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Taking the Train to Do Disney Without a Car

I priced a ride with Lyft to a Walt Disney World resort hotel, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, as soon as I arrived at the Brightline Orlando station. Here’s what the prices were around lunchtime on a Monday. (When I returned back to South Florida in the late morning 2 days later, the prices were about $8 lower.)

Rates to Universal Orlando are similar, but if I had wanted to, I could have caught a more affordable mode of transportation at the Orlando airport terminal.

The rideshare pickup area is located right outside the Brightline Orlando station. All you have to do in order to find your driver is take the escalator or elevator downstairs.

One warning: Orlando slaps a $7-per-ride fee on all rideshare trips departing from the airport—the highest fee of its sort in the U.S. Lyft did not disclose that surcharge when I booked my ride or on my receipt afterward, and the airport does not warn about the fee on its website. The surcharge was completely concealed from me as a consumer. That strikes me as extremely oily.

After taking Lyft and dropping my bags at the hotel, I was able to hop on the free Walt Disney World transportation bus system to get me the rest of the way.

It was kind of revolutionary. Even including the stop at the hotel, I went from Brightline’s Orlando train platform to the gates of the Magic Kingdom within 75 minutes. Best of all, because I had spent the previous 3 hours reading a book and walking around the train to stretch my legs instead of trying to stay alert through traffic chaos and tedious stretches of empty swampland, I arrived still full of energy and ready to attack the park. And if I had driven a car, I would have had to pay $30 a day to park at the theme parks.

I did it. I woke up in Fort Lauderdale and had lunch in Tomorrowland without having to drive a car. It isn’t merely possble—it’s far better than driving. And I’d do it again.

Jason Cochran is the author of Frommer’s award-winning consumer guide to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Orlando, available in e-book and paperback