AirDrop is not necessary, it merely makes it more seemless.
You can use simple file sharing over any Mac network:
Note gigabit ethernet is fastest, Firewire 800 is next, then is Firewire 400, then is 802.11n, and 802.11g for networking. I would not have an 802.11b or 802.11a network unless you aren't anywhere within 1500 feet (500 meters) of someone who could sniff out your network, as wireless security at those speeds is easily breached.
If you have Firewire 400 or 800 cables and the supported ports, Target Disk Mode is a lot easier to setup for moving files around: