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POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

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POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby stephc » May 23rd, 2016, 2:18 pm

We recently returned from a week long stay at POR. This was our 3rd time to stay at POR and we have stayed at POFQ twice. Everything was great about the resort itself, but we had bus issues for our entire stay that will honestly prevent us from staying at either PO resort in the foreseeable future. It really breaks my heart to say that because I have made over 30 trips to WDW (28 of which I have been onsite). I have stayed in every WDW hotel except WL, BC, CS, and any of the values. Before this trip, POR/POFQ ranked right up there in our top 3, alongside the Poly and YC.

Let me say that this trip was just myself and my husband. We are both in our late 40s and in reasonable shape for our age. We live in the country, so we're used to the outdoors and lots of walking. Waiting on buses does not bother us, we are not the "go go go" type and tend to accept things as they come and "roll with the flow". This last trip was the absolute worst bus transportation we've ever dealt with at Disney. We didn't plan on rope drop at any park, we chose to leave the resort around 10-11 am so that we would purposely avoid long bus lines. WRONG! Every time we went to the bus stop after 10 am there were still huge lines for EVERY bus. Not small lines that disappeared once a bus pulled up, long lines that took 2-3 buses to disperse (and the buses were coming at least 25 minutes apart-most often closer to 35/40).

The route they were running also made zero sense to us. Return to the hotel with a packed bus and the main stop is last?!? Of course the few people getting off at the other stops were crammed into the back of the bus, so 1/2 the bus had to unload and then load back up to make the other stops.

The absolute worst was Monday night, May 2nd. We went to DHS for Fantasmic! and the SW fireworks. There was a torrential downpour/thunder/lightening and Fantasmic! was cancelled. CMs were waving people out of the park yelling that the park is closing and SW fireworks are cancelled. We trudge out to the buses in this downpour and lo an behold, BOTH PO resorts are being crammed onto the same bus. The line extended out of our queue and past 3 other bus stops. There are very small awnings at DHS, so the majority of us waiting are standing in the downpour. We have ponchos on, but they offer minimal protection in that kind of rain. Like I said, hubby and I are late 40s and used to being outdoors, the rain wasn't going to kill us, but there were elderly people, disabled people, and very young children having to stand out in this. We waited 1 and 1/2 hrs for a bus. In that time, only 2 buses came to our stop. We were on the 3rd bus. Next day we talked to another family in the bus line at MK that told us they waited over 2 hrs!!! The good thing about standing in line was that we did get to see the SW fireworks that WERE NOT CANCELLED! Of course we were outside the park and couldn't hear the music, but at least we did see the fireworks.

It was so bad, that by Thursday, May 5th, we had Disney security manning the lines for POR at MK. People were just tired of waiting so long for buses and they were beginning to push and shove and break line.

To be fair, we did catch buses from other Disney resorts (BWI and the GF) and we waited too long for those buses as well. 45 minutes at BWI for a bus to Disney Springs and 40 minutes at GF for a bus to AK. We just didn't have to fight massive crowds for those buses.

Like I said, everything at the resort was perfect. Room was exceptionally clean and mousekeeeping did a wonderful job. Food court did get crowded at times (which we expected), but they were managing the crowds well and keeping everything as clean as possible. Boatwrights was actually one of the best meals we had during the entire trip. Every CM we encountered was personable and extremely helpful. It saddens me to say that the bus situation was so bad that it has turned us off from staying there again.

I'm sorry if the overall tone of this report comes off negatively. We are not complainers and otherwise had an absolutely perfect trip. I realize that I could be there this week and the bus situation would be totally different. We most likely experienced an off week (I sincerely hope so) and maybe they were in the midst of trying new routes or something, thinking crowds would be low and they could experiment that week. Just wanted to give a "heads up" to anyone planning a trip. If you don't deal well with crowded buses or long waits for buses, and don't want to drive your own vehicle, you may want to try another hotel. Folks staying at POFQ told us they were having zero issues until they had to share with POR, but that seemed to be hit or miss all week. There didn't seem to be any sort of set schedule for where and when we were sharing.
'
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby MardiGroggy » May 23rd, 2016, 4:23 pm

Thanks for the report, stephc. The bus service at WDW is one of those services they provide that is, on the one hand, capable of making a visit enjoyable and relatively stress free. On the other hand, when things go wrong they seem to go very, very wrong. We also have visited many times, and on three of those occasions that stick in my mind we experienced almost total bus dysfunction. We've been wet, though not stuck in a downpour, and have waited from 90 minutes to over two hours for overcrowded buses. Apparently, when the bus system "goes off the rails," it goes completely off! I don't know if they don't have the flexibility to respond to unusual circumstances, although they claim that they do, or if they sometimes don't have the best management folks available to make the necessary decisions. On some occasions they have stepped up to the challenges and clearly adapted and were successful. On others, as the current saying goes, "not so much." In all fairness, I have to say that we have never had two bad bus experience visits in a row, so they must be able to correct these things. Just not at the moment it needs to be done, apparently.. As you know, the bus service is usually very good, considering the challenges they have, so that alone does not change our decision to call Port Orleans our home away from home. The dual resort/multi stop situation does present some unique challenges, but I have seen just as many frustrated folks in long lines for other resorts (on the return leg) and it seems that once the system bogs down, the whole system bogs down. It was clearly bogged down in your case. My point being that staying in a different resort may not actually give you any better results. I guess what I am trying to say is,don't give up on Port Orleans, if it otherwise suits your style, just because of one bad experience with the buses. I look upon PO as a "haven" from all that, such as I have not experienced at any other moderate resort.

I will suggest that you to let the folks at [email protected] know about your experience. They have been responsive to guest complaints in the past.


Just my .02. :P
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Aut456 » May 24th, 2016, 12:38 am

I've been doing a lot of research planning our trip and because we are a family of 5 we will be staying at POR. I keep reading about how bad the buses can be.

My question is: What about using Uber instead of the buses? I know the buses are free, but I think it's better than waiting 1-2 hours for a bus.

My son went with his grandmother in January and they used Uber a lot but they stayed off property.
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Admin » May 24th, 2016, 4:10 am

I think the real problem about the buses is that they just aren't predictable - and that applies to ALL Disney resorts, not just Port Orleans. Most of the time they work just fine, but sometimes (such as this one) the whole system can go horribly wrong for no readily explained reason (although everyone running out of the park to avoid a storm would put pressure on any bus system). I guess we probably tend to notice more posts at the bad end of the spectrum though, as people tend not to bother writing special posts saying that they got on a bus and then arrived at the park 10 minutes later.

From my own experience of 20+ years of using Disney buses from Port Orleans I can honestly say that I personally have never experienced any real horror stories such as the above post. For the last five or six trips I've logged every trip I make, with wait and pickup times noted, and nothing has even been outside of the intended maximum 20 minute window apart from a few post-fireworks return trips (although I mostly try to avoid that time anyway, so my logs might be biased).

Actually, one time that I did use the after-fireworks bus service, this was the queue for MK bus stop #28 on 1st Sept 2015 when I arrived at 10:55pm!
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However three buses arrived in pretty quick succession and ate up all that queue very fast. After less than 15 mins waiting, I got on a bus at 11:09pm and It departed from the MK at 11:11. It dropped off at West at 11:24, North at 11:26, East at 11:29 and finally South at 11:32.

I can't get my head around the new routing though, with ALL of the park buses doing the circle route first when most people use the South Depot. I guess it helps for those who want to use the outlying stops who might otherwise see mostly full buses, but surely it just makes the queues worse at the South Depot?

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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Godalejrbud8 » May 24th, 2016, 6:06 am

I was at POR April 27-May-4 and had zero issues with the bus service to or from anywhere ever! I think we only waited for a second bus once all week when returning from wishes, and the second bus pulled up 60 seconds after the first one left. My wife and I, like you, traveled alone, are also in our late 40's and don't mind the walking needed to do Disney. Had we experienced what you did, I would have been beside myself with frustration! We stayed in our room on the night in question and can attest to the storm, it was wicked! We felt the crowds were above normal for that week, we always stay the same week, and HS was always crowded and hot except at rope drop.
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby stephc » May 24th, 2016, 9:49 am

Thanks for all your replies. I really want to reiterate the fact that I realize this kind of system breakdown is not common at WDW. We really do love POR/POFQ. I shouldn't have said we will never stay there again. It may be a while, but I'm sure we'll be back at some point. To be fair, we did drive down and had our car available, but like I said, we live in the country and drive EVERYWHERE, so one of the great things about a Disney trip to us is being able to park the car and forget about it for a week. Yes. Public transportation is such a novelty to us that its a bonus on vacation! LOL! We are also the optimistic type, so we kept hoping that the next bus run would be better.

Aut456 wrote:I've been doing a lot of research planning our trip and because we are a family of 5 we will be staying at POR. I keep reading about how bad the buses can be.

My question is: What about using Uber instead of the buses? I know the buses are free, but I think it's better than waiting 1-2 hours for a bus.

My son went with his grandmother in January and they used Uber a lot but they stayed off property.


I don't know about Uber. I have never used their services anywhere, so I can't comment on that. I wouldn't give up on the buses. Give them a try. I really hope everything goes perfectly for y'all. If things don't go well, you can always call a taxi/ use Uber, but I would definitely try the buses first. We stuck it out because it was just the 2 of us. If I had kids in tow, we would have been using our car after the DHS disaster Monday night!!
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Mattywams » May 25th, 2016, 5:37 pm

We stayed a week later 5/8-5/14. I expected the morning MK bus and line to be packed, especially for opening, but it was oddly quiet. Later in the week though we were waiting for about 20 minutes or in line for a first bus and not able to get on. We used South Depot. The monitor seemed to be okay with time estimates. There was also a cast member monitoring the lines. Coming home though we got on all the first buses. Most nights, leaving MK right after Wishes we were first in line. Odd but enjoyed it. Every bus queue we got into we were happy we weren't staying at All Star or Pop. Long waiting areas and lots of people. Bus timing is always interesting. You could hit a bus right away, get right on and never know any different. Or you could just miss a bus and have to wait 20+ and it could ruin your trip.
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Aimeec16 » May 25th, 2016, 6:55 pm

We stayed from 3/19-3/26 which was the week before Easter and we stayed in building 35 which is right near the west depot. The west depot was always the first stop for mk, hs, and ak buses (ds and ec stopped at pofq first). We never waited more then 15 minutes for a bus and we always got a seat. I would highly recommend walking to the west depot and waiting there for a bus because it's worth it to get on the bus and to get a seat because by the time our buses would get to the main stop not everyone would get on the bus.
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby curseoftheninja » May 31st, 2016, 10:09 am

Aut456 wrote:My question is: What about using Uber instead of the buses? I know the buses are free, but I think it's better than waiting 1-2 hours for a bus.


I stayed off site once for a quick weekend trip. My wife and I used Uber to get around, and it was awesome.

I don't think Uber can take you up to the front of MK, but we would take it to either Disney Springs or a nearby hotel.

So you could take an Uber to the Contemporary and then walk, or you could take it the the Grand Floridian and then take the monorail.

The prices were pretty good (5-10 bucks). It may be expensive to use Uber exclusively, but it may be a good idea of there's a really long line.
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Mrswoody2009 » June 4th, 2016, 2:57 am

The last time we stayed a riverside in 2014 it was first end August beginning of September so very busy we still didn't have to wait more than 20 min for a bus, longest wait was after wishes but you kind of expect that!
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Ilovedisneyworld » June 7th, 2016, 7:19 pm

Which bus stop is the first stop at the resort?
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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby Admin » June 8th, 2016, 3:02 am

For most services, the West Depot is the first stop, then North, East and South. If the service happens to be shared with French Quarter, the bus will call at FQ first (before any of the POR stops). The exception to this is the Disney Springs bus, which also acts as an Internal Shuttle, and calls at POFQ > POR South > POR West> POR North > POR East > POFQ. For more info see http://www.portorleans.org/buses.php .

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Re: POR stay 4/30-5/7, 2016

Unread postby aclark0495 » June 8th, 2016, 9:37 am

We were there the same days you were and had the same issues. On the night it rained so hard at DHS, I saw the line for the buses and told my family we were getting on the boat and figure it out. We rode the boat to Swan and used Uber back to POR. I think it cost us $10, but well worth it. we actually beat my parents back to POR and they left the park an hour before us. they had to wait on the bus.

We too were very disappointed in the lines to the buses and the way they have them at the main bus stop. We would have to ask people what park they were going to because they don't have a good way to differentiate.

We still enjoyed our trip and just tried to take everything in stride.

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