In my subdivision are several wooded areas. The subdivision has made pathways through the woods and my family likes to call them ‘Secret Trails’. They aren’t much longer than a half mile long, but to us they feel like a little escape from reality. We turn off the main road and onto the little pathways, finding ourselves in the middle of the woods. It feels as though we really did find a secret trail and are off the grid for a little while.
I love finding little secret pathways and trails that are off the ‘beaten pathway’ any place I go. It’s no exception when I am in Walt Disney World. It might even be more magical there. (Because, isn’t everything more magical there?) At Disney, I love finding a quicker way to the bus station or discover how to get to the pool while bypassing most of the hotel foot traffic. Maybe it’s my way of feeling like I have the insider’s scope at Disney. Maybe I just like adventures?!
Imagine my delight when I discovered there were a few ‘secret’ ways to get from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot and vice versa! I’m a big nerd when it comes to these types of things. Even if this doesn’t make you super excited, it will come in handy when you want to save a few minutes during your Disney day!
Walking Pathway from Hollywood Studios to Epcot
That’s right! You can walk all the way from Disney’s Hollywood Studios over to the back entrance of Epcot. (Side note, yes there is a back entrance!) If you are leaving the park, head towards the left to find the walkway pathway.
At the time I am writing this, the current pathway is a little tricky to find as the whole parking/bus/entrance area of DHS is under construction as the new Skyliner gondolas are being put in place. The pathway is predominately towards the left, but you might have to follow the signage leading you back towards the buses and then ultimately towards the pathway. It might change depending on how the construction is moving along.
Construction aside, the pathway is a sidewalk that goes along the water between Hollywood Studios, the Epcot area resorts and ultimately Epcot. It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, depending on how quickly you are moving. As you walk along the water you’ll come across the Epcot area hotels, including Disney’s Boardwalk, the Beach and Yacht Club as well as the Swan and Dolphin. You’ll be able to see all the excitement of the Boardwalk (more so depending on the time of day) and catch a glimpse at the awesome sand bottom pool at the Beach and Yacht club.
If we have extra time we often love to stop at Ample Hills Creamery or eat at one of the restaurants in the resorts. Sometimes, we like to just pull up a chair and relax in a rocking chair as we soak up the warm Florida sunshine. Walking through the Epcot area hotels has always been an enjoyable experience.
Water Taxi Service
If you’ve stayed at any of the Epcot areas hotels, you are familiar with the water taxi service that can transport you from your hotel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You may have even ridden in a water taxi already! If you aren’t staying at an Epcot area hotel, you can still use the water taxi service to help get you from DHS back to your hotel or get you one step closer to Epcot.
On a normal day, boarding the water taxi from DHS to Epcot is usually not the most time effective pathway between the two parks. The line for the water taxi is usually fairly long during key times of the day. Unfortunately for us, there has been more than one occurrence where we have not made the cut-off for boarding a ship due to the number of guests in-line ahead of us.
At this point we usually feel committed to waiting for the next ship and know another one will be coming soon. Usually a few water taxis are running at one time. Besides, my son usually loves riding on the water taxi and once waiting it’s hard to talk him into getting out of line. So, we bear the hot Florida heat and wait for the next available taxi. (Which, if it is a humid day in central Florida, the water taxi does tend to get a tad warm. Just FYI!)
However, if the stars align on the perfect day the water taxi can be an excellent time-saving tool. We have found that if we are able to board the water taxi quickly and then get off at its first stop, we actually save some valuable Disney time. This usually means we see the water taxi pulling into the stop and we make a mad dash to get on board. If it’s meant to be, we are able to jump on board and the boat quickly pulls out of the dock.
Following our water ride, in order to maximize on the time saved, we recommend always getting off at the first stop at the Swan and Dolphin hotels and walking the rest of the way to Epcot. The water taxis tend to spend a few minutes at each stop. It needs time to dock, unload guests, load guests and then set sail again. There are three stops at the resorts in total and if you wait until the last one, you could have already been at Epcot. Besides, as mentioned above, I think walking along the boardwalk is a nice treat in itself.
Before you know it, you’ll be at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot and ready for your next adventure!