One of the many things I love at Walt Disney World is the FREE transportation, when you stay on property. This may sound shocking to you. Maybe you have heard that the Walt Disney World transportation is terrible. Or maybe you have heard that transportation is not run efficiently. Whatever you have heard, I have the magical answer for you!
Disney IS a magical place. The most magical, if you ask me. However, this magical place exists inside the real world. So, with that comes real world problems. The best advice someone gave me a long time ago to expect this “real world” just a little bit on your WDW vacation. You have taken a lot out of your life (money, time of work, kid’s schooling, etc) to be in WDW so your job is to make the most of every moment. That includes dealing with any bad transportation issues you experience, but I promise you that these are few and far between. Cast Members can work some true magic, but they can’t always keep an evil villain like a late bus away from you!
In the last 5 years, our little family has been in WDW over 25 days, and in those 25 day we have had maybe 4 transportation “hiccups”. We use WDW transportation usually 4 times a day (to the park, back for a break, to the park again, and back to the hotel for the night). That equals about 100 times using this FREE service! I remember 4 bad experiences. There were probably more but the point is that I only remember 4. Or I should say, I let myself get upset over 4. I think with 4 out of 100 is not too bad, right?
Remember, part of what you pay for when you book your vacation is the transportation! So why not make the most of those dollars and use it? Heck, we totally abuse it! I love the fact that all my family has to do is walk to the bus stop from our hotel room (and honestly, none of the bus stops are way too far for the average person, yes you may have to walk a few minutes but that is a great opportunity to experience your resort) and we wait a few minutes (less than 20 most of the time) and then Disney does the rest for us. A vacation means you leave your life behind and relax without your real world problems cutting in…why add gas and driving to that vacation when you simply don’t have to:)
This vacation is what you make of it and it all comes down to what you expect. If you go to Disney thinking you are going to have the most amazing, magical time, then you will. The Cast Members do SOOOO much of the magic making for you. I have to say, though, that you have to do a little magic making yourself too. This comes in to play with transportation every once in a while. The parks get busy, and buses will run late. Sometimes they will be crowded and you may have to stand, or (gasp!) wait for another one. One time we wanted to take the boat from Boardwalk to Epcot only to see a sign at the dock saying that it was not going to be running that day and we had to walk alllllll the way through the hotel again to get to the bus stop. It definitely happens! So your job is to remember that transportation hiccups do happen, even in the most magical place on earth, and make sure you have the tools to get through those times. If you let yourself remember it and fume over it, it could ruin the fun on this awesome trip!
I have learned some great tips over the years to make the most of this free service. One important one is to try to arrive 20 minutes before you actually want to leave. We usually want to be at the parks in the morning 15 minutes before they let the crowd in. If we get to the stop early on, I know I have a great chance of catching a bus and getting to the park on time. Another good tip is that most bus/boat stops have benches nearby, so if there is someone in your party that needs a break and relief, have them sit while you wait in the bus line (if there is one). Or, if transportation is taking too long, take the time to play a game with your family. Quiz your kids on Disney trivia, or go around and talk about your favorite part of the day, or what you are looking forward. We love to play the Disney ABC game. We come up with a topic, like Disney Villains or Movie titles, and go through the alphabet and see how many letters we can get through. If it’s a busy day, pack some water and snacks just in case someone needs a refreshment waiting for the bus or boat or monorail to come. Oh and if it is mid-November until March, make sure each family member has a sweater or sweatshirt at night because it can get chilly in the dark, waiting to get back to your warm, freshly made resort bed!
The point is, you are in WDW to have fun and make amazing memories with your family. It breaks my heart to hear about or read reviews on how bad WDW transportation is, because we think it’s truly one of the jewels of the whole experience. Yes, we have had to wait for a bus for over an hour on NYE from Hollywood to Pop…but…it was NYE at Disney. We knew this going in. It didn’t ruin our night. We knew that the Cast Members were working as hard as they could to get us home, and that was good enough for us. Disney’s transportation is a free service if you are staying on property, and as long as you have some magic and a smile and some tricks up your sleeves, you can enjoy it! Make the most of each magical moment:)
Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!