Sunday, May 8, 2005

Disney's Airport Transportation

With the Magical Gathering promotions, along with the Biggest Celebration on Earth, Disney is now offering transportation from the Orlando airport for guests staying at Disney resorts. There may be some other limitation on this you should check out before going, but here is my experience and take on it.

This service seems to be operated by Mears. I didn't realize that until I was already in line to board the bus. Had I known, I would have rented a car. Mears has never failed to disappoint me so I stopped using them. Having said that, remember that FREE is still good.

Coming off the plane, I could not find the counter to get the bus. I didn't have checked bags so had no reason to wander the baggage areas. But I did go to the local transportation areas. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong side to try first and ended up walking the entire terminal before finding it. That cost be about 15 minutes but I got there.

The queue moved pretty quickly and the castmember (or Mears staffer?) quickly helped me out. Since I was arriving separate from my family as I was in another city for business (Las Vegas, the Adult resort), I didn't have any of the documents as they had only arrived the day before and I was already traveling. It didn't matter as they quickly found what I needed and also gave me my return voucher. Unfortunately, the return voucher had the wrong date, despite my wife verifying it with them multiple times. I was told it wouldn't really matter and went to get in line to board the bus. The experience at the counter took another 15 minutes but I thought it was pretty efficient and quick considering the volume of people in the queue.

However, I and a few others waited in the bus line for nearly 45 minutes before we boarded a bus. Had I rented a car, I could have driven there and already been in bed. The reason this was beginning to be a big deal is that my flight landed at 10:10 so it was now nearly midnight. Then, as usual and why I don't like Mears, the bus had to stop at 5 other resorts before getting me to Saratoga. At one point, we were trying to get into the Boardwalk and the gate wouldn't go up and there was obviously nobody watching the security camera at the gate.

Finally, at 1:20 I got off the bus at Saratoga Springs. I went to the check-in counter as my wife had told me she left my key there knowing I would arrive late. There was nobody at the counter. I yelled "Hello", knocked on doors, but to no avail. After 10 minutes a castmember came in and took care of me pretty quickly. I asked about the location of the room and was told it was essentially several blocks away. "Can someone take me there?", I asked. Nope - the buses aren't running and had I arrived before 1:00 there would have been someone to take me in a golf cart. Well, it wasn't my fault I wasn't there before 1:00. After all, I arrived at the airport at 10:10! It was now 1:40 and I had to drag myself several blocks to our room.

Disney Transportation, or its vendors, in general may ultimately be the downfall of the resort.

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