View Full Version : What I Found Out About Bus On Demand

Captain Crook
05-02-2001, 06:22 PM
While on my recent visit to WDW I had occasion to talk to many people about the new bus on demand system. First, the initial attempt has caused the Palm Pilots to "crash" twice in the first two weeks...Various rumors as to why, one being the mainframe for the data was located in Washington State (?).

I spoke to two mid level managers who both were impressed with the 'demand' proposal and were confident that the bugs would be worked out and eventually successful.

The drivers are very negative and have nothing but sarcasam and derrogotive comments towards everyone from Eisner to Weiss to those whom I didn't know.

In speaking to a middle manager about the bus drivers, the drivers attitude came as no surprise to him as the bus drivers are "tough nuts" in his estimation.

So, although Bus on Demand hasn't succeded as of yet, Management (as low as Park walkers) feel it will be succesful, while Bus Drivers fear it won't.

My opinion is that the Bus Drivers don't like change, don't like their last contract and don't like Eisner (much like Landbaron) because he's an easy target.

Management is aware that the Palm Pilots were overtaxed but are still confident in the 'leg work' that validates this system.

Time will tell!

05-03-2001, 12:58 PM

Part of this is confusing. The only computers that Disney has in Washington state were about 75 servers for the Go network. None of them were mainframes. ABC had already moved its data center to Orlando. That left the only Mainframes in Orlando and Burbank. Maybe they meant Burbank. Disney's goal, as I was told, was to consolodate as many servers and data centers in Orlando as possible. It would be just like them to then turn around a design a system that didn't use the local host. :jester:

05-03-2001, 01:14 PM
I usually don't agree with my favorite Captain, but when I was there a couple weeks ago, the bus drivers told me the same thing. I mean about the Washington thing. At the time, I didn't follow it up. But two drivers told me the exact same thing. They also said it would never work. We'll see.

05-03-2001, 03:27 PM
What type of Palms were they using? If they were less robust palm III/M100s, I wouldn't be surprised, but a Palm Vx or IIIc should be able to keep up ? Why would they dispatch from Washington state?!? I can't think of a single good reason.

05-03-2001, 04:01 PM
The only reason i can think of is to save money some how? Although I am not sure as how this would save any money if they already have machines capable of performing the functions necessary available in Orlando. Either that or their planning was not quite up to snuff and the Bus on Demand went online before they could set it up in Orlando on the server side and therefore have to run it in Washington, but that doesn't sound likely either. Or one opther possibility is that this is not a Disney alone project and their "partner" in bus on Demand is headquartered in Washington. Just a few possibilities as to why this may be, but none besides the last seem plausible.


05-03-2001, 07:41 PM
I just hope that Microsoft isn't the partner! I work with Microsoft products everyday and I could see why there is so many bugs if they are involved. It would be even more scary that Microsoft was getting involved in Mainframe computers since they work. lol :bounce:

05-03-2001, 08:01 PM
I haven't been down since they went to Bus on demand but I'm assuming they're using Palm VII's. They cetainly need wireless to transmit the data. I really doubt that the servers are in Washington but, that really wouldn't make a difference, since transmission speeds are so fast. I work on a computer in France from the US and see no significant performance problems.:rolleyes:

:confused: :confused:
Just a side note:
I just looked as disrailfan's post and it showed 9:41 pm on 5/3/01 in Indiana. I'm in Louisville (EST) and it's only 8:55 here. I know part of Indiana does not go to Daylight Savings time but that should put them an additional hour behind. Are the clocks for the website off????? :confused: :confused:

OK, I just answered my own question, the system clocks are 1 hour ahead of EST, since my post came up at 10:01 and it's 9:01 here!!!:bounce:

05-04-2001, 11:24 AM
The Bus on Demand is probably web based. Simple, requiring a Web enabled Database and a click of a button.:p

05-04-2001, 11:27 AM
They don't need to be Palm VII's as you can get wireless adapters for any palm. They could be those accursed HAndspring Visors since Palm is oneof those ubiqutous names

Peter Pirate
05-05-2001, 08:49 AM
I'm going to WDW nxt weekend and I'll try to get more info...Like what kind of Palm Pilots & why Washington?

This will be my third trip since Bus on Demand started and I have to say that on the first two the bus service was better than I ever remember...So don't naysay based on rumor or speculation. I'm sure there are others who've had bad experiences, but again, I'm 2 for 2!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :pinkbounc

05-05-2001, 10:21 AM
Just some info......

Two weeks ago when we were at AKL, the bus driver told us that BOD was back to the drawing board since it was not working right, so I dont think they are using it right now. But, you know how negative the bus drivers can be.

BTW - six weeks ago during our stay at DXL/PO Riverside, I took a good look at the device they are using it is not a palm pilot or a handspring device. It is "like" that in that it has a touch screen, but it is a bit larger with yellow buttons. These devices are specifically designed for the type of system WDW is using.

Peter Pirate
05-05-2001, 10:34 AM
We must've been there about the same time (we were there 4/27-30). What I understood was that the BOD was in operation...but not as intended. The Palm devices were not currently being used but they were operating the new system (BOD) the old fashioned way (by bus radio)...:cool:

05-14-2001, 04:21 PM
WAY back when (March) on the old boards there was a post (on the resort board I'm pretty sure) from someone describing the units used and saying that they (PDA's) were manufactured by the company she works for (in WA) specifically for this type of thing. They're not really *palm pilots.* It's like saying kleenex when you mean tissue.

So, I'm assuming it's an outsource.

05-15-2001, 09:08 AM
Peter Pirate,

Did you make it to the World this past weekend as your post said above? Any more insight into the BOD?

Captain Crook
05-15-2001, 09:23 AM
The Pirate & I will be at WDW this weekend (starting Thursday). So we'll try to come back with some news...Otherwise, I'll just make something up!;) (kidding).
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

05-15-2001, 10:08 AM
I just returned from 9 days at WL, and on one occasion I got to talk to Doug, a particularly talkative bus driver about BOD. It seems that it was not working right and they have temporarily scrapped it. He thought it was on hold until they got the bugs worked out and then it would be back.

As it was the busses ran fine without it, I was really impressed after all I had read here. Only on one occasion did the crowd waiting for a bus exceed the bus capacity. We were in the front of the line waiting to go to Typhoon Lagoon. We were the first on the bus and I heard the bus driver call in to report there were more people waiting than would fit on his bus. They immedieatly dispatched another bus to pick up the remaining people. As we were pulling away I could see a new bus pulling up.

So I think BOD may exist in a manual form right now, but from what I saw, there was no effort to implement the system and everthing ran fine without it.

05-15-2001, 07:35 PM
Many of todays Client Served and Web based ASP applications have data stored on servers on the other side of the world. That should not be an issue. More than likley someone uninfomed thought that could be blamed for the problem and propergated the information from one person to another. The only thing that maters is if if the Internet or intranet connection is working. There would be no differnce if the server was sitting in Orlando or Washington.

I doubt that disney developed the bus on demand system. More than likely they bought a software package that could be customized for their needs. For any large software application the key is planning the rollout of the software. Sounds like they may have rushed that part.

BOD will be back and it will work. :bounce:

Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 02:43 PM
Well, I just got back and I did have the opportunity to speak with several people about BOD.

First a driver supervisor (who was behind the wheel) claimed the Palm Pilots did interface (is that the right term?) through Washington St. and were overloaded. Also, he said the walkie talkies they used interfered with the Palms causing a big problem. Currently they are running a manuel BOD system in the am., but it's not a lot different than the old way.

Now an information taker at CSR had a different take. He laughed at the idea that the information was taveling to Washington, he concurred that they were Palm Pilots and said that Disney simply rushed an untested idea into use to fast.

Both men believe the system will be very good when the wrinkles are ironed out!

Sorry, I couldn't get better...But I'm sure someone will!
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-24-2001, 09:45 AM
Thanks for the Update Pete!