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new blog: Walt Disney World Transportation – Flawed or Convenient?

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by WebmasterLeah, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. zulemara

    zulemara <font color=royalblue>Oh Boy! I'm a WDW sailor!<br

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    Remember that public transportation is a fixed route, not dynamic. WDW buses are dynamic, deployed using a combination of computer software and human intervention.

    Also regarding monorails, see my post on page 1 about any expansion. They need to fix what they have and monorails are not the end all be all of transportation because one issue will stop an entire route. Buses and watercraft are both much more capable of handling obstacles to the operation.
     
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  3. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    I think one of the biggest things to remember is that the transportation system generates no revenue. When you look and the P & L, Transportation is a loss. Parking, is a P, because it generates revenue. Anytime you have a portion of your company that is in the L side, that portion is often the first to see cuts. Even though the busses, Monorails, and boats take people places, the people that spend $$$, the transportation is really just an optional perk. I get the best service from a Taxi, mainly because I am having to pay for it. If the Taxi was free, The quality of service would be nowhere near the same.
     
  4. *NikkiBell*

    *NikkiBell* The WDW Merchandise Walking Bible Moderator

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    My expectations are definitely not to be ushered park to park in a cushioned reality. However, when people are literally squished into a bus as show in the pictures in my blog, it causes me to wonder how much of a perk this "free" service really is. As for sense of entitlement, I don't think asking for safe transport is being entitled.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I plan wholeheartedly on using the transportation system on my trips in the future, but it seems like there is a lack of increasing buses when new resorts open and during peak times. It was never this bad in the past, and I've been going to WDW for over 20 years.
     
  5. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggressio

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    Yes, WDW is a dynamic system with ample resources available to make it work. That's exactly why it SHOULD work much better than it does. The ability to adapt on the fly is a huge advantage and they should be able to leverage that to mitigate many of the current issues.

    A public, fixed system generally lacks that ability and cannot adapt to issues that arise. Ironically, similar to the argument against monorails.

    Regarding monorails, I went out of my way to not say monorail expansion is the be all end all. I understand the drawbacks, but there is a reason fixed rail systems are a big part of most large transportation systems.

    But again, part of the reasoning behind Disney's original use of the monorail was not simply efficiency, it was also part of the "show". That is the concept that has been lost over the years. Yes, Disney's transportation system needs to efficiently move people from place to place, but it also should be something the guests look forward to experiencing. A well-maintained monorail does both, but if Disney chose to instead invest in a newer form, that would be fine as well. This would also take pressure off the busses (and boats), allowing them to more easily do their job.

    But if they aren't going to make the investment, they at least need to find a way to improve the current systems.
     
  6. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    I agree Disney's transportation system generates no direct revenue but it plays a major role in maintaining Disney's revenue stream nonetheless. Start with Magical Express, which also generates no revenue but is cost-justified because it plays a major role in keeping guests on property so that they will spend on property. The extensive Disney transportation system plays a very similar role in keeping guest spending on property. Of course, it has other roles, most of which have been mentioned.

    Now I agree that these kind of costs are the first ones cut. I view these cuts as short-sided. Reductions that frustrate guests (long delays for buses, crowded buses etc.) to the point that they decide to drive rather than use Disney transportation will reduce Disney's income. Folks like me will go off site for food, lodging and other entertainment.

    But I suspect that, like it does with other things (such as its food and resort prices) Disney will push the envelope as much as it can.

    I love mass transportation. I use it as often as I can whenever I travel. I've just decided that it doesn't work for me (and my intolerably low patience quotient) to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a Disney bus to arrive to take me to a theme park.
     
  7. ToddyLu

    ToddyLu Welcome aboard explorers- I love Mr. Ray

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    :) DH and I park our car at the airport and almost exclusively use Disney Transportation--especially buses at AKV. We have found ourselves taking a taxi twice on our last two trips because we were too fat and lazy to stand and wait after eating at Bluezoo and Cali Grill. It was worth the $20 at that point to sit and vegetate.

    We do not have public transportation to speak of where we live. I am fascinated with the system at Disney and more so with the people riding it. I sit back, relax and allow the "drama" to unfold in front of me. In the 13 trips we have made those shows are almost as comical as watching a Disney Movie. The comments, attitudes, irritation, impatience and lack of courtesy of fellow guests are priceless. The oohhh and ahhhs when the lights come on after a 20 minute ride from MK to AKL tickle my funny bone--I alwayse wonder if the experienced folks like me are mentally preparing themselves for strike to the eyes while newbies are left blinded for a second or two. ( maybe this later part of my posts makes me a crazy sicko--but I think like that--and I am trying to be honest.)

    Ultimately my feeling when I am waiting on a bus to get to a prized ADRs...and time is ticking slowly by while bus after bus pulls up and no one boards and it is not our bus--is I live in the United States of America, where I have a decent job to pay my bills and can afford a trip to a world class destination once or twice a year, my legs work and I see children smiling and laughing (usually) in anticipation of seeing a favorite character.

    I am not in Africa watching my child starve or having to walk 10 miles to a school in shambles....in a world that is not perfect, the bus system at Disney is not perfect--but at least they offer it and it is free. I enjoy the green grass and signage as we ride along--I think Disney World is about as close to a perfect world as I will ever see...I am so lucky ::yes::
     
  8. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggressio

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    But it does generate revenue, it's just that it is indirect.

    Look at it this way... if Disney had no internal transportation system, do you think they would still be able to charge the same prices for park tickets and rooms? Of course not.

    Conversely, if Disney had a better system, wouldn't they be able to charge more for rooms/tickets? Of course.

    The system most definitely generates revenue, it's just that the revenue comes in through different streams. You are right that a lot of companies lose sight of concepts like this and do cut in areas that do not DIRECTLY generate revenue, but it's also often a mistake.

    It's like any other perk/service Disney offers but does not charge for. Transportation, Fastpass (for now), package delivery, etc. They all generate revenue and it would be a mistake to simply view them as a cost that can be cut/controlled.
     
  9. ValpoCory

    ValpoCory DIS Veteran

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    Can WDW add LED screens to their Bus stops, that tell guests the destination and approximately wait time until the next bus arrives? If this can be done in horrendously unpredictable traffic cities like San Francisco, you'd think it'd be possible at WDW. See it on the top of this image:

    [​IMG]

    Cell phone apps would soon follow.
     
  10. Fred & Mary

    Fred & Mary Earning My Ears

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    There is nothing to say that you have to immediately leave the park after the fireworks. Stop and have an ice cream. Get a pickle or buy something in one of the shops. I am on vacation and I would think most everyone else visiting the parks are also on vacation. Relax, stop and smell the flowers, look at the sights or just think about the show you just saw. We like to sit and discuss what we liked the most that day. What are we going to do the next day. On our first visit, we also rushed back to our resort and sat around and talked. Now we find that it just as easy to sit in which every park we are in and enjoy the atmosphere.
    :goodvibespixiedust:
     
  11. disneychic2

    disneychic2 DIS Veteran

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    To answer the original question, I do think the deficiencies are worth it. DH loves that his vacation starts when he boards ME. We plan for long waits and sometimes we even have them, but for the most part our experience has been reasonable waits for transportation with just an occasional longer-than-expected wait. Granted, we usually go in September when things are a bit slower. Of course there is room for improvement, but for the question posted, I say yes, absolutely the good outweighs the bad!
     
  12. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    The only problem with indirect profit is that it does not show on a Profit & Loss sheet. What the bean counters at Disney look at is the bottom line. I think that the Dynamic bus system proves this point. They are trying to squeeze more out of less as opposed to a Public system that uses fixed routes and expected stop times. I ride the bus to work most days and the bus is almost always ontime no matter how many passengers are waiting. At WDW, the dynamic routing is very hit and miss. It is like you were holding a long, skinny balloon and squeezing at different portions of the balloon. The balloon may be bigger at one side or the other, but there is still the same abount of air in the balloon. You may have more air where you need less air and vice versa.
     
  13. WaDiWo

    WaDiWo WDWFan!

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    Sure no system is perfect, but seriously look:

    Walt Disney World is a mini-city, and offers FREE TRANSPORTATION anywhere to anyone, whether or not you are staying there, and whether or not you are going to the parks. What other city can offer that?
     
  14. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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    This is kinda how I am. I took a taxi twice on my trip and I kinda missed my fellow vacationers on the buses both times, call me strange! I enjoy people watching at the parks but enjoyed it the most on the buses at times. I only twice ever encountered a truly crowded bus and I remember the bus driver and others taking it in stride. Granted I tend to see my Disney vacations through rose colored glasses since I rarely get to go and any trip as a kid I was with my family and all we were interested in doing was enjoying ourselves and weren't to terribly worried if the bus got us there at times. If I really needed to be somewhere at a specific time I got up earlier or took a taxi. I really didn't expect much from the Disney transportation and I guess my low expectations are the reason I wasn't as shocked by certain things that others are. I never felt entitled while vacationing at Disney, Disney World is probably one of the few parks offering so many different options for travel I wish other parks offered such things for just being guests to their resorts.
     
  15. mytripsandraces

    mytripsandraces DIS Veteran

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    In this instance, the people are squishing themselves. The driver has stopped too many from getting on from a safety standpoint, but, for the most part, people are hopping on the bus and choosing to stay on even when there are no seats and it's crowded. The driver's only obligation is to prevent too many people from getting on. If the bus looks too crowded and I can't get a seat for the young children or older people in our party, we wait for the next bus.

    ETA - A poster mentioned above that it took 2 hours to get from resort to resort. The resorts in question weren't mentioned, but the bus system isn't designed to move riders from resort to resort; however, it's wonderful that we can exploit the system so that we can use it that way, even if it does take a bit longer.

    I enjoy all aspects of Disney transportation, because I don't want to have to get myself from point to point. I live in NYC (same buses, by the way) and I'm used to picking and choosing whether or not I'm going to get on a particular mode of transportation. For me, though, each of the modes at WDW is part of the show. I enjoy the decorations on the buses and the ads and the music, as much as I enjoy the thrill of riding the monorail.

    Given the number of people Disney moves and the numerous modes they have to move them, I think they're doing an admirable job. Are there issues? Yes, but I don't think convenience and flawed are mutually exclusive. Whatever flaws there may be in the system, it is, unarguably convenient, though the level of convenience may vary, depending on the mode, the rider, etc.
     
  16. k5jmh

    k5jmh When Yuba plays the Rumba on his Tuba...

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    I would not say that the transportation is free. I am sure that there is a cost factored into resort prices and ticket prices (because how do you figure in the Swan/Dolphin into the resort prices). :thumbsup2
     
  17. zulemara

    zulemara <font color=royalblue>Oh Boy! I'm a WDW sailor!<br

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    ding ding! Disney determines a capacity on the buses, monorails, and boats. If it's too crowded, waiting for the next one is always an option. If Disney reduced capacity, it would mean a better experience EVERY time, but would also create a mandatory additional wait time. With the current system, Disney is letting the guest choose if they want to get on or wait for the next bus/boat/monorail
     
  18. mytripsandraces

    mytripsandraces DIS Veteran

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    Yep! This is what it would look like if Disney squished people (this is a picture of the official Tokyo subway packers, who are paid to stand on the platform and literally push people into the cars):

    http://www.kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/tokyo-Japan-subway-crowd.jpg
     
  19. *NikkiBell*

    *NikkiBell* The WDW Merchandise Walking Bible Moderator

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    When I was at WDW in June, on two separate occasions bus drivers insisted on more people getting aboard despite the entire aisle being filled. I'm not sure all drivers are as good about monitoring how many are getting on as you mentioned in your post.
     
  20. peel

    peel DIS Veteran

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    I'm sorry, but it is pretty upsetting to see someone being judged like this by looking at a 5 minute snapshot of his/her life. Obviously I don't know what this person's disability is any more than you do, but there are plenty of illnesses that require a wheelchair (which does NOT cost extra money) despite the person being able to walk short distances, and there are also illnesses with symptoms that are relieved by water therapy or just by being in the water. So maybe, this person suffers through their day and can only be mobile for a long time in a huge park by using a wheelchair (which is no pleasant feat in an unsympathetic crowd, I can pretty much guarantee), and you just happened to witness the few minutes of fun at the pool in which this person temporarily forgot about the wheelchair.

    I could be wrong, but I choose to assume that I'm not.

    EDIT: I realized I was completely OT, so on to Disney Transportation.
    I've stayed on property once a year since 2003, most times in January during one of the quietest weeks of the year. I've definitely noticed an increase in passengers on the buses, especially coming back from the parks at night. Prior to 3 or 4 years ago we never had to stand on a bus, even when we left MK right after the fireworks. Now it happens more often than not at night. Last January we tried it both ways at MK: one night we headed for the bus stop during the fireworks, and another night we waited around the parks until well after the fireworks were over. We ran into crowded buses both times. I think there are so many more guests now, even during value season, that are wise to the tricks and tips that used to work because so few people knew of them (relatively speaking). Now so many guests know to wait in the parks after the fireworks that the buses are just as crowded as when they've just ended. We can't win anymore! :-)
     
  21. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Very interesting blog. Some very thoughtful and interesting comments on this thread as well. :thumbsup2

    My perspective - I'd rather have a car unless I'm going to the MK. Why? Partly its because I like to go when I'm ready, not wait for the bus to arrive. Another factor is that we often visit other resorts and go off property during our visits so we usually have a car.

    I'm not a big fan of the busses, but love the monorail (wait aside) and the boat to the MK. But I'm not so big a fan of the boat between Epcot and DHS, because it makes so many stops in such a short distance. If there were an "express" boat between Epcot and DHS I might have a different opinion on that. But with the need to transport guests between BW, YC/BC and Swolphin that's pretty much never going to happen.

    I mentioned visiting other resorts. Normally we do a nice dinner in one of the resort restaurants during our stay. Since that often includes a bottle of wine for Val & I we have some transportation issues to consider. If we're staying in the Epcot area then we tend to go to the restaurants in Epcot or the nearby resorts so we can walk back "home".

    If we're going to a different area though we will take a taxi rather than deal with the bus system. Yes, there are exceptions. We might be staying at BLT and want to eat at Artist Point or Citrico's so we can simply take the boat or monorail there. But if we are at Old Key West (as we often are) and want to eat at Yachtsman Steak House (as we often do) then its an issue. Either I drive and don't have the wine, or we take a taxi since the WDW transportation system would make this a rather torturous journey.

    :drive:
     

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