Pros and Cons of the WDW Transportation System

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Pros and Cons of the WDW Transportation System

Let's talk buses, boats & monorails! What have your experiences been with the WDW Transportation system.

Do you use it? Do you like it? Do you chose your hotel based on the transportation option offered?

Let's hear your crazy transportation stories!

My most memorable bus ride was one with a wedding party in their full dress. It was a little silly to me seeing the bride climb onboard the bus in her long elegant formal gown. It sure made for a fun ride of happy people though!

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Its all we use when we go down. We don't rent a car or anything, so we rely on the transportation. Now... these are my opinions and mine only... lol

Pro: No true reason to rent a car (Unless you plan on going off property)

The bus system is pretty reliable

Con: No offense.... but people in wheelchairs get priority and their whole family. The reason this bugs me is say we had been waiting a long while, and already one bus has gone. They will come up, and get in there spot, and they will get first priority when we have waited the longest. I wouldn't mind if they had a spot in line, and waited like us, and if there is room, then they get on... but its just so unfair.

Rude people. When it comes to the bus... it can get crowded, so me being the male, I will always let someone older than me, a female, or a child sit in my seat. But When I'm holding my daughter, and there are other people who could get up for her, and they don't... it just irks me I guess. I know at the end of the day everyones tired, but need to have a little compassion for others.

Thats my list. I don't have too much, but thats it for now... lol

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My first thought was "those bus queues are plenty big enough for an EVC to go through" but then I realized that I'm never in an EVC at the bus queue, so I guess I'm not really sure.

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I will vote the other way. We still have NEVER been on a Disney bus although I did ask Mrhub on our last trip if he wanted to take one to the park just we could say we did. He did not want to though. I do not think I would like waiting for a bus at the end of the day. Granted on a few occasions we have had to wait for a tram to get back to our car but usually we do not have to wait for one. I also love that with a car you can go directly from point A to point B which is not always the case with the bus. In our car we never have to deal with rude people (if he were to be rude I would just smack him one lol).
We almost never take the Monorail either. Both of us really like the boats. When staying at the Poly we use the little boats to go back and forth to the Magic Kingdom and even when staying elsewhere we quite often park at the Poly and use the boats from the marina. When we go to Epcot we usually park at the Boardwalk and walk over. Again, we do that even when staying at the Poly.

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We fly down to Orlando, so we use Disney transportation for everything! The Magical Express was new for us this year - previously, we had just used Mears' shuttles. It's a bit of a trek to get to the ME station at the airport, but the wait was just a few minutes, and we were lucky to be the first drop-off. We are using that again in October - it's a great addition.

With the park buses, we've never really had a bad experience. I think the longest we waited was one evening we were trying to get to Epcot. 6 buses for Animal Kingdom went by in 5 minutes, but no Epcot. It took over half an hour for one Epcot bus to arrive. I understand the logistics for getting the right number of buses going the right places must be a nightmare, so we didn't stress about it much. I don't mind standing if need be, and I'm officially a senior now I guess. It's best if small children are seated, since there isn't much for them to hang on to, and they can get crushed in the crowd. I don't get why teenagers feel the need to sit though - we watched one parental unit freak out because her darling daughter had to stand - oh, the horror of it all! whoopdedoo

It's fun that the drivers have the "announcement" buttons they can trigger for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. One morning a three year old (or so) got on in her princess costume, and he triggered the "welcome the princess" spiel, and she was looking around for who it was. When I leaned over and told her that was HER, the look on her face was priceless! It made her day, and was so cute to see.

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TroyW's picture
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Its the only way we go. I hate to drive so I like to leave it to them. We used the Magical Express from the airport a few years ago and loved it. Our bus driver was awesome and kept us entertained, announced when we enter the Kindgom. I agree with rude people, there is always a huge amount of people that have no thought of whats going on outside their little bubble. I just try to smile and enjoy the trip no matter how tired I am.

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Pro - I don't have to pay for gas (you guys pay a lot for gas) nor do I have to pay twice as much as someone who is a year older than me but likely a worse driver than me. Also I don't have to get into a hot stuffy car.

Con- I want to go to the kennedy space center, shopping and such but hate shuttles, cabs and tours

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We've never stayed on property, so never used any of the buses. (We have, of course, used the monorail.)

This fall, we aren't taking or renting a car, so it'll be our first time. We aren't going to stress if there's a wait; there will be no commando-style touring this trip.

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I've never had any issues with the buses to/from Pop Century. Most of the time the wait was no more than 20 minutes. The longest wait was after leaving MK at closing. We waited 45 minutes but it didn't seem that long. The buses were coming two at a time so when two left and other two weren't far behind so the line was always moving.

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I'm with scrappy on this and my feelings are strong - no Disney transportation for us, except for the occasional monorail.

We did the buses first year and that was enough for me:
- overcrowded
- smelly
- i have no patience for waiting and 10 different stops
- loud, rude, tired people in a cramped enclosure is non-magical for me

We drive and use our car for everything. I don't have the patience when I want to park hope to figure out what bus i need and what connections i need to make and how many hours it's going to take me to get there. And for as much as we park hop, and hit DTD and other areas, we just prefer the flexibility and freedom. I'm the master of my domain when I'm in our car! And I can play my Disney Theme Park CD. And roll down my window. And decide at the last minute I need Ghirardellis and be there in 5-10 minutes.

We also find it a lot more relaxing to walk to MK from the Contemporary and vice versa, and avoid the monorail during mad times. It's fun during off-peaks, though I think it also smell a bit at times.

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Love the bus routes! I'm from a big city and deal with standing room only subways and buses every day, but at Disney even the public transportation seems like a vacation. It's amazing how much easier it is to stand on a 20 minute ride when most everyone on the bus is having a good time and enjoying themselves rather than trying to ignore some guy shouting obscenities and throwing Chinese food at the walls. The wait times are on average with what I'm used to anyway, and sometimes better, so it doesn't matter.

On a more practical note, I am not able to drive because of severely impaired vision. If the transportation wasn't an option, it would be on my traveling companion to drive around, which I would feel terrible about.

The monorail has always been is a magical experience for me. I've always gotten a seat, and it's just fun to ride it while enjoying the views and thinking how this was the way of "the future."

I guess my biggest gripe would be the Downtown Disney transfer. We went to the hotel (Music) to freshen up before heading to Jellyrolls at Boardwalk, then had to take the bus to Downtown and wait for the transfer. But it's really not a big deal, it came within 10 minutes. Once again, the kind of thing I'm used to.

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We always use Disney Transportation and to us it adds part of the magic. We have never had any major problems with buses and have probably gotten to see somethings we would have missed if we hadn't got on the wrong bus occasionally. 2 funny stories from the buses.

1. We were on a bus with several members of some lodge like Elk or Moose or something like that. They were of retirement age and had been enjoying some adult beverages. They asked us where we were from and my husband said "Indiana." Then one guy hollered at another "Hey these kids are from San Diego." Well that guy was from San Diego many years ago and started telling us all about his time there. Then he went on to tell another one of his friends we were from there. At this point there was no way we could stop them and correct the fact that we live in the middle of a corn field in Indiana. Luckily my husband had visited the city of San Diego as a teenager and in his twenties when his brother lived there so he could answer some of their questions and know some of the areas they were talking about.

2. On this past trip there was a cute little girl dressed in her princess attire and she was jumping up and down and acting all kinds of crazy. She started licking the rails on the bus and running around. She was literally bouncing off the walls. My daughter was just watching in amazement. Her poor mother kept apologizing for her crazy behavior. The little girls grandma had given her an entire bag of cotton candy and a large coke then she had got on a different bus leaving the child at the park with her mom. I told her mom that would be one grandma worth hunting down. I do hope for that mother's sake the child hit the wall with all that sugar and took a nice long nap. The mother greatly deserved it.

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MicRac wrote:

1. We were on a bus with several members of some lodge like Elk or Moose or something like that. They were of retirement age and had been enjoying some adult beverages. They asked us where we were from and my husband said "Indiana." Then one guy hollered at another "Hey these kids are from San Diego." Well that guy was from San Diego many years ago and started telling us all about his time there. Then he went on to tell another one of his friends we were from there. At this point there was no way we could stop them and correct the fact that we live in the middle of a corn field in Indiana. Luckily my husband had visited the city of San Diego as a teenager and in his twenties when his brother lived there so he could answer some of their questions and know some of the areas they were talking about.

Haha sounds like they enjoyed meeting you!

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I enjoy the buses, boats and monorails. Getting to other resorts can be a problem sometimes especially after park closing.

We had some pixie dust once. DW and I were waiting on buses to get us close to the boardwalk or EPCOT, we had an dinner ressie at Kouzzina. The first bus that came by was from DHS, after everyone got off the driver said the park was closed and they weren't taking riders. He asked where we were trying to go...we told him and he radioed in, let us on and drove just the two of us to BWI. We made our ressie in plenty of time and couldn't stop talking about how cool the driver was and how much fun it was to receive some Disney magic.
Yes, there are rude people and buses get crowded. I love everything about the Disney transportation well except the smell of the monorails yuck
Dee

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For those that drive:

When entering a Park's parking lot, or leaving at the end of the day, do you ever experience lines of cars trying to get out?

I think that's my biggest fear: getting in my car and then being stuck in "traffic" trying to get out of the parking lot.

Also, is it easy to find your way to the other parks/resorts? Do you just follow the signs or do you use gps?

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Molitva wrote:
For those that drive:

Also, is it easy to find your way to the other parks/resorts? Do you just follow the signs or do you use gps?

I follow the signs, my gps gets me lost but the signs are great!

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We have never sat in traffic leaving a park. We do not leave the park just as it is closing though. We either leave before it closes or we stick around until the park is almost empty. As far as getting around the signs work well for us. I would not trust gps though.

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For years, and for many trips, we have used the WDW system for every - single - outing. We do drive to get the World, so we have our own car when we get there, but we have always preferred to park it, forget about it, and use the internal transportation to avoid having to drive ourselves.

However...

On the last couple of trips, we've experimented with driving ourselves and I must say, since we're finally empty nesters (just this year), it's pretty nice.

1. We get to the turnstiles, shows, and dining spots when we need to without having to leave so early from the resort.
2. We've never had to wait in line to leave the parking areas at the theme parks (Disney folk are masters at people moving).
3. We always have a place to sit down.
4. We don't have to stop at other places to drop off or pick up other people. Smile

On the downside, we don't meet as many folk and/or get to talk to people. One of our favorite things to do is strike up conversations with people and driving takes that away. Also, it's NOT worry free. I know, except for one time when a driver made an oops, that when I step on a Disney bus, boat, or monorail, that I will reach my destination and I don't have to do anything but enjoy the ride. Lastly, we've been known to enjoy a few libations while lounging at the pool at the resort, or while walking around the theme parks (except for MK); it's nice to know we always have a designated driver. Lastly, we will not drive to Magic Kingdom again... so much easier to use transportation than deal with parking and then ferrying or monorailing it over.

So, it depends on where we stay, what we're doing, how much time we need (or want to be lazy with) and how we feel at the moment with regards to if we drive or not.

In regards to resort selection:

Over the years, we've stayed at All Star Music, All Star Movies, and All Star Sports and we typically do Pop Century now when we need value if it's available BECAUSE it has a designated bus (All Star Sports is second choice because, even though it shares a bus with the other All Stars, it is first to pick up, usually ensuring a seat). We've done POR (when it was DxL) and POFQ because we love the boat ride to Downtown Disney, but the last few times, that has been very frustrating because of wait times; so much so that the boat is not a factor anymore for resort choice. What else, Coronado, Polynesian (most wonderful time ever), Yacht Club (nice pool), and Beach Club, the last being our current personal favorite with the short walk to Epcot and relaxing boat ride to DS.

In summary, proximity and ease of ingress/egress to parks via WDW's transportation is indeed our primary decision settler, even though we do drive from time to time now.

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For me its a toss up. I think using Disney transportation adds to the magic and its great for getting to and from the parks, but there are times when I prefer to have a car such as when I have an ADR at another resort. Its so much easier to hop in the car and drive there rather than tranferring buses. Although, Disney transportation definitely wins out when we've had our share of libations. wink

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When I was younger and went to Disney with my parents they always stayed off property so we drove to the parks and I never got to experience the Disney transportation system. When I got married we went on our one year anniversary trip and stayed at the CBR and used all of the transportation Disney had to offer - including the Magical Express. After that I never want to stay off property or use anything other than the park's transport.

Pros: the wait is not usually too long - almost never more than 20 minutes, don't have to worry about absolutely anything involving getting to/from parks, resorts, DTD and airport, and there are usually various options to get around - monorail, bus, ferry

Cons: when it's a busy day people can be rude (sadly)...we all have had a long day and everyone has to get "home"...complaining, pushing, being just rude won't change the fact that we're all waiting for the same thing.

One other thing that bugs me is the EVC priority for the person utilizing the EVC and the entire family. I understand that it takes longer to get on the bus, but they should wait to the side while the family works their way through the line and then they can get on first when the next empty bus comes around. I was 6 months pregnant when I went in Nov/Dec 2010 and I waited just like everyone else even after a long day at the park, and there were times when I had to stand throughout the entire busride also because no one offered a seat, but it was what it was. I wasn't going to grouse because I was in the most magical place on earth and complaining wouldn't have changed anything other than cause tempers to flare.

Overall, I wouldn't trade the Disney buses, etc. for anything. It's an overall pleasant and reliable system. We're taking my son for the first time this November and he'll be 21 months. I already bought a lightweight stroller with a shoulder strap for hubby to carry and if we have to stand and he's tired or sleepy I'll just carry the stroller while DH totes DS. Simple solutions Smile

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Usually my family and I would drive down to Disney from NJ. Once we got there, no one wanted to drive anymore so we always used the bus system. I'm the same way now even though I don't mind flying. After a long Disney day, I like snoozing on my bus ride home!

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ChipnDaleFan wrote:
Usually my family and I would drive down to Disney from NJ. Once we got there, no one wanted to drive anymore so we always used the bus system. I'm the same way now even though I don't mind flying. After a long Disney day, I like snoozing on my bus ride home!

Thats what I love! After a long day... dealing with kids and such. Its just so nice to sit on the bus and just relax. Not have to worry about staying awake and driving.

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I've never stayed onsite before so can't really offer an opinion yet. But I just wanted to ask, rather than get 2 buses to a resort for an ADR, are there taxi's around to hop in?

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surfcruiser wrote:
Lastly, we've been known to enjoy a few libations while lounging at the pool at the resort, or while walking around the theme parks (except for MK); it's nice to know we always have a designated driver.

This is actually a HUGE Pro for me as well. I am almost always the designated driver at home, so I rarely get to enjoy a drink when out of the house or going to dinner. At Disney, because we take the bus, I never ever have to worry about that. It seems like it would be a little thing, but when you don't get the pleasure of a good cocktail with dinner at home it means the world to be able to enjoy it on vacation!

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RobynPrincess wrote:
I've never stayed onsite before so can't really offer an opinion yet. But I just wanted to ask, rather than get 2 buses to a resort for an ADR, are there taxi's around to hop in?

Yep, there always seems to be a couple of yellow Mear's cab's outside the hotels.

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I've never waited more than 5 minutes to get a cab out of one of the hotels.

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I generally have a good sense of direction, but I have yet to drive myself or direct the driver without error. The last day of our last trip, after picking up our rental car I drove through the entrance of Epcot once and the Magic Kingdom 3 times before getting useful directions back to our resort. I knew where I made my mistake, knew where I was supposed to go, but just couldn't get there based on signage and lack of places to turn around.

I love the buses! Seems like I have to drive just infrequently enough that I can't remember the way, and I'm unimpressed with the clarity and amount of signs. Based on the amount of cars I see pulled over, looking at maps, I'm not the only one.

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JeffC wrote:
I'm with scrappy on this and my feelings are strong - no Disney transportation for us, except for the occasional monorail.

We did the buses first year and that was enough for me:
- overcrowded
- smelly
- i have no patience for waiting and 10 different stops
- loud, rude, tired people in a cramped enclosure is non-magical for me

We drive and use our car for everything. I don't have the patience when I want to park hope to figure out what bus i need and what connections i need to make and how many hours it's going to take me to get there. And for as much as we park hop, and hit DTD and other areas, we just prefer the flexibility and freedom. I'm the master of my domain when I'm in our car! And I can play my Disney Theme Park CD. And roll down my window. And decide at the last minute I need Ghirardellis and be there in 5-10 minutes.

We also find it a lot more relaxing to walk to MK from the Contemporary and vice versa, and avoid the monorail during mad times. It's fun during off-peaks, though I think it also smell a bit at times.

I used http://www.ourlaughingplace.com/aspx/twiz.aspx to make up a spreadsheet for our upcoming trip to avoid this issue. I mapped out every destination that we might have to travel between (resort, DTD, parks, ADRs, etc) and put in all of the alternate routes, connections, and travel time in alphabetical order by starting destination so that when we are at the parks it will be quick and easy to figure out what we need to take to get to where we want to be.

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Mase wrote:

Con: No offense.... but people in wheelchairs get priority and their whole family. The reason this bugs me is say we had been waiting a long while, and already one bus has gone. They will come up, and get in there spot, and they will get first priority when we have waited the longest. I wouldn't mind if they had a spot in line, and waited like us, and if there is room, then they get on... but its just so unfair.

I'm with this. I see so many people with those carts that have them out of lazyness, or a wheelchair as a big stroller for their kids. Last year when we went and I had a broken leg we made sure to get to the bus station early. Many times FI would fold the chair and help me get to a seat so we took up less space as well.

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I personally hate when I have to route through a resort to get to down town disney from a park. Uhg!!!!!! Or even better from a park back to my hotel from DTD!

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dewingedpixie wrote:
Mase wrote:

Con: No offense.... but people in wheelchairs get priority and their whole family. The reason this bugs me is say we had been waiting a long while, and already one bus has gone. They will come up, and get in there spot, and they will get first priority when we have waited the longest. I wouldn't mind if they had a spot in line, and waited like us, and if there is room, then they get on... but its just so unfair.

I'm with this. I see so many people with those carts that have them out of lazyness, or a wheelchair as a big stroller for their kids. Last year when we went and I had a broken leg we made sure to get to the bus station early. Many times FI would fold the chair and help me get to a seat so we took up less space as well.

.................................................................................................................

This has kinda hit a nerve with me and not to start an argument but I'm sure that a lot of those people in the wheelchairs would GLADLY trade spots with you in line. And those that are using "them out of lazyness" might have more wrong than you are aware of.
Being dignosed with multiple sclerosis a few years ago has made me a bit more aware of how people see those with handicaps. I myself am a lucky one, so far nothing major is wrong but knowing people think this way would keep me away from public transportation even if it means I never go back!

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