A Magical Ride: Taking Florida’s New Brightline Train to Disney World
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Catching the Train at MiamiCentral Station
The journey begins at MiamiCentral Station, the southern terminus for Brightline’s service to Orlando. This modern transportation hub is conveniently located in downtown Miami, providing easy access for travelers coming from Miami International Airport, the cruise port, hotels, or elsewhere in the city.
Arriving at MiamiCentral, you’ll immediately notice its sleek, airy design featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an open layout. Following signs for Brightline, you’ll take an escalator up to the station’s second level. This is where you’ll find the Brightline ticket counter and waiting area.
Give yourself ample time before your scheduled departure to check in and get situated. Brightline recommends arriving 45 minutes early if you need to pick up tickets or check baggage. For all other travelers, 30 minutes is sufficient. Keep in mind that Brightline does not assign specific seats but rather operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once you have your ticket in hand, you’ll wait in the Brightline lounge. Grab a snack or drink from the cafe to enjoy during your stay. Electrical outlets abound, so charge up your devices before you board. Let the kids expend some energy in the lounge’s spacious play area. And be sure to visit the restroom before getting settled on the train.
When it’s time to board, a Brightline agent will scan your ticket and direct you to the platform. A digital screen will indicate which train car to enter. As you step aboard, stow your larger luggage in the provided racks. Find an open row of seats and make yourselves comfortable. Store smaller bags beneath your legs or in the smaller racks above.
Within a few minutes, the conductor will come through, scan tickets once more, and announce the train’s imminent departure. Soon you’ll feel the gentle motion as the sleek Brightline train glides out of the station, beginning your rail journey to Disney World.
What else is in this post?
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Catching the Train at MiamiCentral Station
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Booking Tickets and Fares for Brightline
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Checking In and Boarding Procedures
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Enjoying the Views Along the Route
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Arriving at the Disney Springs Station
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Getting to the Disney Parks from Disney Springs
- A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Brightline Train Amenities and Services
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Booking Tickets and Fares for Brightline
Securing your tickets in advance is a must for Brightline travel. Demand often outpaces supply on this convenient and comfortable train service, so you’ll want to lock in your reservations as early as possible.
Booking online at GoBrightline.com is the easiest method. You can purchase one-way, roundtrip, or multi-city tickets through Brightline’s user-friendly website. One adult fare from Miami to Orlando starts at just $45, an incredible bargain for the 3 hour journey. Adding a child ticket raises the cost only marginally. Seniors, active military personnel, veterans, and riders with disabilities all qualify for a discounted fare.
When reserving your tickets, you’ll be prompted to select a specific departure time. While the schedule fluctuates, Brightline currently offers around 5 southbound and 5 northbound trips daily between Miami and Orlando. Most trains run during daylight hours, with the earliest departure at 7:10am from Orlando and the latest train leaving Miami at 8:40pm.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred travel date and time, proceed through the booking process. You’ll need to provide basic contact information and payment details. Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an email confirmation with your e-ticket attached. For added convenience, you can download the Brightline app and access your ticket on your mobile device.
If you need to exchange or refund a ticket, Brightline’s policies are traveler-friendly. You can make changes to your reservation up to 7 days before departure, subject to a modest $10 rebooking fee. And if your plans change altogether, you’ll receive a full refund when you cancel at least 1 day in advance. Tickets are non-transferable, however.
While booking on the Brightline website is simple enough, working with a travel agent has advantages. Agents can leverage their industry relationships to access promotions you won’t find elsewhere. For instance, they may have codes for periodic fare sales or discounted bundled packages including train, hotel, park tickets, and more. With an agent’s expertise, you can optimize deals across your entire trip.
Once at the station, you can also purchase Brightline tickets in person at the ticket counter. Keep in mind that these walk-up fares are subject to availability and tend to be more expensive than booking ahead online. So purchasing your tickets early is highly recommended. Cash, credit and debit cards are accepted.
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Checking In and Boarding Procedures
Streamlining the check-in and boarding process is a top priority for Brightline, allowing travelers to get settled quickly without hassle or delay. By following a few simple procedures, you’ll find boarding Brightline a smooth and stress-free experience.
Unlike air travel, there are no physical ticket checks or ID verification at the station entrance. You can proceed directly to the Brightline lounge upon arrival. However, you will need to pass initial inspection at the platform entry point. Here, a Brightline agent will scan the barcode on your paper ticket or mobile device. At this stage, you won’t need to show any identification. But you will want to have your ticket ready to avoid holding up the line.
One of the best perks of Brightline is open, unassigned seating once onboard. This means no worrying about tracking down your precise ticketed seats. However, it does operate on a first-come basis. So if having tables or being located near the cafe car is important to your family, plan to line up early before the scheduled boarding time.
Each passenger is allowed two free carry-on bags plus one personal item like a purse or backpack. Standard carry-on rules for size apply. You can transport additional luggage for a checked bag fee of $20 per item. Checked bags need to be dropped off at the baggage counter at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Luggage assistance is available if requested.
Wheelchair and scooter users are invited to board first through the middle car, which is equipped for disabled access. This allows time to get situated before other guests enter the train. Service animals are also permitted aboard Brightline. Be sure to inform staff during booking if you will be traveling with a disability.
Once the train doors open, you can choose any available row to sit in. Store bags beneath seats or in overhead racks, being considerate not to take up excessive space. Try to limit your movements once settled, as the aisles are on the narrow side. Keep an eye on small children at this time.
Within a few minutes, the conductor will make their way through the aisle, scanning tickets once more with a mobile device. They may ask to see your ticket again at this point if it wasn't scanned properly the first time. Don't be alarmed by the second round of checks; this is simply to finalize the passenger manifest before departure.
Onboard staff will also pass through the cabin to take any food or beverage orders prior to leaving the station. This is a great chance to purchase snacks and drinks to enjoy during your journey. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Enjoying the Views Along the Route
One of the greatest pleasures of riding Brightline is drinking in the spectacular scenery along the route between Miami and Orlando. Unlike driving or flying, the train allows you to sit back, relax, and watch the diverse Floridian landscapes unfold outside your window. Even seasoned Florida residents find riding Brightline provides a fresh perspective on the state’s natural beauty.
Leaving the Miami metro area, the train heads northwest through the sprawling Everglades. This renowned wetland ecosystem encompasses over 1.5 million acres of sawgrass marshes, cypress swamps, pinelands, and tropical hardwood hammocks. Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot alligators sunning themselves along the waterways as you pass by.
Further inland, the terrain transforms into cattle ranches and agricultural areas growing citrus, sugarcane, tomatoes and other crops. Watch as pickers move through the fields harvesting bounties of oranges and grapefruits. The sweet citrus scent will make your mouth water.
Around the halfway point near Sebring, the landscape shifts again to showcase the “real Florida”– acres of pine flatwood forests interspersed with pristine lakes. Spanish moss drips from ancient oak trees, while sandhill cranes and crested caracaras strut through the brush. If you’re lucky, you may even see a reclusive Florida panther slinking through the shadows.
The terrain continues alternating between ranches, wetlands, and wooded areas as you travel through less-visited rural towns. Places with evocative Old Florida names like Kissimmee and Winter Garden roll past your window. Cows graze in pastures abutting the tracks, lifting their heads curiously as the train speeds by.
A notable highlight is steaming through the Green Swamp, critical habitat for over 300 species of wildlife. Cypress trees festooned with wild orchids thrive in the mineral-rich waters. Keep watch for river otters, white-tailed deer, bald eagles, and other creatures that call this refuge home.
Before you know it, suburban Orlando comes into view on the horizon. Modern communities interspersed with lakes and golf courses signal you’re nearing the end of your journey. Of course, no trip to Orlando would be complete without catching a glimpse of the iconic Cinderella Castle and other Disney structures in the distance.
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Arriving at the Disney Springs Station
After nearly 3 hours of peaceful train travel through quintessential Florida landscapes, the grand finale of your journey arrives as the Brightline train pulls into the Disney Springs Station. This station, opened in 2022, was custom-built to provide direct access to Walt Disney World for Brightline riders. Conveniently situated on the grounds, the station connects passengers straight into the heart of Disney Springs shopping and entertainment district.
Stepping off the train here feels like entering a different world, trading the chilled-out rhythm of the rails for the frenetic energy that surrounds all things Disney. The station itself resembles an Old Florida train depot, outfitted with charming architectural details like clapboard siding and cupola roofs. The interior is modern and lively, with a bustling central hall surrounded by wide platforms on either end.
Once you disembark, follow overhead signage marked “Disney Springs” to reach the pedestrian skybridge connecting the station to Disney Springs West Side. Escalators and elevators are available to effortlessly transport you up to the bridge level spanning the tracks below. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy bird’s eye views of the entire Disney Springs complex before even setting foot there.
Emerging on the other end of the skybridge, you are now just steps away from the midst of Disney Springs. Shopping, dining, and entertainment options abound in every direction. World-class restaurants like Morimoto Asia and The Edison rub shoulders with brand-name retailers and unique boutiques. At night, neon lights reflect off the waterways winding through Disney Springs, adding to the festive atmosphere. Street performers, live music, chocolate shops, and artisanal cocktails further enhance the sensory experience.
With kids in tow, make a beeline for the Lego Store or the World of Disney megastore to get your Disney fix. Stop for a sweet treat at the Ganachery or Gideon’s Bakehouse. And don’t miss the chance for a photo op at the Coca-Cola rooftop beverage bar, which offers bird’s-eye views over Disney Springs. The Characters in Flight tethered balloon also provides a unique aerial perspective.
From Disney Springs, Walt Disney World’s four theme parks are just a quick bus ride away aboard the complimentary Disney transportation system. Or opt for the fun of taking Disney’s iconic monorails direct to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. With the convenience of Brightline delivering you straight to Disney Springs, you can easily enjoy the parks at a relaxed pace without needing a car.
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Getting to the Disney Parks from Disney Springs
After arriving at the Disney Springs station, you’re just a quick hop away from experiencing the magic of Walt Disney World’s iconic theme parks. Four world-class parks lie within easy reach: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Plus, the water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer refreshing fun during Orlando’s steamy summers.
For Magic Kingdom, nothing beats arriving via the Walt Disney World Monorail. This beloved transportation system has been ferrying guests between Magic Kingdom and Epcot since 1971 using a futuristic-looking fleet of colorfully painted trains gliding gracefully on elevated tracks. Kids and adults alike will delight in riding the monorails, which depart Disney Springs from a dedicated station roughly every 10 minutes.
I recommend starting your day at Magic Kingdom by being one of the first through the gates when the park opens. Arrive at the monorail station about 40 minutes prior to opening time. The early start helps you maximize attractions and minimize wait times. Popular rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train see the longest queues later in the day.
Traveling to Epcot is also a breeze courtesy of the monorail. A direct line runs between Epcot’s main entrance and the Disney Springs station. However, this route sees less frequent service of about every 20 minutes. Still, gliding above the landscape aboard the monorail nicely sets the stage for a day of experiencing cultures and innovations from around the world.
For Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, Disney provides air-conditioned bus transportation departing from centrally located bus stops. Buses to Animal Kingdom run approximately every 15-20 minutes, while Hollywood Studios sees a bus every 10 minutes or so. Schedules are slightly reduced during slower seasons.
I suggest monitoring wait times in the My Disney Experience app to choose which park to visit if riding the buses. Since they make multiple resort stops, buses take a bit longer than the monorail, averaging 20-30 minutes travel time. If a specific park shows lower wait times, make that your bus destination. Buses generally start running an hour and a half before park opening.
Within each bus station and monorail platform, digital signage clearly displays route maps and upcoming departure times. Helpful Disney cast members are on hand to assist guests with route planning and navigating the transit options.
Travelers staying at one of Disney’s on-property resorts also enjoy transport benefits like water taxi and sky gondola service connecting many hotels directly with Disney Springs. This perk cuts out the need to transfer from park transportation.
A Magical Ride: Taking Florida's New Brightline Train to Disney World - Brightline Train Amenities and Services
While the stunning scenery and direct Disney access are prime motivators for taking Brightline, the train’s outstanding amenities and services make the journey itself a delight. Brightline sets a new standard for comfort, convenience, and hospitality on American rail travel.
The sleek Brightline trains feature spacious, leather-appointed seating in a smart 2-2 configuration. With wide walkways and large windows, the interior feels bright and airy, lacking the cramped confinement of airplane cabins. Seats boast plenty of legroom, power outlets, tray tables, footrests, and overhead storage racks.
Complimentary high-speed WiFi is available throughout each trainset, enabling you to stay connected en route. I found the WiFi surprisingly fast and reliable, able to stream movies and music without buffering issues. This perk helps entertain antsy kids or allows you to get work done while commuting.
One standout highlight is the Select Service available in the premium first class cars. For a reasonable $20 upgrade each way, Select riders enjoy priority boarding, roomy captain's chairs, attendant beverage service, and access to a private lounge at each station. The lounge even offers complimentary sandwiches, snacks, and alcoholic drinks like wine and local craft beers.
All passengers can take advantage of the convenient cafe cars located in the center of every Brightline train. Thealways-open cafes serve up a range of snacks, meals, desserts, and specialty coffee drinks prepared onboard. Menu standouts include made-to-order sandwiches, fresh salads, cheese and fruit plates, hummus, yogurt parfaits, and a varied selection of wine, local craft beer, and kombucha on tap.
No need to bring your own food for the ride. Prices are comparable to airport terminals and the quality far surpasses typical train station fare. Cafe staff work continuously preparing food and taking orders tableside, so items are served fresh.
Note the cafe only accepts credit/debit cards and mobile payments like Apple Pay; cash is not an option due to security concerns. You can avoid wait times by ordering on the Brightline app up to 30 minutes prior to pickup. Just don't forget to grab your food before reaching your destination!
Both the standard coaches and Select cars have baby changing facilities onboard. Additionally, compliant wheelchair spaces and accessible restrooms are available in the middle cars. Traveling with kids? The train's lower level has a dedicated play area to burn off energy.
When nature calls, the restrooms stay clean and stocked throughout the lengthy journey, which isn't always the case on Amtrak. The facilities even featured flowers and hand towels, illustrating the attention to detail Brightline strives for.
For families with kids, or anyone needing extra assistance, Brightline staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help. Don't hesitate to ask the onboard service crew for anything you require, from dining recommendations to arranging ground transportation upon arrival. Disney park tips come gratis!
While delays can occur, I found Brightline to run the route with precision according to schedule. The ride quality feels remarkably smooth at up to 80 miles per hour thanks to the Siemens Venture trainsets and actively stabilized carriages. Noise levels are low for conversation without shouting.