van, open up the Lyft app while inside the Swan and choose your destination. You should see the option to ride in a Minnie Van and the price. If you’re satisfied, order the Minnie Van to come and pick you up!
As you can see below, Minnie Vans are much more expensive than a typical Lyft vehicle and driver.
MINNIE VANS ONLY OPERATE WITHIN WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT! If you are trying to visit Universal or go somewhere else around Orlando, you must review option #4 above or #6 below.
Option #6: Take a TAXI
I know some people don’t like using Uber or Lyft because they don’t know about the person driving or don’t feel comfortable using the app. If this describes you, calling a traditional taxi company for a ride is easy.
Option #7: Drive yourself!
Getting in your car and driving yourself is an often overlooked way from the Swan Resort to the parks or Disney Springs. It’s probably the fastest way to travel since you don’t have to wait for someone to pick you up. 🙂
The driving distance around Disney World is reasonable, and you can get to most locations from the Swan within 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
And here is the BEST news about driving yourself around Walt Disney World:
As long as you stay at the Swan, the parking at the theme parks is FREE! Unfortunately, many guests don’t realize (or forget) that parking at any of the parks does not cost anything if you stay here.
Getting FREE parking at the theme parks is an incredible benefit of staying at the Walt Disney World’s Swan Resort, as parking costs a minimum of $25 per day at each park.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do the transportation options at the Swan cost extra to use?
This depends on which option you decide to take. The buses, friendship boats, and walking are all free transportation for guests at the Swan.
Rideshares, taxis, and driving yourself will all have a cost associated with them.
And Minnie Vans are probably the most expensive option because of the additional convenience and theme.
Do I need to make reservations for transportation from the Swan?
It depends on which transportation option you are using. You do not need a reservation if you’re using the Friendship Boats or bus shuttle service.
But you must schedule your ride when you need rideshares, Minnie Vans, and taxis, and they will typically be available within ten minutes.
Of course, if you walk or take your car, you have complete freedom over when you leave!
Can I walk from Disney’s Swan Hotel to all of the theme parks?
Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is NO.
You can comfortably walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, but the other parks are too far away. In addition, there are no walking paths that connect them.
Can I take the Disney Monorail from The Swan?
No, the monorail does not have a boarding station at the Swan. If you want access to this transportation option from your hotel, you must stay at the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, or Polynesian Village Resort.
Can I take the Disney Skyliner from The Swan?
No, the Skyliner does not have a boarding station at the Swan. If you want access to this transportation option from your hotel, you must stay at Riviera, Art of Animation, Pop Century, or Caribbean Beach.
Are there transportation accommodations at the Swan for guests with special needs or disabilities?
Yes. The friendship boats and the Disney bus service are wheelchair and scooter accessible. You can also take strollers on board if they are folded and stowed out of the aisle.
Related Posts – Walt Disney World’s Swan Hotel:
What is your favorite transportation option at the Swan?
Please let me know in the comments below. Or please feel free to ask any other questions I did not answer above! 🙂