Roadwork projects signal transportation changes at Walt Disney World


Demolition crews have been spotted on-site at the former Walt Disney World Speedway, which will give way to a much needed expanded parking lot at the Ticket and Transportation Center. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes to parking and roadways around the resort.

With Avatar under way at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Star Wars and Toy Story land announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a third Soarin’ theater (with a new film) and a Frozen attraction and meet & greet being added to EPCOT, and attendance levels continuing to peak at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World’s transportation system will have to grow to accommodate all the new guests.

It’s certainly a good problem to have. More guests means more money. But if they’re all stuck in gridlock and can’t get into your parks to spend money, then you have a problem. So Disney has a number of projects underway to eliminate some choke points around the resort.

Here are 5 more projects to keep an eye on and what they mean for your next Disney vacation:

Magic Kingdom Resort Loop flyover. A new flyover will let guests visiting the Magic Kingdom area resorts, skip the Magic Kingdom toll plaza. A fix for this intersection has been needed for some time. This should be a big help when its done, but there might be some headaches in the meantime. So drive carefully.

ESPN Wide World of Sports entrance flyover. The intersection of Osceola Parkway and Victory Way is right at the entrance to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It will allow Osceola traffic to continue without a stop and will also greatly aid getting traffic onto Victory Way. The reasons that’s good is there is a rumor Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ main car entrance to be relocated to Victory Way as part of the Star Wars expansion. Could this be a sign that re-alignment rumor is true?

Western Way expands to Avalon Road. Western Way is known as the back entrance to Disney World for all the residents who live in North East Orlando and along the 27 Highway. Lengthening it to reach highway 545 (aka Avalon Road) will make it useful for more guests. Many of those guests will be coming from the Flamingo crossings development. Currently two hotels are planned, but Disney recently purchased a huge section of land between Disney and the 545. The new Western Way will bisect that land. This land has been rumored to be a potential 5th gate, but I suspect it will just be another development like Flamingo Crossings. Although I’d love to be proven wrong.

Center Drive bypass.
Speaking of secret entrances to Disney World, For years Reams Road was just that. Alas, the secret is out. With thousands of houses recently added to the area just north of Walt Disney World, Reams Road has become very congested. Disney will add a bypass to Center Drive which should help reroute some of this traffic giving locals some relief.

Disney Springs roadwork. Of course, the mother of all transportation projects at Walt Disney World right now is Downtown Disney. With two parking garages, a ramp direct from the Freeway and Lake Buena Vista drive into the larger of the two parking lots, and significant road improvements. This project will go a long way to eliminating the number one complaint about Disney Springs right now, all the traffic. Expect the freeway off-ramp to open in October and the Lake Buena Vista cross-over entrance into the parking garage to be ready in September.

What’s not on this list?

  • A new monorail route from EPCOT to DHS. That’s just not happening due to cost.
  • A pilot program for autonomous shuttles that move you directly to your destination without having to switch buses. I keep hoping to hear Disney is partnering with Google on a system that will replace buses.
  • A system of enclosed gondolas to improve park hopping.
  • A light rail train to connect resorts and theme parks from Disney Springs to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

There’s a lot going on to improve the transportation infrastructure at Walt Disney World. I’m sure there are projects on the drawing board we’ve never heard of too. If you could wave a magic wand and fix WDW’s transportation issues, what would you build?

( via the OS )

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4 thoughts on “Roadwork projects signal transportation changes at Walt Disney World

  1. Charles

    I love the monorail and often ride it just for fun…not to go anywhere in particular, so I’d love to see them expand the monorail system (although I have heard about the automated shuttle idea and would be interested in that too).

    Usually we stay off the monorail loop, so it’s either the buses or driving for us; and the buses have been so unreliable (waiting more than a half hour hasn’t been uncommon), we’ve now just given up and drive everywhere. I imagine others have had the same experience and made the same decision to drive, which contributes to the traffic/congestion in addition to wear & tear on the roads.

    I wonder what the comparative cost to road repairs/expansions is to upgrading their innovative modes of mass transit (monorail, automated shuttle, etc.). I’m inclined to say that money is a strong driver, so it’s probably cheaper to do the expansions/repairs; but sometimes corporate politics is stronger than fiscal logic and vision.

  2. Disney Mike

    I really wish they’d just go ahead and make the monorail system — or some similarly futuristic transportation system — go to all areas of the property. Like Charles, we’re most often at a monorail loop resort, and we spend about 80% of our trips at either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, simply because they’re the easiest to reach. We’d go to DHS and DAK more often if it weren’t so painful to get to them.

    If attendance does drastically increase at DHS (or DAK) in the coming years, the bus system will only become more problematic. I know the monorail system is already problematic — breakdowns are common, and it’s not like you can just pull over to the side of the road and go around a stalled monorail — but some sort of transportation system that isn’t at the mercy of road conditions or traffic or something like that would just make so much sense. Especially now, as they’re in the planning stages for the big expansion at DHS.

  3. Mike Travers

    One of the few transportation headaches that I still have now that we drive everyone during our trips is the Magic Kingdom Monorail. Last trip, we got there in plenty of time to make it to the gate for the Opening Ceremony, but the monorail stopped frequently and crawled its way to the front of the park from Ticketing and Transportation and we ended up missing the ceremony. It was like this during our whole trip and made the monorail trip a pain rather than the fun that it usually is. Getting out is even worse. It’s a long line at the monorail, a long line at the ferry, or long waits at the bus stops. On our last trip, we just gave up and went back into the park to do the Town Hall Meet and Greets, but there’s got to be a better way to get people into and out of the Magic Kingdom.

  4. Matt

    Really, while it was a nice and fun idea for 1971, the very existence of the Ticket and Transportation Center is terrible. It takes SO LONG to get to the Magic Kingdom. If you get there and end up parked in, say, Mulan or Rapunzel, you need to wait for the tram. That finally arrives, you get on, and you wait for it to leave. Then, you get to the TTC. Now you either board the slow ferry, or wait for a monorail. Finally you arrive at the MK, where you wait in a line to have your bag searched. Then FINALLY you get into the park. All this can take upwards of 1/2 an hour, and this is after you’ve already arrived! If you could remove the TTC part of it (maybe make it more parking, with some kind of fun Incredibles-like tunnel through the lagoon?) then you alleviate a lot of the difficulties of getting to the MK. Sure, I know, you take away some of the “magic” of the monorail and the ferry, but it’s just not practical anymore. Try leaving the MK to make your dinner reservations somewhere else in the World as a downpouring lightning storm starts and you’ll see what a true nightmare the whole process can be.

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