Going to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida is expensive. Airline prices are high (although you can look for cheaper prices if you check out this post), park tickets run over $100 per person per day (but you may get some small legitimate discounts through the links on this page), hotels are quite a bit of money (check out the hints on this page for some better prices), food costs a lot, and that’s all before you even think of souvenirs. If you intend to stay on Disney property for your entire trip, you can travel around for free, between Disney’s Magical Express transporting you between the airport and your Disney hotel, and then Disney’s onsite transportation system of buses, monorails and boats to get you to and from the parks and other Disney-run areas. And if you stay on Universal property, you have use of buses, boats and walkways to and from the parks, once you get onto property. But if you’re staying off site, or want to venture out to, say, another theme park, or I-Drive or the outlet malls, you’re looking at even more expense with the use of a taxi, Uber, rental car, etc., right? Well, not necessarily. There’s one more option that’s cheaper than all of those…
Take the bus!
No, really! Run by the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the public bus system in the greater Orlando area is called Lynx. And believe it or not it works REALLY well, and it’s CHEAP! The standard adult one-way Lynx fare is $2 (exact change only, please), with a single transfer valid for 90 minutes (transfers are not valid for round-trip transportation). All-Day Passes ($4.50) are also available, as are 7-Day Passes ($16) and 30-Day Passes ($50) (more info and general tips on this page). All Lynx buses are wheelchair accessible.
The home page of Lynx’ official website is here.
Bus stop signs have a lynx paw (or an image of a bus with a lynx paw on the front), along with the route number (called “links”…get it?) underneath them. And, of course, they have stops at Universal, WDW, I-Drive, the Walmart on Turkey Lake Rd., the Premium Outlets, etc.
There’s a PDF of the entire Orlando area route map right here.
Individual route are on this page. To give you a hand:
- WDW area buses are route 50, 56, 300, 301, 302, 303, 305 and 306.
- Universal Studios Florida area buses are routes 21, 37 and 40.
- Buses that travel on International Drive are routes 8 and 42, and partially on routes 24, 37 and 38.
- Route 8, 24 and 42 stop at the Premium Outlets on I-Drive.
- The Premium Outlets on Vineland Ave. are accessible via route 8.
There is a free app for your iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile – download ArcGIS, register as a user and search “Lynx Regional Transportation Authority,” More info can be found on this page of Lynx’ website.
General information (LOTS of general information. 216 pages of general information!) and bus schedules can be found via PDF here.
Best of all (and I think the most helpful), Lynx’ website offers a trip planner, which will tell you exactly which buses to take if you want to get from Point A to Point B. So you if want to get from WDW’s Ticket & Transportation Center to the Orlando International Premium Outlets (the ones at the far northern end of I-Drive), you’ll learn the trip will take about an hour, which buses you’d have to take and how long you’ll have to walk, as well (don’t worry, it’s only a 4-minute walk).
I’ll admit the bus isn’t the fastest way to get from one place to another (spoiler – it’s a 2-hour trip to get from WDW to Universal, which includes quite a bit of walking). But if money is tight and every penny counts, it’s still a very viable way to get to where you want to go, and back again. Plus, just think of it – you’re using transportation like an Orlando local. It’s an adventure!
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