walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Trip Report: Transition from Universal to Disney

I really set up a ridiculous day: start the day at WorldQuest, check out, go to Universal, go on rides for a few hours (mostly to do Forbidden Journey at the beginning of the day -- we'd done Gringott's at the beginning of the previous day. Neither ride is available through Ultimate Express), leave, drive to Animal Kingdom, eat lunch at Yak and Yeti Local Foods, go on the Safari, Expedition Everest using Fast Passes, check into Grand Floridian, meet R.'s mother, go to 'Ohana for dinner. A plan like this is begging to be Murphied, but apparently he was on vacation too and left us alone. I was a zombie by the end of it, but everything went smoothly.

The first day at Universal, someone wanted me to do a survey, which I attempted and then bailed out on because it was screen after screen of pick one of five Would You Use This Kind of Transportation From this location to that location (Very likely, somewhat likely, etc.). A half a dozen or more of these questions per screen, and I was also trying to keep track of my daughter, her souvenirs, etc. Did Not Work For Me. I handed it back.

But it did get me thinking. Orlando suffers from the Las Vegas problem that ultimately led to the monorail which parallels the Strip: people arrive at Mccarren, get a taxi to some location on the Strip, may be willing to walk to a neighboring location on the Strip if there is a tunnel but otherwise will take more taxis to go from location to location on the Strip, unless it is after dark and not crazy hot. The result is horrible traffic and worse air pollution, and city public transport is not really set up to accommodate tourist needs and preferences. The Universal survey which I did not complete did, indeed, ask about monorails.

I don't want a monorail. I've been on a fair number of monorails at this point, and honestly, I don't trust the fuckers for a host of reasons, but even if I did, Orlando development is just spread out too much for it to work well. I suppose someone could set up light rail (also a question on the survey), but I would be fine if Universal set up something like Disney's Magical Express (DME is a Disney branded, Mears run motor coach where you get yellow luggage tags. You stick 'em on your luggage when you check your bags at your home airport, DO NOT pick them up at MCO instead Mears gets them and hands them off to Disney bell services which puts them in your room. The reverse service is available at departure.), altho that would leave the problem of what to do when transitioning from Universal to Disney or vice versa.

Universal recently set up SuperStar Shuttle (who knew there were other shuttles not run by Mears in Orlando? But yes, Super Shuttle has an Orlando operation, and that's who Universal picked to run SuperStar), and semi-mandatory, FOR PAY operation that does not pick up your bags for you. Sort of makes you wonder whyever the fuck.

My main theory is that Universal makes a lot of money off their parking garages. For example, even if you stay on property and have a season pass, and thus don't have to pay at the theme park garage, they still get you for $15 a night to park your rental car at the hotel. And then there are plenty of people with season passes who are paying extra for preferred or Valet or whatever. If this theory is correct, it's hard to know what will happen with DME.

On the other hand, it could be an average capacity issue. Disney has been running up against parking limits (mostly due to Walt's hatred of garages persisting way past any sensible point -- I mean, seriously, this is Florida. You _want_ to be in a garage) for a long while now and has a built up internal transportation network that works better with more people using it (justifies running them at closer intervals which increases usage in a virtuous cycle). If this theory is correct, as Universal's parks continue to mature and capacity is more consistently used, they'll run up against comparable limits and see a benefit in reducing car usages so as to avoid the expense of building more parking garages.

I have no direct experience of Universal's transportation system. The place their buses drop off requires all the walking that a person parking the garage has to go through, so that's not much of a win. The boat docks are closer to the parks -- but are somewhat distant from many of the rooms in some of the hotels. But at least one of the hotels has a walking path at least as convenient as the BLT -> MK walking path. (We'll be staying there later in the year so hopefully I'll have something to say in a future trip report.)

In any event, as a customer of both the Universal and Disney system, and likely to continue to be so for the next (how old are my kids?) decade plus, it would be Pretty Freaking Awesome to be able to tag my luggage at home, drop it off at Logan, go to a park, check into a hotel and find my luggage already in the room, settle in. Spend a couple days, tag the bags for the other system, call bell service to pick them up, head on down to an air conditioned motor coach that would drop me off at my hotel in the other system (or, conceivably, a central location such as TTC at WDW or CityWalk at Universal), do a park in the other system, head over to my hotel to find my bags already in my room, settle in for a couple days, call bell service to pick up my bags to check them in for my return home, head on down to an air conditioned motor coach that will drop me off at MCO and go home.

Basically, DME at both systems with a connecting link.

I'm not gonna get it. I get that. I can explain in some detail why I'm not gonna get it. But I still want it.

ETA: Speaking of Las Vegas vs. Orlando and transporting the tourists as a problem:

Tags: disney, transportation, trip report

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.