As I have previously mentioned we don’t drive whilst at Walt Disney World. Letting someone else take the strain of getting us from A to B is part of the break for us.
I do however have a vivid memory of having a hire car in Orlando and I think I have just about recovered from the experience! It was during a family holiday back in the 90’s, in the days before everyone had GPS and sat navs. I will spare you all the gory details but I will say that we left Universal Studios in the dark, via the wrong exit, and spent hours trying to get back to our hotel….well, it felt like hours to the scared and embarrassed teenager that I was at the time!!!
Now that I’m all grown up and have the luxury of staying on property we make full use of the complimentary Disney Resort Transportation, or ‘Disney buses’ for short! We love the convenience of hopping on and off the buses, going from resort to park and back again.
Once you know your way around the transportation system you can work out how to get to just about anywhere on property. When we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside we started to notice that the buses going from the parks to Port Orleans French Quarter would often arrive more frequently and there would be less of a queue, so we soon started hopping on the French Quarter one and walking the short distance along the river back to Riverside.
During our last stay at Wilderness Lodge we noticed that the Magic Kingdom bus only took 5 to 10 minutes to get to the park so we started hopping on that one and then making our way elsewhere from MK. Whilst trying to get to Epcot from Ft Wilderness one night a Wilderness Lodge bus turned up so we jumped on that, knowing that we could start the journey again from our home resort!
Unfortunately in recent years the Disney Company has chosen to limit the bus drivers’ interaction with guests. I’m not sure of the official reason for this but I wonder if it had something to do with the negative ‘situations’ the bus drivers seemed to be experiencing with guests. I still get an excited feeling when I hear the recorded message announcing where the bus is heading to, for you to “have a nice day” or when the familiar music starts as you head towards your home resort, but it’s not quite the same as the crazy interactions we used to have with drivers in the past.
On our last trip we were on a bus around midday heading to Downtown Disney with only a few other guests on board. I assume the driver decided we looked like a friendly bunch as he switched off the pre-recorded announcements and decided to have a quiz with us! We had such fun answering his trivia questions about the number of fireworks let off in WDW during a year or how many cars are on Disney property on New Year’s Eve!! It felt even more fun as he sounded EXACTLY like John Candy!! The driver really made our day and we departed at DTD with huge grins on our faces; that was a magical Disney memory right there.
I know that some people have bad things to say about the Disney buses but I think they do a pretty impressive job of transporting thousands of guests around the WDW property each day. Yes, you can be stood at a bus stop for what feels like ages, seeing every bus go by except the one you want, but that’s no different from being in your home town or city…traffic is traffic no matter how much pixie dust there is to go around!
The only downside of Disney buses for me is unfortunately the other guests who use them. For some reason at certain resorts guests waiting for a bus choose not to queue, just stand in a crowd around several of the bus shelters, and then try to push their way to the front when a bus arrives. If you want to be first on a bus why not form an orderly queue? The other unfortunate habit is the people who think they can board first by using the side doors…you know….the doors that say ‘exit only’!!
So I’m prepared to put my hand up and announce that I love the Disney buses I will continue to tolerate other people’s bad behaviour in order to use a transportation system that suits my needs whilst in the World.
And all I ask is the next time you use a Disney bus make sure you smile and thank that driver for his or her hard work, for they are responsible for getting us to the magic everyday