June 7th, 2010

the Magical Express and DisneyCo

I've been trying to avoid having kids/infants car/booster seats on a trip more or less since the first one was born. Toting those damned things around sucks big ones, and the travel systems I've encountered had limited use and so many weight issues they didn't make anything better. I have all kinds of parenting gear that works okay, but not having to deal with the damned seats is really the holy grail.

Public transport would solve All These Problems because you don't need the kid seats on public transport. When I first ran across Disney's Motor Coach transport from Orlando airport to the World, I was dizzy with excitement. Then I realized they weren't dealing with Southwest and I promptly lost interest. Turns out _now_ they do deal with Southwest, but I didn't realize that until after booking this trip on JetBlue.

About halfway through _Married to the Mouse_, I run across this nugget at the beginning of chapter seven: a proposal to run mag-lev from the airport to Epcot in 1989 -- financed by a bunch of non-Disney investors (those excitable Japanese prior to the collapse of their bubble). Obviously, _that_ didn't happen. Apparently prior to that proposal, DisneyCo had contemplated running the monorail out to Orlando airport and making arrangements to do with luggage what they would ultimately do with luggage for Magical Express (special tags so DisneyCo could pick up guest luggage). They chose not to do that because (wait for it) the monorail runs too slow. As near as I can tell, the monorail can go at least 55 mph, and they've upgraded the train technology on occasion -- it's not obvious to me what would stop them from running new equipment at something like 70 mph, comparable to what a private car or taxi or van or whatever can do on the same trip. I realize everyone gets really excited about 300 mph, but it's a 20-30 mile run: you're talking about the difference between 5 minutes (if you did 300 mph average, _which you would not_) and 22 minutes (ditto for 70). Given the line wait times involved in Disney Magical Express now (processing your voucher and crap) run the better part of an hour when everything is running screamingly fast, I do not think that 17 minutes on the trip time makes a damn bit of difference. And honestly? I cannot imagine why they were worried about justifying a hypothetical $8 charge back in 199x when it would roll out -- taxis at that point must surely have been charging at least that much, and a rental car even more. It's like these people had no idea what they were competing with.

It is exactly this kind of bone headed thinking about public transport that requires parents of littles to cart baby seats around.

ETA: If you want to get a sense of average vs. peak speed and trip time on a slightly shorter mag-lev run:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train#Operation

Of course, that didn't exist in 1989, so I can't smack them around too much for not thinking through the math. There are definitely some people in Foglesong's book I would like to smack around for not thinking through the math. Like the pro-growth people that thought growth was good because it would increase taxes -- but failed to consider increased costs of services the government would have to provide (roads, sewer, water). Wow. That is a head-smacker, but again, to be fair, I saw articles within the last 18 months of communities in Texas making the _exact_ same error in the latest housing boom.

ETAYA: Lest you think I'm smoking something about that cab fare, there's a cheap-and-dirty cpi calculator here

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

That leads me to believe that $8 in 1989 is comparable to just over $14 this year. And let me just say, you're not getting a cab ride from Orlando Airport to Epcot for $14 in 2010. Even a shuttle ride for a kid'll cost you more than that.

Still more ETA:

Thinking maybe a larger party in a taxi van could beat that 1989 $8/person ride? Nope.

http://www.taxiorlando.com/rates.html

I found this in response to a comment from R. over on Facebook.

This is even more detailed:

http://www.orlandoairports.net/transport/local_transport.htm

Allears and some other sites like virtualtourist have claims of $45 flat rate claims. *shrug*

buses and pixie dust

Who knew? Everyone who has ever been a Cast Member at the World, probably.

Orlando's bus system, Lynx, has multiple routes that connect the World to Orlando. And then there's the I-Ride, a trolley that runs up and down International Drive.

http://www.golynx.com/?fuse=cstm&app=route

http://www.iridetrolley.com/

Some people who visit the World from Not the US find these things out and occasionally take advantage of them. I'm still trying to figure out if any of the guidebooks I've looked at so much as mentioned them. Hmmmm...

If you're wondering, no, I'm not trying to save money. This is an ongoing effort to get to places without using kid car seats.

(edited to remove excessive use of the word "apparently")