Ok I’ve been sitting on this for a while thinking it’s incomplete, but I figured I’ll post it any way for the sake of discussion and banter.
Following @Jeff_AZ’s intriguing series of polls on the topic (last one: Poll Time! Best Disney Resort Hotel Location FINAL ROUND), I wanted to test out a spreadsheet on transportation times from hotels to parks.
I hope you’ll bear with me on the long introduction.
The first thing that needs to acknowledged is that there are a lot of uncertainties here and ultimately the variance is so small that even the smallest things can sway the resulting times one way or the other: having to wait 3 minutes more for a monorail or bus, getting held up at parking lot gates, walking faster or slower, even hotel room location within the hotel etc. So this should all be taken with a grain of salt and these are by no means foolproof stats. But it’s interesting nonetheless, I think.
The main goal was to add up the fastest travel times to all 4 parks from each hotel to rank them. For the spreadsheet, I picked the most obvious hotels (=MK and Epcot area hotels) and tried to include the most realistic travel times to each park using different transport options, leaving out some of the more useless options.
The easy part is listing the actual transit time, but the trickier part is trying to factor in wait times and commuting to and from different transportation. These can’t be left completely out because that would distort the results too much. So some assumptions, guesses and generalizations have to be made here - for example how long the average wait time is for a bus or monorail, how long it takes to get from TTC to MK or a parking lot to the park entrance and so on. Bus and boat travel times will vary most based on your timing and how long you have to wait. Driving (and uber) times will vary based on traffic and arrival time (traffic at the gates). Queues and crowds in general will affect pretty much all options so we have to assume it all evens out. Walking is the most certain one but even that varies on walking speed. The walking times are based on average adult walking speeds, from hotel lobbies to park gates. All the other times are based on actual measured travel times - as mentioned some will vary more than others based on traffic etc.
One clear thing you can see here is that at least “techincally” using Uber/Lyft is very efficient to reach all other parks than MK. Whether or not this is the case in reality is another question. The assumption here is that you order the car before heading out so you don’t have to wait for it at all. This might not always be realistic but I’ve personally had good experiences, our car has always been waiting for us when we got outside. I added 5 minutes as a “walk up” time to account for getting from the parking gates to drop off point to park gates. This might be too little, not sure.
Another major factor that isn’t taken into consideration here is the time of day your travelling. If you are aiming for rope drop, it might change everything. For example: is it realistic to use Uber/Lyft for RD? I don’t know.
So here is what I have so far:
As for the results:
All transportation options including Uber/Lyft:
Based on these numbers, Polynesian and Grand Floridian have the best overall locations out of any WDW hotels. The no. 1 factor here is obviously the fast access to MK. While Contemporary is the quickest to MK, it loses a bit on driving times to other parks, hence why it’s a few minutes behind. Again it’s worth noting that in this case the fastest mode to all other parks than MK is Uber, which could be debatable.
Fastest times combined (incl cars/uber):
Grand Floridian: 53
Beach Club: 58,6
WDW transportation (+ walking)
When using WDW transportation or walking, the best location is Boardwalk. The major factors here are the closest walking proximity to HS (8 minutes faster than BC) and fast road access for buses (beats BC by a couple of minutes). So in order for it to be the best, you have to walk. Taking the boats to HS will pretty much put it even with BC. same goes for using a car. Bus wait times have a big effect here, particularly on the MK area resorts - if bus times are reduced they get closer to BW.
Fastest times combined (wdw transport only):
Grand Floridian: 77
Beach Club: 77,5
When considering WDW transportation only, and if walking to HS, I think it’s safe to say BW is technically the best location.
Otherwise, I would call all of these resort locations very even and I wouldn’t make a selection based on transport times, but rather based on personal preference, availability etc. There are so many factors that make a bigger difference and really you are extremely well situated at any of these places.
So in other words: everything I did here is ultimately kind of useless, but fun to know.
I welcome any comments, ideas and personal attacks for being wrong
Oh and sorry for the watermark on the image - maybe I’m being ridicilous but I imagine many sites/blogs copy content from various forums and I thought I’d at least make it just a tiny bit more difficult to repost this