If there’s one thing Disney College Program participants can agree on, it’s that the bus system is something we love to hate. If you’re one of the many (like myself) who are not fortunate enough to own or be able to bring a car with you for your College Program, this post is for you.
While not having a car does make doing some things difficult, for the most part you will be just fine if you are stuck with the buses as your only mode of transportation. At the same time, it’s nice to know what you’re getting yourself into, so here are a couple of things to keep in mind when using the CP buses, and things I wish I’d known beforehand.
Make sure you ALWAYS have your housing ID with you whenever you are planning to take the bus. Once in a while, the bus drivers are willing to call their office, who will then call housing security, who will check to make sure you are actually a CP who’s on the program and living in housing, and THEN the drivers will let you on the bus.
Most of the time, however, you’re not that lucky. Trust me, I’ve been there. After making that mistake and missing my bus, I triple-checked my ID every time I needed to go somewhere. Make it a priority to have it in your hand or in plain sight when you leave the house, and you will be golden.
Get on an EARLY bus. Take the bus that’s BEFORE the bus you should be on in order to get to work on time. I’m one of those people who is always ridiculously early to anything remotely important, so I tended to get to work about an hour before I needed to be there. That may seem crazy, but trust me—you’d rather be annoyingly early to work than phoning the call-in line and telling them you are going to be late because the bus broke down, never showed up, caught on fire (yes, that happens), etc.
Pay attention to the bus schedule AND the app. The schedule is nice to get an idea of when a bus is supposed to be at your particular location, but thanks to traffic and other issues, a lot of the time the buses aren’t anywhere close to being accurate with the schedule. The app (TransLoc) is useful because it gives you a map so you can follow the bus along its route and a countdown to see how many minutes away it is from your location in real time.
But there’s always the possibility of the GPS on the buses not working, which means you will get the annoying “awaiting prediction” notification, leaving you with no idea of how long it’s been since one came and when the next one will arrive. Both have their pros and cons, so keep both of them with you just to be safe!
The bus system doesn’t only go to the various Walt Disney World resorts and parks, it also has a route to Publix, Walmart, and the post office. Although there is a Publix within walking distance from Chatham, The Commons, and Patterson, and a Walgreens and Dollar Tree from Vista Way, it can be very handy to have provided transportation if you need to make a large shopping trip.
I would absolutely recommend getting yourself a few large tote bags or reusable shopping bags, or even bringing a rolling suitcase with you when you travel on the bus to the store. Having something large to carry your groceries in will save you the struggle of trying to hang onto 10+ plastic bags of food, and doing this can also prevent your cold or frozen foods from defrosting too quickly in the Florida heat.
Bring something to do with you on the bus, whether it’s your music, a book, some knitting, whatever will keep you occupied. The majority of the buses make more than five stops—not even including the housing complexes—and although they do their best to keep the routes short, Walt Disney World is quite large and it takes a while to get from place to place.
Once you factor in traffic and actually waiting at the stops for stragglers, your ride to and from wherever you’re going can be incredibly lengthy. Bringing something to help you decompress after work or just to keep your brain busy is a great way to pass the time.
If you have any other tips to make braving the buses a little easier, leave them down below!