In an earlier article we talked about the transportation benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World. Today, I’d like to take a minute to talk about the transportation benefits of staying off property at WDW. I’m going to start with (and stress) that this all assumes you are staying off property with a vehicle of some kind – not using off-property resort shuttles. Why? Because using off-property shuttles are usually terrible. I have never had a good experience with them. They take forever, they’re usually crowded, they don’t run frequently, sometimes they make stops at multiple resorts/hotels, and they take forever (I know, I said that twice).
Can be a time saver
Let’s start with – saving time. Just like buying a house, when picking your off property resort, there is one thing to always keep in mind: location, location, location. When staying off property at WDW, there are plenty of choices that are both far from Walt Disney World resort and close. We always try to find a resort that is close and has easy access to WDW. Even with a little traffic, we average 10-15 minutes from our resort parking stop to parking at WDW. That includes going through parking gate/booth. The only time we ever found resort transportation to be as quick is when we happened to walk up right as our bus was pulling in and we went straight to the park. Otherwise, if you include waiting for the bus and additional pickups/drop-offs, the buses usually took longer than driving. If you want to get very detailed, our car is usually closer to our room off property than the bus stop ever was on property, making the total “travel time” even shorter.
More convenient staying off property at WDW
Next up – convenience. Some will argue that actually having to drive is less convenient than sitting back and letting WDW transportation do the work for you. I’ll concede to that. However, sitting and waiting for a bus is not convenient for me. While it is said that the Disney buses pick up every 10-15 minutes, I’ve noticed that’s not always exact. Plus, it’s painful when you walk up just as your bus is pulling away. If you’re at Downtown Disney and want to go to a park, forget about it. It means a bus ride to a WDW resort, then another bus ride to the theme park. I’ve had to do this a few times and you’re looking at an hour – easy. Same thing if you wanted to go back to Downtown from one of the parks.
Traveling can be more comfortable
Last one – comfort. For those of you with small children and strollers, this one is big. While this may be personal opinion, I prefer not to try to get on a bus with two small children, diaper bag, cooler, stroller, and camera bag; once on, somehow balance all of that without annoying the people around me. When we arrive, I feel like I have to rush off or everyone gets mad at “the guy with the kids and all the stuff” who’s taking forever and ruining their day. It’s a dash off the bus and try to get kids and “stuff” loaded without slowing anyone else down. Alternatively, when we drive, my wife and I can: get out, get the stroller set up, load the stroller, then load each kid. This can be done in a sane and controlled way. I also find riding in my car, with my air conditioner to be more comfortable than the buses. I can still get Disney music on the radio if I want.
So that’s why we like driving when we stay off property at WDW. How about you? Do you prefer to drive or the WDW buses?
On or Off Property?!?! Check out Jonathan’s full article series covering this great debate:
Staying Off Property at WDW, the Transportation Benefits