Review: Walt Disney World's Express Transportation
****EDITED 3/2/17**** Prices Increased, see changes below. Do I still think it is worth it? Yes, yes I do!- Jess
With so many new things going on in Walt Disney World, I had quite the list of things to see when I set out to the parks yesterday. I still had not seen the new Muppets Great Moments in History in Magic Kingdom, PizzeRizzos in Hollywood Studios, the final concert weekend for Epcot's Festival of the Arts and I was lucky enough to snag a Fastpass for the 8:30 Rivers of Light in Animal Kingdom. (Reports on all of these coming soon)
As I entered the Magic Kingdom and began to stroll down the middle of that all-to-familiar street, I remembered a new feature that Disney had begun that may make my day of travel that much easier. So I detoured over to Guest Relations and got the scoop on the Express Transportation option.
Offered for guests with park hopping as a feature on their entrance, Express Transportation is a quick way to get between theme parks without having to rely on the usual bus/boat/monorail transportation and without going through the main entrance at each theme park. You purchase the pass for the day(or days, depending on what you purchase) and the "ticket" for the transportation goes right onto your Magic Band. Once you are ready to go to your next location, you go to a check-in location, they scan your ticket/Magic Band and you are on your way!
The flyer for the service has the check-in locations listed; Near Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom, East of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, by Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios and by Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom. What is not listed anywhere is when the buses arrive. My suspicion is Disney is still working out how to put this on a convenient flier without confusing too many people. It depends on what park you are in to when each bus comes and goes. For instance; when I was in Magic Kingdom, the bus for Hollywood Studios travels between them on the :20 and :50 of each hour, but if I was in Epcot going to Studios, the buses go between them at :00 and :30 of each hour. I had to have the cast member write it down for me to visualize the schedule better.
My favorite feature of this service: Not having to go through security! I had a small bookbag with me yesterday that was jam-packed with all the things you need when enjoying a day outside in unpredictable Florida in the winter (jacket, poncho, umbrella, change of shoes, scarf, bathing suit, snorkel....you know, the usual). The thought of having to unpack and repack that bag when going through security at each park that I wanted to visit made me want to change my itinerary. Not necessary with this feature!!! I was in and out and on my way to the next adventure without even opening my bag! Imagine how happy your family will be not having to go through security with the stroller and backpacks and coolers every time you want to try a new park in a day. It's awesome!
Pro's to the Express Transportation
- Knowing exactly when a bus will be leaving to go to the next theme park
- Not having to go back through security and turnstiles at every theme park you want to visit
- Avoiding the unpredictability of lines and transportation routes (Is that monorail broken again?!)
- Shows guests a lot of the backstage areas*
Con's to the Express Transportation
- One more thing to schedule for those people who do not like to schedule out their day in the park
- Remembering when each place bus leaves for each theme park
- Another convenience cost on vacation (though a worth while one in my opinion)
- Shows guests a lot of the backstage areas*
*The reason why this particular feature is under both pros and cons lists is based on who is in your party. If you are a couple of adults who would not mind seeing some of how the magic is run or enjoy the sneak peeks of the back stage, then this would be a Pro. If you have small children with you and you do not want them to see the more industrial side of Disney, then this could be a con. It is all based on your perspective, but I wanted to make sure to point out both side of the coin on this one.
Here's your nuts and bolts of the program:
- $19 per person for one day of unlimited transportation.
- $29 per person for multi-days of unlimited transportation (valid for 7 consecutive days from date of purchase) ***WHAT A DEAL!!!!****
- Begins at 10 am and goes until each park closes (EX: Once Animal Kingdom closes at 8pm, shuttles will no longer depart for there. Shuttles will still go from Epcot to Studios and Magic Kingdom though until those parks are closed)
- Shuttles depart every 30 minutes for a designated theme park
- Shuttles between Magic Kingdom and Epcot depart on the :10 and :40 of each hour, Between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on the :00 and :30 of each hour, etc.
- No need to go through security or ticket turnstiles at each theme park; you get right into the magic!
- Purchase Express Transportation at Guest Relations, theme park and Disney Springs ticket windows, Disney Resort concierge desks and at the Express Transportation check-in Locations.
I found the service to be convenient and definitely worth the $15. I got more time to be in the parks and did not have to worry about getting in line to wait for a bus because you never know when they are going to show up. You were standing at most waiting areas (except for Hollywood Studios) and the walks backstage varied from park to park (Animal Kingdom was the longest, though only by a couple minutes). I would like to see a second location added to Epcot if possible, one in Future World and one in World Showcase, but that would just be an added perk. I am very happy with this service and will definitely be using this again in the future!