29 August 2021

Walt Disney World 50 for 50: WED Transportation Services

Getting around during the early decades of Walt Disney World was a much different experience. There were no phone apps to tell you how to get from one place to another and there weren’t screens at each bus station telling you when the next bus would arrive. In fact, in order to access some of the transportation you had to present an identification card proving you were a guest of the resorts. These paper cards didn’t unlock room doors, although as time went on they could be utilized for charging privileges.
As for knowing where you were going. Well, you had to rely on a different card, the Bus Transportation Route cards. These foldable, postcard size guides would give you a description of each bus route in and around Walt Disney World. Paired with each route was the image of a flag, this would be the flag on the side of the bus that you would need to identify in order to get on the right bus. Even when inside of Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, you had to make sure you were catching the right line to get to where you were going. As the years went by and the resorts and destinations expanded, the cards got more and more complex.
Whenever I talk about the bus cards, I always feel like the grandfather in the Carousel of Progress talking about not even having a car phone. That said, there was something almost magical about having to utilize the cards to get around. Perhaps it was only in my mind, and certainly it was from a time where children roamed around on their own a bit more safely, or as least with the idea that they were safe. Whenever I set off somewhere with my sister, usually the Meadows Swimmin’ Pool or a Trading Post at Fort Wilderness (our parents didn’t let us run that far amuck), it always felt like we had a map, cryptic clues, and our own wits as we set off on an adventure.
What about you, do you remember trying to decipher what bus was approaching using these cards?

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