This is obviously a topic that is most applicable to those who visit Walt Disney World. For unless you’re an Olympic Athlete with loads of time on your hands, you’re not likely to walk anywhere in The Happiest Place on Earth – Florida Edition! With a property bigger than the island of Manhattan, you’ve really only got two choices open to you: Take a Disney Bus or your own car to and from the Parks and Resorts.
But which is better? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both:
Most Disney Buses leave every 20 minutes. But as most Guests know, that isn’t always the case. But usually they come with a reasonable amount of regularity and provide a fairly comfortable ride. Cons: You have to walk from your room to the Resort Bus Stops and then from the Park Bus Stop to the Main Gates. If you are staying at a Value Resort, the Bus Stops at the Parks will be farthest from the Main Gates, making for a longer walk in. It also makes for a long race back out after the Park closes as hundreds of tired Guests sprint to get the coveted sitting positions on the Buses! In many cases, you may have to stand for the entire ride. Also, if someone with a mobility issue is present, they will move to the front of the line. Everyone must wait to board until they are secure inside the Bus. If there is more than one person with mobility issues present, the wait can stretch out considerably. Pros: You can simply sit back and relax and let the Driver do the work. Sometimes, if you get an entertaining Driver, you can enjoy some residual Disney Magic on the way back to your Resort. A leisurely Bus Ride is a great way to build anticipation for your day in the Parks. And the ride back gives you a chance to wind down or for your irritable toddlers to fall asleep! And it’s air-conditioned.
Your Own Car
OK, you probably don’t drive around WDW in a pimped-out Golf Cart! It’s more likely you have a standard commuter waiting for you in the Parking Lot. With it, you can leave whenever you’re ready and drive directly to the Park of your choice. Cons: I usually visit WDW in February, and when I go to my car to get something, I’ve noticed that the temperature inside my car is usually two degrees cooler than the face of the Sun! This can be a major problem if you have leather seats. Ouch! And if you’re like me, my car becomes a catch-all for stuff I’ve bought throughout my trip, so it could get a little crowded in there near the end of your stay. You still have to walk to your car from your room, and the drive distance is the same by Bus or by Car. Upon arriving at a Park, you then have to find a spot to park. If you arrive later in the morning, you will likely have a 5-minute walk to the Tram. Then another 5-10 minute wait as the Tram loads and an additional 5-minute Tram ride to the Main Gate area. And then a few minutes walk to the Entrance. At the end of the day, when most Park Guests are fighting over Bus space, you will be fighting for Tram space. And then you will be in a long line up of exiting cars. I’m not totally convinced that all of this adds up to a shorter commute over a Disney Bus. Pros: If you’re planning on combining a trip to more than one Park in a day, your Car is a good option. Most Buses only do Resort to Park and back again runs, and don’t go from Park to Park. And if you need to do some off-property shopping (for food and such) having your car just makes sense. You don’t have to put up with other people’s over-tired children on a crowded Bus nor the ‘tired Guest’ odor that permeates every late-night Bus ride.
I’ve tried not to be partial or leading with this article, but I think it’s obvious which option I would prefer. When I visit WDW, my car gets parked when I arrive, and doesn’t move again until I leave. But some of my worst Bus rides have sorely tested my patience and made me question that decision!
Lee A. Beatens is a Writer/Artist. His writing side is showcased at the Blog called Disleelandia, and his love for all-things artistic is showcased at the Blog called The CANADIAN Kingdom. His improbable third side is showcased here. You can follow him on both FB and Twitter.
- Guide to WDW: Snow White’s Scary Adventures (chipandco.com)
- Disneyworld Planning 101 – Taking advantage of guest services (chipandco.com)