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WDW without a car - How reliable are the buses?

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by ScubaTrek, May 14, 2017.

  1. ScubaTrek

    ScubaTrek New Member

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    Our family of 3 is going to Orlando for 2 weeks this summer, one week of Disney and one week of Universal. Since we're staying at Saratoga Springs for our Disney week, my wife wants to skip the rental car and depend on the WDW transportation or that week. That makes me nervous since I've never been without a personal vehicle on a trip like this. Also, we're traveling at near peak season (last week of July) and I'm worried about bus delays due to crowds. Any advice would be helpful. Should I be worried about this, or is the Disney transportation reliable enough? We're planning to be at each park at rope drop and probably stay until closing.
     
  2. rob0519

    rob0519 Well-Known Member

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    This is just my opinion so it is not an indictment on the bus system. I have many friends who think it works fine and they have younger children. This all depends on your definition of reliable. There are four bus stops at Saratoga Springs. We stayed near the fourth stop on the way to the parks. So by the time buses got to our stop they were mostly full with people trying to get to the park at rope drop.

    In the prime season of July, you can expect the lines to be long and the buses to be crowded at the times you will be traveling. Keep in mind the buses can only go as fast as traffic allows so factor in your wait time as well as travel time.
     
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  3. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    My advice- use the busses when they aren't too bad, use Uber when they are. You'll still most likely come out ahead of the price of a rental...but even better- not have to deal with parking or walking to/from your car.

    Price Example - from WL to AK was $7 for the ride. Also, they pretty much always have a special where your first ride is free.
     
  4. rob0519

    rob0519 Well-Known Member

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    If you're using Uber or Lyft or even a Taxi, to get to the MK, have the driver drop you off at the Contemporary and walk over to the MK unless you want to ride the ferry or the monorail. Same thing on the way out. Walk to the CR and have the driver meet you there. If you're taking the buses of course, they will drop you very near the front gate.
     
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  5. Jeff A

    Jeff A New Member

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    We have found the buses to be pretty reliable and the time it would take you to get to your parked car vs. waiting for the bus is about the same. The only concern would be how quickly the bus gets you from point A to point B.....it may take you a little longer with the bus but they know all the back roads thru Disney so maybe not......
     
  6. BigRedDad

    BigRedDad Well-Known Member

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    The buses are very reliable. There will be a bus to pick you up and drop you off. The real question is how often they will show up. Disney says every 20 minutes. I would not count on that. I would expect 2 hours of waiting riding for a RT. That is from the time you either leave your room or exit the park.
     
  7. CrazyEm

    CrazyEm Well-Known Member

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    We have relied on the Disney buses for our past couple trips. We never travel in July, but we have traveled the last week of June and most recently, February break for us northerners/ Mardi Gras/ Princess Weekend. The line in the morning for the buses can be long, especially Magic Kingdom, but the busses come fairly quickly and we have never waited a long time. We have had to wait longer for a bus when its the middle of the day.

    The only park we ever have a long wait for a bus when leaving is EPCOT. Maybe it's just bad luck, maybe it's the resorts we were staying at, but the past two trips, we have waited 45 minutes- and hour after illuminations to get on a bus back to our resorts (Pop Century & Art of Animation). Back in 2015 we stayed at Caribbean Beach and did not experience this with the buses.
     
  8. Mickey81

    Mickey81 Well-Known Member

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    The buses in my opinion are the absolute worst part of Disney. We've done only bus, but after all these trips are done. We will be renting a car. I understand it probably won't save us anytime, but i won't be standing half the time, and there won't be puking kids, or kids or adults who don't know how to cover their mouths when hacking up a lung.
     
  9. JIMINYCR

    JIMINYCR Well-Known Member

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    Summer months when heavier crowds vacation can cause delays in transporting guests back and forth to the parks and resorts. You may wait longer for your bus to arrive. Reliable? Yes they will come, they will get you where you want to go, they will be crowded and you may not get a seat, but they are reliable. If you want to get places faster, more comfortable, on your schedule, without a wait, then a rental may be what you should go for. WE always use Disney transportation despite the waits because when I'm on vacation I don't stress out about the buses, I'm relaxing....I'm not driving anywhere.
     
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  10. CaptainAmerica

    CaptainAmerica Well-Known Member

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    I like the Disney buses. Even when we rent a car, we still take the buses some days if we just don't feel like driving. I've never had major problems.
     
  11. Weather_Lady

    Weather_Lady Well-Known Member

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    We've always relied on Disney transportation, and have found it to be reliable and comfortable, with buses arriving even more frequently than advertised, 95% of the time (meaning, 1 out of every 20 rides, there's an exceptionally long wait for one reason or another). We enjoy the convenience and I find it to be less stressful than driving. I'd rather sit (or even stand) for 10-15 minutes at an attractive depot, waiting for an air-conditioned vehicle to pull up and whisk me away, than be able to walk (or even have to take a shuttle) into a giant parking lot to try and find my scorching-hot car and then navigate it through unfamiliar territory -- even if taking the bus is going to cost me a few extra minutes. Just a personal preference, though.
     
  12. DisAl

    DisAl Well-Known Member

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    The drivers are told which routes to use by a dispatch center. The last time we were there the driver took a route back to our motel I had never seen before and seemed to me to be out of the way. When we arrived at the motel I asked him why. He told me there had been an accident on the main road and dispatch had routed him another way to avoid delays.
     
  13. Newton

    Newton New Member

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    We always use WDW transportation or uber if we are in a huge hurry. A previous poster gave great advice about being dropped at the resorts. The only thing I would add to that, is since you are at Saratoga, you can walk to the Disney Springs bus stop and use the resort buses from there. Beach Club for the back door at EPCOT, and Contemporary for MK.
     
  14. dreamfinder

    dreamfinder Well-Known Member

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    The buses are reliable. Very rarely will they break down, and even rarer still will they take you to the wrong destination. How consistent they arrive is another question. They aim for every 20 mins (or less), but that can easily get thrown off kilter if the driver needs to do something like load/unload scooters or wheelchairs. And while they may not take the most direct route, the bus will usually drop you off closer to the park than if you drove and had to deal with the tram so it ends up being a wash. As long as you plan in an extra 15-20 mins to wait, the buses will do a good job of getting you to where you need to be.
     
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  15. JillC LI

    JillC LI Well-Known Member

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    The buses are quite reliable and the waits are not too bad if it isn't peak season and if you don't plan to stay until after the fireworks, for example, when everyone is trying to get back to their resort. We didn't love using the buses when our kids were little because you can't always get a seat so we usually rented a car, but we don't mind now that they're teens and can safely stand without falling asleep on the floor. If money wasn't an object, though, I'd still rent the car.
     
  16. jaklgreen

    jaklgreen Well-Known Member

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    For over 20 years we have been going to WDW and not once have we rented a car. I have no problems with the buses. Sometimes you wait longer, sometimes they show up right when you walk up, it all washes out even. Yes they will be busy during peak times and you might have to stand. But we are on vacation and do not stress about it. It would be more stressful for us to drive ourselves and worry about navigating around WDW. I think the people who truly hate the buses are just very very impatient. They get us where we need to go and thankfully, they have delivered us safely every time. It really is just about your mindset when it comes to the buses. If you stress about time and feel like you need to keep moving, then you will not like it. But if you are good with just going with the flow, then the buses are great.
     
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  17. Thebolt

    Thebolt Member

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    Personally, I want to relax and slow the pace a little when on vacation. As a family,we use public transport infrequently and the busses slow the pace after a busy day and increase the anticipation at the start.

    The only downside is that going off site becomes much more difficult.
    I agree with the comments above - people who go all out commando hate the busses. Those after a more relaxed time appreciate the service.
     
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  18. IAmFloridaBorn

    IAmFloridaBorn Well-Known Member

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    The busses are reliable.
    Depending on where you stay.
    Some resorts are logistically placed beautiful and others are a logistical nightmare.

    Especially summer where thousands may be headed to or from the same destination as you at the same time.
    Have some patience and relax, sit back and ensure your time and energy is better used than fighting in traffic in a car. Especially with all the current construction
     
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  19. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan Member

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    Over the past 25 years we have been to WDW over 15 times. We usually stay at POP or Fort Wilderness (with our Camper). We have always used the buses and have never used a car there. In general the buses have been great. The only time we see problems are the wait times after the parks close and everyone leaves at once. Lately it has been at Epcot and you have masses of people at each bus stop. Seems the volume is the problem. Otherwise 95% of the time the buses seem to handle the flow wherever you want to go. Having a car or using Uber/taxi would only be a plus going Resort to Resort for dining, shopping, etc. Go with the buses and let Disney get you around!
     
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  20. nickys

    nickys Well-Known Member

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    We always use the buses to the parks, even when we have a rental car. We use the car to go offsite, but when at Disney we just use their transport. We allow an hour, maybe more to get to a reservation, and are fine with that. The buses are reliable, as someone said, they will arrive.

    That said, we don't do rope drop to closing. If anyone decides they want to go back to the resort, they're free to do so, and DH doesn't have to drive. If he wants a drink he can do so. It's his holiday too and that means not ferrying us around.

    I wonder if in general, people who don't like the buses maybe don't use them in everyday life. I use them all the time. Sometimes they're busy and I have to stand, sometimes they're late and I have to wait, sometimes I miss one and have to wait. No big deal. If you're used to the convenience of a car to go where you want, when you want, then the Disney bus service is going to come up short I guess. In which case, use a car or Uber.
     

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