Magical Express: Buses shared

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Bethpremier, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Bethpremier

    Bethpremier Kidanites Unite!

    Mar 10, 2009
    Can anyone list the buses that share between resorts for the magical express?

    For instance, I know Pop Century shares the AKL bus from the airport.

    Does anyone have this list? My family is staying at a different resort from us and we wanted to see if there was a chance we would ride together from the airport.
  2. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

    May 2, 2002
    There are no specific routes or resorts within each route. The route, and subsequent resorts, can be changed hourly. If you tell us what resorts you are each staying at, we can give you a better idea of the 'chances' of being on the same bus.
    For instance, those staying at Pop and AKL are probably going to be on the same bus. Same with BW and YC/BC, and possibly POR/FQ. But sometimes OKW is added in there. way to be 100% sure.
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  4. tinka-belle

    tinka-belle DIS Veteran

    Oct 31, 2008
    The major resort groupings are MK, HS, EP, and AK for those respective park area resorts. Within those groups there are subgroups too so no guarantee which resorts will actually ride together on any given bus. Really depends on how many passengers for each resort are checked in for ME service at any given time, an entire bus could be headed to just one resort.

    That said, if on your ME tags your major groupings are different, for example one MK resort and the other an EP resort, there is a good chance you will NOT ride together unless you arrive at MCO at a very off time of day or night and they combine resort bus runs due to a light crowd. The rest is just chance and how many people are headed to a certain resort at any given time of day. The order of stops varies too.
  5. PrincessMom4

    PrincessMom4 DVC member-SSR

    Jul 1, 2007
    We are flying into MCO and we'll be staying at Fort Wilderness cabins. This will be our first time flying so I am trying to kind of be prepared.
  6. Sandi

    Sandi A proud Spartans fan.

    Aug 17, 1999
    Well, when we stayed at FW Cabins, on our return trip to MCO, the bus had people from WL on when we boarded and we picked up at POR (not POFQ). That was our group. FW and WL are both considered MK resorts; POR is a DD resort. (My recollection is that DD is another "major grouping" for resorts -- SSR, OKW, POR, and POFQ.)

    It just varies a lot depending on loads. There really isn't anything you need to do to prepare. For your trip to FW, just go to the DME area at the airport and they'll direct you to the proper line. Then a CM will escort you to a bus. That bus will probably make a stop to drop off people at a few resorts. You might be the first stop, you might be the last stop. On the way back to MCO, just make sure you are at your ME bus stop at FW 15 minutes before the time listed on the DME flyer left on your door the day before -- with all your carry on bags. The time listed is the "departure" time, not the time that the bus will be there.
  7. WizardLarz

    WizardLarz DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2009
    CBR, Pop
    CBR, Pop, AKL & AKV
    Pop, CSR, AKL & AKV

    Those are the 3 routes that the ME took the 3 times that I've ridden it. From what I understand Mears runs the busses grouped by the Resort Areas and simply by how busy and crowded. As you can see one time 2 resorts, the other times 4.

    I feel a little bit sorry for the all the Dispatchers once Art of Animation opens in Full and other 5000+ people are needing transportation around WDW and to & from the Airport on a daily basis.
  8. CleveRocks

    CleveRocks Rock 'n' Roller Coaster worshipper

    Mar 5, 2005
    Like goofy4tink already said, there are no pre-set groupings of resorts, no pre-set routes, no pre-set order of drop-offs. It's a fluid situation at all times. Just because you were on a bus with Resorts A, B & C one time, that's not "the usual" way ... there is no usual way. They know about how many people are going to which resorts at about what times, so they constantly change it to make it the most efficient.

    In fact, the last time I was there (last month), they made a grouping right off the tops of their heads, just to clear everyone out of there.

    But some groupings can be more common than others. The resorts are broken down into 4 geographic zones (and no, there is no "HS" zone). Here are the zones and the resorts in them (I'm leaving out the associated DVC resorts since they should be obvious, such as BoardWalk Villas ... should be obvious it's the same as BoardWalk Inn, etc.):

    MK - Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge
    EC - Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk, Caribbean Beach Resort
    DD - Old Key West, Saratoga Springs Resort, both Port Orleans resorts, Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
    AK - Animal Kingdom Lodge, Coronado Springs Resort, Pop Century, all three All Star resorts, Art of Animation
    [I think that's all of them]

    Here are the rules: If a DME bus has resorts from only one zone, there's a maximum of 4 resorts on the bus. If the DME bus has resorts from one or more zones, there's a maximum of 3 resorts on the bus (to make up for the extra driving time).

    The dispatchers tell the driver which resorts are on the bus, but the driver decides the order. So with no pre-set groupings and no pre-set order of drop-offs, you can see why you can't definitely know what your DME experience will be.

    The only exception is Polynesian and Grand Floridian. If they are on the same bus, the bus MUST stop at POly before Grand Floridian for logistical reasons ... they're on a dead end street, and if the bus goes to GF first it would then have to make a left into Poly, and that left turn is too small/tight for a big motorcoach, it would never make it without having to stop and back up and try again, so they don't allow it.

    So as for my most recent DME experience, last month, it fit the mold in that there were 3 resorts on the vehicle (a small van) and we crossed 2 zones ... we dropped off 1 person at Port Orleans French Quarter, then my family of 4 at Contemporary, and then there was a family of 3 heading to Grand Floridian.

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