The Walt Disney World Hotel Pitfall You May Not Expect

Walt Disney World transportation is a vast system with all sorts of helpful ways to get around like the Monorail, Skyliner, buses, and more!

Disney World Bus

Of course, the system isn’t perfect, and we’re always wary of delays and capacity issues (especially at park close!).

Still, there’s one pitfall that is pretty easy to overlook: internal resort bus stops!

Internal Bus Loop Basics

At most Disney World Resort hotels, your bus will go directly to and from your resort’s singular bus stop. In a few cases your Resort’s bus may stop at another Resort for pick up or drop off (one notable example being the All-Star Resorts). But generally speaking, it’s one bus stop per Resort, and everyone’s on or off at that location.

Saratoga Springs Resort from the water
Saratoga Springs Resort from a Sassagoula River ferry in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D700/50mm, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 3200, EV 0.

But some Resorts are so spread out that they require internal bus loops. These Resorts have multiple bus stops within the Resorts themselves so that guests don’t have to cross large distances to get to a bus stop. Sounds useful, right?

Disney Bus

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Having a bus stop right near your Resort door is convenient, but having multiple internal stops means more waiting. You’re waiting in your internal bus stop’s line near your building… and then you’re also waiting for all the other internal bus stops to be picked up or dropped off as well. This can easily add fifteen minutes or more to your bus stop waits.

Old Key West

Internal Bus Loop Resorts

This system is more common at the sprawling resorts. Obviously, you’re not going to find it somewhere like the Contemporary Resort where all of the rooms are in one building, but for many of the Disney Vacation Club resorts, this is the reality.

Coronado Springs

Resorts that have internal stops include Port Orleans — Riverside with three stops, Saratoga Springs with five stops, Old Key West with five stops, Coronado Springs with four stops, and Caribbean Beach with a whopping eight stops.

Riverside

Of course the extra wait time is a counterbalance to the necessity of these stops, which prevent guests from having to face otherwise extensive walks to and from their Resorts’ respective main buildings.

Still, when time in the parks is precious and you want to reduce travel time, internal stops can really mess with your plans. Imagine getting on the bus at the first stop in Caribbean Beach? That’s seven stops before you even leave the Resort to head to the parks!

Peter Pan Bus

Internal Bus Loop Tips

If you do find yourself staying at a resort that has internal stops, we’ve got some tips on how to manage. Make sure you leave your room with ample time to spend on the bus. If you’re planning to arrive at park open, you might want to allow an extra 15 minutes to get there.

Port Orleans Bus Stop

Also, grab the My Disney Experience app! Disney buses can make for a great time to check out your plans, make new plans, and learn about what you can do in the parks. Some of the buses are even outfitted with wifi and USB plugs for charging.

Minnie Mouse Bus

And remember, internal stops can be a major benefit. For parties with tired little ones or guests who can’t move about as easily, the convenience of a nearby bus stop can be paramount. If this sounds like a benefit to your family, it might be a good idea to look at one of these resorts as an option!

Disney Bus

In general, the pitfall of internal stops can be mitigated in one big way: be aware that the pitfall exists, and plan for it.

Have you stayed at a resort with a lot of internal bus stops? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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12 Replies to “The Walt Disney World Hotel Pitfall You May Not Expect”

  1. When staying at Old Key West, with internal stops, I plan my time accordingly. Besides….. I’m on vacation, so I chill !!

  2. Are we really talking this much about buses? Really people? There are way more exciting topics to comment on. Bus talk is boring!!!!!

    1. Except when you are trying to save as much time as possible for the parks. This is a very informative and necessary article. Thanks All Ears!!!

  3. While the article suggests an extra 15 minutes and some commenters say up to 30 minutes, my question would be: How does it compare to a car ride from the resorts? Walking to the parking lot, the drive over, the possible wait in line to get into the parking lot, parking/walking distance to the main entrance (bus stop point).
    Our experience has been to practice “Patience”! We often get perturbed by those individuals / groups that have things planned to the Nth degree and are rushing everywhere trying to get seven days worth into three. Breath In Breath Out Move On. Waiting 15 to 30 minutes gives you time to enjoy the little things most people miss.

  4. Also taking the internal buses will drop you off at the front of the park you’re going to and you don’t have to walk since the trams are not running inside the different parking spot lots of the different theme parks to take you to the front of the park. So in the long run it does save you time Just plan 20 to 30 minutes for internal buses and you’ll get right to the front of the park.

  5. Riverside is closed indefinitely.

    If your resort has an internal bus loop it’s worth searching the order and where you fit in. One issue currently with reduced capacity is buses often fill up on the first stops. By the time a new bus arrives, more guests have shown up at the first stops. This cycle can cause an issue for the later stops so if you’re having trouble, keep this in mind and figure out if it makes sense to move bus stops.

  6. Our last stay at Disney was at Caribbean Beach while the Riviera was being built. We had very little issue with the buses. The largest inconvenience was the wait at the park to return being longer than that of other resorts buses.

  7. We have found during busy times you don’t want to be the last stop on the internal bus loop (especially Saratoga Springs). The buses fill up and you end up waiting for several buses to come.

    1. That was the point I was going to make. When you are the pickup at the end of the line, you might have to wait a while lot longer to get a bus because they are already full. Maybe the sprawling resorts should run internal shuttles to the main building??

      1. Good Idea, Brian, although I’d probably fuss about disembarking and reembarking on another bus. I’ve always thought they should rotate first stops even though it would seem foolish to drive by “my” stop at times to get to the new first stop and would essentially require the bus to circle the resort twice most of the time. We had a trip to Coronado many years ago and were on the last stop and it basically ruined the trip for us due to having to wait 3-4 buses to get seating. Thankfully now, when it’s unbearable, an Uber isn’t too far away.