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Spring Break at Walt Disney World: Hopping to the Magic Kingdom! – Daffy Does Disney

In today’s video I use the new express park hopping bus service for the first time and report in on it. Then I get busy having some fun in the Magic Kingdom prior to my dinner at the Polynesian resort.

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Posted on April 28, 2017, in Daffy Does Disney, Magic Kingdom, theme parks, travel, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I made a weak attempt at fact-checking this, but I’m pretty sure Dove took over the Mickey Premium Bars in the 90’s. So whatever ice cream novelty you had in the parks in the 70’s or 80’s, it probably wasn’t the same thing. This was likely your first sampling of the current snack. It’s basically just a Dove bar, but the shape and location make it extra satisfying. I don’t know how many of those things I have eaten, but it’s a fairly large number. On the cruise we took, they were readily available at no charge. And we have done a few in-park upcharge events where they were handing them out left and right. I seem to recall having paid for a few too.

    I was curious to hear your thoughts on the express transportation. It struck me as one of Disney’s more flagrant money grabs. While I could possibly see using the service, the fact that it exists offends me. Disney should be offering its guests the best transportation it has available instead of charging some guests extra for a superior experience. Blah. It seems to be an acknowledgement that their current service is unsatisfactory and their solution is to dig deeper into their guests’ pockets.

    I mostly share your thoughts on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but you appear to be enjoying yourself a lot more than I did.

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    • If my experience is any indication, most of Disney’s guests either don’t know about the new bus service or decided not to drop the extra cash. I rode by myself once, and with 1-4 other people on all but one of my other trips. I can’t really disagree with you about whether Disney should generally try to do a better job with their existing bus service overall, but my park-hopping during this trip was SO easy that I felt the $29 fee was not bad at all. When you consider what a person lays out for a full Disney vacation, it’s a drop in the bucket (for one person, maybe full families would feel the pinch more) and totally worth it. My guess is that the price will start going up as people realize how much better the experience is and that’s when I would have to make decisions.

      I think that the people I have seen labeling the Micky Bar either “overrated” or a “must do” are all over-stating their opinions. It’s a yummy treat, and I can see why people would make it a tradition, but I wouldn’t tell somebody else that it was something they absolutely had to include in their trip. That’s loony.

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      • If you are labeling snacks as “must dos” you have probably lost perspective. If you’re at a Disney park and an ice cream bar sounds good, the Mickey Premium Bar fits the bill. It’s a simple treat. Nothing wrong with that. Is it “over-rated?” If you have had a lot of people telling you it’s a must-do, yeah, probably. You can buy a product that is nearly identical save for the shape from your grocer’s freezer section. If I find myself in a Disney park on a hot day, I’ll probably want one.

        As for the express bus, I would probably shell out for it if I was park hopping. But first, I have to pay for a Park Hopper option (which I rarely do) and then you’re asking me to shell out an additional $120 (for a family of four) on top of that. Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket. But after Disney has already soaked me for the vacation, having Mickey go through my pockets for change for a service they should already be providing is disgraceful. Despite my objections, if I was planning to park hop extensively, I would choke down my bile and give Disney my money. Then I would come back and complain about it here.

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        • The nature of the service makes it impossible to provide for all of the guests. That would be unmanageable from a logistics standpoint. If they did do such a thing, lines would develop and the value of the service would mostly dissipate.

          By simply asking when a bus leaves for another park you can go enjoy something where you are, show up 5 minutes before the next park hopping bus, walk backstage to board it and then ride to the next park in a quiet and cool bus where you have a seat every time. No walking out the front gate to the buses 1/4 of a mile away. No going through security again and then having to walk into the next park. You’re already deep into one of the lands there.

          Honestly, when I first heard about the service my first reaction was that it was a cash grab. But then I found out it was relatively inexpensive and my mind started to change about it. My personal experience with it leaves me in a position where I’ll be disappointed if they discontinue it or change it significantly (including if the price goes way up).

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        • If they improved their current bus service to the point where it ran on a reliable schedule, I’d have less of a problem with this. The problem is when I take the regular buses, I can’t just ask when the next one is going to leave and show up 5 minutes before it. Instead, I have to walk to the bus station and take my chances. And as you point out, that’s 1/4 mile away.

          Why couldn’t Disney offer a park-to-park busline that bypasses the front gate to all guests? The logistics can’t be as challenging as building a massive resort in the middle of a swamp. It’s probably not something they can just throw together overnight, but long term I should think they could work something out. Universal has a park-to-park train that accomplishes the same thing. I know Disney has some plans for new forms of transportation coming to the resort over the next few years. I also know the company is looking to monetize them like crazy.

          From what I have heard, the express service has been under-utilized. I suspect people just aren’t aware of it. That or there isn’t a demand for it as an upcharge. If it becomes more popular, you know Disney will start charging more for the service. If it doesn’t, they will discontinue it. It’s very unlikely to continue as-is.

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        • You’re probably right on that last point. They will need to let word of mouth extol the virtues of the service as-is, which will take some time. Guest use of it could probably increase tenfold without negatively changing the experience.

          As far as a more formal service that serves all of the guests and goes from inside the parks to other parks? If the parks were located directly next to one another like at Universal that might not be hard at all, but the distance from the Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom, for example, is pretty large. The backstage areas I saw were relatively tight and cycling more than a couple of buses through them at a time would be difficult.

          Again, I’m not going to argue that the existing “free” bus service isn’t pretty inconsistent in quality. It seems to me that they’re working in the right direction with this service, but I’m not sure they will be able to support something serving everybody in the space currently provided.

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        • I’m sure you are correct that the current infrastructure would not support providing this service to all resort guests. That’s a lot of people! The Hogwart’s Express approach is obviously a lot easier at Universal where the distance between the two parks is a short one. But that doesn’t mean that in the long term, Disney couldn’t build new infrastructure to do something similar. Maybe they are. Maybe that’s part of some of the top secret transportation plans they have in development. Despite the fact I would consider using the current service – especially after hearing about your experience – it still rubs me the wrong way. Obviously.

          As I said previously, I’d be a lot less irked if the regular bus service was more reliable.

          Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about the direction the resort is moving in. They have finally started investing again which is a good thing. I’m going to partially credit their competition with forcing their hand, but whatever the reason it’s good to see Disney up their game. There are going to be some changes I don’t care for. I’m a little frightened by what the next evolution of Epcot might be for example. But after a decade of relative stagnation, there is undeniable excitement for projects like Star Wars land.

          I’m less enthused about the accompanying gondola, price hikes and an all-inclusive Star Wars-themed hotel at $500/per person /per night.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I remembered watching this show a while back and that it touched on the development of the Mickey Premium Bar (5 minutes in). Unfortunately, it’s not specific about timetables other than that Disney started developing ice cream bars in the 80’s and that at some point after that the shape changed to the current product. Still, the special is worth a watch if you have never seen it.

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