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News Disney's Magical Express to end after 2021

donsullivan

Premium Member
Random thought:
The DME busses never took a route past Universal for a reason- even Fdot was convinced to construct “alternate routes” to allow disney to bypass guests away from seeing the competition. Won’t l uber drivers take the faster rout to WDW? And won’t that take them just past Uni’s soon to be built Epic Universe? How appealing is that Volcano to your kids as you drive past on I-4?
More thoughts to ponder... super interesting decision they made...
There is no route between the airport and any entrance to the Walt Disney World property that goes past Universal. There is no ‘plan’ to avoid It, it’s not geographically on any of the routes between the locations. Magical Express buses virtually always go out the south exit of the airport and along 417 over to Disney property. They are never near Universal. This is just a distraction that is irrelevant due to geography.

And Epic Universe is not starting construction any time soon.
 
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JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
Random thought:
The DME busses never took a route past Universal for a reason- even Fdot was convinced to construct “alternate routes” to allow disney to bypass guests away from seeing the competition. Won’t l uber drivers take the faster rout to WDW? And won’t that take them just past Uni’s soon to be built Epic Universe? How appealing is that Volcano to your kids as you drive past on I-4?
More thoughts to ponder... super interesting decision they made...
528 hits I-4 a bit south of Universal but Universal has plenty of ads on billboards on that route. What are the windows like on DME? I've never been but they look like large portholes from the outside.
 

seabreezept813

Well-Known Member
It's pretty much the same wording as in their announcement about discontinuing the service. I've received some pretty specific replies to emails in the past, including a call once when I didn't even request a reply. This leads me to believe Disney is sending out a boatload of these emails.
I’ve missed three calls from them since reaching out because they always call when I’m teaching. Probably because I’m actually canceling my trip this summer and even though it’s really because of the reduced experience and having a newborn arriving soon, I’m also indicating that it’s decisions like these.. We booked a bounce back for last summer just because of how good our price was with free dining, but weren’t sure if we’d really be able to pull that trip off. When I had to push it out a year for covid, the price went up and we lost free dining.. so I think Disney should start wooing people back again. No one wants to pay more and get less.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Nice reply, very - noncommittal. Is there a Lyft link on their site yet so you can do your "planning"?

It sure seems like Disney is pushing the narrative that 'no one needs DME anymore' like people weren't using it or something.

Does that match anyone's experience? Curious if people felt there were fewer buses or more open seats compared to earlier years...
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
It sure seems like Disney is pushing the narrative that 'no one needs DME anymore' like people weren't using it or something.

Does that match anyone's experience? Curious if people felt there were fewer buses or more open seats compared to earlier years...

I bet it's been used less over the past 6 months. For obvious reasons, of course, but I wouldn't put it past Disney to look at the usage since re-opening and say "numbers are way down, let's get rid of it".
 
That's almost word-for-word the same form reply others have received, with the exception of the first paragraph that refers to your 2021 plans. The last two paragraphs have appeared in responses to complaints about services other than DME.
In customer service, there’s only so many ways that the customer experience team can say ‘I’m so sorry, but we really value your visit.’ In reality, they really just want to scream ‘I don’t know why it’s stopping, someone who makes a lot more money decided that, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore
 

homerdance

Premium Member
Random thought:
The DME busses never took a route past Universal for a reason- even Fdot was convinced to construct “alternate routes” to allow disney to bypass guests away from seeing the competition. Won’t l uber drivers take the faster rout to WDW? And won’t that take them just past Uni’s soon to be built Epic Universe? How appealing is that Volcano to your kids as you drive past on I-4?
More thoughts to ponder... super interesting decision they made...


Not sure the route you use to go from MCO to Disneyworld that includes going past Universal, but I would suggest using google maps, garmen, or some other service to find a better alternative route.

And the south route is generally few miles less than the northern route (depending on the resort), and taking I4 with a bus full of eager Disney tourists with the many delays is maybe not the best option.

But troll away and continue to push some grand conspiracy that "Fdot" will do anything Disney wants to screw Universal.
 
Not sure the route you use to go from MCO to Disneyworld that includes going past Universal, but I would suggest using google maps, garmen, or some other service to find a better alternative route.

And the south route is generally few miles less than the northern route (depending on the resort), and taking I4 with a bus full of eager Disney tourists with the many delays is maybe not the best option.

But troll away and continue to push some grand conspiracy that "Fdot" will do anything Disney wants to screw Universal.
Not only is 417 a few miles shorter (reduces operating costs), it’s also a minimum of 20 minutes (each way) faster
 

bcoachable

Well-Known Member
Not sure the route you use to go from MCO to Disneyworld that includes going past Universal, but I would suggest using google maps, garmen, or some other service to find a better alternative route.

And the south route is generally few miles less than the northern route (depending on the resort), and taking I4 with a bus full of eager Disney tourists with the many delays is maybe not the best option.

But troll away and continue to push some grand conspiracy that "Fdot" will do anything Disney wants to screw Universal.
Thanks for responding.
We like Waze.
Yea, on the trolling thing. Not really my intention. For sure, if I am coming off that way, I do apologize. Just random thoughts, thats all. I know there was an effort on Disney's behalf to escort tourists away from anything that resembled competition. I vaguely remember it in a basic buisness class moons ago. With DME they don't get to control that part of the narrative any longer, is all im trying to say.
I think Uni is going to benifit from this DME move. I can't wait for Epic to get cranked up!
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
It sure seems like Disney is pushing the narrative that 'no one needs DME anymore' like people weren't using it or something.

Does that match anyone's experience? Curious if people felt there were fewer buses or more open seats compared to earlier years...

No it doesn't match our multiple experiences. We always fly down and take the DME, over several years and at various times of day.
Our bus was very crowded at times with hardly a spare seat. At other times, there was over half.
Where are they getting these assumptions from that bus usage is down?
I guess it's just another way to rationalize cutting that service out too.
If they are worried that people are staying at disney, but going to other places too, then that kind of explains it.
BUT do they realize that 95% of the time is spent at disney, even if they go others places for a day or two.
It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
For example, we have had 10 days at disney, but spent 2 days at Universal, which leaves 8 days at Disney!!! Don't they get that? And we only did that twice out of multiple trips to WDW.
 

donsullivan

Premium Member
Many need to let go of the perspective that their personal experience represents all visitors experience. Why should a guest who drives have to pay for this service if they have their own car? Why should a guest who rents a car, have to pay for this service if they have their rental car? If the service is baked into the room rate, everyone is paying for it whether they use it or not. And if they bring their own or rental car they also have to pay to park that vehicle. It is highly likely that if they decided to charge for the service, ridership would drop off dramatically which makes the economics unsupportable going forward.

Disney clearly has the data that is not available to any of us about what percentage of all resort guests actually use the service now as well as the trend over time. It’s quite likely they found overall ridership was declining over time and they saw nothing that would change that trend.

The program likely has minimum ridership targets for it to be profitable and they are likely approaching that threshold, which caused them to rethink the program. It cannot be disputed that there are lots more options than there were when the service first launched in 2005 and that likely figures into the ridership numbers as well.

I get that this is a yet another change, and many hate change of any kind but this one just seemed inevitable over time.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
Many need to let go of the perspective that their personal experience represents all visitors experience. Why should a guest who drives have to pay for this service if they have their own car? Why should a guest who rents a car, have to pay for this service if they have their rental car? If the service is baked into the room rate, everyone is paying for it whether they use it or not. And if they bring their own or rental car they also have to pay to park that vehicle. It is highly likely that if they decided to charge for the service, ridership would drop off dramatically which makes the economics unsupportable going forward.

The glaring flaw in your argument here is that guests will continue to pay the same room rate as though DME was still being offered. They aren't going to lower room prices in accordance with the savings from no longer offering DME. You're paying the same price and getting less for it, even if it wasn't a service you used.
 

donsullivan

Premium Member
The glaring flaw in your argument here is that guests will continue to pay the same room rate as though DME was still being offered. They aren't going to lower room prices in accordance with the savings from no longer offering DME. You're paying the same price and getting less for it, even if it wasn't a service you used.
I have no delusions of a rate reduction, which is why I made no suggestion of a rate reduction above. Maybe the next increase is a little smaller than it might have otherwise been after this service is removed. There is no way any of us outside Disney’s accountants knows the answer to that. The bottom line is there are many indicators this service was costing Disney more than the benefit they derived from it so they chose to end it. When you combine that with the relentless complaining from guests about the scheduling policies, bag delivery timelines, and other restrictions and policies that had to be added over time to curb abuse. it seems logical that it had run it’s course and it’s time to move on from it.

And if you (not you personally) feel the removal of this service will end your visits to WDW, I can assure you they factored that into their decisions as well. They know decisions like this will push some over the edge and they’ll stop coming back. Guess what, every single year, since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, some people finished a visit and never went back again. They decided they wanted to do new things, or spend their vacation dollars else where, or it was too expensive, etc... And then new people came in behind them and filled in the space. It’s the way it has been since the property opened and that is not going to change. There will always be people who do not come back again, and others who fill in behind them.
 
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flynnibus

Premium Member
Many need to let go of the perspective that their personal experience represents all visitors experience. Why should a guest who drives have to pay for this service if they have their own car? Why should a guest who rents a car, have to pay for this service if they have their rental car? If the service is baked into the room rate, everyone is paying for it whether they use it or not. And if they bring their own or rental car they also have to pay to park that vehicle. It is highly likely that if they decided to charge for the service, ridership would drop off dramatically which makes the economics unsupportable going forward.

The same can be said of many services... it's either a 'perk' they offer or consider it a cost of doing business. What about the first aid or mother centers in all the parks? Same thing... not everything is considered to be a self-supporting P&L and that is understood when they decide to get into it. "if they continue it.." is always as you said...

The bottom line is there are many indicators this service was costing Disney more than the benefit they derived from it so they chose to end it.

But the leap in your justification is the idea that the decision must obviously be driven by a drop in the benefit column... simply a 'lack of profitability' or return. But the service was always a cost... so any decision about it being 'in the red' so to speak ALWAYS has to be about if the pain is worth the benefit. But the service no longer being seen as 'worth it' isn't necessarily just because of a reduction in usage. The whole equation and thresholds could have changed.. aka their tolerance.


Disney clearly has the data that is not available to any of us about what percentage of all resort guests actually use the service now as well as the trend over time. It’s quite likely they found overall ridership was declining over time and they saw nothing that would change that trend.

This is a pretty self-concluding argument though. "nothing would change that trend"... you really think Disney concluded that they couldn't convince guests that a free shuttle is worthy vs services that cost a sizable amount of real money?

Most people when facing declining usage (and for DME.. a point that we really have no reference for) they look at what they need to do to make their service more attractive. It's not like the idea that transportation from the airport is somehow a dying market. They know any growth in their own market is always going to have airport usage attached at the hip.

They know the demand is there, and will essentially ALWAYS be there.

The program likely has minimum ridership targets for it to be profitable and they are likely approaching that threshold, which caused them to rethink the program. It cannot be disputed that there are lots more options than there were when the service first launched in 2005 and that likely figures into the ridership numbers as well.

I don't really subscribe to the 'there are many more options' narrative. There isn't any new form of transportation... it's all basically the same as it was before DME. 3rd party shared buses, taxis, hired drivers, and rentals. Just because there are lots more ways to get taxis now and prices have been pushed down.. Fundamentally the picture hasn't really changed. You can say more people take taxi-equivalents due to the price points and perceived convenience... but that is more like a shift in ridership, not a shift in landscape. The people who have been pummeled in this shift are the taxi companies. For consumers, we have more 'high tech taxis that are cheaper than they were 10 years ago'.. but it's not like the basic need and fulfillment has changed.

If anything what has changed in this time period (IMHO) is the demand for people to move around AFTER they've gotten to Disney. UNI is far more attractive than it was in the past.. people like using rideshares for quick trips... the dynamics about maintaining the Disney bubble have changed I think. Not so much the Airport->Disney options.

I think your post assumes Disney has to be doing this purely from a 'ridership drop' and hence the move is sound for that financial decision. I don't think we really have anything to support that sequence except we know Disney is financially motivated generally. They could be simply saying "we're cutting 25% OpEx across the board... what are the candidates..." and maybe they think DME's cost isn't justifiable in the new world order. It doesn't have to be because of usage changing. Possibilities like expectations changing, or competing initiatives are all examples of things that could make a pure cost service like DME drop out of favor in the company.

Think of all the leadership changes that have happened since DME was rolled out. Maybe it simply doesn't have a champion anymore advocating the spend actually justifies the return?

Your point about Disney concluding the return not being there is sound... but we shouldn't assume the way it's measured has stayed the same.
 

LUVMCO

Well-Known Member
It sure seems like Disney is pushing the narrative that 'no one needs DME anymore' like people weren't using it or something.

Does that match anyone's experience? Curious if people felt there were fewer buses or more open seats compared to earlier years...
I almost always use a ride share or rent a car with a drop off at the care center. The few times I've used ME it wasn't that full. I honestly don't know what the big deal is. On others forums and maybe this one too people are always starting threads looking for alternative transportation options. Who want's to get to MCO three hours before their return flight? It's a nice perk for people that like it, but I wonder how many people visiting WDW actually used it.
It cost me 28 dollars to Lyft to MCO. I left an 8 dollar tip.
 

jkh36619

Well-Known Member
I almost always use a ride share or rent a car with a drop off at the care center. The few times I've used ME it wasn't that full. I honestly don't know what the big deal is. On others forums and maybe this one too people are always starting threads looking for alternative transportation options. Who want's to get to MCO three hours before their return flight? It's a nice perk for people that like it, but I wonder how many people visiting WDW actually used it.
It cost me 28 dollars to Lyft to MCO. I left an 8 dollar tip.
Exactly
 

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