Since Disney World has re-opened in July, we have begun to get a sense as to what the parks look like with new restrictions and practices in place. Queues are different with tape on the floor telling us where to stand and seeing our favorite characters drive past and waving at an appropriate social distance, but what gets lost in the shuffle is how the ordinary transportation guests use to get from their resorts to the parks have changed. With the multitude of ways Disney has engineered for us to travel throughout the resort, there have been changes to each of these methods and they are important to know before heading to the park!
Walt Disney World Transportation with a Pandemic
1. Bus System
The most prolific form of transportation is still operating and can take guests between their resorts and the parks. Standard queuing practices requiring parties to be six feet a part are in effect and guests will be seated in a section of the bus with their party. Guests will be separated from other parties through plastic barriers installed in each bus. Additionally, guests are no longer permitted to stand while on the bus, so it is possible that you may end up waiting longer for bus transportation at busy parts of the day.
Guests wishing to travel on the Monorail are still able to do so, but will be required to wait with their party six feet apart from other parties and they will be directed to a car by a Cast Member. Guests will notice that plexiglass barriers are in use in each of the cars to keep parties separate. Cast Members are limiting one party per entrance to the Monorail, so, similar to traveling via bus, the wait may be longer for guests wishing to travel this way. Additionally, guests may only use the Monorail between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom, as well as from the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary.
The boats shuttling guests around property are also functioning and feature the same restrictions as the Monorail and bus system. The ferry no longer allows guests to sit down and requires guests to keep physical distance between parties. Given the distancing between parties, you may have to wait a little longer for your spot on the boat!
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The Skyliner is functioning and offering wonderful views of the parks and the property. The only change that has been instituted for guests traveling this way is that only one party will be loaded into each gondola. This could lead to longer lines at points during the day, but on a recent trip to Disney World, we saw guests at the Hollywood Studios station able to walk right up to the station and board without a wait.
5. Minnie Vans
Given the smaller crowds and the inherent nature of short trips with a lot of turnover in the cars, Disney chose not to reinstate the Minnie Van service when the parks re-opened and we recently learned that Disney has canceled the Minnie Van service with the recently announced layoffs over 28,000 employees at Disney World. We hope this service may return, but given that Disney has returned all of the leased vehicles already, it is unlikely we will see this service return.
6. Magical Express
Guests flying into Orlando can still get complimentary transportation from the airport to their resorts, but Disney has temporarily suspended the luggage service of the program. Guests are required to collect their own bags and bring it with them to the Magical Express loading area for the bags to be placed on the bus. Guests will then be required to take them from the bus and deliver it to their room.
7. Personal Transportation
Guests are allowed to drive their own cars and guests staying on property are allowed to park for free when visiting any of the theme parks. This may be the best option during points of your stay, especially if you are trying to make dining reservation or arrive before 10 AM to secure a boarding pass on Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios.
8. Parking Lot Trams
Unfortunately, parking lot trams are NOT available at this time at any of the theme parks, so guests should plan on wearing comfortable shoes as you will be doing some walking even before entering the theme parks.