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If you’re heading to Walt Disney World, you may also want to make time to visit Universal Studios Florida, and vice versa. But the question looms: How to get from Disney to Universal?
Because these two amusement complexes are competitors, they don’t make it easy to traverse the 8 miles between them. Don’t let that stop you.
Here are your options to get from Disney World to Universal Studios or from Universal to Disney World.
» Learn more: How to travel to Orlando on points and miles
Hotel shuttle service
A lot of hotels in the Orlando/Kissimmee area offer free shuttles to Disney World parks. A lot offer shuttles to Universal. So can you take a shuttle from Disney to Universal?
If you pick a hotel with shuttle service to both parks, you can easily get to both from your hotel, if not directly from one to the other. For example, the Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc Suites shuttles guests to Disney's Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios as well as Universal Studios — for free; you must book at least two hours in advance.
Contrary to what you may read online, the leading private shuttle service in the area, Mears, does not offer shuttle transportation to parks — only between hotels and the airport. The company does offer taxi service. More on that below.
If you have a rental car, the easiest way to get between parks is to drive there.
Self-parking at Universal Studios starts at $27 per day, while prime parking can cost between $40 and $60 per day, depending on the season. Disney parks charge similar rates: $25 per day for standard self-parking and $45 to $50 per day for preferred parking.
If you didn’t book a rental car for your trip, it probably doesn’t make sense to get one just for transportation from Disney to Universal because car-rental costs and the time spent picking up and returning the car aren’t worth it.
For most guests, a rideshare like Lyft or Uber is the best transportation from Disney to Universal and the simplest answer to how to get to Universal from Disney as well as how to get from Universal to Disney.
Costs will vary depending on your departure point. For example, from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Universal, expect to pay about $22, depending on the time of day and year. Uber and Lyft rides offer a reasonably priced way to avoid packed shuttle buses that make multiple stops.
» Learn more: Disneyland versus Universal Studios annual pass
Public buses through the local LYNX system offer transportation from Disney to Universal. But other than walking, buses are the worst way to get from Disney to Universal and back.
The two theme parks are serviced by different bus lines, which means you’d need to transfer buses and spend around two hours to traverse that 8 miles.
If you prefer a taxi, it’s best to book one in advance because you can never be sure which areas have cabs standing by.
Mears is the biggest name in taxi service in the Orlando area. You can check fares on the company's website.
When we checked, a ride from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Universal cost $36.50, which is more than the average Uber fare of $22, but a taxi could be lower than a rideshare during peak times.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
If you want to visit Universal and Disney World …
If you’re wondering how to get to Disney World from Universal Studios, consider your budget and how fast you want to get there.
Parking your rental car at one of the parks is quick and starts around $25 or $27. If you want free shuttle service to both parks, look for a hotel that includes this perk.
But for most travelers, a rideshare will be the most convenient and most affordable option.
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