As many of you know from reading this blog, I'm a fan of what's called "park hopping," meaning I like to visit more than one park in a day. That's that the "Park Hopper" pass is for - it is an add-on to the base ticket that allows guests to visit as many parks as they want in a single day.
That being said, park hopping can be time-intensive. Sometimes it may seem like there's no easy way to get from park to park using Disney transportation. With a bit of planning and a little luck, you'll be able to do some quick park hopping without burning a lot of time.
So let's go from park to park with some of my tips for how to get to other parks as quickly as you can.
Magic Kingdom to Epcot
Without a doubt the fastest way to get from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot is the monorail. Here's the hitch, though; the monorail isn't always running, especially later in the evenings and occasionally during the day. So what do you do when the entire monorail system is offline? There are a couple of options. Disney will offer a direct bus to Epcot, but that bus can get overwhelmed quickly. So here's what you do. As you approach the bus terminals, look at the line for the Epcot bus. If it looks like it's pretty long (like there are people completely filling the queue area), you may want to think about an alternate bus, say to the Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach Club, especially if a bus is already there and waiting. It's possible you can catch a bus to either of these resorts and walk into Epcot through the International Gateway faster than waiting for an Epcot bus that will take you to the front of the park.
Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios
If the monorail is running, you've got a few more options aside from the direct bus at the MK bus station. You could take the ferry or monorail to the TTC and catch a DHS bus from there, or take a bus to any of the Epcot area resorts noted above and then walk or take a Friendship boat to DHS. I'd say the TTC-based option is the one I'd least recommend, but it is an option.
Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom
Here you're pretty much stuck. There's simply no other means to get to AK from any park aside from a direct bus. If those buses are supremely packed, you could consider waking to the Contemporary and getting a bus to AK from there, but keep in mind that it's a 10-minute walk to get to the Contemporary and you're totally at the mercy of the bus schedule there. Of course you can take the "scenic route" by taking the ferry to the TTC or a boat launch from the MK to the Polynesian and then walking over to the TTC to catch a bus to AK, but that also will probably take much longer than just waiting it out back at the MK bus station.
Epcot to Magic Kingdom
Again, by far the fastest way to get from Epcot to the MK is by monorail. But if the monorail is down for some reason, you're facing a similar situation as I described above, only in reverse. You can take the dedicated Magic Kingdom bus or a bus to the Contemporary (where you can then walk over to the MK entrance). It just depends on what the lines for each bus option look like. Whichever bus you think will arrive next might be your best option. I wouldn't recommend a bus to the Poly or Grand Floridian if the
monorail is down because you'll then have to take a boat launch to the
Epcot to Hollywood Studios
Hoof it! That right. Walk. There's a walkway connecting Hollywood Studios to the Epcot resorts area from which you can then enter Epcot through the International Gateway. This is the easiest way to get in between both parks. Yes it's a good sized walk -- upwards of 20 minutes depending on your walking speed -- but you are completely in control of when you arrive. Otherwise, you can wait for a Friendship boat, but those lines can get tremendously long, especially toward park closing and those boats don't run as often as I'd prefer. I can't count the times I've "outwalked" the boat from Epcot (especially since the boat stops at the Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach and Swan/Dolphon before going to DHS). If you're not in a hurry, it's a nice boat ride, especially if you can sit in the very back in the open air. But if you're trying to save some time, you'd best give those walking shoes a workout.
Epcot to Animal Kingdom
Take the AK bus. As Princess Leia says, it's your only hope.
Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom
Here's where bus line monitoring can really pay off. Yes, you can take the dedicated Magic Kingdom bus, if the lines aren't too bad. Or, you can take a bus to any of the Magic Kingdom area resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian) or a bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). From any of these destinations, you can then hop on a monorail (or walk in the case of the Contemporary) to get to the MK main entrance. It really just depends on which bus you can catch the soonest. First bus to arrive wins! If everything is nuts, you can walk to Epcot, then through the park and catch a monorail to the MK. That's a really scenic route (and will take a long time), but it is an option. Of course, if you know the monorail is down, then forget about buses to the TTC, Poly or GF.
Hollywood Studios to Epcot
Same story as Epcot to Hollywood Studios. Hoof it or wait for a boat. I'd say start walking.
Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom
Same sad story. Bus is your only option.
Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom
My advice is similar as Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom -- look for the first bus that can get you to the general Magic Kingdom area and then take a monorail or walk depending on where you end up at.
Animal Kingdom to Epcot or Hollywood Studios
Much like AK to MK, there's always the direct bus to either park, but you also can get a bus to any of the Epcot area resorts (Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach preferred) and enter Epcot through the International Gateway (for Epcot) or take a boat to DHS, or just walk to DHS from the Epcot area resorts.
So there you go -- a complete set of marching orders to help you hop from point A to point B. What do you think -- do you have some different alternate routes? Post a comment!
Good luck and hop along now!!