The most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World, has one of the best complimentary transportation systems in the country. There are three different modes of transport—buses, monorails, or watercraft. All three are easily accessible and run continuously from an hour before the theme parks open until 1 hour after the parks close. The buses also run between the resorts and Downtown Disney. There are approximately 325 buses in the fleet, and just recently they added several new articulated New Flyer XC60 Xelsior buses, just a fancy name for buses which are more than twice the length of a regular bus and have an accoridan like section that connects the two sections. We rode on one of these new buses, and it is super cool! These buses can hold up to 112 people, most of whom will be standing. Oh well, standing or sitting, you will arrive at your destination safely and in a timely manner. Here are eight “common sense” suggestions that will greatly enhance the efficiency and enjoyment of your ride.
8 Disney Bus Riding Etiquette 101
8. Standing Room Only
The WDW buses generally fill up rather quickly, with standing room only. Hey, everyone is anxious to get to the parks early, or to get there in time for a dinner for fast pass reservation. With that in mind, guests who do have to stand and have extra large, full backpacks, please be aware that when you turn to talk to someone or get a look at something, that backpack is traveling with you and can easily do some damage to the person who is standing next to you or sitting near you. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to literally dodge one of these camper size backpacks and barely missed being knocked out. On one occasion, a gentleman went to turn quickly, and if I had not pulled my head back, I would have received, at the least, a bloody nose. So, please, remember to be aware of your fellow bus riders.
7. Strollers, 1
Strollers today come in all shapes and sizes, from simple umbrella strollers to huge double wide running strollers. For those parents who are loading these supersized strollers, please be mindful of those guests who are sitting. We all appreciate your diligence in keeping those “small vehicles” from crushing knees or feet. Please try your best to lean them somewhere that they won’t be bobbing back and forth.
6. Strollers, 2
For those guests with any size stroller, please do not wait until it is your turn to load the bus before you take your child out and collapse your stroller. Along these same lines, please do not try to open your stroller until you are away from the bus. Either of these two actions can lead to animosity with other guests who are tired and want to get on the bus, or those who are anxious to get off the bus. Again, all it takes is a little common sense and courtesy.
5. Proper Bus Etiquette
As your bus is traveling to your destination, the PA announcement clearly states, “No eating, drinking, or smoking” while on the bus. I have ridden on Disney buses hundreds of times, and invariably, there will be someone who just couldn’t leave their remaining coffee, juice, or soda behind. Food is another problem. Finish your snack before you get on the bus, or put it away until you get to your destination. There is nothing worse than trying to get a seat, then find that it is filled with drops of liquid, food crumbs, or other “yuckies”! The loading and unloading of the buses go very quickly, and when you have to search for a napkin or something to wipe away the nastiness, it is time wasted for you and those who are behind you. I have yet, however, seen anyone smoking on a bus. Thank goodness! Common sense, people!
4. Bus Schedules
There are bus schedules at every Resort, theme park, and Downtown Disney. Please make sure you know which bus to catch back to your Resort. Every bus has its destination clearly visible on the front and side. As you exit the bus, the driver will let you know where to catch your Resort bus when you are ready to return. A quick side story: A lady I met on the bus told me about her situation. It was her first day at WDW, and she and her family had a reservation at a restaurant at Downtown Disney. She decided she really just wanted to go back to the room and unpack, so she caught her Resort Bus, but she was not familiar with the bus stops at her Resort, and ended up back at Downtown Disney. When she asked the driver if she could remain on the bus back to her Resort, he had to explain to her that this bus was not going back to her Resort, but directed her to the proper bus stop. As she approached her Resort bus stop, her family was there waiting on the bus, and were surprised to see her. She was just as surprised to see them. Not only had she missed her bus stop, she had missed dinner. The moral of this short story is to get all the information you need to navigate the bus system around your Resort, the theme parks, and Downtown Disney.
3. Simple Common Sense Courtesy
If you are sitting, and a Mom holding a small child, or an elderly guest has to stand, please offer your seat, if you are able to. I know this should be obvious, but sadly I have actually witnessed on several different bus rides, young able-bodied men and women sitting there and not offering their seat for one of these two groups of people. If I am lucky enough to get a seat, I have no problem whatsoever of offering my seat to someone who looks as if they could use a place to sit. No bus ride lasts more than 15-20 minutes, so, please be courteous and do the right thing.
2. Entering and Exiting the Bus
When your bus pulls up to your bus stop, and there is a person in a wheelchair or scooter waiting to board the bus, do not attempt to be the first one on the bus. Handicapped guests always board the bus first. Just be patient; you will get your turn. As far as exiting the bus, wheelchairs and scooters go last, of course, so the bus driver can assist them after everyone has disembarked. Also, those who are standing should be the first ones off to allow room in the aisles for those who have been sitting. Those who have been standing are, in my opinion, entitled to unload first.
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1. Bus Driver Appreciation
Last, but not least, give the bus driver a smile and a “thank you” for a great ride. And, don’t compare one driver to another one. Some of these drivers are more outgoing than others and better at communicating with people. The most important thing to remember is that they are highly-trained, efficient, and will get you to your destination on time and “incident free”. They deserve our gratitude for a safe ride!
Hundreds and hundreds of buses are on the WDW roadways all day, everyday, and are a sight for sore eyes when you have had a busy day at one of the theme parks. I know sometimes you will have to stand, but only for a short while. In my opinion, the buses are the best form of transportation at Walt Disney World. I enjoy listening to other people’s plans for the day or stories of their experiences the day before. Also, I have met several families while on the bus and have shared with them all our magical encounters. One thing is for sure, when you see all those buses, you know they are filled with all degress of “Disney fanatics”!