Walt Disney Transportation is focused on growth, efficiency, guest satisfaction and safety and because of this they have realized they need to make some changes to all the ways they transport guests around Walt Disney World. Walt Disney Transportation has had park guests grumbling for years based on slow bus service or lines, but a few changes to improve this have been completed recently and more are to come over the next few years.
“Here (Disney World) it’s about guest experience, people going on vacation,” said Sam Lau, Vice President of Walt Disney World Transportation, “It’s a very different atmosphere and mindset … expectation is high.” Sam added that on average, up to half of all the guests on Disney property use their transportation system. “Even some of the folks who drive here will leave their car and take the monorail, buses and boats,” added Sam.
Out of all the methods Disney has of transporting guests around each day, the bus system leads the way with the most guest transports, following in second and third are the monorail and boats. There are no changes currently planned for the boat system.
As we know, Disney has a lot of buses that help shuttle guests around all day long. In fact, Disney has 319 buses in their fleet making them larger than the Orlando Lynx System (Lynx has about 280).
As Disney plans on even more growth in the future with big expansions like the New Fantasyland and Art of Animation Resort, they needed to expand the bus system even more and added almost 30 new buses to their fleet. They are also testing larger buses to help transport more guests at one time and have found some that work well and will be on the list to purchase soon.
Disney is also planning on adding a third bus loop at the Magic Kingdom. The two current bus loops aren’t meeting the demands now and certainly won’t based off the growth Disney is expecting. The third loop will take about a year to build and will better accommodate the new, larger articulated buses.
A whole new computer-controlled system is being implemented to help monitor and control the monorails. This new system will take a little over two years before it is in place but one main benefit is it will reduce wait time for guests. The new system will also help safety as it will allow the monorails to be controlled in real-time. But the monorail drivers will still be there, someone has to enable movement and talk to the guests! Though even with the new system riders can not sit in the cabin with the driver like they used to be able too…that option is not coming back.
“The system will know that a train is late or needs to speed up, versus how it’s done now with humans,” added Sam. “From a safety perspective it will allow us to protect work zones. It will also reduce system down time. Right now when a train switches from one beam to another, we stop all train movement on the beam, but in the future the system would keep running and open up a gap to allow one train to switch from one side to another and do that more efficiently. Right now everything just stops and the guests see that and feel that.
“This is bringing us to state-of-the-art. Most train systems in the world are using these types of control systems,” added Sam. “It will give us a lot more data and information about how we’re operating and how we can operate more efficiently.”
A few minor changes have been made to the roadways, such as a new turn lane at the Magic Kingdom that allowed more room for busses to stack so there is not bottlenecking and makes it quicker and easier for buses to get to the park. Another new lane was added on Buena Vista Drive near Hollywood Studios and a new turn lane is planned for Osceola Parkway near Animal Kingdom.
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