Disney World – Logistics

Right, so back at it again.  Been traveling (pictures soon) so I wanted to sit down this morning and get more of this Disney ensemble on the book.  Today – LOGISTICS – how in the world to get around, well, the World of Disney.  Some good, some not so good.

First step, when purchasing tickets to Disney I recommend spending the little bit extra for “Park Hopper”.  This allows you to do exactly what it sounds like.  If you get bored at a park, or it’s just too crowded you can move to another.  Otherwise you purchase tickets for a park on the day(s) you plan to visit.  For us, we love EPCOT and found ourselves there either in the evening (best night show IMO) or for lunch.  Some ticket plans let you print your tickets online – we never use this option.  I prefer an actual printed ticket from Will-Call.  Why?  Because it looks better in a scrapbook AND all the entrance gates can read them.  Only a subset of the gates can read self-service tickets so if you aren’t careful you will stand in a long line only to discover it is the wrong line.

You have your tickets, the parks are HUGE so you want to get there early right?  Maybe not.  Everyone else will have the same thought.  My family is a group of troopers, so I know we will be there until park closes.  Therefore, we sleep in, grab a late breakfast then head to the park.  Generally at this point we can drive in, park, hop right on the tram, and get into the park with low stress.  One thing to note about parking – if you drive – the parking pass will get you into any other parking lot that day.  So, armed with your park-hopper tickets you can grab your car and change parks.  Depending on the destination park, I greatly prefer this to trying to get back to the car at night.  Alternatively a number of parks have interesting connections like the boat ride between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

You toughed it out, watched that particular park’s finale (EPCOT & Hollywood tied as personal fav) and time to go.  Oh my at the crowds.  Depending on the park you will have a few options to help get out and maintain blood pressure after a long day.  If my car is at the same park I will generally avoid the parking trams and just walk to the car.  For most parks it is not a long walk – obviously if the park isn’t crowded and I can hop right on, I will take the tram.  Magic Kingdom offers an additional wrinkle in that you have to travel via boat or rail to the park itself.  For MK there are two real options – chill close to the entrance and have some ice cream or head for transportation.  Most people opt for either the boat or rail that takes you right back to the parking area.  For us, we walk around the corner and take the rail to the resorts.  The first stop is a resort, the second is the parking lot.  Few people know this – so keep it quiet.  🙂

Finally, a number of off-site resorts and hotels offer shuttle service.  If you are good with a strict schedule and can adhere to their schedules, more power to you.  I deal with schedules enough at the office and prefer to just “roll with it” on vacation.  So, for some those shuttles are an excellent option and can save you the cost of daily parking.

I do not want to leave you with the impression that Disney struggles with moving people, they do not.  Given the volume of people in their parks on a given Summer day – Disney is amazing at managing crowds.

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