There are a lot of options for getting around the theme parks. Monorails, boats, trains and Peoplemovers are all viable options to get you from one place to another within the Disney or Universal "bubbles". What happens when you need to move between those bubbles or go someplace entirely different? Those of you who drive have freedom to go as you please. For those of us who don't bring their own car or rent, the best option is Uber.
Using Uber on Disney property can be a little complicated. Uber is relatively new to town and not all the drivers know the resort fluently yet. These tips should help your commute in and around the Disney resort and to and from Universal Orlando a little easier. Let's start with the basics.
What is Uber?
Uber is a "ride sharing" service that allows would-be drivers to use their own vehicles as taxis. If you need a ride just open the app on your smartphone, confirm your location and a driver will be there, usually in minutes, to pick you up. All payments are handled within the app.
Do I tip and Uber driver?
Yes and no. Uber's official line on this question is no, you do not need to tip your driver. This was not a sufficient answer for me so I went searching. While most Uber drivers have likely accepted most riders won't be tipping extra, a few more dollars wouldn't hurt. What I usually do is slip the driver an additional $5 on my way out. Some people I've told this to gawked at the large tip but when on vacation, that relatively small sum to me is a lot to someone else.
There are different levels of cars that can pick you up for your ride. UberX is the lower end of these options. Nearly any sort of car can be used for this level of service, just think your basic everyday commuter car. From there is where things get al little fancier. UberBlack are black-on-black high-end sedans that can add a little class to your commute. UberLux is even fancier than that. If you have a large group you'll want to look into UberXL or UberSUV which allow seating for up to 6 passengers.
Can Uber pick me up at the airport?
Just recently Uber has been allowed to pick up riders at MCO. You can be picked up in Express Pick-Up area on level 1 behind the car rental counters. Which happens to be right near Disney's MagicalExpress. Uber could always drop you off at MCO if you want to avoid MagicalExpress for the return home. The pick-up prices are pretty steep at the moment. Currently only UberBlack cars are allowed to pick-up there and will cost you around $100 to get you to a Disney resort.
A clever work around to this is to take one of the free shuttles to a hotel nearby like the Marriott or DoubleTree then request an Uber from there. Rates from those locations to Disney property range from $20-$30. I have not tried this method myself but numerous online accounts vouch for it. I don't think I'd recommend trying this with a large group however.
What happens once I request an Uber?
After you request an Uber you'll get information of the driver. Including the make and model of their vehicle, plate number, a picture of the driver and their rating.
Uber to Universal Orlando
A question I've heard time and again is how to get to Universal if you're staying on-site at Disney with no car. Before your options included a regular (over priced) taxi or other unsavory options like unpredictable buses. Uber is now a no-brainer. Your driver can easily pick you up at your Disney resort and they will drop you in the Universal Studios guest drop-off area located right under the entrances to the parking structures and entrance to CityWalk.
When you want to return to your hotel I've found that Uber drivers are nearly always ready and waiting in that area around park close. You will pay around $15-$20 for a ride to Universal from Disney property or vice versa.
Getting Picked Up on Disney Property
This can be tricky in some cases. if you are leaving for the day from your resort you can walk to the front of your resort and request a car from there. In my experience Uber drivers haven't had any trouble getting on to resort property when they explain they are picking up or dropping off.
Getting picked up at the parks can be a even trickier. There are varying reports of Disney not allowing Uber into the pick-up or drop-off areas at all or that Disney charges drivers the parking fee even if only picking-up or dropping-off. There are also reports of being able to be picked-up or dropped-off without any problem.
With this in mind I would recommend using the resorts as a hub. Walking to resorts from Epcot and the Magic Kingdom are easier than Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. Disney Springs is fairly straight forward as there are no parking charges.
Visiting the water parks can be frustrating when using Disney transportation. You can get there pretty easily but returning to your hotel will likely require you to transfer at a park to catch a bus back to your resort. Directly from Disney, they state that you can request an Uber from the front of the park and get a driver without a problem. I'd suggest being dry before you climb in however.
- Talking a boat or monorail to the TTC just to catch a cab sounds a little redundant. If you are leaving the Magic Kingdom take the short and relaxing path over to the Contemporary and request your Uber from there.
- Disney does not offer transportation between its hotels. Uber is the best way to go if you have ADRs at the resorts.
- I'd recommend using the "Fare Estimate" option to price out your trip. This will give your driver an exact location for your drop-off.
- If your driver does a good job then let them know you'll be rating them 5 stars. Ratings are extremely important to drivers and did you know your driver can rate you back? By letting them know of your generous rating you are also ensuring a good rating in return.
Do you have any useful Uber tips? Comment down below and they could make their way in an updated article. And here is my obligatory invite link. Use this link to get a free ride up to $15, or use code ubermikec88.