Tag Archives: Friendships
I’m checking in with Part 2 of my current Top 5 series: Top 5 Boat Rides at Walt Disney World Resort. It seems four out of five of my favorites are found at Magic Kingdom Park. I must admit it was hard to narrow the list down to just five rides. I mean, in addition to the 10+ boat-oriented park attractions, you’ve also got ferries (or is that fairies?), fireworks cruises, and water craft rentals. In the end, though, it came down to which ones my family rides over and over and over and over…
1. Pirates of the Caribbean - Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction Walt Disney had a hand in designing. It was originally designed to be a walk-through wax museum, but Walt plussed that idea into a boat ride while the attraction was already under construction. A copy of this popular ride was added by popular demand to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1973 and is still one of the park’s most frequented stops. Pirates of the Caribbean has inspired four hit movies; now those movies have, in turn, have inspired Imagineers, as Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbosa, and Davey Jones have been added to the story line.
Let me be up front with you, as a Disney consumer who happens to be an Oldie I really enjoy the Walt Disney World transportation system. There are a few reasons why. We have stayed off site and driven to the parks each day (that will never happen again), we have also rented a car for an 8 day visit and the only time we used it was for a 1 day trip to Universal so if that comes up again we will do a 1 day rental, but it has become our norm to rely strictly on the Disney transportation system to get us from place to place. On our upcoming visit in October we will be going to see Harry Potter for 1 day but the friends we are vacationing with are driving down so that is covered.
When people hear Disney transportation their thoughts seem to drift towards the bus system and any bad experiences they have had with it. Sure, we have had a few less than perfect experiences but never anything I would call bad. Yes, they get crowded (especially at park closing) and some fellow passengers can occasionally be somewhat rude or annoying but when you consider how many people that bus system moves and the complexity of Walt Disney World it works pretty doggone well. I know I am regularly offered a seat if I am standing but there are lots of folks who need that seat worse than I do so I always politely decline.
So much for the bus system, and yes it is very effective for seniors and those folks who might have some mobility issues. What else is available and how well does it work? Of course there is the monorail which works just beautifully for moving everyone from toddlers to Oldies. The ride is smooth and always well air conditioned. We have heard a lot about accidents but overall the safety record is excellent. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t go everywhere in Walt Disney World and that’s not likely to happen. But, if you are staying in one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts it can’t be beat for efficiency. The ride from the TTC to Epcot is also a treat. Again, the monorail system is a very effective mode of transportation for us Oldies.
My personal favorite method of transportation at Walt Disney World are the many types of boats that navigate the World’s waterways. I’ll just list a few of them for you:
- The ferry from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom
- The smaller boats that go between their respective resorts and the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon
- The ones that sail in Bay Lake moving us to and from Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary
- Then there are the Friendships that ply the World Showcase Lagoon from one side to the other (but it’s normally faster to walk)
- There are also Friendships that go from Epcot to the Boardwalk and then to the Yacht Club and over to the Swan/Dolphin and on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Saving my favorite for last, the Sassagoula Steamboat Company that runs from Port Orleans Riverside to the French Quarter and on to Downtown Disney. There is also another line that goes between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney.
Using the boats is a great way for Seniors (and everyone else) to relax after a hectic day and be ready for a good night’s sleep. So the answer to the question is Disney transportation is very effective for seniors and I didn’t even mention that it’s free!!! As Always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Photo By Disney
We have all taken advantage of the Disney bus system, ridden the Monorail, and most likely driven a car to get from one place to another at Walt Disney World. The entire Disney transportation system is extraordinarily efficient and well operated, and even though there have been a few very serious incidents, considering the number of people being transported it is very safe! The only issue I have with it comes from the feeling of rush-rush-rush that I get while being moved around. I like to take it easy when on vacation (after all I’m old) and it is difficult to relax on a crowded bus or Monorail.
There is a terrific alternative if you are traveling around the Epcot, Epcot Resort, Swan/Dolphin or Disney’s Hollywood Studios areas. There are boats that traverse the World Showcase Lagoon that will give you a different perspective on that area – try them, it’s a very calming experience. These boats are called ‘Friendships’. There is another ‘Friendship’ route being operated that goes from the Epcot International Gateway area to the Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club, Swan/Dolphin, and then on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It also operates in the reverse direction. What a marvelous way to get from one place to another in a relaxed, slow, and calm way. You may want to avoid sitting outside at the very back of the boat because of increased engine noise but it’s really not that bad.
Does using this service for transportation purposes really make sense? It does, and here is how we use it. Being Park Hopper fans, sometimes we will spend a partial day at Epcot and then wander the Boardwalk area or even spend the rest of the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We get there on the Friendships. More often we will spend a day at the Studios with an evening Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) at one of the wonderful Epcot restaurants and we use the Friendships to travel between the parks. The trip, with stops, takes 25 – 30 minutes so if you have an ADR plan accordingly.
There are so many ways to do so many things at Walt Disney World that it can quickly become mind boggling for newer travelers. We have friends who are frequent and regular travelers to Walt Disney World who knew that those boats were there but they had no idea where they went. They do now and they really enjoy them. Look around for alternatives, you might be surprised what you find! As always, Enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Boats! Boats! Boats! In Part 1 I covered almost every alternative form of Walt Disney World transportation except my favorite and a favorite of a lot of my fellow Oldies – BOATS!!! You might be surprised by just how much boat transportation there is at Walt Disney World. Three of the theme parks are serviced by some sort of boat transportation as well as a lot of the resorts. Rather than explain each one I’ll just outline them here by venue.
- The Magic Kingdom area has a large number of boats traveling to and from all of the resorts in the area and the Transportation and Ticket Center (T&TC). You can get to and from the Magic Kingdom by boat from the T&TC, the Contemporary, the Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian.
- You can go between Downtown Disney and the Port Orleans Resorts (pictured above) on a particularly lovely and serene trip. You can also use boat transportation to get to the Marketplace section of Downtown Disney from Old Key West and Saratoga Springs.
- Epcot has some internal boat transportation with two Friendship Docks on the north side of the World Showcase Lagoon. The internal boats go to docks near the Germany and Morocco pavilions. One hint, if you are looking to save time, walking is generally quicker but the boats give you an entirely different perspective of the World Showcase. There is also boat service from the International Gateway to the Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club, Swan/Dolphin, and on to Hollywood studios.
- As mentioned above, you can take a boat from Epcot to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and back. The trip takes about 25 -30 minutes each way because of the stops but if you are staying at any of the Epcot resorts it’s a great way to relax after a long day in the parks.
I can’t speak for all of my fellow Seniors but I know that after a tiring day at Walt Disney World it’s often a better to take a boat rather than fight the crowds on the buses. The bus system is terrific but as we all know – they do fill them to capacity. Using boat transportation allows you to unwind and relax so you can get a good night’s sleep and do it all over again the next day. As Oldies, we don’t rejuvenate as quickly as the youngsters so it’s always better if we are relaxed and ready to sleep when we hit the bed.
We always use the boats when we can and find that it’s not just good for the body but good for the mind also. Give it a try, I’m sure you will like it. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
There are a lot of folks who think that the only way to get from point A to point B at Walt Disney World is by using the bus system. There are many other ways to get around and this week and next I’ll try and address those alternatives. First of all, the Disney bus system is incredibly efficient and handles the majority of the needs of visitors beautifully. Even for us, the Oldies, the bus service provides a break from the heat (if not always from the crowds) and a worry free way to get from place to place.
The first alternative, surprisingly enough, is walking!! I walk for exercise on a regular basis and have noticed that a large percentage of the folks out there walking are from our age group – Oldies! Seniors love to walk, at least a lot of them do, and there are places at Walt Disney World where walking is sometimes quicker than other transportation options, plus, it’s better for you. Take a look at the picture above. This sign is very close to the Contemporary Resort and the walk from there to the Magic Kingdom is a pleasant 10-12 minute stroll. Other walkways run from the International Gateway at Epcot to the Epcot resorts. The walk to the Beach Club is fairly short but a bit longer to both the Boardwalk and the Yacht Club. All of these strolls are very manageable for folks without mobility issues. Perhaps the most surprising walkway runs from the Boardwalk area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is a solid 15-18 minute walk at a steady pace and may be a bit much for some but generally is not that difficult. The nice thing about this walk is that it is never crowded and runs along the same waterway that the Friendships use. It’s a very pleasant way to relax. We all know that walking in the theme parks is a way of life at Walt Disney World and the additional mileage you would put in on these strolls may be too much. If you feel able, give them a try but if you don’t, please don’t push it.
Another favorite alternative is the Monorail of course. It is ideal for those folks staying at the Magic Kingdom Resorts where a lot of the Oldies gang stays. There is nothing easier than walking out the front door of your resort (except of course at the Contemporary where you don’t even leave the building) and catching a smooth and comfortable ride to the Magic Kingdom or one of the other resorts. Perhaps my favorite Monorail loop runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center (T&TC) to Epcot and back. You can get to the T&TC by driving, bus, or either of the other 2 Monorail Loops. The first of those Loops runs clockwise and stops at the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom, Contemporary and the T&TC. The express loop runs counterclockwise from the T&TC to the Magic Kingdom and back to the T&TC. When you get to the T&TC just follow the signs to the Epcot Monorail and sit back to enjoy the approximately 20 minute ride to Epcot. Just a quick hint, if you want a great view of Spaceship Earth sit on the right hand side of the cab as you face the front of the Monorail. For a view of the World Showcase, sit on the left. I’ve noticed that there are quite a few Seniors who just like to ride the entire Epcot Loop as a way to take a break from the parks.
These are a couple of alternatives and I will address what appears to be the most under used method next week. The numerous opportunities for boat travel are particularly attractive to us Oldies because it is such a pleasant and unhurried way to get from place to place. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!