Oldest Ride, Longest Line.  Hard Times, Disney. Hard Times.

For all the excitement, for all the wonder, for all of the attention that Disney’s imagineers put into the Disney experience, one can’t help but wonder if waiting is a part of their business model.

It’s been an interesting year for Disney at the Magic Kingdom.  Several rides, restaurants, and attractions are under construction, such as Pirates of the Caribbean.  Others are gone or on the way out (Magic of Disney Animation).  Disney got an embarrassing black eye after moving to outsource the staff responsible for IT at the park along with the indignity of having to train their placements, only to reverse themselves, presumably after customer outcry.  This summer also found Disney considering the implementation of surge pricing to smooth traffic at the park.

I can speak from experience that you need a vacation after your Disney vacation, and that you need far too much inside knowledge and advanced planning to make the most of your visit.  Even the FastPass+, designed to ensure that you can enjoy the rides you want is still another stress-inducing part of the Disney experience.

The one constant of your Disney experience is waiting.

We booked at a moderate resort since we could no longer stay at Art of Animation due to my 11-year-old being an “adult” in Disney’s eyes.  We found the bus transportation at Art to be excellent, with us seldom waiting when going or leaving the park (and seldom getting a seat on the way back to the resort).  We decided to step up a level to a moderate resort, choosing to stay at Port Orleans Riverside.

We found Riverside to be excellent too, with reasonable walks to food, pools, and transportation.  Traveling to and from the park took no more than 15-minutes, although it seemed that there was never enough room (or frequent enough buses) on the ride from the park to the resort.  On those rides, despite having spent high school, college, and a significant part of my professional life on public transportation including buses, trolleys, subways, and regional rail, I found myself irritated with riding the bus and seriously considering paying the premium of staying in the high-end resorts like the Contemporary, the Polynesian, or the Grand Floridian, as a way to avoid the “pain” of waiting for a bus. Needless to say the time difference was negligible – you still need to walk and wait for a monorail just like you would a bus.  Given the deliberate design of every single part of the Disney experience, I can’t help but wonder if the transportation experience (buses at value and moderate resorts versus monorails at the premium resorts) functions as a nudge towards staying at a premium resort.

*The title refers to quotes from two professional wrestlers – “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.  

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