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Old 01-08-2013, 12:04 PM   #1
momto3boysillbe
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Using buses vs driving to the parks

I know this question has probably been asked hundreds of times but I don't have much time to search through all of these pages right now and we're trying to decide on where to book our stay. So please forgive me. Currently we have a villa booked at Beach Club for Easter week but are considering less expensive options such as OKW and SSR. Of course the only place to get to with ease at these resorts is dowtown disney and we usually don't even bother going there until our last day of the trip. One of the main reasons we really want to stay at Beach Club is the easier access to Epcot and DHS so that is a huge +. I'm not the biggest fan of the buses. I get very aggravated when we've been sitting 30 min waiting for a bus and that has happened several times. Or when we're exhausted at night with our boys passed out and all that's left is standing room. But even with all of my frustration, it always seemed to me that it would be just as much of a hassle to drive to the parks ourselves and then have to ride another transportation to the park itself from the lot. For those that do drive instead of using the buses, have you found this to be quicker and less stressful? We drive to Disney from NC so we always have a vehicle.

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Old 01-08-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
grimley1968
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As much as I enjoy using Disney transportation, driving yourself is faster to 3 of the parks: AK, EPCOT and DHS. You just drive straight to the parking lot and walk or tram to the gate. Buses often have to make stops at other resorts en route to parks. Parking is free if staying onsite.

The exception is MK, because you cannot drive to MK's gate. You have to park at the TTC, then tram or walk to a monorail or ferry boat across to MK's gate. This really adds to your travel time. But riding a bus to MK takes you to the gate, bypassing the TTC.

For the other 3 parks we like to drive if possible. It's nice to know our own quiet car is waiting for us a short walk or tram ride in the parking lot right there. This just doesn't work out so well at MK.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
Ds4angels
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I asked this question as well and got a 50/50 response. I think we're going to wind up driving to the parks since it's free to park. Just the thought of waiting and waiting for a bus or having to stand at the end of the night holding a tired child makes this the right choice for us. We're driving down too, so we'll already have the car there

Yes we'll have to take the boat or the monorail to MK, but we'll take the chance of waiting for that as opposed to waiting for a bus. Especially since our resort is the last to pick up/drop off (ASMo)
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Driving is super simple; half the time I'm parked close enough to walk, but the trams are more or less continuous, just a few minutes wait at the most. As mentioned, it's a little faster to EP, DS, and AK. It's a lot faster to any other resort. It's about a push to MK; depends on exactly how the bus arrivals break.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
momto3boysillbe
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Thanks for the responses. the blizzard beach stop before AK really slows that ride down so I'm thinking we might definitely try driving instead for that park. Getting to MK does seem like an extra bit of work though. We should try it at least once I guess. We never have. I have seen some say they never use the buses so I was curious how much time they thought it saved. It's getting more difficult now as my littlest guys are 5 & 7 so if they've fallen asleep in the stroller before we leave the park it's hard getting them on and off the buses. Especially if its full!
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ds4angels View Post
I asked this question as well and got a 50/50 response. I think we're going to wind up driving to the parks since it's free to park. Just the thought of waiting and waiting for a bus or having to stand at the end of the night holding a tired child makes this the right choice for us. We're driving down too, so we'll already have the car there

Yes we'll have to take the boat or the monorail to MK, but we'll take the chance of waiting for that as opposed to waiting for a bus. Especially since our resort is the last to pick up/drop off (ASMo)
I wouldn't agree with all of this -- often each all star resort has it's own dedicated bus, and when they don't it's just an additional stop (takes no longer than a city bus stop). Bus transportation is much more frequent at value resorts and they don't have multiple stops at the resorts like you'd find in other resorts. The longest I have ever waited for a bus either going to or coming from the parks is 15 minutes, which is the same as the longest I've ever waited for a parking tram.

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As much as I enjoy using Disney transportation, driving yourself is faster to 3 of the parks: AK, EPCOT and DHS. You just drive straight to the parking lot and walk or tram to the gate. Buses often have to make stops at other resorts en route to parks. Parking is free if staying onsite.

The exception is MK, because you cannot drive to MK's gate. You have to park at the TTC, then tram or walk to a monorail or ferry boat across to MK's gate. This really adds to your travel time. But riding a bus to MK takes you to the gate, bypassing the TTC.

For the other 3 parks we like to drive if possible.
It's nice to know our own quiet car is waiting for us a short walk or tram ride in the parking lot right there. This just doesn't work out so well at MK.
I totally agree with this, but I'd add that we only drive to AK and DHS if we're going early enough to walk from the parking lot to the park gate, like for rope drop. We don't spend a lot of time at Ep so we usually take the monorail from MK for that.

But I would never drive to MK if I could take a bus -- once you've done the monorail and ferry to and from the TTC you get over the dazzle of it. Especially at park closing that extra 40 minutes - 1 hr of travel to get to your car ie. wait for the monorail, ride the monorail, wait for the parking tram, ride the parking tram, can just be a downer at the end of a really long day.

But we've never stopped at another resort on our way to the parks...
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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We much prefer to drive to the parks. Our older son has autism and we feel driving to the parks makes it easier for everyone. We don't drive to the Magic Kingdom though.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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We drive to the parks. Don't like to rely on the buses as we sometimes leave during times when a majority of guests are leaving. Waiting for a bus after Illuminations or Fantasmic just isn't very appealing.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:42 AM   #9
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We should try it at least once I guess. We never have.
It's worth doing---the ferry is particularly relaxing if the weather is nice.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:21 PM   #10
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Before we had DD, we didn't mind using the buses but now that we are traveling with a young child, we find being in control of our transportation is much less stressful than relying on the buses. It's also really nice to get into your own quiet car at the end of the day.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
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Just to add my two cents, our first three trips we used Disney transportation exclusively. Our last trip in September, we drove down so we were able to use our car to get everywhere. Personally, I'd never use Disney transportation again after having my own vehicle. If you consider that you're driving the same roads/routes as the buses, then it makes sense that driving yourself would be as fast, if not faster than, Disney buses. (We've only stayed onsite, at the Contemporary, so I can't speak for getting to/from Magic Kingdom.) We never waited more than 5 minutes for a parking tram, which is far less than we typically waited for a bus on previous trips. And staying at the Contemporary, we shared a bus with Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian. So we always had those stops to deal with, as well. But, there are certainly others who like to leave their car at the airport or resort parking lot, and not have to get behind the wheel until the trip is over. I like driving in general, so I don't mind driving on vacation as well.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:42 PM   #12
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Just to add my two cents, our first three trips we used Disney transportation exclusively. Our last trip in September, we drove down so we were able to use our car to get everywhere. Personally, I'd never use Disney transportation again after having my own vehicle. If you consider that you're driving the same roads/routes as the buses, then it makes sense that driving yourself would be as fast, if not faster than, Disney buses. (We've only stayed onsite, at the Contemporary, so I can't speak for getting to/from Magic Kingdom.) We never waited more than 5 minutes for a parking tram, which is far less than we typically waited for a bus on previous trips. And staying at the Contemporary, we shared a bus with Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian. So we always had those stops to deal with, as well. But, there are certainly others who like to leave their car at the airport or resort parking lot, and not have to get behind the wheel until the trip is over. I like driving in general, so I don't mind driving on vacation as well.
Resorts that have other methods of transportation don't have as many busses as those that have only busses. So while your bus went to several monorail resorts, the all star buses and pop busses don't go to other resorts.

Not sure about the mods and the DVC resorts -- I'm pretty sure they all have several stops in their resort but I don't know if their bus stops at several resorts.

I think if you combine all the methods of transportation that wdw provides, they do a pretty awesome job of getting all those people around every day.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:00 PM   #13
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In the "off" seasons you can park at a MK hotel and go from there via monorail. Busy times they are a lot stricter. I always have a car, but last trip we stayed at WL and used a bus to get to MK. 3 AK buses-1 EC and 1 DTD came by before a MK bus came. Very frustrating. I know I could have taken a boat also but mistakenly thought bus would be faster. Thinking of trying ME for our 5 day trip in Dec but requires a lot more thinking still. Have the car rental already for May trip
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:28 PM   #14
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In the "off" seasons you can park at a MK hotel and go from there via monorail. Busy times they are a lot stricter.
You're still subject to be towed if you try this. We normally go in October, which is pretty much off season. We've seen cars towed from the Poly multiple times at this time of year, presumably due to a crowded lot and a non-guest parking there. I would never risk this, especially when the TTC lot is literally adjacent to the Poly lot.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:56 PM   #15
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I don't mind the buses but my husband prefers to drive our car to the parks rather than wait for the buses. It is faster.

The only exception is MK or if we know we'll be drinking. If we will be drinking or going to MK, we take the buses.

When I go solo, I normally fly. So I save money and just take Disney transportation everywhere.
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