How to get between Disney and the other attractions in the area, in particular Universal Studios and Sea World, if you’re not hiring a car is a common question. There are two typical options: cab or shuttle and it is this latter option I’m going to discuss here.
Mears Transportation has the monopoly on transport in Orlando – many of the cabs are owned by them, as are the buses – including the Disney ones. But they also run shuttles from many of the hotels, including Disney hotels to the major attractions and the bigger shopping areas. And for some reason, they’re not that widely advertised.
The shuttles work by charging a set price per person to collect right from your hotel at a time to suit you and deliver you to one of various destinations. Unlike a cab however, this will usually be a shared ride – possibly with others from your hotel and often with a stop at one or more other hotels along the way. The same will apply for your return trip back again.
Whether or not it is worth it very much depends on the size of your party. It can be up to $20 per person, round trip, so for a family of 4, a cab is probably about the same and more convenient. But for a couple, it works out significantly cheaper to get the shuttle.
The other time a shuttle is a good option is when you can get it included in the price of your ticket. If you are only purchasing a day ticket to one of the parks, a few ticket agents sell transfers as part of the ticket. On our last trip we wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and purchased a 1-day, 2-park ticket to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with transfers included. It worked out to be much better value than buying a transfer separately and this may well be the case even with a larger family.
Arranging for the shuttle is really easy – you just give Mears a bell 24 hours in advance and book it. The concierge at your hotel will even dial for you if you ask them nicely. You can book for any time, except between 10am and 3pm – although if they’re already booked to collect from your hotel at a nearby time, they will try and insist on that.
Coming back is also easy. You can either arrange a collection time in advance, or more commonly, ring them an hour in advance to book. Around the most popular times there will be specific time slots but these are pretty regular. Otherwise you can take your pick.
So there you have it – there is an alternative to car hire if you’re staying in Disney and wanting to make just a few trips to other attractions. And both shuttles and cabs drop you off closer to the entrances than you can park too!