Skipping car seats for Disney .. Is it doable?

Athena

New member
We're planning a trip to Disneyworld and I'm wondering if we stay at one of their hotels, can we safely skip the rental car and car seats? Do they have a real bus from the airport to the hotel, the type that would be safe for our unrestrained kids? What are the options for getting around Disney itself? Would we have a safe options for getting between the hotel, theme parks, and possibly even the other places like downtown Disney? The kids will be 5.5 and 7.5 at the time. Thanks!!!
 

gigi

New member
Yes. The magic express is a real bus...it has seatbelts but they do not allow use of child restraints on board. I brought seats because we do a van parking shuttle, but we did not use any seats in FL. We stayed on site and used buses.
 

jjordan

Moderator
Definitely do-able to skip seats. As the pp mentioned, the magical express will get you to/from the airport, and carseat-free transportation throughout all of Disney itself is super easy.
 

Meghoya

New member
It depends on your comfort level with having your kids unrestrained.

The Magic Express is a real bus, so forward facing seats, compartmentalized, fairly safe as far as being unrestrained goes.

The buses around Disney, however, are another story entirely. Low backs, and often mostly sideways seating. They aren't super safe in their design (obviously, since if you were in a crash instead of being compartmentalized in your seat your kid could be thrown across the bus).

That said, we have taken them, but it didn't make me happy. We try to avoid them as much as possible (stay on the monorail or boat lines).

It's really up to you and how you feel about the type of bus you will have to travel on between parks.

Meg
 

gigi

New member
It depends on your comfort level with having your kids unrestrained.

The Magic Express is a real bus, so forward facing seats, compartmentalized, fairly safe as far as being unrestrained goes.

The buses around Disney, however, are another story entirely. Low backs, and often mostly sideways seating. They aren't super safe in their design (obviously, since if you were in a crash instead of being compartmentalized in your seat your kid could be thrown across the bus).

That said, we have taken them, but it didn't make me happy. We try to avoid them as much as possible (stay on the monorail or boat lines).

It's really up to you and how you feel about the type of bus you will have to travel on between parks.

Meg
The Disney buses are like any other city bus. They are very very safe.
 

Carrie_R

Ambassador - CPS Technician
I would be very, very comfortable taking kids those ages to Disney without seats. The only potential problem I can see is that rarely - very rarely - for DME, they use a van instead. If that would happen to you, you could express your concern to whomever is dispatching you to the "busses" and see what they could arrange for you. That said, I am pretty darned neurotic about transport (aren't we all?) but I would still be quite comfortable chancing it.
 

Athena

New member
Thank you all for your responses!

Yes. The magic express is a real bus...it has seatbelts but they do not allow use of child restraints on board. I brought seats because we do a van parking shuttle, but we did not use any seats in FL. We stayed on site and used buses.
That's great to hear we don't need seats on the other end. Fortunately, airport parking on our end isn't that far and I could have my DH drop us off at the terminal, then park our car.

It depends on your comfort level with having your kids unrestrained.

The Magic Express is a real bus, so forward facing seats, compartmentalized, fairly safe as far as being unrestrained goes.

The buses around Disney, however, are another story entirely. Low backs, and often mostly sideways seating. They aren't super safe in their design (obviously, since if you were in a crash instead of being compartmentalized in your seat your kid could be thrown across the bus).

That said, we have taken them, but it didn't make me happy. We try to avoid them as much as possible (stay on the monorail or boat lines).

It's really up to you and how you feel about the type of bus you will have to travel on between parks.

Meg
The Disney buses are like any other city bus. They are very very safe.
So now I'm confused. My comfort level with unrestrained kids is about zero, of course, that's why I'm on this site. So, we can avoid taking anything unsafe traveling between Disney places or no? There seems to be some disagreement in the answers. Also, are we just talking about the individual parks, with which I thought I'd heard we could take things like monorails, or are we including other Disney destinations like downtown Disney? Thank you all. I really appreciate the help figuring this out. Also, would the less safe buses have any belts anyway?

I would be very, very comfortable taking kids those ages to Disney without seats. The only potential problem I can see is that rarely - very rarely - for DME, they use a van instead. If that would happen to you, you could express your concern to whomever is dispatching you to the "busses" and see what they could arrange for you. That said, I am pretty darned neurotic about transport (aren't we all?) but I would still be quite comfortable chancing it.
If they sent a van instead of a bus, would it just be a matter of waiting another 30 minutes (or however long it is) for the next one? No way I'd be okay with my kids riding unrestrained on a van, as I'm sure you understand :), especially for that distance on a freeway.
 

bluebug83

New member
I haven't been to Walt Disney World since I had my child, but I've been there roughly a dozen times in my life (most recently four years ago) and stayed in a Disney hotel every time. I agree with the others that I would think you could definitely do Disney without a car seat or car, ever since the introduction of Magical Express. From my knowledge, the buses used for Magical Express are coach buses, and the ones used for getting from your hotel to the parks, etc. are city buses, with no seat belts at all. I've never traveled with my 11 month old on public transit, but I don't see how you would even have the option to restrain your child on a city bus, nor to I know much about the safety of unrestrained children on city buses. If you felt very strongly about wanting to strap your child in everywhere you went, I think you would need to bring your car seat, rent a car, and drive everywhere.

The buses do go to Downtown Disney and the water parks as well as the theme parks. You can get from any point A to any other point B within Disney (hotel, theme park, Downtown Disney, restaurant, etc) using only the internal Disney transit, though you might have to transfer at points. The monorail stops at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks, as well as the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian (note: all more expensive) resorts - so you could get by on monorail only if you only visited those places. I know there is also a boat that goes between Hollywood Studios and Epcot theme parks, as well as one that goes from the Port Orleans resort and Downtown Disney.

Also, just to throw in my personal opinion, if we ever decide to go to WDW when we have any young kids of baby/toddler age (especially any with a short tolerance for waiting/lines), I would probably consider renting a car and driving ourselves to the parks. That wouldn't be as convenient because you do have to drive/find parking, and you wouldn't get dropped off at the door, but time wise, I actually think it might be a wash. Sometimes you have to wait awhile - sometimes as long as 20 or 30 minutes - for the right Disney bus to come by your hotel, and at the end of the day when the parks close, the buses to take you back to your hotel can be VERY packed and you sometimes have to wait for a number of buses before you get on. Also, if you get on a bus after all the seats are taken, you'll have to stand the whole way back. Standing on a crowded bus with a stroller and a potentially tired/cranky toddler does not sound like fun to me. I'd rather be able to stroll the child back to our car and put him in the comfort of his car seat, even if we had to wait in traffic when leaving the park. Again...I haven't actually been to Disney with a young child, but based on my prior experience and what I now know about traveling with a child, I think it would be preferable to drive ourselves places in the park.

Edit: I just went back and now see your children are older so I think you would be just fine taking only Disney transit - though you know your kids best. I forgot that car seats/boosters are now required for older kids. But I'll leave in my comment about how I think Disney transit may not be compatible with a very young child.
 
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CourtneyL

New member
Magical Express only uses coach buses so you will never have a van.

Do you have any dining reservations at other resorts? If so, be aware that there is no bus transportation from resort to resort. You will need to transfer at a theme park, the TTC, or Downtown Disney. If you have any breakfast reservations that are early, you will want to make sure you leave enough time to get to them. I think the usual advise is to plan at least an hour for travel time using disney transport.

Lots of people use the disney transport and like it a lot. For us, we rent a car. I find it more convenient and I don't like having to manage all of our stuff on a crowded bus.
 

jjordan

Moderator
A Disney guidebook should be able to give you the run-down om transportation options within Disney, but basically, buses are the default, and other options (walking path, boats, monorail) are the exception rather than the rule. If you want to avoid buses as much as possible, then you could plan your trip with that in mind (eg staying at the Beach Club would allow for walking to Epcot & Hollywood Studios & monorail from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom). But really, the buses are very safe.
 

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