As Walt Disney World prepared to welcome guests back to the magic in July, one big area that had to be adjusted to help keep guests and cast members safe was the transportation. A big bonus of staying at a Disney resort is the free transportation throughout the resort property. From buses to boats to skyliners and monorails, Disney provides guests with numerous transportation options to help them enjoy the magic. Right now, however some of these experiences might be slightly different than previous trips. Let’s take a look at what guests can expect when using Disney transportation during the pandemic.
1. No Minnie Vans
One of the biggest adjustments is that there are currently no Minnie Vans being used. Minnie Vans were a private transportation option guests could use through the Lyft app. This service could get guests to and from locations quickly and safely with a little Disney magic. As it would be hard to socially distance in these vehicles, Disney is currently not running this service. Normal Lyft and Uber services are still available; however, no fun Minnie themed ones.
Disney buses take guests to and from the four main theme parks as well as Disney Springs each and every day. They start early in the morning and run past park closing. Guests who have traveled previously might have memories of crammed buses after fireworks while juggling strollers, kids and the Mickey balloon. This is no longer the case. Disney buses have been sectioned off typically into groups. These sections are numbered and based on party size; guests will be directed by the driver where to sit. This means that at the most there are around six to eight groups on a bus at a time all in specific seating areas which are partitioned with plexiglass between them. Although this is great because everyone gets a seat and knows they will be safe while coming and going from the parks, it also means that it might take longer to catch a bus. With only a limited amount of parties allowed, at park opening or park closing guests might find themselves waiting for their opportunity to ride. We have noticed however that Disney is often running extra buses during these times to help move the lines quicker.
A symbol of Disney is the monorail. Right now, Disney is running both the Express and Magic Kingdom monorails but not the Epcot line. Guests can catch the monorail for a fun trip around the Magic Kingdom resorts. Something that has changed is that Disney cast members will be telling parties where they are to board. Guests are separated by party and size in order to help with social distancing during the ride. Guests are often placed in an area with only their party; however, if you are solo you might be with another smaller group. Because of this, guests might also experience longer wait times for a ride on the monorail. We have waited as a few monorails went by when at the resort because they came already full from the Transportation Ticket Center (TTC) or other resorts. Just plan ahead and allow extra boarding time.
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The newest form of transportation at Walt Disney World is the skyliner. The skyliner can take guests to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios as well as Pop Century, Art of Animation, Riviera and Caribbean Beach Resort. This new, magical option is a quick and efficient way to travel between these areas. Right now, guests are only loading one party per cab. This can be super fun as your family has it all to themselves and can really enjoy the views from above. Again, keep it in mind during park opening, especially Hollywood Studios for those boarding passes, that wait times might be longer than expected as parties are loaded separately.
5. Water Transportation
Boat transportation seems to be slowed as of right now during the pandemic. Resorts that might typically offer boat transportation to and from parks seem to be relying instead on buses. The main ferry boat; however, is running to and from the Transportation Ticket Center (TTC) and Magic Kingdom. Guests are directed by cast members where to sit and how to load to help prevent crowding. Again, this is to keep everyone safe, but can make wait times seem longer than what is typical.
The procedures that Walt Disney World has put into place to keep guests and cast members safe on their transportation systems is excellent. From requiring masks on board, limited capacity and directing guests where to sit, guests can feel safe as they travel to and from the magic during their vacation.