How far away are the villas from the Theme Parks?
Ah… a simple question, but a tricky one to answer!
In truth, you likely don’t want to be close to the theme parks nearly so much as you want to be able to get to and from them fast, and hassle free. One doesn’t necessarily equal the other.
This is because you can be physically closer to the parks than where our homes are located, but from those places it can take much longer to get to the parks. So do you want to be close based on distance, or based on time? They are not the same thing, especially around Walt Disney World.
Which is most important to you on vacation?
When it comes to getting around Central Florida quickly, it is all about what roads you have to use, what type they are, and your access to them. You have essentially three choices in locations relative to the attractions; close, a moderate distance, or really far away.
Close isn’t always best. The way the area is laid out, you can be close to things, but have to drive a long way around to get where you want to go, or drive on roads so crowded and congested that it takes forever to move just a short distance! You don’t want either of these situations on a Disney holiday.
Far away is just that… at a far distance, which means too much driving time. Who wants to spend an hour (30 min. each way) just driving every day?
Just like Goldilocks, what you want is ‘just right’.
If you talk to a vacation rental owner or resort about their distance to ‘Disney’, don’t accept answers that talk only about distance, because how long it takes you to get where you’re going time-wise (and in a stress-free manner) is really what matters.
Did you know that guests who stay in our homes can get to the Disney theme parks faster than people who stay on site at a Disney resort?
The thing to do when choosing your way is ignore your GPS and stick to the custom maps we provide our guests showing the best routes.
We use a route ourselves that allows us to get in and out of Disney World quickly, and saves time and stress! This road takes you right through the gates on World Drive (the ‘spine’ of Disney World), and straight to the Magic Kingdom.
Every time I drive it, it puts a smile on my face, because it feels like our own private road into Disney (of course, it isn’t) but it is usually empty enough that it feels like it is!
Plus it feels so great getting in and out so quickly, especially when you know the long line ups and congested roads other drivers are facing.
So how far are our Villas from the Theme Parks? Here are the answers, expressed in time:
- Magic Kingdom – 15 minutes from the driveway to the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom, which is located at the far north end of the Disney property (9 miles North-South). (We have tested the drive many times at various times of the day and both directions.)
- Other Disney Parks – Epcot is about the same. Hollywood Studios a minutes less. Animal Kingdom about the same.
- SeaWorld – about 17 minutes.
- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure – about 20-25 minutes (depending on traffic).
- LegoLand – about 30 minutes.
- Busch Gardens Tampa – about 60 minutes.
Due to the layout of the area, it is practically impossible to reduce these times by much more, and if anyone tells you so, they likely aren’t giving you the whole story.
The critical issue for everyone when it comes to villa location is well defined by kids, who know how to get to the heart of the matter: “When will we get there?” This is why I always give the driving distance in time from our home to the Magic Kingdom, at the far north end of the property. And it’s just under 15 minutes.
This means (believe it or not) that our guests can often get to and from the parks faster than guests staying at a Disney resort hotel on the Disney property! With the size of the property, some of the on resort bus trips can take 20 minutes or more as they make multiple stops at different resorts. Some of the resorts themselves are so big that it can take longer than that just to walk from the hotel room to the bus stop! (This is such an issue that at the Disney Value (as in cheap) resorts, they actually charge a $20 – $30 per night premium to be in a room closer to the bus stop!)
For example, you can leave our home, get onto I4 and be driving through the Disney property in just over five minutes, technically speaking (you have to go a little bit around to reach it), so we could say that “Disney is 5 minutes away!” but that isn’t the full story. Disney may be 5 minutes away, but at that point you won’t yet be anywhere you want to go!
In fact, the south boundary of the Disney property is two miles away from the neighborhood where our homes are. But the Disney property is so big, that most people can drive for miles and have no idea that they are even on it! We tell folks our properties are 2 miles away from the Disney property, so that they understand that they’re relatively close by, but we always stress the total time needed to drive where people actually want to go.
And on that basis, where our homes are located IS kind of like the Goldilocks location:
- Not too close; so you avoid high traffic, noise, congestion, slow roads, tacky touristy areas, crime, or taking forever to get anywhere because traffic is crazy.
- Not too far; which also takes forever to arrive anywhere just because it becomes a long way to go. Who wants to spend an hour (30 min. each way) just driving every day?
- Just right; off the beaten path – only five minutes to the interstate, in a quiet conservation area, safe and relaxing, but close enough to still hear the fireworks going off at Epcot some nights.
For more information about the Disney World property, and understanding the area and what it means to your vacation, read the article: How close are you to Disney’s Main Gate?