Transportation

One-Day/Two-Parks; A Universal Orlando Trip Report

by on December 17, 2014

The gate to the Studios.

The gate to the Studios.

…in which our intrepid couple travels outside the Disney bubble and lives to tell about it.

Step 1 – Transportation from Walt Disney World to Universal and Park Tickets

While planning for a particularly long vacation to Walt Disney World, my husband and I decided to squeeze in a day over at Universal Orlando Resort to try out a one-day / two-park touring plan of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Instantly we were faced with the question, “How do we get there?” We were planning on taking Disney’s Magical Express from the airport and would not have a car while on vacation. Would we dare to use the public transportation and hop a bus? We had seen a harrowing,(although hilarious) YouTube video of a British couple who took this route. It didn’t work out so well for them, and they splurged for a cab ride on the way back. Yes, busing was out of the question. We were on a time limit and didn’t have the three hours it took these poor folks just to get to the park. Well, with rental car and busing out of the question, that left us with a taxi.

We did our homework and priced up the fares using the Mears Transportation website. It didn’t seem too terrible, and this is really what we were leaning towards, until I read in the fine print that even if stuck in traffic, the meter is running. We wanted to be on the roadways during rush hour traffic. This probably was not a good plan either. Well, what to do? Do we just forget about Universal? No! Where there is a will, there is a way. And after more research we discovered that some of the travel agencies that sell tickets also sell transportation packages. Now we’re talking!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Video: Cabana Bay Garden Bridge Now Open at Universal Orlando

by on November 8, 2014

Cabana Bay garden bridge open

Cabana Bay’s garden bridge is now open to pedestrians, and we’ve got the POV to prove it. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

It seems like only yesterday that we were wondering when the new pedestrian walkway and garden bridge connecting the Cabana Bay Beach Resort with the rest of the Universal Orlando Resort would open. Well, wait now more, because it looks like The Cowfish wasn’t the only thing Universal quietly debuted this month.

The Cabana Bay garden bridge opened recently, and even though the walkway between the hotel and CityWalk isn’t yet fully landscaped, I wanted to capture the following POV video to give you a feel for this new path’s potential:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Offsite Options: Rope Drop Rules

by on September 16, 2014

As avid Disney fans know, the Unofficial Guide recommends arriving at the gate of Walt Disney World’s theme parks 30–40 minutes before park opening during mid-summer months, and 45–60 minutes before park opening during the holiday season. The introduction of FastPass+ into touring strategies, however, may lead some to question whether arriving this early, i.e., for rope drop, is as important as it used to be. After all, if you can make your attraction selections in advance, why go through the “hassle” of arriving at the crack of dawn?

Though I would argue getting to the parks early is important for all guests, this article will examine why it is especially important for offsite guests. I’ll identify some of the benefits to “rope-dropping” as an offsite guest, and encourage you to at least give rope drop a try during your next Walt Disney World experience.

First!

First! – © John Kivus, 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Come to Epcot

by on September 7, 2014

EV Signage at Epcot

The location of the EV charging stations is clearly marked with a sign. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Since its opening, one focus of Epcot has been to showcase new technologies. Keeping in line with that mission, Epcot has added some technology that may be unfamiliar to many people, but certainly is being touted as technology of the future. But you won’t find this technology inside Epcot – it is located in the parking lot.

Along the first row of the Journey parking lot, Epcot now has two Electric Vehicle charging stations (each with plugs for two vehicles). This service is provided (for a fee) by ChargePoint.

Prior to the opening of this station, options to charge electric cars have been limited at Walt Disney World. According to the PlugShare site, the only other reported options for charging an EV were wall outlets at Fort Wilderness Cabins (likely installed to charge golf carts), a reported wall outlet available at the Contemporary (available only if you ask around, but not marked as such), another wall outlet available from valet at the Dolphin hotel upon request, a dedicated but unmarked charging outlet at the BoardWalk (which means that if someone has already parked in that parking space, you are out of luck), and an unapproved outlet at Caribbean Beach that only is powered at night (and not likely sanctioned by Disney). Many of these workarounds were unreliable and users reported that they often provided an incomplete charge.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Walt Disney World Monorail Schedule Changing September 1

by on August 29, 2014

Earlier this summer, the Walt Disney World Resort changed the monorail operating hours. Well, with Labor Day Weekend upon us and summer quickly fading away into fall at WDW, it appears that the monorail will be running different hours again. Beginning on September 1 and lasting (right now) until September 26, the Walt Disney World Resort monorail service will be seeing another set of updated hours, which are:

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (12:00 midnight on hard ticket event evenings)
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 9:30 a.m. through 1 hour after the Magic Kingdom fireworks
  • Epcot Beam: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

During times when the monorail will not be running, additional watercraft and buses will be available to transport guests.

There is no word yet regarding whether after September 26 monorail hours will still be reduced or if they will return to their standard schedule. As a reminder, the Walt Disney World Resort monorails are currently undergoing an update where they are adding an automated operating system.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

All Aboard! Amtrak Auto Train

by on August 19, 2014

Auto Train car carriers

Loading cars into the Auto Train car carriers.

While living in Maryland, we would often fly to Orlando, and I’d say my prayers, grit my teeth, and bear it. Once we had a child and realized that we’d be paying hundreds of dollars to bring all of the stuff that a baby seems to require for a week somewhere other than home, plus have to deal with the “fun” of flying with an infant, we looked into travel on the Amtrak Auto Train. Our first trip with our daughter was when she was six months. Since then, we have taken sixteen trips on the Auto Train. I am still surprised at how many people in the Northeast U.S. have not heard about this service, however.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Hitting the Trail: Taking on the Disney World Walking Paths

by on August 13, 2014

I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone want to take a walking path when it seems like all you do at Walt Disney World is walk? Well, just hear me out, I do have a few good reasons! You see, walking paths allow you two big luxuries that are hard to come by at Disney World: no lines or crowds and the ability to make your own time.

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Hollywood Studios Walking Path to the BoardWalk

Nobody likes fighting the long lines for buses, boats, and monorails, especially at closing time. It’s not unusual to have to wait for several of your own resort buses to fill up before you can board yourself following Magic Kingdom’s Wishes, which is hard to bear when your feet hurt and the kids are crying, right? Although, there can be lines or standing room only on buses, boats, and Monorail during the day too. However, the walking paths are never crowded, offering you and yours a reprieve from the shuffling lines and seas of strollers. Also, many are in open, beautiful settings that are well-lit, paved, and serve as great decompression zones from all the hustle and bustle.

But the lack of chaos isn’t the only reason to take on a walking path. Guests who have visited Disney World before know that getting from one place to another can be time consuming! Disney even recommends those with dining reservations to allow at least an hour for transportation time. Why? Well, for example, if you were to have a reservation at one of Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants, a lot of time can be wasted in waiting for transportation, actual travel time, going through security and the turnstiles, and then actually walking across the park to your restaurant. Whew! That can really take awhile and there are a lot of variables to contend with! That’s why, when I can, I prefer to take a walking path so that I can make my own time without checking my watch in nervous frustration for the umpteenth time at a resort bus stop.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Walt Disney World Extended Monorail Operating Hours for July 4 Holiday

by on July 2, 2014

Late last month, I reported that Walt Disney World was adjusting monorail schedules in order to perform work to update the systems. However, during the busy Independence Day weekend, Disney has adjusted the monorail operating schedule to accommodate the large influx of crowds.

Here’s how the monorail schedule will look over the next three days:

July 3 & 4

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
  • Epcot Beam: 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.

July 5

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Epcot Beam: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Quick Tips – Resort to Resort Transportation at Disney World

by on June 20, 2014

A train is not good for resort to resort transportation at Disney World

This is not a good way to get from resort to resort.

Hello, readers! I hope you’re enjoying the new voices on the blog this week. In addition to hiring new bloggers, I’ve been going over the galleys for the next printing of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. One the sections I recently reviewed was Part Eight – Getting Around. This is where we give information about arriving at Walt Disney World and how to use the transportation system.

Believe it or not, despite a page length of nearly than 900 pages, the book could give a little more information on the nuts and bolts of resort to resort transportation at Disney World.

The most tricky part of using the Disney transportation system is traveling between resorts. In the Guide, we leave it at “don’t use Downtown Disney as your hub if you can avoid it.” I think we can do a little better than that.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Walt Disney World Monorails to See New Summer Operating Schedule

by on June 14, 2014

The Walt Disney World monorail system is currently in the process of being updated with an automated operating system. To accommodate for this work, monorail service will be adjusted for the summer. Both Magic Kingdom loops, as well as the Epcot loop, will see service impacted.

Work will begin on June 22 and the monorail line will see a fixed schedule all summer long. Here is a look at the temporary monorail schedule and when you’ll be able to catch a ride on the monorail.

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Epcot Beam: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

During this time, additional watercraft and buses will be available to transport guests.

When completed, the new automated system will allow for faster switching trains on and off the beams, a more frequent dispatch of trains, a more consistent running monorail, and monorail arrival information.

There is currently no time table for when the monorails will return to their normal operation.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print