Are you looking for an answer to the question “Does anyone know how I can get from Disney World to Universal Orlando and back WITHOUT having a car?”
Let’s break this down to be as simple as possible:)
Starting Point – Disney and Universal aren’t the Same
Disney and Universal are two different companies with theme parks about 15-35 minutes apart from each other.
WDW = Walt Disney World
Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK), EPCOT, Magic Kingdom (MK) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS)
UOR = Universal Orlando Resort
Islands of Adventure (IoA) and Universal Studios Orlando (USO)
Next Point- Disney and Universal are both in “Orlando”, but that’s a little misleading
If you want to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it’s not the same “Studios” that are on Disney property. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that you can see Harry Potter at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…but you’d be wrong. You want the other “Studios” down the street at Universal Studios Orlando.
As you can see from the Google Map image above, you’re looking at a minimum of 15 minutes, and more when you look at where you’re starting your adventure from.
What are my options?
You can get a car rental from the Airport or from the Alamo site directly on Walt Disney World property. Alamo will actually pick you up from your resort and bring you to their rental site and then bring you back to the resort when you are done with the car. Yes, it’s expensive, as you also have to pay for parking at Universal, but you’re effectively buying time.
Take an Uber
There are official and unofficial methods to using Uber, but let’s stick to the basics.
Uber is cheaper than most options and will provide you with the ultimate in ease and flexibility. You request the pickup time when you’re ready to leave and the ride will meet you and take you to your desired destination.
Use a Mears Shuttle
After using Mears for as many times as I have (and I have the receipts to prove it), it’s my opinion that until they have updated their pricing and customer service, it’s not worth the investment of time and funds.
HOWEVER, there is an asterisk to this tip
Getting a discounted travel plan, which includes a one-day two park Universal Orlando ticket (which saves you money from buying at the gate) and then getting the transportation for a smaller price. This is completely dependent on your situation, as sometimes you can get the discounted tickets for your group in advance and just UBER from WDW to UOR.
Let’s talk about the things you WON’T read in a trip planning book.
Can you Book online with Mears or use an App?
No. You’re required to call them at least 24 hours in advance to schedule a departure, as they come directly to your resort to pick you up. Sometimes it’s a direct ride, but usually, you’ll have to stop at a couple WDW resorts to pick up other guests in a smaller van before going to Universal Orlando.
You have to call the number to schedule a return trip at least an hour before you want to leave, and here’s the kicker…you’re traveling back to WDW property in a BUS that will stop at all the resorts of guests who booked the shuttle. This means making sure that you keep an eye out on the time and find a payphone (if you’re from out of the country and don’t want to use roaming data).
In 2015, we actually spent more than 2 hours on a bus going back to All Star Movies because the driver didn’t want to get on the highway and wanted to go through the back roads. They also have to stop at Sea World, which adds 20-30 minutes depending on how many guests they have to pick up.
Being honest about things is incredibly important, as it will save you so much time!
Long Story Short
Just UBER home. It’ll save you time and money! 🙂
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