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1981: Construction Continues on Walt Disney World Monorail Extension

Editor’s Note: This post is part 11 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Thank you to the Walt Disney World Moms Panel for this post.

In 1981, transportation for guests became even easier with the extension of the Walt Disney World Monorail. Learn how to most effectively maneuver the myriad of transportation systems Disney offers around its parks, resorts and other attractions.

The Walt Disney World Monorail System is world famous and many people who have never even been to Walt Disney World have heard about it or seen it on TV. It provides guests with an easy, fun means to get to and from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot from the Transportation and Ticket Center, and to the Contemporary, Polynesian and the Grand Floridian Resort hotels. However, there is much more to complimentary Disney transportation that just this futuristic mode of transportation!

Once at Walt Disney World, all guests have access to complimentary transportation throughout the resort, including transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach and Downtown Disney. Besides the aforementioned monorail, there are also Disney buses, ferries and boats. Complimentary transportation is available one hour prior to theme park opening time and up to one hour after theme park closing time; buses operate until 2 a.m. from the Downtown Disney area. The various vehicles are always clean and the wait is usually minimal, except during the very busiest times of the year. The exact mode of transportation depends on where you are and where you are going; for example, boat service is provided for guests to get to Epcot from the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts. Buses and loading areas are well marked and it’s usually pretty easy to find a Cast Member for help if necessary.

Guests with a little bit of time on their hands or who want something fun to do outside of the theme parks for a couple of hours can also ride the boats on the various waterways at Walt Disney World Resort. A particularly fun ride is to take a boat from outside the Magic Kingdom to the Fort Wilderness Campground and back. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes each way and gives you a chance to view the Contemporary Resort and Wilderness Lodge from a unique vantage point. It’s also a great way to take a break from the Magic Kingdom, especially if you grab lunch or dinner at the Trail’s End restaurant at Fort Wilderness before returning to the theme park. I really enjoying being on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake at night, especially in the summer! Another fun trip is to take a complimentary ride on the Sassagoula River from a resort to Downtown Disney and back; resorts on this river include Port Orleans – Riverside, Port Orleans – French Quarter and Saratoga Springs, including the new Treehouse Villas. Guests staying at Old Key West also have boat service to Downtown Disney available. Just like the boat ride to Fort Wilderness, I think the trip to Downtown Disney and back is especially fun and relaxing at night.

The complimentary transportation at Walt Disney World Resort is one of the things that make a Disney vacation so carefree; guests can leave the driving to the Mouse!


1980: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom Park) (The Window Seat)

1979: Construction begins at Epcot (The Window Seat)

1978: “Christmas at Walt Disney World” Television Special (The Window Seat)




From time to time, the Window Seat publishes articles and blog posts written by guest authors to give you a fresh perspective on the world of travel.

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