Why I’m Not Mourning the Loss of Disney’s Express Transportation Service

In case you missed it, Disney recently announced the cancellation of the Express Transportation service. This bus service would allow guests to seamlessly park hop without going through the main entrance or exits (thereby skipping security) $19 for a single day or $29 for seven days, and and while many were quick to discard the service at first many guests are sharing their thoughts on social media that they are now disappointed about the cancellation.

There were a couple of benefits one would receive while using this service. The first would be that guests would experience little or no wait at all for the bus. To some guests alone, this was an incentive to purchase Express Transportation. To this point, I disagree. $29 over the course of seven days is by no means out of the question, especially in relation to how much a Disney vacation costs (what’s another $29?) Though at the same time, I consider all of the other $29 I could make during a Disney vacation, and how I would rather have those things than have Express Transportation: A new pair of ears, an entree at a decent table service restaurant, three mixed drinks, or even just $29 towards the cost of my park ticket, resort stay, or an extra bit of cash in my wallet.

Image: Disney

The incentive to take a bus between parks with a shorter wait time just doesn’t appeal to me, because I’ve never had an issue with the buses before to begin with. I’m pretty sure every time I say this people look at me like I have ten heads, or have only visited Walt Disney World a couple of times or something… but honestly– I have probably been to Walt Disney World over 100 times in the one year that I lived in Orlando alone, nevermind every other trip I’ve taken. I regularly stay at the value resorts, which are notorious for bus horror stories, I’ve even had the unfortunate pleasure of jumping in line for the bus right behind school groups, cheerleaders, tour groups, and you name it, more times than I can count, but I cannot really say I’ve ever had a “negative” experience with waiting for a Disney bus.

I truly believe that the guests who take so much issue with the buses just do not understand how “public” transportation works.¬†Having used public transportation for years to get to and from work, I can attest to the fact that it isn’t fun at all, especially during rush hour, but Disney buses are a very small taste of what public transportation is actually like. (If people on the T in Boston insisted on stopping in the middle of the train essentially stopping people on the platform from getting on, I’m pretty sure there would be riots. But on a Disney bus, you instead have guests who are already irate about having to stand and the thought to move further back or any closer to another human doesn’t seem to cross their minds).

And true, public transportation isn’t for everyone, which is why so many Disney guests apparently do not use it regularly and are rightfully horrified by what they experience on the bus. But in my opinion, the buses really aren’t all that stressful. They’d be more efficient if other guests would move all the way in and make room for more people to get on, but at the end of the day, they are clean, they come regularly, the air conditioning always seems to work, and they are free (or at least included in my resort stay) and I can’t complain.

Some guests also pointed out that they enjoyed using the Express Transportation because they were often able to have a seat on the bus, whereas in other instances they’d have to stand. I get it, a visit to a Disney theme park is a lot of walking, and for some people this may be a real benefit, but it just doesn’t make that much of a difference to me. If I’ve been standing in lines and to watch parades or fireworks all day, what’s another 15 minutes on a bus?

The other major benefit of this service was to bypass security at the front of the park. Since guests would have already gone through security in the first park they visited, there would be no real need to screen them again. I can see how this could be appealing for some guests, but again for me this just wasn’t enough to justify the extra cost. Like the buses themselves, I’ve never had a bad experience with security. Regardless of how long the line is at the park entrance, I’ve always felt that it moved along quickly and really didn’t hold up my day. I know it’s only $29, but why pay for something I don’t feel I need?

One more little pet peeve I had with the service was the pickup and drop-off points being located backstage. I’m sure for guests who have never been backstage at a Disney park this can be exciting, but I prefer to get the “full effect” if you will of walking through the main entrance of the park, and seeing the park the way it was meant to be seen. In the Magic Kingdom for instance, the Express Transportation pickup and drop-off was in Tomorrowland.

Even though I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom more times than I can count, I don’t want to arrive in Tomorrowland– I want to walk up Main Street, and smell the Confectionary, and catch that perfect view of Cinderella Castle.¬†Furthermore, while $29 for me as a solo traveler to use the service for a week isn’t bad, the cost can easily get out of hand when you factor in how many guests would need to pay for their entire family.

Reactions to the cancellation on social media have been mixed, although more guests who claim to have used and enjoyed the service are beginning to voice their opinions. Others are criticizing Disney for discontinuing the service in lieu of using the new Uber-like Minnie Van service (which is much more expensive) instead. I can only assume that Disney made this decision based on the number of guests who were using it– I never saw anyone really going near the Express Transportation areas, so it’s possible that it was just deemed unnecessary. Still, the debate continues on social media, and with the higher expense for the Minnie Vans it looks like the old Express Transportation fans will be back on the regular buses with us soon.

What do you think? Did you try the Express Transportation service? Let us know in the comments!

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