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How to get from Disney World to Universal Orlando without a car

Feb 27, 2017
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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

Walt Disney World to Universal Orlando (Driving Time)

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?

Rental Car

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.

Charter Bus, Public Transportation and Shuttle Bus – Universal Orlando Resort – Copyright How To MCO

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! 🙂

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?"

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?”

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2 Responses

  1. Interesting article. I would add a normal taxi in as well.
    Has Uber replaced these now? I guess for many they have.
    Nothing easier though than a bell Boy calling one over.
    I think we will have to give Uber a go on our next trip as it seems everyone is doing them now.

  2. Thanks for your input! While we do see the value of convenience, taxi’s can’t offer the same experience.
    Personally, I’ve been ripped off by a couple of taxis, including a driver who manipulated his Taximeter. Driving from the Premium Outlet Mall taxi stand to the end of the parking lot actually cost us more than $15, at which we exited the vehicle and called the police and found out that there’s an underground network of fake licenses in the touristy areas of Orlando.
    With Uber/Lyft, there’s no cash involved and with the knowledge of knowing that each ride is tracked, it gives you a feeling of security. Until the taxi’s are able to provide the same level of service and security, then it’s really no contest.

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