Disney has a wonderful system for transporting guests easily and efficiently between the parks and resorts. This is one of the perks of staying on property. The transportation system makes it very convenient to park hop and go back to the hotel for a break during the day.
All the resorts have bus service to the parks, Deluxe resorts have both bus and other types of transportation. The buses come to the hotel bus stops every 15-20 minutes (sometimes even more quickly) to whisk your family off to your park of choice. The buses run 1 hour prior to the park opening and 3 hours after closing. So, if a park has EMH in the morning the bus will start at 7am. If EMH is evening, the bus could be running until 3 or 4 in the morning. You do have to fold up strollers and sit with your little ones. If they bus is crowded (at closing especially), you will have to stand. This can be hard to do with strollers and young kids. The smaller your stroller the better in these situations. With the bus services is that there is no easy way to travel from resort to resort. You have to go to a park or downtown to catch a bus to another resort. In this situation, taking a cab is the quickest and easiest route.
The Monorail is a ride in itself. The monorail runs to Grand Floridian, Contemporary, & Polynesian resorts. It travels to Magic Kingdom, Epcot and TTC (ticketing and transportation center) as well. Even if you are not staying at once of these hotels, I would recommend taking the monorail to visit the resorts or between Epcot & Magic Kingdom. It is a fun, quiet ride in the air conditioning. Sleeping kids can stay in strollers and you can just ride around in circles if you choose. If you have dining reservations at one of the monorail hotels, you can hop of the monorail for a ride after your meal and see the sights.
There is also a boat and ferry system within the resort. It is obviously limited to those hotels on the water!
Hollywood & Epcot are accessible by boat from: Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, Beach & Yacht Clubs. In Epcot, the boat launch is in World Showcase entrance which is never crowded.
Magic Kingdom is accessible by water taxi from: Grand Floridian, Polynesian, & Fort Wilderness (Lodge & Campground)
Downtown is accessible by ferry from: Port Orleans (Riverside & French Quarter), Old Key West & Saratoga Springs.
You can still utilize the bus service and monorail even if you are staying off property. If you make dining reservations at a hotel, use Disney transportation to get from the park to your meal and back again. For Magic Kingdom, parking is at the TTC and you take a ferry or monorail to the park. In this situation, using Disney’s system makes the most sense because you would not want to travel back to your car, drive to a hotel, drive back to the parks. If you have a park hopper, you can monorail between Epcot and MK and go back the original park at the end of your day.
I know that I am a huge nerd, but once we did all the transportation in one day! We bused from Port Orleans to Magic Kingdom, monorailed to Epcot in the afternoon for a few hours, boated to Hollywood for dinner and evening EMH, bused back to Port Orleans from Hollywood. It was really fun and take a break while riding the monorail and boat. Try it sometime, you will be surprised how much fun the kids think it is and you get to see a bunch of hotels that you normally wouldn’t get a chance to check out!