When we first saw the news that a new trial bus service would be in operation between Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom, we were excited and puzzled!
Thoughts raced through our minds!

Our first thought was; Wow!  Free parking for guests!
Our next thought was; But half of the parking lot has gone for construction!
Our next thought was; Maybe they are going to charge for parking at DTD?

 

Disney want you to visit DTD after your park Day!

In the end, we looked at the facts a little more closely to see that the clue was there all along.  The trial is running though September and October but only between 3pm and 1am (just after midnight).

The afternoon and late evening service is an experiment to encourage guests to park at the Animal Kingdom in a morning, enjoy the park, (which is the earliest closer at WDW) and then bus into Downtown Disney for a meal, shopping and fun, before bussing back to your car in the Animal Kingdom parking lot.

The advantages for Disney are HUGE

  • They’ve just found a way of extending the Animal Kingdom Guest’s day on WDW property (AK typically closes at 5pm or 6pm most days of the year)
  • They’ll get more people into Downtown Disney, and without loading the limited parking lot (while the new multi level lot is being constructed behind Splitsville and the AMC24 Cinema)
  • The pilot can be dropped or expanded depending on the success of the two month trial.

We feel that Downtown Disney will play a huge role in the future strategies of Walt Disney World, but the site does not have enough potential to act as a central transportation hub.
The advantages of a ‘Park & Ride’ system at WDW would encourage guests to remain on property much more than they do right now, and it is only a matter of time before Walt Disney World goes down the route of a centralised parking system coupled by efficient transportation networks such as rail services linking resorts, parks and DTD.
Disney already know that once a family heads out of a park and into the parking lot, the family are probably most likely to head home.
But if you could get somewhere else in WDW quickly and without fuss, we all probably would at least one or two times a vacation more!

Watch this space!