Disney Transport

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Disney Transport
Disney Transport Bus (24555800569).jpg
A Disney Transport bus in operation.
Parent The Walt Disney Company
Commenced operation October 1, 1971 (1971-10-01)
Headquarters 3020 Maingate Lane, Kissimmee, FL 34747[1]
Locale Greater Orlando
Service area Walt Disney World/Reedy Creek Improvement District
Service type bus, boat, monorail, and parking lot tram
Destinations 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs, 22 resorts, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (special occasions)
Hubs Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs
Stations 5 hubs, 22+ resorts[a]
Depots 1 Bus Depot, 1 Monorail Depot
Fleet 12 Monorails
     Bombardier Mark VI
486 buses[2]
     Nova Bus LFS
     Gillig Low Floor
     New Flyer Xcelsior
Boats
     Ferries[3]
          2 Magic Kingdom-class
          1 Kingdom Queen-class
     7 Motor Launches
     3 Motor Cruises[3]
     9 Friendship boats[4]
     15 River boats[4]
28 Parking lot trams[5]
Operator Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Disney Transport is a mass public transit system of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida. The transportation system provides free service to guests of the resort and consists of a monorail system, buses, watercraft, a gondola system currently under construction and parking lot trams.[6][7] Most of the routes operated by Disney Transport are buses that run along the resort's public roads maintained by the Reedy Creek Improvement District and private roads. None of these modes of transportation charge a fare, which makes the entire network free to use.

Buses[edit]

Except where monorail or ferry service exists or walking is practical, direct bus service is provided from every hotel to every park and to Disney Springs, as well as between parks. The buses are fare-free for all visitors to Walt Disney World.[6][8][7] Bus service to and from parks typically starts 45 minutes before the park opens and ends an hour after the park closes; buses from Disney Springs to the resorts run until 2 a.m.[9] Bus stops are located near park entrances; near Disney Springs' Town Center entrance; and along roadways inside the resort (for more expansive resorts) or near the resort's entrance (for smaller resorts).[6]

Features[edit]

At the resorts, there are screens that sometimes indicate when the next bus to a given park will be arriving.[10] This technology tracks the buses through GPS technology to give projected wait times, though buses usually run at intervals of no more than twenty minutes.[6][10] On board the air-conditioned, ADA-accessible buses,[6] announcements are played to indicate points of interest and bus stops. These announcements use GPS to determine which announcements should be played at which locations.[11] All buses are ADA-accessible and can carry two wheelchairs or mobility scooters per vehicle. Strollers must be folded before boarding the buses.[8]

Along Buena Vista Drive between Epcot Center Drive and the Disney Springs Lime Garage, new bus lanes were installed between 2014 and May 2016 as part of the renovation of Disney Springs.[12][13] These allow buses headed to/from Disney Springs and Typhoon Lagoon to use their own, exclusive right-of-way in the median of Buena Vista Drive.[12][13][14]

Routes[edit]

While the bus system is a hub-and-spoke paradigm, it is more akin to a traditional aviation hub-and-spoke model than to the traditional public transit hub-and-spoke model because it has multiple hubs, both primary and secondary in nature, with the routes themselves usually being non-stop.[15] The four theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as Disney Springs, operate as the five primary hubs. Each of the four theme parks has service to the 22 resorts, as well as to the other parks.[15] Disney Springs has service only to the resorts, except for one-way service from the theme parks to Disney Springs after 4 p.m.[16] Bus service is not provided on some routes served by monorail or watercraft, for example between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and between the Magic Kingdom and resorts on the monorail line.

The two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, do not have direct service to most resorts. They are reached by transferring at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs, respectively. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is served only on select days, and only to and from Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and All-Star Resorts.[17] Direct transportation between the spokes (the resorts) is not provided, unless they happen to be on the same bus route.[15] Buses also are used for internal resort guest transportation within several of the larger resorts.[b] Disney Transport buses also carry cast members around the resort.[11] The Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) acts as the primary hub for the Walt Disney World Monorail System, as well as a transfer point to watercraft service. The TTC is no longer served by Disney Transport buses,[18][19] however it is one of only two transfer points from Disney Transport to Orlando's Lynx service (the other transfer point, Disney Springs, requires a 0.5 miles (0.80 km)[20] walk between the two services).[21]

Beginning in 1983, buses' destinations were marked by a small colored flag on the front of the bus. At the time of the flags' introduction, the resort consisted of two parks, four hotels, the TTC, and the Disney Shopping Village; there were also three bus routes that ran exclusively within the Fort Wilderness Resort.[22] Handbooks were provided so travelers could match the flags with the destinations. However, this became increasingly impractical as more parks and hotels were added, and the flags were retired from the buses in 1995.[22] Now, the destination or destinations are displayed on the electronic route marquee on the fronts and sides of each bus. Newer buses (made from 2015 onward) also have marquees on the backs of each bus.[22]

Fleet[edit]

Disney Transport operates a fleet of Nova Bus LFS, Gillig Low Floor, and New Flyer XD60 Xcelsior bus models. They have approximately 350 buses in their fleet with a further 50 Gillig buses on order as of 2014, which would expand their fleet to 400 buses.[2] This is an expansion from the 319 buses it had in 2012, and from approximately 289 in years prior.[23] Since 2013, some buses have sported a new red-and-gray, or red-and-white, paint scheme with a new "Disney Transport" logo, with more buses to be repainted over the coming years. This is a change from previous livery, in which buses were painted white with a red "Disney" logo and the word "Transport" in yellow-on-purple text next to the logo.[24]

Disney Transport has been expanding its fleet with new Gillig buses, and in 2014, it introduced new articulated New Flyer XD60 Xcelsior buses as a pilot project to increase capacity on certain routes.[23][25] Some of its buses run on a cleaner renewable diesel fuel,[26] and in 2013, Disney Transport began testing the use of all-electric buses on its routes.[27] The fleet currently is the third largest fleet of any Florida transportation system, behind Miami's Metrobus and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.[2]

The Disney Transport bus depot is located at 2451 Recycle Way, Orlando, FL 32830.

Current active fleet[edit]

As of December 2016, there are 390 vehicles in Disney Transport's fleet.

Past fleet[edit]

Monorail[edit]

There are also three monorail lines from the Transportation and Ticket Center to either Magic Kingdom or Epcot, which comprise the fare-free Walt Disney World Monorail System.[7][32] The three lines, and the rolling stock of twelve Mark VI monorails, are maintained by Disney and form part of the Walt Disney World transportation system.[32][33] The monorails are ADA-accessible and stroller-accessible, though there is a vertical gap between the monorails and the platforms, so wheelchair users must use a portable ramp, located at each station, to board the monorail.[8] The monorail system opened in 1971 with the Magic Kingdom "Resort" and "Express" monorail lines; the former runs in a loop between Magic Kingdom and the TTC via the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary Resorts, while the latter bypasses the resorts and goes directly between the TTC and Magic Kingdom via a parallel loop.[8] The Epcot line was added in 1982.[32][33] As of 2013, the system is one of the most heavily used monorail systems in the world with over 150,000 daily riders.[34]

The "Blue" monorail vehicle

Watercraft[edit]

The Richard F. Irvine ferry in the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The resort also maintains a fleet of watercraft providing additional access between various Disney resorts and parks. These ferries are also free to ride.[6] While some route duplication does take place (for instance, the Disney Springs water taxis to the Disney Springs Resort Area duplicate buses to these same resorts), the watercraft provide an alternative way to travel from one location to another.[8]

Strollers can be transported aboard all of the boats, and the ferries, motor cruisers, Friendship Boats, and water taxis are ADA-accessible when water conditions are favorable. Motor launches cannot accept motorized wheelchairs or unfolded wheelchairs.[35]

Routes[edit]

The boats with the highest capacities are the large ferries that traverse the Seven Seas Lagoon between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom. The three ferries are clad in different trim colors and are named for past Disney executives: the General Joe Potter (blue), the Richard F. Irvine (red) and the Admiral Joe Fowler (green).[36]

Motor launches and cruisers link several places in the Seven Seas Lagoon, using colored flags to indicate the route. Launches link the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts via the Seven Seas Lagoon, using the Gold Route.[3][37] These launches also connect the Magic Kingdom to Bay Lake via a water bridge to reach Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, using the Green Route.[3][37] There is also a Blue Route motor launch between the Wilderness Lodge and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, via the Contemporary Resort.[37] A Red Route motor launch/cruiser travels from Magic Kingdom directly to the Wilderness Lodge.[38]

Water taxis, which also have colored flags as route indicators link Port Orleans – French Quarter/Riverside (blue), Old Key West (green), and Saratoga Springs (yellow) to Disney Springs along the Sassagoula River. A fourth route, the red-flag route, ferries passengers around Disney Springs.[3]

Friendship Boats also connect the International Gateway entrance of Epcot to the BoardWalk Resort; the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts; the Swan and Dolphin Resorts; and Disney's Hollywood Studios.[3] They also connect Epcot's Future World to Morocco in the World Showcase.[39]

Type Photo Route Northern/
western
terminal[40][3][36]
Intermediate
stops[40][3][36]
Southern/
eastern
terminal[40][3][36]
Ferry
(3 boats)[38]
General Joe Potter.jpg Magic Kingdom / Transportation
and Ticket Center[3][36]
Magic Kingdom None Transportation and Ticket Center
Motor Launch
(7 boats)
Motor Cruiser
(3 boats)[38]
 Boats at the Magic Kingdom (2357414779).jpgFlorida Tour, August 2006 (19139428785).jpg Gold flag[37] (2 launches)[8] Continuous clockwise operation (before 3 p.m.) or counterclockwise operation (after 3 p.m.). Stops shown in clockwise order:[40][38]
Green flag[37] (2 cruisers)[8] Magic Kingdom None Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Blue flag[37] (2 launches)[8] Continuous circular operation to:[40]
Red flag[38] (1 launch, 1 cruiser)[8] Magic Kingdom None Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Water taxi – River boats
(15 boats)[38]
2016 June 10,GOING TO Disney Springs (27125901814).jpg Yellow flag[38] Disney Springs Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Treehouse Villas
Blue flag[38] Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Green flag[38] Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa[c] Disney's Old Key West Resort
Red flag[38] Disney Springs internal service between the Landing, West Side, and Marketplace in a counterclockwise loop
Friendship Boat
(9 boats)[38]
Ygdoz 1b (7416975520).jpg Epcot–Hollywood Studios[3] Epcot Disney's Hollywood Studios
Future World–Morocco[39] Future World None Morocco
Future World–Germany[39] Germany

Parking lot trams[edit]

A parking tram operating at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney Transport is also responsible for maintaining the fleet of parking lot trams used for shuttling guests between the various theme park parking lots and their respective main entrances (except at the Magic Kingdom, where the trams drop guests off at the Transportation and Ticket Center).[5][7] Because the trams require guests to transfer from one's wheelchair and to fold all strollers and wheelchairs before boarding, they are not ADA-accessible.[8] Both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot parking lots have two tram lanes, with the Magic Kingdom trams serving the "Heroes" and "Villains" sides of the lot, while the Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom parking lots have only one tram lane.[5]

The original tram tractors, which were built by United Tractor of Chesterton, Indiana in 1969, ran on compressed natural gas. However, these tractors experienced many problems and were prone to frequent breakdowns.[41] A new fleet of tram tractors, which were custom designed and built by Disney, were put into service in 1972. These tram tractors, which originally ran on diesel fuel until they were converted to run on compressed natural gas in the late 1990s, remained in service for forty five years.[41] In late 2016, a new tram tractor began being testing at Disney's Animal Kingdom which ran on propane in order to make it quieter and more fuel efficient. Following successful testing, Disney upgraded the entire tram tractor fleet to the new propane-fueled tractors throughout 2017.[42]

Skyliner[edit]

The Disney Skyliner gondola system was announced during the D23 Expo in 2017. The proposal was announced as part of the unveiling of 23 improvements to Disney Parks.[43] The three-line system will connect Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, and the new Disney Riviera Resort to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.[44][45]

Minnie Van[edit]

The ride-hailing service named after Minnie Mouse[44] began testing in July 2017, with the first Minnie Van service being offered to guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club, and Disney's Beach Club at the end of that month.[46] The service is now available to all visitors on Walt Disney World property, whether overnight resort guests or not.[47] Unlike the public transportation, the Minnie Vans charge a flat fee to transport guests anywhere within the Walt Disney World property. The vehicles are Chevrolet Traverse SUVs with capacity for up to 6 passengers.[48][49] Minnie Vans are requested using the app for the ride-hailing service Lyft. While ADA accessible Minnie Vans are requested by calling the service on their direct line (407) 828-3500. [50]

Incidents[edit]

From September 25, 2013 to September 25, 2015, Disney Transport has been involved in 27 total accidents that have been reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including two fatal accidents and nineteen others involving injuries.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ There may be more than one stop in each resort; some resorts have their own internal buses.
  2. ^ These resorts are Animal Kingdom Lodge, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Fort Wilderness, Old Key West, Port Orleans, and Saratoga Springs.[15]
  3. ^ This stop may be skipped depending on the time of day

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  29. ^ New Hybrid Bus, wdwmagic.com.
  30. ^ Designline turbine hybrid buses for Disney World?, cptdb.ca.
  31. ^ Status of Disney Transport Designline order?, cptdb.ca.
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External links[edit]