Anyone crunching numbers for their Disney World vacation budget has probably considered the idea of saving money by not renting a car. This is a viable option if you can take advantage of the shuttle services offered in and around the parks.
Now it should be noted that although you can make it around without a car, there are several advantages to having one. Traveling between the theme parks, hotels, and restaurants will involve a significant amount of walking. While the shuttle services on this page help avoid some of this, you have a great deal more flexibility by having a car available.
There are two types of shuttle service available to and from the Disney World parks. The preferred option is the resort transportation system. Access to a combination network of shuttle buses, monorail, and boats will deliver you from your resort hotel to all park entrances and throughout the main destinations at Walt Disney World. This service is included with your stay at any of the Disney resort hotels.
The second option for shuttle service is to stay at one the Disney World Good Neighbors Hotels. Properties that participate in this program provide their own transportation to and from Disney World. The good news is this service is free and you will likely save money staying off-site, but the bad news is these shuttles can have major limitations depending on where your stay. Some hotels run a very basic service and schedule, with a short list of drop-off locations. So while they will get you to Disney World., you can expect to do some walking once you get there.
Here is a list of Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels:
Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration
Sheraton Safari Hotel Lake Buena Vista
Buena Vista Palace Lake Buena Vista
Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Lake Bryan
Radisson Inn Lake Buena Vista
Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort
Holiday Inn Family Suites Resort
Caribe Royal Resort Suites
Summerfield Suites by Wyndham
Sheraton's Vistana Resort
Courtyard by Marriott at Vista Center
If you are adamant about not renting a car and want to limit the distance between you and the major attractions then your best bet is to stay at either Disney's Grand Floridian Resort or Disney's Contemporary Resort. The Contemporary Resort is the only hotel with a monorail stop right by the main lobby, and the Floridian has the closest proximity to the Magic Kingdom.