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Transportation Discuss Magical Express done wrong in the Vacation Planning forums; Bad weather brought many into Orlando Airport in the middle of the night. The ME bus was about full yet they held our bus and two others for over a ...
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    HauntedGabe's Avatar
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    Magical Express done wrong

    Bad weather brought many into Orlando Airport in the middle of the night. The ME bus was about full yet they held our bus and two others for over a half an hour. Tired adults and very sleepy children should have been in hotels before we ever departed. 5 stops. Video music playing over and over when film ended, way to much at 2 in the morning.

    Going home on Thanksgiving morning. Bus was late, yet was sitting out in Parking Lot in the distance at POR. All these people standing in the middle section of the Lobby Arrival Center, cars coming at you from the front and back of this large group of people. Sitting ducks we were. We were first stop, thank goodness. 5 stops and they should have capped it at three. Not enough seats. People were lap sitting their children to make room for the last two stops. Nuts. We had such a different experience over the summer. Hope you Mousefest folks have better luck. It was perfect for our August trip.

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    Sorry to hear that, sounds like it was just poor planning on Disney's part with the business of the holidays and all. It has been perfect as well every time I have used it. Hope you have a better experience next time!
    -Nick

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    I have yet to use Magical Express. I have always used Quicksilver to get a towncar. I've gotten spoiled from all the company travel I've had to do over the past 6 years and that's the way we always get to and from the airport in our destination city.

    Once you travel that way, it's hard to go back.....haha
    Last edited by harra; 11-27-2007 at 12:42 PM.
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    What a shame. Thank goodness this wasn't the first time you used the service, but of course that doesn't make this trip any more pleasant.
    mini-V What will you celebrate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by harra View Post
    I have yet to use Magical Express. I have always used Quicksilver to get a towncar. I've gotten spoiled from all the company travel I've had to do over the past 6 years and that's the way we always get to and from the airport in our destination city.

    Once you travel that way, it's hard to go back.....haha
    Totally agree. This year, (twice) is the only times we've gone by any bus in 20 years, we too had been towncaring it also,but Mears. Conventions and expense accounts are great (Last convention had us for the first time at Universal at the Portofino and then AK Lodge) This year they were both unplanned and unbudgeted trips dealing with my DS being a CP CM. ME was a true budget trimmer and I guess I got what I paid for. Lack of seats just dangerous on the open highway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HauntedGabe View Post
    Totally agree. This year, (twice) is the only times we've gone by any bus in 20 years, we too had been towncaring it also,but Mears. Conventions and expense accounts are great (Last convention had us for the first time at Universal at the Portofino and then AK Lodge) This year they were both unplanned and unbudgeted trips dealing with my DS being a CP CM. ME was a true budget trimmer and I guess I got what I paid for. Lack of seats just dangerous on the open highway.
    In all seriousness, call Disney and call Mears to let them know about this. Management wouldn't have approved of lap-sitting, etc. The driver is supposed to call for another bus in such a circumstance, per policy. Perhaps the driver saw stuffing the bus as a means to earn more tips??? Anyway, I hate to get people in trouble, but by the same token I hate to see people put other people in danger ... report the driver, to save other people from the same problem in the future!!!
    -- Eric

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    I shouldn't have read that! I'm using Magical Express for the first time, more or less solo. Luckily, I'm only using it when I go back to the airport. Does it work basically like Mears where you call them and set up a departure time, or do they call you and tell you when the bus leaves?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattj4226 View Post
    I shouldn't have read that! I'm using Magical Express for the first time, more or less solo. Luckily, I'm only using it when I go back to the airport. Does it work basically like Mears where you call them and set up a departure time, or do they call you and tell you when the bus leaves?
    DME works nothing like the old Mears shuttle. Mears is the subcontractor that provides the buses and drivers, but it is all run by Disney's policies and procedures.

    Please don't let an isolated incident sour a great service that has delighted literally millions of people over the past 2.5 years.

    DME requires that you make a reservation. In your case, heading back to the airport only, here's how it works ....

    On the morning of the DAY BEFORE your departure day, you will get a DME envelope on your doorknob or under your door. In there will be your assigned DME bus departure time, which will be about 2.75-to-3 hours prior to your flight time. You must be at the DME bus area at your resort a few minutes before that time. The buses usually run VERY promptly. If you are late and miss the bus, there is no guarantee that another DME bus will be back in time to get you to the airport. If there are reservations, DME buses pick-up at resorts twice an hour, 30 minutes apart (like at :10 and :40 after the hour, or :15 and :45 after the hour, etc.). But there is no guarantee that there are reservations for DME pick-ups after your scheduled pick-up time ... theoretically, the next pick-up might not be for a couple hours. What I'm saying is, make sure you honor your reservation.

    Even if there is a bus that comes 30 minutes later, the driver could deny you boarding if the bus is full, so that you don't take the place of someone who hasn't been picked up yet but who has reservations for that bus. I'm guessing it's something like that that happened in the case presented above. Disney DOES NOT overbook DME buses. But clueless or rude people might just try to show up for any old bus whether or not it messes things up for other people (you know, the type who think "The rules don't apply to me"). It's then up to the driver to deny boarding and/or call for another bus.

    Any system is going to have occasional glitches. There are stories of car services that don't show up, or show up an hour late. There are stories of rental cars with mechanical problems or flat tires. There are stories of taxis that get lost or cheat customers. No type of transportation can promise to be 100% reliable with no exceptions. But you CAN rely on Disney to get it right almost all of the time.

    Keep in mind that DME was launched on May 5, 2005 as a temporary service to help celebrate the Happiest Celebration on Earth and was supposed to go away in October 2006. But is was so successful with guests and Disney suits alike that in April 2006 it was extended (and kept free) through the end of 2011.
    -- Eric

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    Ok. So basically Disney handles everything, All I have to do is show up on time. Thats good to know. Thanks for clearing that up, Eric.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattj4226 View Post
    Ok. So basically Disney handles everything, All I have to do is show up on time. Thats good to know. Thanks for clearing that up, Eric.
    Yes, as long as you make a reservation, then Disney handles everything else.
    -- Eric

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    And please do note that it did work perfect the first time, not at all, either way the second time, Thanksgiving. Second time during a busy week. Round two they collected the return voucher but did not read it, count heads or remotely close. During August I too spoke of the service with the same testimonial. It is my understanding that the service is still subcontracted, both the buses and the bus drivers. Is that subcontractor still not Mears? Note the signage etc within the buses, same as days gone by with mears. Read the signs about tipping etc. on the way back to the airport, I've never see things like that on Disney Transportation. Look at the bus drivers uniform, then look at the nearby Mears bus drivers uniform. They were out of seats when we hit Key and Sarg., no extra bus called. I'd still try it again since it worked great once this year and it is not an extra charge, part of the package. If it is a busy time, early and the front of the line a good idea. Check your lugguage in lobby. I didn't mean to sway anyone, just info. that it has its bumps that need to be smoothed out still. I'm sorry if my bad experience upset you, but feel the calm that the August trip was perfect.

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    Mears is and always has been the subcontractor that provides the buses and drivers. But they have nothing to do with setting the procedures or handling the dispatching, scheduling, or other logistics -- that stuff is pure Disney.
    -- Eric

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    [quote=CleveRocks;552371]Mears is and always has been the subcontractor that provides the buses and drivers. But they have nothing to do with setting the procedures or handling the dispatching, scheduling, or other logistics -- that stuff is pure Disney.[/quote

    Wow! I'd feel better about using ME if you were incorrect. It is more disconcerning to believe that Disney had direct control about the number of people on that bus, the amount of stops and people at each. That Disney should have called for a second bus, not Bus Driver. It isn't the Pure Disney I am used to being pampered by. Until you clarified I was less apt to fault Disney for going past an occupancy limit on a bus and would have just melted it into poor service of a subcontractor as the bus continued to pick up more after we were out of seats. If Disney is indeed monitoring this and let it happen I am stunned. Thanks for the chain of command procedures, appreciate your setting me straight on the logistics and dispatching and scheduling. I think Limo in March!

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    CleveRocks's Avatar
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    Gabe, you're getting the wrong idea from my posts. It was your driver, NOT Disney!

    Quote Originally Posted by HauntedGabe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CleveRocks View Post
    Mears is and always has been the subcontractor that provides the buses and drivers. But they have nothing to do with setting the procedures or handling the dispatching, scheduling, or other logistics -- that stuff is pure Disney.
    Wow! I'd feel better about using ME if you were incorrect. It is more disconcerning to believe that Disney had direct control about the number of people on that bus, the amount of stops and people at each. That Disney should have called for a second bus, not Bus Driver. It isn't the Pure Disney I am used to being pampered by. Until you clarified I was less apt to fault Disney for going past an occupancy limit on a bus and would have just melted it into poor service of a subcontractor as the bus continued to pick up more after we were out of seats. If Disney is indeed monitoring this and let it happen I am stunned. Thanks for the chain of command procedures, appreciate your setting me straight on the logistics and dispatching and scheduling. I think Limo in March!
    Please reread my previous posts. My very first post in this thread (post #6), in response to your original post, faulted the driver for overstuffing the bus and for going against Disney's set procedures. I advised you to report the driver to Disney for NOT following procedure. At the resorts, for the run from the resorts to MCO, there is no Disney Cast Member on-site and in charge of the situation. It is up to the driver to deny boarding and/or call for another bus. In other words, it is up to the driver to follow Disney's procedures.

    At the airport, Disney has CMs to monitor things. At the resorts, they rely on the driver (a Mears employee) to do his/her job and do the right thing. As I advised you in post #6, THE DRIVER made a bad and unsafe decision and should be reported for allowing a potentially unsafe situation. Disney would not have wanted that to happen. If you contact Disney about it, you can contribute to preventing future incidents.

    The logistics and dispatching and scheduling is, in short: Disney plans for bus #123 to stop at Old Key West to pick up 15 passengers with reservations, then stop at Port Orleans Riverside to pick up 15 passengers with reservations, then finally stop at Port Orleans French Quarter to pick up 15 passengers with reservations (these numbers are just examples, of course!). That's 45 passengers, on a bus that holds something like 53. The problem comes when 10 or 15 ADDITIONAL passengers show up, people who maybe had reservations for earlier buses and missed them for one reason or another. Disney's procedure is to DENY BOARDING if there won't be room for them (the driver has the numbers). If the driver fails to abide by that rule, that is not a problem with Disney's planning and logistics, but rather it's a problem wth a subcontractor employee's failure to follow the set procedure, and in doing so might enrich himself/herself ... more passengers equals a greater potential for tips.

    In post #8 above, I noted that rude and clueless guests might miss their return bus either accidentally or on purpose, and then try to board the next bus anyway. It is the fault of the guest for being rude and the driver for allowing them on the bus in the first place. Please reread my post #8. I specifically stated that Disney does NOT overbook DME buses.

    In your situation, Disney didn't design your bus to be overcrowded. Please reread what I wrote in posts 6 and 8. You're overreacting to things that I never even said.
    Last edited by CleveRocks; 11-29-2007 at 06:09 PM. Reason: stupid typos
    -- Eric

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    I love DME. My last trip this past May brought us into MCO at about 8pm. We did have to sit on the bus a good half hour before departing for our resort though. It is a long day when you work real early that morning then catch a flight for Disney. But in the end it's all worth it. You just have to go with the flow.
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