Posted Friday, April 21, 2017 10:20 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Disney appears ready to step into the ride-sharing game and roll out its own ride-sharing service, where cast members transport guests from hotels to theme parks using electric vehicles.
Read more from WFTV/Orlando.
How is this in any way a "ride sharing service"? This would be a Disney-operated taxi service, plain and simple.
A ride sharing system is a peer-to-peer system in which the service connects people who need rides with people who can supply rides, and the informality of the system distinguishes it from a traditional taxi service. There is nothing peer-to-peer about the kind of system Disney is proposing. It would be Disney drivers in Disney cars dispatched by Disney to offer rides to people. That sounds like an old-fashioned taxi service.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
I think it’s funny that Disney is trying to capitalize on their already existing inefficient, frustrating and painfully slow bus system and found a workaround in hope of a new revenue stream. The reason that guests are Uber’ing across WDW is because the bus system stinks. But improving the bus system only adds expense with no real revenue uptick, so here we are I guess.
I’d be curious to see what the real revenue potential is. I’ve done Uber at WDW several times and you can easily get anywhere from point A to B inside the resort for less than $10; closer to $5 in many cases. Disney has to pay the driver, and recoup the purchase cost of the vehicle, and they will have development costs and one car can only do so many rides per hour. Maybe there’s another side to this than I’m seeing. I just don’t see that huge of a revenue stream on a bunch of $5-$10 rides; unless Disney projects mass usage of this new transportation option.
Why does the bus system stink? I never had issues with it.
I was going to ask the same thing. Aside from having to occasionally wait for a bus (which you do for any bus system anywhere) there really isn't anything wrong with the bus system. Depending on the time of the day the busses can be crowded but you have to take into consideration where you are.
Or we are just accustomed to getting a ride 'right now' and 'directly to my destination' thanks to Uber and Lyft. My first experience using ride sharing was last summer and I was amazed at the ease and efficiency it was on my end.
I've had a little bit of experience with Disney's bussing a few years ago and thought it was an average bus experience. You had to wait for the bus to show up, wait through other stops and eventually I got to my destination.
I see this 'ride sharing' service as an opportunity for Disney to take advantage of the above crowd and make some money off of it. The family and I are doing a Disney trip this fall, so it'll be interesting to see if we stick with bussing or go to using Uber or Lyft.
I'm all for EVs, and all for revenue streams...
Still, seems to me there might be more "low-hanging fruit" by improving whatever the perceived barriers are to the bus system...personally, I'm with the group that says it works, but clearly there must be enough people claiming it's not working for them. Perhaps a cast member who reads you the signs as to where the buses go? (LetMeGoogleThatForYou) ;~)
I'd agree that for the most part the bus system works for getting to the parks. When you start dining away from the parks, it can fall apart.
At least once a trip we run into something like this. We were just at the Boardwalk for the last week. Had a reservation at Disney Springs, a distance of roughly 2.5 miles bus stop to bus stop. We were on the bus for over 30 minutes after waiting for the bus to arrive. A little bit better getting back to the resort, but still spent over an hour on bus transportation for dinner that was just short of an hour. If they put in a sidewalk along Buena Vista Drive, walking could be faster under some normal circumstances.
A co-worker stayed at Caribbean Beach last year, and made an ADR on the Boardwalk. Thinking they were so close that going to Disney Springs and back would take too much time, they hopped a bus to EPCOT not realizing that there was no transportation service from the front of EPCOT to the EPCOT area resorts. They weren't on park hoppers, and it wasn't EPCOT day, so they ended up getting a cab. They grabbed the EPCOT bus because it was there and a Studios bus was 10 minutes away. Me telling them after the fact they would have been better off on the Studios bus didn't really help the situation.
Point being, guests shouldn't have to memorize transportation routes or commit themselves to more time on the bus than at the restaurant.
If people are willing to hand over $100 for Fast Lane, why wouldn't you hand over $10 to save 60-90 minutes getting to dinner and back?
How much money is Disney potentially losing because people spend that time on the bus?
And what impact is the need to cram into a bus in the first place having on their overall experience?
Don't ask whether it is an efficient or effective way to get where you want to go in the resort. Ask whether people enjoy it. My impression is that bus transportation being what it is, and traffic in the RCID being what it is, the bus system is probably not generating the most pleasant memories in Disney's customers. Worse, some of the memories being generated by the bus system may actually be negative.
I've never used the buses at WDW, but if they are run with anything approaching the competence and efficiency of the Disneyland parking garage trams, then they really do need to look into other, more suitable options.....
--Dave Althoff, Jr
(Seriously, how is it possible to so horribly screw up tram service with exactly two endpoints?)
That sounds like a cultural problem to me. I'm sure urban Americans and most non-Americans would find the buses to be perfectly adequate.
I live in the Chicago area (live in a suburb, work in the city) and use public transit to get around.
That said, I'm not a fan of busses. I like to get from where I am to where I'm going as quickly as possible, and busses make too many stops. I much prefer using the elevated trains to get around.
The Disney bus system, in my admittedly limited experience, has the same problem. Too many stops between where I am and where I'm going. When I go to WDW I rent a car.
I don't think that's a consistent problem. Again, if you stay at any of the cheap resorts, the buses are all dedicated routes between your hotel and the park (or Disney Springs). For the rest, it seems to depend on the time of year and occupancy. Most of my experience is with the cheap resorts, and even though they're further away, I never found them to be inconvenient.
Driving isn't super convenient either, especially for Magic Kingdom. I loathe visiting that park because once I've parked, I'm still, best case scenario, 20 minutes away from the gate, maybe more if I tram to the TTC instead of walk. On a bus, I'm dropped at the gate.
Agreed. In spite of the minor inconveniences we experienced with Disney transportation, one of the redeeming factors is drop off at the gate. I turn and look at the sea of cars back there in the lot and say "thank god".
We wound up using Uber several times on our visit in February, and as I chronicled in a trip report, it was due mainly to laziness, drunkenness, or lateness of the night. (Or all three) The only problem we had was coming from Springs one night and we attempted to order our car to the old bus station at the Village end of the property. (We didn't want to walk back to the cab depot, or whatever, down behind Cirque.) The driver couldn't find us. It took forever, we were freezing, and two of us had to pee.
I think I'd enjoy a Disney service more. At least we could hope the drivers would be more familiar with the property, right? That would be a good job to have, too.
If they could just make late-night food available somewhere on the property, that would satisfy my biggest after-hours concern.
Our home has always been Art of Animation. I remember being very wary about what the bus experience would be like, but the ease and efficiency of the system quickly diminished any anxiety. I expected to be disappointed, and ended up very impressed. No stops between the resort and the parks, and so many buses going back and forth that even on the busiest day there was no more than about a 5-7 minute wait for the next bus (usually no wait at all). And speaking of the bus itself, we also came with a babyjogger (a double), and not once did we have an issue with loading/unloading. The buses were also really new, clean, with very helpful and friendly drivers.
Before our first trip a few years ago I asked this forum about renting a car (that was our first instinct), but it was suggested we give the buses a chance. Glad we did!
I have zero desire to drive in that traffic, much less pay for the luxury of doing so.
And we're not urban. :) Rural.
Try saying that word out loud a few times, by the way. "Rural". I've always found it to be very awkward.Last edited by OhioStater, Thursday, May 4, 2017 2:07 PM
The buses between Port Orleans Riverside and the parks a few weeks ago was way less than desirable in some days. One night, we had such a terrible experience getting back from Epcot, that we decided to drive the next 2 days. We stood, packed on a sardine can bus for over 45 minutes to go the short hop/skip/jump - the worst part of it was that while waiting for the riverside bus, we saw at least 3 French Quarter buses come and go, with less than a handful of people showing up to catch it each time.
It's not entirely Disney's fault, though. The buses are packed, but people also don't know how to behave on them. It's extremely rude to be standing on the bus with 2 folded strollers under your arms, a backpack on your back, and not paying attention to who you're slamming into every time the brakes are applied. People need to work together to stash those things under seats, and let the people holding kids sit down, rather than sprawling out and taking 2 seats for yourself.
I love Disney more than a lot of people, but transportation has definitely declined in the last few years. Not just the buses - the monorail spent more time in holding on my first day there than it did moving. We were stuck in the TTC station with the doors closed for about 8 minutes before moving, then we parked in the contemporary for another 5, before parking outside of the MK station, back by space mountain for another 5. We decided the ferry boat was the way in/out from then on, if we didn't take the bus.
I think the reality of it is that in previous years people weren't traveling as much, and suddenly, lots of people are. I got used to there being a lull for a few years, and then I missed out for a while. The whole place as a whole is much busier now than it was 5-7 years ago, with no signs of stopping.
That's why, in October, I've decided to move out of my moderate comfort zone and we're staying at Wilderness Lodge. A quick boat ride to the Contemporary, and a leisurely walk to MK, or a boat ride to MK if I'm feeling like that, are better options to me than trying to battle the bus crowds. It's worth the $$, if you ask me.
I wonder how much my dislike of the bus system is because we stay at Port Orleans. Getting from the resort is a lesson in patience for me, especially early in the morning.
Maybe it does just depend on the resort, and that day's bus routes. I've bused from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Beach Club, Yacht Club, without issue. Beach and Yacht used the same bus, but the other two used the giant articulated bus with a dedicated route. Of course, when you're staying at Beach/Yacht, Epcot is walking distance, and frankly DHS is too if you're trying to reinforce your Fitbit count, so already half of the parks don't even figure into transportation. For the amount of time I would typically spend at Epcot, I can't imagine ever staying at something not an Epcot resort.
My experience at Port Orleans was the same. Really crowded busses and lines at every stop. The good thing, however, was the boat to Downtown/Springs. That was nice.
When we stayed at Pop Century more often, my wife who doesn't usually pay attention to those details even made comments about never staying at Port Orleans because of the bus lines, and that was before Disney got the articulated buses.
We saw the same thing this trip, but with Boardwalk vs Yacht/Beach. Yacht/Beach was getting its own bus while Boardwalk was sharing a bus with Swan and Dolphin. We noticed a few times where Yacht/Beach would have 5-10 people board a bus while Boardwalk/Swan/Dolphin would have more people in line than could cram into a bus. We never witnessed a Yacht/Beach queue filled to the same level as the Boardwalk/Swan/Dolphin.
Yacht/Beach has a combined 1,500 rooms, while Boardwalk has 900 and the Swan and Dolphin have over 2,200. Put together, a Boardwalk/Swan/Dolphin bus is serving more rooms than Pop Century or Art of Animation, but as Jeff mentioned, those two resorts get the articulated double-bus for peak times while Boardwalk/Swan/Dolphin had a normal bus at all times. I agree on Epcot and DHS from those resorts. From the Villa end of Boardwalk, we could walk to DHS in half the time the boat takes.
A chunk of time in the Disney Springs dinner I mentioned above was because of this combo. Disney was at least showing preference to their resort, going to the Boardwalk first. It was then going away from Disney Springs to the Swan and Dolphin, then took a right out of the Dolphin and made the long drive around past Yacht/Beach before turning onto Buena Vista. It seemed they were running the same number of buses, so the extra stops plus longer distance resulted in a longer wait time between buses as well.
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