To bus or not to bus? That is the question. I see this question all the time on Facebook posts. People are always asking about bus transportation. Are buses on time? Are there long waits? Are they crowded? So many questions! I am writing this blog in support of bus transportation. One of my favorite things about my Disney vacation is being chauffeured to my destination.
From the minute I check in at my hometown airport, I am on vacation from driving, letting other people take the wheel. I check my baggage in and the next time I see it is at my resort. I arrive in Florida, make my way to the Magical Express area, and check in. I anxiously wait a few short minutes to board my bus to take me home. I arrive at my resort hotel, check in, leave my carry-on luggage with Bell Services, and head to a park. While I am at the park, my luggage magically arrives to my room, officially starting my vacation.
I recently realized one of the main reasons I love Walt Disney World. Of course there are many, but I think one of the main things for me is, the escape from responsibility. Everyday life has so many responsibilities. Driving the kids to soccer, making meals, driving to work, grocery shopping, housekeeping – this is all taken care of for you at Disney. It’s a wonderful thing to relinquish control for a short time, and something I look forward to doing on my trip – and driving is one of my favorite things to give up.
Some people pick resorts according to transportation. Is it on the monorail? Is it close to parks? Is it a large resort with crowded buses? There are a lot of things to consider when planning a trip to Walt Disney World. Of course one of the best places to stay is a resort on the monorail loop, but for most of us this is a dream, as they can be quite expensive. So for the average Disney addict, we will be riding a bus. I have found Disney buses to be dependable, and sometimes even relaxing on a hotter than Hades day! Yes, they can be crowded, yes, they can sometimes be late, but to me it still beats walking to the parking lot, driving myself to the park, finding yet another parking spot, then taking a tram to the entrance. All with a ton of other people doing the same thing as fast as they can. Instead I wait at the bus stop, enjoying some time with my daughter and talking about our plans for the day. I then get on a bus, most of the time getting a seat, and get chauffeured to the park, passing all the cars waiting in line to pay to get into one of the largest parking lots in the world. I magically float by and get dropped off right in front of the park’s entrance. Its magic!
Sometimes there is an issue and you may wait for a bit for a bus. Maybe there is a mass exodus, or just a packed park. At these times they usually have extra staff on hand directing extra buses to areas in highest demand. I have always found Disney to be working to try to make your wait as short as possible. Sometimes as an added bonus you will get a bus driver who entertains as well! I have had a few of these, and it makes the bus ride even shorter.
Tips for using Disney Transportation
- Patience – Although they work hard, sometimes there are delays. You are on vacation, take it in stride and talk with a Cast Member. Most of the time, once alerted they will do the best they can to get a bus there PRONTO.
- Game – Use the transportation as a game. Some people head to the bus stop and jump on the first bus that pulls up. This makes their trip spontaneous! Although I am a planner, this is something I would love to do on a future trip.
- Transportation Center – Do not travel to the Transportation Center near the Polynesian resort thinking you will get a bus to your resort. Buses do not go to resorts from here. I made this mistake with a screaming, tired toddler, and I have never forgotten this mistake.
- Planning – If you have a reservation for dinner, or what have you, at another resort, give yourself extra time to arrive.
- Visit http://www.wdwfocus.com/map/, for an incredible, detailed, retro map of the whole system.
- Backup – If you are that tight for time, perhaps splurge on a taxi or uber driver to take the stress out of trying to get there within a certain time period.
The only downside to the buses is at the end of a long day, seeing the long line of tired Disney nuts waiting for their ride back to the resort. However, this line still beats trekking out to the monstrous parking lot, trying to remember where you parked your rental car, a car that looks like a thousand others, and then getting into a car that has been cooking all day in the sun’s heat. Now after finding it, you have to get in your last line of the day, the exit line, so you can get back to your hotel. In the meantime, I am already on my bus!
For people who use wheelchairs, the buses will drop down so you can easily get up the ramp and there are sections on board for you to be transported safely. As an added bonus you are usually let on first. One time I was in the back of a long line, with a person using a wheelchair behind me. Somehow the driver saw this person and walked all the way back to help them onto bus. Now that’s service!
I used to try to pick a resort based on the location, to try to shorten the bus ride. Then I read somewhere that the ride is really not as long as you think. Which did get me to think… Nowadays we tend to lose patience, and want instant gratification. Until a transporter is built – like in Star Trek, we have to rely on buses, or some type of vehicle to get us to our destination. If you were staying off property your ride would be a lot longer.
So next vacation, why not hand the responsibility of your transportation over to the experts… I do and highly recommend it. Although I will be hoping for a transporter, as what a dream it would be to be transported to your room from the park!
While I was writing this I read it to my daughter, and we realized that she has never even ridden the tram to the parking lot. So I certainly practice what I preach!
Guest Blogger, Marnie Reynolds-Bourque is an accomplished artist who paints lovely Disney inspired scenes, as well as many other subjects. You can see her work at: http://www.artistmarnie.com/disney-gallery.html
Photos courtesy of Marnie Reynolds-Bourque.
Map courtesy of Arthur de Wolf, from WDWfocus.com.