PHOTOS - Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin switch to Mears shuttles for theme park transportation

Oct 14, 2020 in "Walt Disney World Swan Resort"

Mears theme park shuttle at Swan and Dolphin
Posted: Wednesday October 14, 2020 9:26am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin has today switched from using Walt Disney World bus transportation to Mears for all routes.

The third party Mears charter buses are transporting guests to the theme parks every 20 to 30 minutes according to signage at the hotel.

Mears is the main bus operator for the Central Florida area, providing service for Disney's Magical Express and Disney Cruise Line. Mears have also in the past been called into Walt Disney World Resort hotels to provide additional capacity to the theme parks during extremely busy times.

It isn't clear if the Mears service is a more cost effective option for the hotel, or if Disney is unable to provide the service as layoffs across Walt Disney World get underway.

Possible implications of the move to Mears may be that the Swan and Dolphin will not be able to use the main Walt Disney World transportation bus stops at the parks, and instead may have to use the charter bus stops which are typically further away from the entrances.

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TrainChasersOct 23, 2020

Whenever I stay at the Wyndham, Hilton, or Holiday Inn I walk to Springs and take the Disney bus. Gives me an excuse to get a Starbucks Reserve on the Clover and maybe a pastry at Erin Mckenna’s. I did take the Disney springs bus from ttc one night when it was raining, that’s a long walk back in the rain! Appreciated them dropping me off right at the door.

RobbiemOct 23, 2020

I remember when this happened at the Disney spring resorts in the 90s. When we first stayed In 1991 we got Disney Transport direct to the then new MK bus station. when we returned in 93 it had changed to a private company stopping at the TTC. We didn’t like the change. Buses to MK were really crowded and you often couldn’t board. We used to go to Epcot and take the monorail or walk to what was then the marketplace and take a bus to the TTC or a MK resort. This was when Disney was in its hotel building phase so making Disney owned resorts more appealing than third parties helped to grow their business (when we returned we stayed at Dixie Landings for example). I wonder if a similar thing is going on with the current low occupancy rates?

TJ VazquezOct 22, 2020

That might be true but we don't know that yet. I tend to try to be positive, but time will only tell.

Cesar R MOct 22, 2020

thats what PR guys say when they are cost cutting and then using these cost cuts in "X crisis" to boost their numbers later on. "Look! We managed to maintain operations while using 20% less people!"

TJ VazquezOct 22, 2020

You know why they have to do this right now right? These aren't meant to be permanent changes.

UNCgolfOct 22, 2020

Exactly this. A more detailed explanation of what I was saying.

NelleBelleOct 22, 2020

Love how they can pay to keep “Walt Disney” Swan/Dolphin and then crap out on everything that would go along with being an an actual WDW resort. They certainly don’t mind paying for THAT to lure the paying customer in. This whole thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth and layoffs are reportedly still coming for these two resorts. Sad.

GymLeaderPhilOct 22, 2020

Disney won’t be having bus drivers verifying that you are staying at a participating resort for transportation anytime soon. Easy if this was 1971 and you could show your paper based Transportation Admission Ticket. Not so easy in 2020, when someone is flashing their nondescript MagicBand/Card/Phone. Costly and time consuming. Number one problem is that they’d need to provide a secure and consistent wireless network connection that they have at the main entrances/resort security booths to check resort credentials. Then there’s the cost of outfitting the drivers with handheld devices as it would be way too much to outfit the fleet with a touch point. That’s devices plural since you’d need back up devices if one has a low charge or stops working. Likely some sort of charging system would have to be considered since there’s no way they would be able to provide device support if the driver is at a remote resort bus stop versus the major park hubs. On top of that, you would need to provide training for those Cast Members to operate said devices. Support teams to maintain and repair them. Lots of money would be lost for the fraction of people who walk over from the Swalphin to use WDW Transportation. Plus it would significantly slow down the loading time for the busses. Disney would be stupid to do this.

homerdanceOct 22, 2020

That was my question. Why would they start id’ing people now? I have always understood it exactly as you present it. I am not a fan of the swolphins stupid $30+. Resort fee. That is a bigger deal than the non Disney buses. We have stayed at a few off site hotels and the TTC is very time consuming process, especially if you are in a rush to get there, not bad for a relaxing day. And all the other stops are just a minor inconvenience, they aren’t much worse then the wait time for any of the Disney resorts, except POP.

JoeCamelOct 21, 2020

It has always been that if you are on property you are a guest. If they wanted to reserve a mode of transport they could, they had tickets at first but for now all are guests and all are welcome to ride.

homerdanceOct 21, 2020

So doesn't that really just split hairs on what a "guest" is? If I am going to the park, am I a guest? If I can ride the monorail/Boat why not the bus? I have stayed at SSRS and have witnessed the number of people who ride the bus from MK to SSRS to get to DS, which confuses me, it is much better to walk over to the contemporary and ride that bus to DS.

wdwmagicOct 21, 2020

Correct, no times info is displayed other than generic operating hours.

MickeyLuv'rOct 21, 2020

It's also not that far just to walk from Swan/Dolphin to Epcot/HS, both are reasonably pretty walkways. I tend to think in most cases walking to either is faster than waiting for a bus unless a person in your part has mobility challenges or weather's a problem. When last we stayed at Swan Dolphin, and took a bus, we did appreciate the electronic signs saying when the next bus would arrive. I'm guessing those have been disabled. If buses arrive at a fixed time it might not matter.

Cesar R MOct 21, 2020

Anyway, the suggestion/concensus is to Walk to either to DHS and/or the Boardwalk bus stations.. right?