Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Planes, Trains, and...Buses?

Using the on property transportation and getting around from park to park at WDW can be a bit daunting for someone new to disney. If you're going to hop from park to park during the day then sooner or later you'll have to figure it out. First, you have to determine how you want to use transportation. Are you looking to minimize your time traveling between the parks in order to maximize your time at the park? The alternative is to use the transportation as your downtime, to relax and recuperate. Since we tend to minimize time in an effort to keep up a frenetic pace, the bias here will be towards the former. If you're looking to relax on the transportation just do the opposite.

We'll start with the basic fact that you should envison the parks as being in a line starting at Animal Kingdom, next to it is MGM, then Epcot, and ending at the Magic Kingdom. This will help in choosing which parks are close enough to each other to make hopping worthwhile.

The monorail is the most visible form of transportation in WDW, and it's probably the most entertaining. If you're the first one to the station ask a cast member if your party can ride up front. It's simple to use because it only runs from MK to Epcot. However, you do have to stop at the transportation center. If you're staying at a monorail hotel, it's even that more convenient.

Boats are a suckers bet. Boats are slow and the waves tend to rock the riders to sleep. There's a boat between MGM and Epcot, but I advise against it. It does however stop a few hotels (making the ride even longer), if you're staying at one of these hotels it might be worth it to take the boat.

Now, I've saved the most common and most useful for last. The buses. There are buses all over Disney swarming between parks. Figuring out when the next bus will be at your stop is hard, because Disney doesn't publish bus schedules. The trick is to remember that an empty bus stop means you just missed a bus, a full bus stop means a bus will be there shortly, and an over crowded bus stop means there will probably be two buses coming shortly.

Nothing is more sickening than seeing the last person file out of a queue onto the bus, and seeing it close its doors. A fact I learned living in Boston is that bus drivers have a lot heart. If they see you trying to make a bus they'll normally stop. So, the trick here is to make a show of yourself. I suggest running towards the bus, with one hand in the air, and yelling for the bus driver. The great thing about this is only one person in your party has to do this, the rest can just kind of jog behind and have the designated runner stand in the entry of the bus until the rest of the party catches up.

Getting from any park to Downtown Disney can be an issue. You have to take a bus to hotel then take another bus from the hotel to Downtown Disney. The trick here is that not all bus stops were created equal. We made the mistake once of taking a bus to a high end hotel on the theory that since they're paying more the bus service would be better. That was a mistake. We sat at a bus stop for at least 40 minutes if not longer. Take a bus to the busy hotels, like the All-Stars or Pop-Century, since they have so many more people, they also have more buses running. It shortens the amount of time it takes to get Downtown.

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