Your Conversations Are Being Listened to on Disney Buses and Monorails
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when I’m at Walt Disney World, I’m listening to your private talks. Oh, don’t act like you don’t do it. With so many people in such a small space, anything you say is easily overheard. Some of the discussions are particularly enlightening, too. In fact, I’m prone to chat up my neighbors on Disney transportation. Here are some recent conversations I’ve had on Disney buses (and other forms of transportation).
Do You Like the Disney Dining Plan?
Let me start by saying that I’m not the only person who eavesdrops on buses. During one fateful trip back to the hotel, my wife and I were discussing a hiccup with our Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. We had been charged seven entitlements for a two-person meal at ‘Ohana. It was a simple mistake that was rectified at the front desk of our resort.
The guests listening to our conversation had questions about the deluxe version. They’d tried the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) in the past but hadn’t liked it for the standard reason. They felt it was too much food for a single person. After some discussion, others on our bus chimed in with their thoughts.
I was amused that even with such a small sample size, opinions were so diverse. Some travelers indicated that they would never do Disney without buying the DDP. Everyone agreed that the plan is great in theory. It’s just difficult to fit every family’s needs.
What Do You Think about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
I could distill hours and hours of Disney transportation chatter down to a single statement: “I can’t wait for Star Wars Land!” Seriously, we were standing in line at Toy Story Land, the newest Disney themed land on the planet, and guests were talking about Galaxy’s Edge. No matter which bus, boat, or monorail we boarded, someone inevitably broached the subject with a stranger.
The popularity of the subject caused me to wonder how much of a bump in park attendance Disney will get. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter famously doubled the park traffic at Universal’s Islands of Adventure over an eight-year period. It increased from 4.6 million in 2009 to 9.5 million in 2017.
Pandora – The World of Avatar created a similar halo effect at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In the world of pop culture, Avatar lags far behind Harry Potter, which is in turn less established than Star Wars. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the Western Hemisphere who doesn’t know what the Force is. And many of these people are chomping at the bit to fly the Millennium Falcon.
From what I saw and heard on Disney transportation, the demand for Star Wars Land surpasses anything that I’ve ever witnessed in the theme park industry…and I once waited five hours to ride Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point during its opening month. I fully expect the largest crowds in Walt Disney World history when it opens.
At Disneyland, the situation should be even more intense, as its version of Star Wars Land will open first. If you want to be one of the first to experience the theme park that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue, you should speak with a MickeyTravels agent to book a trip immediately. Hotel rooms will be booked, so waiting to the last minute will leave you entirely shut out.
Is Space Mountain Too Bumpy?
Here’s a topic that should cause park planners to raise their eyebrows and pay attention. During our recent visit, a couple of people on the monorail were complaining about the current state of Space Mountain. As you may know, Disney is constructing a new attraction in Tomorrowland, an upcoming Tron ride.
Other rides in Tomorrowland are impacted by this build. Tomorrowland Speedway must close early next year to modify its track path. Meanwhile, Space Mountain had a strange exit area on the day that we were there, likely due to its Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party overlay. Not everyone was a fan of the pitch black version of the ride experience.
The darkness eliminates any opportunity to anticipate upcoming bumps on the ride tracks. Guests get bumped quite hard in a few spots, which turned a few of them cranky. A discussion ensued about whether classic Disney attractions should remain true to their roots or update to improve the ride experience.
Holistically, it was a debate about the Disney concept of plussing. In the specific example of Space Mountain, it reflected that some lighting is good for the body. Also, the ride’s getting a bit rickety and could probably use some maintenance.
Where Are You Staying and Is It Better?
Something I’ve noticed over many visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland is that people are always hunting for new intel. No matter how happy they are with their current vacation, they’re already planning the next one, hoping to make it even better.
A perfect example of this behavior happened on a recent boat ride. As we sailed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot, we watched a party of at least 15 people debate their accommodations. Some were staying at various All-Star Resorts, another was at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the lucky ones were at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The general consensus among the All-Star Resorts guests was that they wish that they’d splurged a bit more for nicer accommodations. They had committed the cardinal sin of visiting a deluxe hotel where their friends/family members were staying.
Their envy was total, as the monorail access had impressed them so much that they were still talking about it a couple of days later, which amused the people staying at the Contemporary. They carried themselves like they’d “won” the vacation compared to their traveling companions.
The Caribbean Resort guests seemed happy enough, but they kept saying that they wished that they’d waited a year. The construction at the hotel didn’t seem to bother them, but they lamented the fact that the Disney Skyliner wasn’t open yet. Plus, they knew that they were a year too early for Star Wars Land. Seriously, the percentage of bus, boat, and monorail trips that don’t include some discussion of Galaxy’s Edge must approach zero.
Where’s the Best Place to Eat at Disney Springs?
Okay, this topic cracked me up. It got pretty intense, something I hadn’t expected. The argument started when one person emphatically stated that Art Smith’s Homecoming has the most delicious food at Walt Disney World. A stranger countered that it wasn’t even the best meal at Disney Springs. His wife nodded emphatically, and they talked up Morimoto Asia.
At this point, things took a turn. The couple’s parents/in-laws disagreed with them…rather rudely, I thought. The older gentleman said that The BOATHOUSE was easily the best. Internally, I nodded at his suggestion, but I sat perfectly still nonetheless. It was NOT a great moment to talk to try to make new friends.
His wife, who didn’t strike me as a people person, began to assail Morimoto Asia for having “fake foreign food,” whatever that means. At this moment, I appreciated all of the friends and family members who have joined me at Walt Disney World. They’ve never openly picked a fight with me.
This couple was willing to belittle their child, their child’s spouse, and some friendly strangers over something as trivial as the best restaurant at Disney Springs. It just goes to show that people are rarely on their best behavior when they’re on Disney transportation.