My Experiences with the WDW Bus System
So I had this idea for a blog, which will come to fruition down the road, but in order to achieve it, I wanted to attend all 4 WDW Parks in one day. As I started on my quest, I realized another idea and subject was born- the WDW Bus System. I had to ride several that day, and I thought it would be good info for you all to know what it was like for me and how fast, or slow, they indeed, are. So get in line, watch for the White Bus with red lettering on it, because we are bussing it folks!
Again, my day was planned around another idea, but I thought, what the heck, let me also record how the system worked for me. First, I live close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With gas prices being high these days, I thought it only smart to park at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, then take the bus to the first Park of the day, which was AK.
I arrived at the Lodge at 10:35 a.m. and parked with no problem. If you are heading to the bus stop like I was, there is no “real” walkway to the bus area from the parking lot. Makes sense, but I had to cut through the driveway area, so watch for Magical Express busses and guests driving up. There IS a walkway to the Lodge from the Parking lot, but you have to go up, cross, and then left to the bus area, which seems silly when you could just cut left to begin with.
The bus for Animal Kingdom arrived at 10:44 a.m. I heard MANY people complaining to our bus driver once he walked off, because they had been waiting 45 minutes for a Studios bus to show up. Then another person walked up and complained about the Epcot bus being just as late. Now, I felt really bad for the driver, not his fault, but wouldn’t it be in Disney’s best interest to have a Cast Member stationed at Main Bus Stops during high traffic periods of the day to monitor these types of situations? AKL is NOT a cheap Resort, and to wait such long times is simply not acceptable.
The bus was nice, I read all the ads about the new “Pirates League” and also about the new tv shows coming up on ABC. They have a digital sign that reports the date and current time, along with a narration over the speakers that says where you are headed and where you are leaving. I feel this is a great thing for those who aren’t sure if they are on the right bus, plus it really puts you in the Disney mood.
I arrived at AK at 10:52 a.m. – about a 8 minute ride over. The busses drop off at a reasonable area to walk from, but not as nice as the parking tram that practically drops you off in front of the gate.
After my business affairs at AK, I walked to find the bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The signs were marked well, so I was able to find it with no problem. The area to wait for the bus was a bit confusing though, you couldn’t tell where the line should begin and where the end of the line was. I simply asked someone and went to the end of the line to wait. I left the park at 11:50, arrived at the bus stop at 11:55 a.m.
As the bus arrives, which is a story in itself, a woman walks up in front of the 30 or so waiting, and literally stands in the front with her 2 kids. Let me reiterate this, STANDS in front of a boy in a wheelchair and his family. I WAS MORTIPHIED. As a Society, have we lost all decency to follow the rules? Is common sense just too hard for some people to “get?” The bus just pulled up, so she quickly rushed on, and if the bus hadn’t been such a shock to me, I was ready to lay into this woman on how inappropriate her behavior was.
I get on this bus, and I swear to you, it was a coach bus, like the kind you ride for “Magical Express” from the airport to your Disney Resort. Except for the MAJOR and OBVIOUS- it was FILTHY! It smelled like someone left cheese and sausage on it and they were burning in the hot sun all day. Noone who had a stroller or wheelchair could use the bus without having to fold them and put them under the bus. If you had an EVC, you were out of luck. I was completely shocked at how cramped it was, and that Disney thought this was an acceptable idea. If I was a Disney guest, a NEW Disney guest, who had to ride this ugly mobile, I wouldn’t take the busses ever again. He played normal radio music, and said nothing to anyone coming on or off the bus. The difference was day and night from the bus I had just taken from AKL to AK. I assume they didn’t have enough busses that day, maybe something broke down, but the impression they were giving to Disney guests were of a cheap hotel bus experience. You missed the mark on this Disney. Bus left for Studios at 12:03.
We arrived at 12:16 to Studios, and I did meet a nice woman on the bus, from IL, who was also concerned with the odd choice of transportation for us all. I know, I should be happy I got there at all, but again, if this was my first trip, I would not be impressed and quite disappointed.
I perused Studios for my blog idea, and just wasn’t feeling the magic there today. I decided to take a bench by the Blue Hat, and listen to the “Avatar” music playing by the Great Movie Ride. As I was sitting there, a Disney Cast Member asked if I wanted to be a promotional Disney ad. Sure! I had my Soarin shirt on, so I guess it made sense. LOL We had a large group, screamed “Disney!” and I got my pic taken with one of the Producers. Whether it was real, or a set up, as I did NOT sign anything, it was still fun!
Left Studios at 1:00 p.m, got on the bus at 1:04- SCORE the bus was waiting for me! Now, THIS bus ride was AWESOME! The driver had a personality, it was practically empty, and the Disney music was playing Epcot sounds and songs all the way there. THAT is what gets guests in the mood, not a junky bus playing Lady Gaga. (I don’t let my youngest listen to her at home, why would it be ok with Disney exposing her to it- also along the same lines- don’t like Gaga being played in Tomorrowland Dance Party either!)
Once you are close to the Disney Park on these busses, the music changes to a louder version and a happy arrival tune to welcome you to the Park you are getting close to. It was fun to hear, as I had never heard it before, and it really did get me in the mood and excited for a Park I have been to a hundred times before. I arrived at Epcot at 1:16 p.m.
After some blog business and a ride on Nemo, which by the way- there is NO cell service in the Nemo line, I was tired and headed out to find the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus. I left the park at 3:10 p.m, bus came at 3:25, and I got to AKL at 3:45 p.m. The busses go to Kidani Village first, then Jambo House, so keep that in mind when depending on getting there for a specific time. My bus was empty.
I enjoyed the journey because I didn’t have to drive. It was nice to save the gas and people watch all at the same time. I was in no hurry, so it never mattered to me when the busses were going to show up. That said, being on vacation, especially a Disney vacation, you always have somewhere to get to, and not a whole lot of time to spare. If you plan on using the Disney Bus System, here are my tips:
- Allow for at least 45 minutes- to an hour, if not more, to get from your Resort to your Park destination. It takes time to walk from your room, to the bus stop, then for the bus to get to your stop, then it may stop at other Resorts or stops in your Resort, and THEN to your destination.
- If you have a Disney Dining Reservation, allow for even more time because once you get off the bus, you still need to get inside the Park and find your Restaurant. If you run into a parade or show, you could get stuck, held up, etc… Give yourself enough time.
- Don’t cut in line- you will just upset others and it just isn’t ok or cool. Everyone most of the time, unless it’s Park closing, will get on the first bus that arrives.
- Be kind to the drivers- these Cast Members I am sure have heard it all- and they have heard it ALL. DAY. LONG. So, be nice, ask questions kindly, and thank them whenever you can.
- If the bus is crowded, help one another. If you see a Mom struggling with a child in her arms who has to stand because there are no seats left- OFFER HER YOUR SEAT. If anyone else falls in that category, do the same. I realize many can’t as we all have our own kids to watch and sit with, but if you are able, please be kind and do so.
- Be patient for those loading on an EVC or Wheelchair. I have heard it all – “Why do they get to go on first?” To those I say this – you are blessed with two good legs, you do not have to sit in that all day- you have NOTHING to complain about. If they get on first, then let’s be patient, because it is a SMALL thing to wait for and let them have this without an unkind word uttered.
- Be ready for the unexpected when taking any Disney Transportation- vehicles break down all the time, and no one is to be blamed. If you don’t like having to wait on Disney’s time frame, then I highly encourage you to rent a car or bring your own.
- If you have time, take a Disney Bus to a destination that you have never been too. Check out a Resort or the Campground, and enjoy that Disney is spending the gas so you don’t have to. Take it as a challenge and an adventure and the busses could be your best friend.
Again, you may have all had different experiences, these are my own. If you don’t like to drive on vacation and you have time, the busses will be fine. If you have everything planned to the mili-second, I would suggest figuring out other transportation.