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Something needs to change with bus transportation at Saratoga Springs because of DTD

Discussion in 'Disney Vacation Club' started by dcibrando, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. dcibrando

    dcibrando Well-Known Member

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    Something needs to change with the bus transportation at Saratoga Springs because of Downtown Disney.

    I am a DVC member and owner at Saratoga Springs and visit there at least twice a year. In the past couple of years I knew it was bad, but my last trip in early November has convinced to me that it is much worse and now something needs to change.

    What are the problems….well there are 2.

    1- WAY too many people (not staying at Saratoga Springs and some not even staying on Disney property) will simply hop onto the Saratoga Springs bus at the theme parks so they can get to Downtown Disney. It is easy to spot these people because they are the ones that ask which stop to get off on, etc. I even see/hear the bus drivers telling them they can do this and where to go. Something has got to stop this from happening and becoming more and more of a trend.

    Those of us staying at Saratoga Springs or owning at Saratoga Springs through DVC (paying LOTS of $ to Disney for this luxury) are now standing in longer bus lines, standing up on busses (for example with my 18 month old) while others just going to DTD get to sit, or worse yet we’re not able to even get on a bus because of all the “extra” people wanting to just find a way to DTD. I witnessed this on every bus ride back to Saratoga Springs but discovered it to be much worse at the end of the day (park closing) particularly at Animal Kingdom when most people tend to leave after the 3:45pm parade…and this is also when the busses are full. It’s not fair when those of us staying at Saratoga Springs can’t even use our busses like those at other resorts can.

    2- People staying off property or locals parking at Downtown Disney, and then getting to Saratoga Springs to take the busses to the parks to keep from paying parking fees. Again, very easy to spot these people because they seem to always talk about what they are doing on the bus (why they brag about this I don’t know).
    Again, this takes up space on busses at Saratoga Springs for guests and DVC members staying there while those staying off property or are simply locals take advantage of the situation and not paying to park at the theme parks.

    Possible Solutions:

    In my opinion, Disney makes this WAY too easy for just anyone to ride a bus. Those staying ON Disney property (in a Disney Resort) should be able to use any of the busses to/from wherever they desire… HOWEVER… Disney needs to strongly consider a bus running from each theme park TO Downtown Disney.

    1- Have a bus that provides transportation FROM each theme park TO Downtown Disney, but it would NOT pickup from Downtown Disney to the theme park (this will stop those getting on a bus to keep from paying parking fees). If the ride back to the theme park to pick other guests up is wasteful with no one on board, then have the bus stop at Saratoga Springs or Port Orleans to pick up for that theme park.

    Example:
    • Bus stops at designated Downtown Disney bus stop at Animal Kingdom for transportation to Downtown Disney
    • Bus stops at Downtown Disney (Saratoga Springs stop) to let guests off, and load guests for that resort.
    • Bus stops at Saratoga Springs to let folks off and to load for next trip to Theme Park
    • Repeat

    2. Each guest at Saratoga Springs (or Port Orleans if it is a problem there too) could have a Disney bus pass for their resort that they could show to the bus driven upon entry to the bus. Would this be a hassle and inconvenience… maybe a little, but definitely not as much as the hassle and inconvenience of giving up bus seats and transportation to others that are taking advantage of the system. If this is too much, then simply have each family show their Disney Resort key to prove they are at least staying on site during these dates. If Disney provides Downtown Disney transportation from the theme parks then showing the room key would then eliminate those other people parking at Downtown Disney (staying off property) trying to take advantage of the busses at SSR.

    I’m sure there are many other ideas that would work as well, maybe better than the ones I mentioned but seriously…someone needs to really take a look at this as this problem is only getting worse as more and more people discover how easy this is to do…and those that suffer are the ones staying at the resort or DVC members paying into that resort.

    Thanks for listening to my thoughts & suggestions :)
     
  2. slappy magoo

    slappy magoo Well-Known Member

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    The only problem with your solutions is that there are still workaround. Having a theme park ticket guarantees use of all Disney transportation. Nothing will prevent a parking lot cheat from getting on at SSR and lying to the driver: "we're parked at the magic kingdom but just HAD to have breakfast in Artist's Palette." An awful lie, but not invalid.

    I'd also argue that, as far as resort guests getting screwed by their bus service getting co-opted by office guests, SSR gets off lighter than the monorail resorts, the Epcot resorts or AKL. People who park in dtd and then walk to SSR? That's WORK! Much lighter on the Li'l piggies to go to dtd's resort bus loops and hop on a bus closest to your final destination and them walk/boat/monorail from there.

    IMHO, a better solution is to make the DTD lot free for Disney resort guests. Pay-as-you-exit metered parking for non-resort guests, with the option to validate parking if people spend enough money in DTD shops. And of course the longer you're parked the more it costs, until it's just as much as parking in a theme park's lot. "parking validation" is half-off what you spent in dtd. 5 hours parking is, say $10. You'd meed to spend $20 for free parking. If you spent $18.38, you get $9.19 validated and still owe $.81. If necessary, they can add a caveat: no validation for parking over a certain amount of time, because let's face it, if you've been parked in dtd for over 10 hours, you probably weren't at dtd.

    As for your suggestion of dtd having buses that drop off from theme parks to dtd but xp more pick guests up inconveniences anyone who really is parked at a theme park but wanted to visit dtd for shopping or a meal. True, they won't have to pay if they drive to dtd and then nave to drive back to the lot but it's also an inconvenience for people who aren't breaking rules. Plus its potentially a waste of fuel for the buses, only handling people half the time they're on operation.

    If they did this, with one exit for resort guests flashing their valid room card, but everyone else waiting to pay, they could also, once again add buses from dtd direct to theme parks. Even if people feel like they're cheating the system by using dtd, then buying dinner or things they would've purchased anyway, Disney still got business out of them, and SSR guests aren't inconvenienced. Everyone gets something out of the deal.

    The only other options are for Disney to acknowledge this cheating is happening and adding more busses to the routes of resorts in the dtd area, or continue to essentially tell SSR guests to rent a car or go screw themselves.

    Typed on my Droid incredible (wanted to give the new extended life battery a workout) so please forgive any typos.
     
  3. dcibrando

    dcibrando Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Disney can allow those staying on site using their kttw card to use any busses... I'm ok with this...especially for those with dining reservations, etc. BUT they still need a bus stop from each theme park to DTD to keep from the other problem at SSR. This would solve both problems I believe

    - KTTW card (1 per family) to allow Disney bus transportation - those staying off property do not need to use Disney busses other than maybe the ticket and transportation center busses for those park hoppers
    - DTD bus from each theme park
     
  4. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    I really don't see this as any more of a problem than any of the Epcot or MK resorts see with people going to their respective parks. Disney doesn't want to start day guests on their transportation because it would cut revenue to their non-park restaurants and attractions. I understand the frustration involved, but I don't see a logical way to fix it that wouldn't alienate certain groups.
     
  5. maelstrom

    maelstrom Well-Known Member

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    Really? So those guests staying off property have no need to park hop between Epcot and the Animal Kingdom, or maybe hop from MGM over to the Contemporary to eat dinner at Chef Mickey's? A guest's park ticket entitles them to use Disney transportation, and that includes buses, monorails, and watercraft.
     
  6. Wilt Dasney

    Wilt Dasney Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why DTD parking is still free. It seems an upfront charge with an option to validate parking with a receipt would fix the freeloader problem, bring in more money for Disney, and allow them to avoid the arbitrary decision not to run buses directly between the parks and the strip mall.
     
  7. Daddio

    Daddio WDWMAGIC Sponsor

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    As slappy magoo has stated, having a park ticket allows the holder full access to ALL of Disney Transport. Plus, if you think boarding a bus now is sometimes a stressful event, just wait till Aunt Sadie has to dig all the way down into her bag to find a KTTW card, all while holding up the boarding process.

    Parking gates at DTD will tie up traffic so bad, it will take you an hour or so to get in and many more to exit. I don't think I would want that situation to exist, especially if I were a merchant or restaruant.

    I understand your frustrations but Disney is Disney and crowds are going to be everywhere (that's what Disney wants) and I don't think the current system is all that bad compared to any solutions I have seen proposed.

    David
     
  8. Wilt Dasney

    Wilt Dasney Well-Known Member

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    Not to pick an argument for its own sake, but why do you say this? Every theme park has parking gates and none of what you describe is the case there. (I can see how getting out would take longer when you're having to validate parking. They could forego that and just say you have to pay to park there, period.)

    Honestly, I had more of a parking meter system in mind, but gates probably would make more sense.
     
  9. slappy magoo

    slappy magoo Well-Known Member

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    Paid parking and Gates at DTD wouldn't necessarily be so bad. First of all, anyone who had been parking there to avoid paying for parking in the theme park's lots, probably wouldn't do so anymore, or at least it would cut that number down severely.

    As for everyone else, the trick is, like many commuter parking lots do, you don't pay to exit right at the gate. It goes like this:

    When you enter the lot, the gate has a magnetic pad. Waving your KTTK card opens the gate. If you don't have a valid KTTK card, you punch a button and gt a ticket that opens the gate (and if traffic going in gets bad enough, one CM or more can leave the gates open at each entrance, and quickly visually inspect each KTTK and hand out parking tickets to those who need 'em). the ticket has a bar code on it. You hold on to the ticket, don't leave it in your car. As you shop or dine at DTD, anything you buy that comes with a receipt, that receipt also has a bar code. When it comes to leave, there are a number of payment machines set up along the DTD perimeter, before you even cross into the lot, as well as a manned booth in case someone needs assistance. You slip your ticket in the machine, you get a price for parking. You slip your receipts under a separate scanner (much like a self-serve register in a grocery store), you get a credit. If your credit is more than your parking, your ticket is electronically marked as paid in full. If you owe, you pay right there, and then your ticket is marked as paid in full, with at least a 15 minute window of time to exit (which can be adjusted by CMs to be longer if traffic does wind up being exceptionally bad). When it comes to leaving, again, resort guests can wave their KTTK cards by a magnetic reader to open the gate, everyone else inserts their ticket to raise the gate. Because everyone (in theory) on that line has already paid, there's no futzing around for wallets or credit cards at the point of exit. You may have been waiting on line at one of the machines to pay, but if there are enough of them, that wait is minimized. And I mean, those machines are spread out every few feet, with a little bit of shelter and enough space in between them for strollers and wheelchairs.

    And bear in mind, there are various exits scattered throughout the lot. And since there's no more Pleasure Island, there's not as much of a call for people to stay until "closing" as there would be for the theme parks, so with the possible exception of when Cirque Du Soleil lets out (or if the new Hyperion Bay starts having free, shceduled nighttime entertainment), traffic would probably be pretty steady throughout the night. AMC movies end at staggering times, and people come and go throughout the rest of the shops as they please. Most resort guests are probably using buses anyway, so traffic isn't a concern for them. If you're the type of person who thinks the lot will be crazy when all the shops close, you'll probably leave a wee bit earlier,, just like people who don't stay at MK for the fireworks because they don't want to get stuck in all that traffic getting out.

    The ones who are truly left out of this plan - and honesty, I don't know how big a number of people this is - would be people who would like to drive to DTD, park all day, genuinely fart around DTD and buy little to nothing, not even meals or snacks.
     
  10. dcibrando

    dcibrando Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    ok so if I'm hearing everyone right... then the only solution to this problem is to run more busses to/from Saratoga Springs resort and just know they (Disney) are losing money off the people that park at DTD.

    People are Saratoga Springs Resort should not have to suffer on bus transportation because of the people that take advantage of this. I'm telling you... it's been worse every time I've stayed at Saratoga Springs and this time was even worse. As more and more people find out about how to do this, they will do it until something is done.

    I still think there needs to be a labeled bus TO Downtown Disney from the theme parks. I'm telling you, at the end of the day when the park closes... I experienced a overly full bus with over half of the people going to downtown disney that were NOT staying at SSR...leaving other people staying at SSR in line having to wait on another bus.
     
  11. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    I'm surprised that they haven't gone this route wtih Downtown Disney yet. I know it is due to its compact size, but DL already charges for parking at their DTD in order to prevent people from using it as a parking lot for the parks. You get your first 3 hours for free or 5 hours if you have a valid receipt. The same goes for parking at the resorts so people can't take spots away from registered guests.
     
  12. slappy magoo

    slappy magoo Well-Known Member

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    yes. That is exactly what I wrote, except for all the hundreds of words I wrote about converting DTD to a paid parking lot with validated parking., and how to possibly do it in a way that it wouldn't create bottlenecks. Not to mention the stuff I (and others) wrote about how the DTD parking issue is a problem with lots of resorts closer to the parks too and not just at SSR. Aside from all that you've encapsulated all I've written to a T. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Daddio

    Daddio WDWMAGIC Sponsor

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    Not feeling any argument at all. Discussions with different views are good for the sole. So, that said, I'll justify what I said, for me.

    I like the way the parking is at DTD. I go to WDW 7 to 9 times per year and on every trip, my DW wants to go to DTD. I personally hate having to park there. It is always busy. There is always a steady stream of traffic entering and exiting.

    Now, add in the fact that I don't like change, qualifies me to voice my thoughts of what I see happening if they change it from a completely free, drive in and take a spot process. If it changes to a paid system, I see more frustration and heavy traffic lines. Of course, I am not a traffic engineer and have no basis for what I perceive will happen. Just a thought and mental picture in my head.

    As for Saratoga Springs, I stay there a mininum of three times per year. Although I have seen people travel from the parks to SSR solely to get to DTD, I have never viewed it as a major problem. But again, that is just the way I see it. If anything, I am guilty of walking over to DTD (from SSR) and using the buses to get to another resort. I've done this several times but don't think the DVC members of the resorts I am going to feel affected (in their maintenance fees or my using a seat on the bus).

    Again, these are just my personal thoughts, not an argument for or against.

    David
     
  14. dcibrando

    dcibrando Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I got the resolution to it all... monorails for all resorts and theme parks! haha
     
  15. RonAnnArbor

    RonAnnArbor Well-Known Member

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    I know the resort guests are unhappy about the current arrangement, but you have to keep in mind that DISNEY is elated -- they are about the money being spent from park to park, restaurants, and shops. You think Disney WANTS to eliminate the free rides from one money-spending attraction to another money-spending attraction? They WANT those folks to use the transportation.

    Sure it inconveniences people -- but it is the same as all other resorts -- you can hop on any bus to any resort to transfer to any other bus, and many people do so at both Port Orleans resorts as well, for example, since they are also close to DTD...

    You are not going to see Disney instigating any change in the current system because they WANT people circulating from one place to another, even if that inconveniences some others. Dont' underestimate "realityland" vs "fantasyland". It's about money. And it is going to stay the way it is.
     
  16. Wilt Dasney

    Wilt Dasney Well-Known Member

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    I'm not following you. Disney makes money by forcing people to use an inconvenient work-around to get from the parks to DTD?

    I would think a direct line would attract a lot more people (and their money) to DTD, if Disney could figure out how to do it while protecting their parking revenue.
     
  17. Trotsky

    Trotsky Well-Known Member

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    Yup :) Seen it, and I'm not even a DVC member...

    On 1) - lets talk cause and effect: Cause - WDW has literally abandoned DTD in terms of Bus Transport.... I've seen this over the last two years. I don't know why (other than there is far less to do there now), but they have. Effect: folks in the know use SS.

    2) Cause - DTD is not a park - ANYONE can get to WDW Transportation (and free parking) by going there. Effect: see 1), extrapolate.

    Fixing all this requires two things: A) EQUAL WDW Bus Service to DTD, and B) the requirement of a valid Key to the World Card to get on a Bus from DTD. I left out SS, as it is SUPPOSED to be a Security Controlled Area. If it is not? THAT also needs to be addressed.

    I know folks will scream about B) :). While screaming, please provide YOUR solution.
     
  18. RonAnnArbor

    RonAnnArbor Well-Known Member

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    Here's how it works....

    Disney makes much more money from people traveling around the property than they would ever make off of parking at DTD. Keep in mind that DTD is used by the Townies in Orlando, not just Disney park visitors. They aren't going to enforce paid parking because they make more money off of them coming to shop, go to the restaurants, and throw money around. The Resort guests add to that mix. Disney has really bad relationships with Townies (I am going to use that term lovingly since I am an Ann Arbor Townie). DTD has become a goldmine for Disney from the locals, especially at the holidays. On any given night at Raglan Road, for example, you will have more locals than resort guests. Keep a place like RR hopping, and you can ask for higher rentals, and more money for Disney.

    Disney makes much more money off of the impulse buy when someone takes the bus from MK to SS and goes to DTD and buys that 58.00 sweatshirt that cost them 4.20 to manufacturer than they do off of parking.

    Disney makes more money off of the 8.00 slushy that someone buys on the Boardwalk, or the 9.75 beignets that someone buys at POFQ, or the 149.-- someone spends at the Contemporary gift shop on a crystal statue.

    There is no way that Disney is going to crack down on anyone using their bus system to travel around Disney property, or they would have done this long long ago. Not only do you not need a resort card to use the bus system, they actually ENCOURAGE you to use the bus system. They openly tell people to take the busses from one park to another, or from one park to a resort and where you can go from that resort. They used to check the roomkeys once upon a time, some people will remember. That lasted about three months before they realized they were losing money from untapped non-resort guests. They already have resort guests as a captive audience. Non-resort guests bring in more money when they can tap into it.

    Want to know the "real" Disney secret? THAT is the Disney secret. They will not in any way shape or form try to discourage anybody, resort guest or non-resort guest, from parting with your money and putting it into their coffers.

    I love Disney, but don't kid yourself. This isn't about resort guest convenience. It is about money. Period. Want to see the real corporate side of Disney? Read "Realityland"...or read "Disney Wars"...

    I think what they are doing right now is the comprimise...keep charging parking for those who use the transportation center or park lots, but don't cause a fuss for those who travel around the property using the bus system because they will get their money one way or another. And above and beyond that, not charging for parking at DTD doesn't alienate the local Townies, who are already on edge toward all-things Disney.
     
  19. disneyrcks

    disneyrcks Well-Known Member

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    I totally understand the frustration! It is a bit of a stressor being on an overcrowded bus. I don't mind standing but i think they let too many people onto the bus when it becomes standing room only. I also do not think Disney would ever do a KTTW system (because ticket holders should be able to travel around property) as much as I wish they would. The one thing they can do is limit the capacity on the buses. Standing room sure but u cannot squish the amount of people that they do on those buses without it being dangerous! If it would be financially possible I would like to see them hire an industrial organizational company that could give them assistance with bus dispatching (maybe reorganize the amounts of busses by specific busy times?) I honestly don't know what would work just spitballing :wave:
     
  20. Thrill

    Thrill Well-Known Member

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    So Downtown Disney's transportation problem would be solved on the dime of Saratoga Springs DVC owners, in essence? Transportation is paid for by each resort, so more buses would add to the operating cost, and thus, dues.

    I like slappy magoo's idea. It works, and it's potential income for Disney. Win-win for both the resort guests and Disney, and those who are spending at DTD will only lose a couple minutes of time.
     

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