Need vacation planning advice quickly? Join our Facebook group and get your questions answered!
Skip to Content

Universal From Walt Disney World: How to Double Your Vacation

Universal From Walt Disney World: How to Double Your Vacation

Many people plan their Orlando vacations to include multiple theme parks and resorts. Walt Disney World alone has four not counting the water parks. Universal Orlando has two (soon to be three with Epic Universe), although the Volcano Bay frequently gets counted as its third. Going to Universal from Walt Disney World used to be a one-day affair. However, the resort has grown significantly in the last decade thanks to their expert handling of the Harry Potter franchise.

Directions from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort

Route:

Here are driving directions from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort:

  1. Start by heading south on World Dr.
  2. Merge onto I-4 E via the ramp to Orlando.
  3. Continue on I-4 E for approximately 11 miles.
  4. Take Exit 75A for FL-435 S/Kirkman Rd.
  5. Keep right at the fork and follow signs for FL-435 S/Kirkman Rd.
  6. Merge onto S Kirkman Rd/FL-435 S.
  7. Continue on S Kirkman Rd for about 4 miles.
  8. Turn right onto International Dr.
  9. Universal Orlando Resort will be on your right.

Please note that traffic conditions can vary, so it’s a good idea to use a navigation app or GPS device for real-time updates during your journey.

Recently Universal announced plans to build a third theme park which it will call Epic Universe. From the concept art, the style and scope of the park will rival Epcot’s current redesign. All this means that the ferocity of the competition between the two entertainment giants is only heating up. Since the early 1990’s Walt Disney World has worked to keep guests on the property as long as possible. Even so, with exciting innovations at Universal, even the most die-hard fans of the mouse are setting aside vacation days to see what is going on at that other park. Now the journey to Universal from Walt Disney World is more involved and can impact your travel plans significantly.

Leaving Walt Disney World

Disney World is such a vast stretch of land that exiting can require a bit of navigating. To make sure you can get to Universal quickly you should head out of Walt Disney World on the east end. Universal is situated northeast of Walt Disney World about 14 miles from the Magic Kingdom.

The easiest and fastest way to get to Universal from Walt Disney World is to exit on the south side below Disney Springs. This positions you close to I-4, which will take you in the right direction. Depending on where you are in Disney’s 43 square mile resort, you may find it easier to navigate the back roads and side streets that meander up to Universal from Vista Blvd. When leaving Walt Disney World be careful to follow the signs and street directions as some maps do not account for one-way streets.

The best form of transportation to get from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort depends on your preferences, budget, and convenience. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Car Rental or Personal Vehicle: Renting a car or using your own vehicle provides flexibility and convenience, especially if you want to travel at your own pace and have the option to explore other attractions in the area.
  2. Rideshare Services (Uber, Lyft): Using rideshare services like Uber or Lyft can be a convenient option, as they offer door-to-door service without the hassle of parking. This is particularly useful if you don’t want to drive or deal with parking fees.
  3. Shuttle Services: Some companies offer shuttle services that specifically cater to tourists traveling between major attractions like Disney World and Universal Orlando. These shuttle services can provide a cost-effective and hassle-free way to travel between the two locations.
  4. Public Transportation: While not the most direct option, you can use public buses to travel between Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. However, this might involve multiple transfers and longer travel times.
  5. Hotel Shuttles: If you’re staying at a hotel near either Disney World or Universal Orlando, check if they offer shuttle services between the two attractions. Some hotels provide this service for their guests.
  6. Combination Tickets: Some tour companies offer combination tickets that include transportation and admission to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. This can be a convenient option if you’re looking for an all-in-one package.

Ultimately, the best form of transportation depends on your priorities. If you value convenience and flexibility, renting a car or using rideshare services might be your best bet. If you want to avoid driving and parking, shuttle services or combination tickets could be more suitable. Regardless of your choice, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and consider factors like travel time, cost, and convenience.

The Road to Universal

The most direct path to Universal from Walt Disney World is the straight shot north that I-4 gives you connecting the two resorts within a matter of minutes. Depending on traffic you can get from one place to the other in 15 minutes by car. Different paths may take longer without traffic but help you out during peak times.

If you leave the Magic Kingdom resort area via World Drive, you can take Vista Blvd east and up toward Winter Garden Vineland Road. Take Winter Vineland Road to South Apopka Vineland road for a nearly straight shot to Universal Orlando without using the freeway. Turn right when you get to Sand Lake Road and follow it toward the highway until you get to Turkey Lake Road. Turn left on Turkey Lake Road and follow it to Hollywood Way, which will lead you to Universal parking. The total travel time for this path is just under 40 minutes.

Different Transportation Options

Public Transportation

The cheapest way to get to Universal from Walt Disney World is by using the public bus system. This method will require you to transfer routes and walk a substantial amount, so we don’t recommend it. It may save you a few dollars, but it will take almost two hours to complete a one-way journey. Since time is so vital to the value of your trip, the less wasted time between destinations is ideal. It’s nice to have the option of taking the bus routes north from the Lake Buena Vista area to Universal Orlando, but you should consider it as only a last resort. Unfortunately, no trains come near Walt Disney World, so city buses are the only option outside of a rideshare or taxi service.

Rideshare

Getting a rideshare from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort is a convenient and hassle-free transportation option for those looking to travel between these two popular attractions. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft offer a seamless experience that can enhance your journey and allow you to focus on enjoying your time in Orlando.

1. Convenience: Using a rideshare service eliminates the need to navigate unfamiliar roads, deal with parking, or figure out public transportation. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can request a ride and have a driver pick you up right at your location.

2. Door-to-Door Service: Rideshare drivers will pick you up at your specified location within Disney World and drop you off directly at Universal Orlando Resort. This means you won’t need to worry about walking long distances or finding your way around the resorts.

3. Flexibility: Rideshare services offer flexibility in terms of timing. You can choose when you want to depart and arrive, allowing you to tailor your transportation to your schedule. This can be especially beneficial if you’re planning to visit attractions during specific hours.

4. Real-Time Updates: Rideshare apps provide real-time updates on the driver’s location, estimated arrival time, and other important information. This helps you stay informed and eliminates uncertainties about when your ride will arrive.

5. Payment: Payments for rideshare services are usually handled through the app, so you won’t need to worry about carrying cash or handling transactions with the driver. This streamlined payment process adds to the convenience of the experience.

6. Cost Sharing: If you’re traveling with a group, rideshare services allow you to split the cost of the ride among the passengers. This can make the transportation more cost-effective compared to other options.

7. Local Insights: Rideshare drivers are often locals who know the area well. They might offer recommendations, tips, and insights about the attractions, dining options, and other points of interest along the way.

8. Accessibility: Rideshare services often have options for different vehicle sizes, including options that are wheelchair-accessible. This can make it more convenient for travelers with specific accessibility needs.

When using rideshare services, be sure to have the app downloaded on your smartphone, enter the correct pickup location, and confirm the destination. It’s also a good idea to check the estimated fare and any surge pricing that might apply during peak travel times.

Overall, a rideshare from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort can be a comfortable and stress-free way to travel between these iconic attractions, allowing you to make the most of your time in Orlando.

What About a Traditional Taxi?

Yes, a taxi can be a viable option for traveling from Walt Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort, but there are some factors to consider when deciding if it’s the right choice for you:

Pros of Taking a Taxi:

  1. Convenience: Taxis provide a door-to-door service, which means you won’t need to worry about parking or walking long distances from parking lots to the entrances.
  2. Direct Route: Taxis can take the most direct route, potentially saving you time compared to using public transportation or shuttle services that might have multiple stops.
  3. Comfort: Taxis offer a comfortable and private mode of transportation, which can be especially beneficial if you’re traveling with a group or have specific comfort needs.
  4. Flexibility: Taxis can be hailed at any time or pre-booked, giving you the flexibility to travel at your preferred time without adhering to specific shuttle schedules.

Considerations and Potential Drawbacks:

  1. Cost: Taxis can be more expensive compared to other transportation options like shuttle services or rideshare apps. The cost can vary based on distance, traffic, and other factors.
  2. Traffic: Orlando’s traffic can be unpredictable, especially during peak travel times. Heavy traffic could increase your travel time and cost.
  3. Availability: Taxis might not always be readily available, especially during busy periods or in certain areas. It’s a good idea to have a taxi app or phone number of a local taxi company for booking in advance.
  4. Wait Time: Depending on the time of day and availability, you might need to wait for a taxi to arrive, which could be less convenient compared to rideshare services that often have shorter wait times.
  5. Payment: Make sure to clarify the payment method with the taxi driver before starting the ride. Some taxis might only accept cash, while others also accept credit cards.

Ultimately, choosing a taxi to travel from Walt Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort can provide a comfortable and direct transportation option. However, you’ll want to weigh the convenience against factors like cost, potential traffic delays, and availability. If cost is a concern and you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you might also consider rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, as they can offer similar benefits at potentially lower prices.

Travel By Car

Minnie Van

You could rent a car for your trip and enjoy the freedom of going as you please. However, the parking fees and the cost of the rental are discouraging considering the limited need for car travel while in either resort area. Instead, you should download Lyft or Uber, if you haven’t already. Lyft is the app Disney uses to power its official paid transit service, Minnie Van. Minnie Van is convenient and run by trained Disney cast members. However, there is a premium cost, and you can only use the service internally, or to get to the airport. You still have the option of Lyft which is more affordable, although in our experience Uber regularly out prices Lyft and offers promotions often.

It’s important to consider parking costs when making choices as to which form of transportation you want to consider. Disney World charges about $25 for parking and $45 for premium parking. Similarly, Universal Orlando Resort charges $26 for parking and $45 for preferred. When you factor these costs, it often is equal to the ride share price

Renting a Car

Advantages of Renting a Car:

  1. Flexibility: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the Orlando area on your own schedule. You can easily travel to and from the theme parks, as well as visit other attractions, restaurants, and shopping areas.
  2. Convenience: Having a car allows you to store personal belongings, strollers, and other items securely while you’re at the parks. You won’t need to worry about carrying everything with you.
  3. Direct Routes: With a car, you can take the most direct routes to and from the theme parks, potentially saving you travel time compared to using public transportation or shuttle services.
  4. Accessibility: Having a car is especially convenient if you’re staying offsite or at a hotel that’s not directly connected to the theme parks. You won’t need to rely on hotel shuttles or other forms of transportation.
  5. Exploration: Renting a car gives you the opportunity to explore beyond the theme parks. You can easily visit nearby attractions, go on day trips, or discover hidden gems around Orlando.

Considerations and Tips:

  1. Cost: While the convenience of a rental car is valuable, there are costs to consider, including the rental fee, fuel, parking fees at the parks, and potentially tolls.
  2. Parking: Both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort have parking facilities. Keep in mind that parking fees may apply and can add to your overall expenses.
  3. Navigation: A GPS or navigation app will be helpful for getting around Orlando. Most rental cars come equipped with GPS, but you can also use your smartphone’s navigation apps.
  4. Traffic: Orlando’s traffic can be heavy, especially during peak travel times. Consider using navigation apps that provide real-time traffic updates to help you navigate efficiently.
  5. Insurance: Rental car companies offer insurance options. Check with your personal car insurance or credit card company to see if you’re already covered for rental cars, and consider whether you want to purchase additional coverage.
  6. Booking in Advance: It’s advisable to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and potentially get better rates.
  7. Theme Park Transportation: Both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort have parking areas, but you’ll still need to use internal transportation (like trams or shuttles) to get from the parking lot to the park entrances.

Renting a car can enhance your Orlando experience by providing convenience, flexibility, and the opportunity to explore the area beyond the theme parks. Consider your itinerary, budget, and transportation preferences when deciding whether to rent a car for your trip.

Please note that traffic conditions can vary, so it’s a good idea to use a navigation app or GPS device for real-time updates during your journey.

Can You Walk From Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort?

No, you cannot walk from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort. The distance between the two attractions is approximately 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 kilometers), and they are located in different areas of Orlando, Florida. Walking this distance would not be practical or safe, as it would involve crossing highways and areas that are not pedestrian-friendly.

For traveling between Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, using a car, taxi, rideshare service, or public transportation like buses or shuttles would be the recommended options.

Shuttle Buses

there are several offsite hotels near Walt Disney World that offer shuttle services to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. These hotels provide a convenient and cost-effective option for visitors who want to explore multiple theme parks without the hassle of driving or parking. Here are a few examples:

  1. Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista: This hotel is located near Disney Springs and offers shuttle services to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It’s a budget-friendly option with comfortable amenities and proximity to dining and entertainment.
  2. Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area: Situated near Disney Springs, this hotel provides shuttle services to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. The property features various dining options and pools for relaxation.
  3. Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area: This hotel offers shuttle services to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It’s a family-friendly option with modern amenities and a convenient location for exploring the theme parks.
  4. DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs Area: With spacious suites, this hotel offers shuttle services to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It’s an excellent choice for families or groups seeking more room to relax.
  5. Best Western Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area: This hotel provides shuttle services to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It offers comfortable accommodations and is within walking distance of Disney Springs.
  6. Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive: While not as close to Disney World, this hotel is closer to Universal Orlando Resort and offers shuttle services to both theme parks. It’s a good option if you plan to spend more time at Universal.
  7. Rosen Inn International: Located on International Drive, this hotel offers shuttle services to both Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It’s a budget-friendly choice with easy access to various dining and entertainment options.

When booking an offsite hotel with shuttle services, make sure to check the shuttle schedules, availability, and any additional fees that might apply. Additionally, consider the proximity of the hotel to the theme parks you intend to visit most frequently.

These are just a few examples of offsite hotels that offer shuttle services to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. It’s always a good idea to research and read reviews to find the one that best suits your preferences and travel plans.

Need More Help Planning Your Vacation?

A travel agent is an essential resource when planning a vacation. Reach out to Magical Travel and they will make sure your vacation is pure magic and no stress! Their services are 100% FREE to you!