For this first time we will have a car while staying at the resorts. Decided to stay at Pop Century. Debating whether to take the bus to parks or drive. I am leaning toward driving but wonder what the crowds/traffic is like at closing after Fantasmic and fireworks. Drive of shuttle?? Input please.
I always have a car when I go to WDW - and I try to use it as little as possible once I’m parked at my resort (except for going resort-to-resort).
It’s going to be a traffic jam right after closing, both at the park, and heavy traffic most of the way back to POP. I try to hang out in the parks as long as possible for the crowds to thin out a bit before I even try to leave; the crowds exiting the parks can be very daunting.
I ALWAYS recommend taking the bus to the MK. The bus drops you off right near the gate; if you drive, you have to go to the TTC and take the mono or boat over. Yes, you’ll have to wait for the POP bus going back to the resort, but it’s that or waiting for the mono or boat, waiting for a parking tram, and then sitting in traffic.
When I go solo, I always take the busses to the parks; after a long day of touring, the last thing I really want to do is get in my car and drive through traffic. When DW comes with, she prefers to use the car - probably because I drop her off, then drive around to park the car and hike/tram back to meet her (and do the reverse at the end of the day).
Different opinion here. We always drive to the parks and have never noticed heavy traffic at the end of the night at any of the parks (and we go during spring break usually). After a full day touring, the last thing we want to do is wait for a bus, have to stand because they are packed to the gills, and have to be surrounded by more people when the car means quiet. It is very easy to get around in a car at WDW, and we won’t go without one.
We had a car in Sept (lower crowds, so keep that in mind), and never saw any traffic leaving at park closing. I know during busy times there can be traffic, but I haven’t experienced it. Driving around and parking are so easy though, to avoid any traffic at closing just hang out in the park for a little longer, linger in the stores until they kick you out
I’ve driven during most of my visits over the past few years and rarely run into a lot of traffic leaving the parks. I will sometimes linger for a while after park closing, browsing shops or taking photographs, but when I do leave right at closing time I try to position myself near the park exit to watch fireworks, ahead of the crowds.
Since you mention Fantasmic, I’ll note that the exit from the Studios parking lot can back up at times, since everyone exits at a traffic light. If there’s a long line of cars leaving, then sometimes it’s quicker to make a right turn exiting the park and turn around up the road rather than wait to turn left. However, I’ve only needed to do that twice.
Overall, I’ve run into many more situations where a bus has arrived and filled up before I could board it than times I’ve been delayed leaving the lots while driving. Then, there’s also being squished into a full bus at the end of the day when I do get to board and almost never getting a seat (since the bus is so full that there’s always someone who needs it more than I do).
Thanks for your replies. I am leaning towards driving. I have been on a bus at the end of a long day and it is not comfortable. Usually can’t even sit. Being in my own car with a seat, radio and air conditioner on and maybe even a snack sounds wonderful after a long day in the parks. Even if I am waiting in some traffic.
We had a rental car the week of Christmas, 8-10 crowd levels, and noticed no real problems getting out of parks around closing time. Keep in mind that you can linger in the parks after official close, and you can ride if you are in line at park closing, so it’s not a total mass rush out the gates and there will be some people who remain in park for a while after park close.