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  1. #1
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    Exclamation new bus dispatch system - think I'll rent a car

    We just returned from WDW last week, and we learned the hard way that WDW is testing a new automated bus dispatching system. Often a bus would come within 5-15 minutes, but on several occasions we had to wait 40-45 minutes. On one occasion we were leaving Animal Kingdom around 7PM (not closing time) and we waited 45 minutes for the EPCOT Resorts bus to arrive. During that time 5 EPCOT buses, 5 All-Star buses, and 4 Coronado Springs buses came and went, but not a single Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge or EPCOT Resorts bus. So obviously there was no shortage of buses, they were just being dispatched improperly. After complaining to the front desk we learned that Blizzard Beach was being evacuated due to lightning, so some buses were diverted to pick up people from there, but that does not explain why so many other buses came and went while we waited.

    We also learned from the front desk that due to complaints, WDW has increased the frequency of inter-theme park buses to every 10 minutes. So in our case it would have been faster to take an EPCOT bus and walk through EPCOT to the Beach Club.

    We used to always rent a car when going to WDW to get to and from the airport, visiting other resorts, and to do grocery shopping. But ever since Magical Express was introduced, we have not rented a car and relied entirely on WDW transportation. Now I'm seriously considering going back to a rental car for our next trip in January.

    Prior to this experience, I've noticed that the bus service at the All-Star resorts is awesome. When we stayed there, we never waited more than 5 minutes for a bus. For other resorts (like Beach Club, Boardwalk, Saratoga Springs), we're used to wait times up to 20 minutes. Why do the "cheap" resorts offer superior bus service over the resorts that charge a pretty penny to stay in?

    So I'll be watching this board over the next few months to see if WDW has improved the bus system. If not, I'll just rent a car.
    Stan
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  3. #2
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    As far as the "cheaper" resorts getting better bus service, I believe that the value resorts have more people staying at them so they often get more buses. The only problem, I have had recently was waiting at the TTC for a bus to DTD. It was about a 45 min wait. Hope they get it sorted out as a lot of times we drive to one of the parks, and bus everywhere else that we want to go.
    DDuck66
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  4. #3
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    How many and how often buses run to the different resorts is most definitely determined by how many guests are staying at any given resort. As for waiting for 45 minutes at Animal Kingdom for a bus we have had two other experiences similar to yours at AK in the past and both of them were to go to one of the All Star resorts so don't feel to bad if it happened because they were testing a new system.

  5. #4
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    We always stay at the Value resorts. We were there Aug 13-17 and had a long wait for an Epcot bus. Pretty much all of our trips we experience a long wait at one point or another, but the good service out weighs the slow service by far.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdewan View Post
    On one occasion we were leaving Animal Kingdom around 7PM (not closing time) and we waited 45 minutes

    This happened to us in July. After 45 minutes, I ended up knocking on the door to the little dark glass building (at the far end of the bus stops). There was a castmember inside. I asked for a bus to POR. It arrived within 10 minutes. This was the only time it happened. I just assumed it was a problem with the Animal Kingdom. A couple of days later we ate at Boma and took the bus from POR to AK to AKL. I was very concerned that we would have to wait a LONG time for a bus at AK. I was pleasantly surprised when we had a 5 minute wait.

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  7. #6
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    We were just there Aug 9 - 17 and the only longer-than-expected wait (we generally plan for about 20 min and are usually rewarded with a shorter wait) that we experienced was a wait for a bus to MK from CSR one morning (25 min). Otherwise, this was one of the better trips for transportation - we hardly waited at all in most cases!
    Kathy șoș

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  8. #7
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    We just returned from a stay spit between the All Stars and the Beach Club. The bus service at the All Stars was fine, most waits 5-10 minutes going to parks and maybe 5-15 returning. I thought the service to the BEach Club was worse. Sometimes the All Stars stopped at on of the other All Stars if the bus was not full, but the Beach Club also stopped at the Yacht Club, Boardwalk and sometimes the Swan and Dolphin.

  9. #8
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    This is scary. We reserved Beach Club for one reason being that we don't want to have the service we did last time. We were in FW and every time we wanted a bus it took an hour. We complained, hence the 6 day 2 hopper passes. I called and was in tears about how horrible the trip was. 1am in Feb is not a good time to wait an hour for a bus. The whole bus was yelling back and forth at each other about their horrible time getting a ride. Now, for the first time we are flying and we were hoping deluxe got better treatment cause in Feb, the resort buses for the deluxe always showed up every 10-15 min. We saw three GF busses while waiting for ours. It made us livid. We thought, wow, shouldve taken that bus, then the boat to MK, then the boat back to FW. WOuldve been faster, and THAT is ridiculous.

    We plan on getting to epcot and hollywood walking, and when we want to go to MK, casually getting through international gateway, and taking the monorail. I will walk to avoid disney buses, so only times we need to take a bus is going to be for our reservation at chef mickeys and boma and to get to AK, if we go to AK. We aren't too fond of that park.
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  10. #9
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    We rent a car every time we go, for reasons such as these. It does add a few hundred dollars to the trip, but to me, it is worth it.
    Jen :)


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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonahbear2006 View Post
    We plan on getting to epcot and hollywood walking, and when we want to go to MK, casually getting through international gateway, and taking the monorail.
    That's precisely the reason we like the EPCOT Resorts - you have non-bus options for getting to 3 of the 4 parks. There's always the option of taking a cab to get from one resort to another, or if you can plan all your resort visits into one or two days, you can rent a car at the Dolphin for about $65 a day.
    Stan
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  12. #11
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    Default renting a car

    Thanks for posting, sdewan. We have arranged for a rental car for our October trip but had been considering cancelling it to save a little money. Now I'll keep that reservation! We've tried doing without a car on a few trips, but always seem to be the ones left waiting for a bus (whether we're staying at a value or moderate). It's very frustrating- especially at the end of a long day.

    At least we were able to get an OK rate for the car. (Still cheaper than transferring to one of the EPCOT resorts for our weeklong stay- but I will consider doing that in the future if rental rates continue to climb.)

  13. #12
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    When you move masses of people from so many different points, it will be hard to master the "about every 20 minute" rule. Plus, you must take into consideration traffic. Routes to and from resorts or locations near DTD, like Typhoon Lagoon and possibly OKW and the Port Orleans resorts are subject to this extremely heavy traffic, especially on weekends. Also, there is also accidents. We waited a long time at the Swan for a bus to AK. We found out later, that they had to dispatch another bus because the one headed to the Swan to get us was caught in traffic from an accident and couldn't get out!

    Last time, we waited 45 min for a bus back to the Swan from AK. The problem with this park, is they do often do drop offs and pick ups from BB. The fact that the other resorts or location had a bus (or many buses) come by may not play into that. Some of those buses could have come from other locations. I have noticed that more and more often, the buses aren't on a circuit, they are simply dispatched to where they are needed. The time we waited so long for the bus at AK, a bus driver who had no passengers after waiting so long offered us a bus ride back. We had the bus to ourselves! There was another time we waited about 40 min for a bus at AK. AND THAT WAS TO AKL!!!!

    Let's not make this a war against the resorts. Should the guests of value resorts have to wait longer for buses? Absolutely not. Should those staying in Deluxe resorts have better bus service, simply because they paid more? Nope. As far as I see it, you are paying for your room, resort, and resort location. Disney bus service is noted at "complimentary" I do believe. Do those staying in deluxe resorts get better treatment at the parks? No. And what about those who stay at the mods? How should their bus service be?

    I do believe they base it out of how many people they must move. The All Stars have soooo many more rooms, thus more people to move. Have you seen MK at closing? When we stay at a mod or deluxe, the line is long, but nothing like an All Star. Should all those people wait? No. It may seem that more buses are coming and picking up all of them, but I bet that if you pick a person in that line, and because of the sheer number of people they must move, probably waits just as long as someone in a deluxe.

    As you can see from my sig, I have stayed in an array of types of resorts. Each resort has its good and its bad. Plus, the time of year can be a factor, and sheer luck is what it mostly comes down to. I don't know if your experience has anything to do with the new system, but we've all been there. I don't think there's a person around that hasn't waited an ungodly amount of time for a bus.

    I would write Disney and explain to them your thoughts. Maybe the system isn't a good idea. They do need the feedback in order to effectively grow and change. Please send them a letter. I leave in almost 2 weeks and so I will make special note of this system. If I find that it isn't effective, I, too, will write Disney. I'm sorry your experience this trip wasn't good, but I do hope that you had many, many more moments that made you smile!
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  14. #13
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    DisneyDudet....I totally agree with you. And, our worst bus service was from AK to AKL. One time it was 40 minutes, another was 50 minutes.

    We drove to WDW in May, and only used our car once during the entire trip. AND, that didn't turn out as well as we thought it would.

    We were going to AK for an 8:05 am breakfast. It was getting a little too close on time while waiting for our bus at the GF, so we decided to drive. Well, we had to sit at the AK entrance for about 15 minutes until they finally let us in at exactly 7:55 am. Till we parked and walked in, we could have already been there (our bus was pulling away as we walked past on our way into the park). Oh well, lesson learned.

    Driving isn't always the best thing. I prefer to leave transportation to the bus drivers. It's a lot easier, less stressful, and makes the trip so much more enjoyable.
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  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyDudet View Post
    There was another time we waited about 40 min for a bus at AK. AND THAT WAS TO AKL!!!!

    Let's not make this a war against the resorts. Should the guests of value resorts have to wait longer for buses? Absolutely not. Should those staying in Deluxe resorts have better bus service, simply because they paid more? Nope. As far as I see it, you are paying for your room, resort, and resort location. Disney bus service is noted at "complimentary" I do believe. Do those staying in deluxe resorts get better treatment at the parks? No. And what about those who stay at the mods? How should their bus service be?
    That's surprising about AKL. We spent the first two nights of our trip at AKL, and during that time we back and forth to AK 4 times, but I found the bus service awesome, never having to wait more than 5 minutes. It doesn't make any sense for it to take any longer than that since the two locations are so close together.

    I'm not saying that higher-priced resorts deserve better service, it's just a little ironic that it seems they get worse service. I've had great service from ASMv, and assumed it was because of the larger number of rooms, but when I arrived at the EPCOT Resorts bus stop in AK, I assumed a bus would arrive quickly because it is also servicing a large number of rooms amongst the 5 resorts: BC, BW, Swan, Dolphin, and YC, but apparently that logic did not apply.

    WDW has a financial reason for ensuring good bus service: to keep people on property. The reason they took over the Mears service from the airport and offered it for free as Magical Express is because they wanted to discourage guests from renting cars. If WDW guests are "captive" on property, they are less likely to go to Sea World or Universal Studios for the day and spend money there instead.

    I'm actually optimistic about the new system. It was unfortunate that we were there while the bugs were being worked out. But in theory having a computer monitor bus wait times and dispatch buses as needed seems like an improvement to the system, once it is working properly. I'm hoping in the next month or so people will report back how well (or not) it is working.
    Stan
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  16. #15
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    This kind of scares me. In June of 07 we waited literally over an hour for a bus from AK to All-Star.
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  17. #16
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    I really don't think it has to do with what resort you're staying at. AK is so far away from everything else, it takes awhile to get a bus out there. When we were there in March of '07 we waited an hour for a bus from AK to the TTC. It was awful. And nobody's bus was coming. My sister and her friend were going to head to the GF to look around and then head over to MK and waited almost as long as we did (they were getting on right as our bus was pulling up).

    So I don't think that it's specific to resorts. It's just the bus system in general, and I'm glad to see they're trying to improve it somewhat.
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  18. #17
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    I do believe Disney does the best job possible with its bus system. Its likely that Disney provides this service out of necessity. Could you imagine if every party on property had their own vehicle they used to travel to and from the parks? What a nightmare that would be! It is no doubt they want to make this as efficient and cost effective as possible.
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  19. #18
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    I would like to thank DisneyDudet for her very well put response. I found the cheap comment a bit harsh.
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  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurferStitch View Post
    DisneyDudet....I totally agree with you.

    Driving isn't always the best thing. I prefer to leave transportation to the bus drivers. It's a lot easier, less stressful, and makes the trip so much more enjoyable.


    We always drive from Indiana to WDW. We park the car at our resort and do not get back in the car until we leave to go back to Indiana. The whole time we are at WDW we use the Disney transportation. Every now and then we have a slightly longer wait (45 min at the AK was a bit long ) but in general the bus service is efficient and prompt.

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  21. #20
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    This is not rocket science. There is so much technology available to WDW to build a better logistical system for their buses. One of the easiest would be to add RFID tags to resort keys. This way, when you walk to a bus stop, it signals to Logistics that people have entered and are now waiting for a bus. Computers can control the routes buses take and dispatch as necessary. If they want to get more mundane, they can have the walkie-talkie guy out at the resort pickup. As he sees people heading to the different resort stops, he can confirm back to them that a bus has been dispatched. Another option is to add a "guest waiting" button. Simply have this as an on/off button indicating guests are waiting. This triggers Logistics to dispatch a bus.

    I can understand waits late at night when the cattle are being herded out through the gates. However, when people are leaving at less busy times, no one should have to wait 45 minutes for a bus, even if it is "complimentary". "Complimentary" buses are the determining factor for many people to stay on site. If you have to rent a car, then it is far more cost effective to stay off-site. Personally, after a 15 minute wait without confirmation of a bus being dispatched, your resort should comp a taxi.

    In April, the longest we waited for a bus was 15-20 minutes for POP century. We never once noticed a resort that waited too long.
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