Vote of the Week: Take the Tram or Take a Walk?

February 12, 2022, 5:19 PM · The parking trams are back at Walt Disney World and about to return to Disneyland. But do you like to ride the trams, or do you prefer to walk to and from your car?

That's the first question many of us face when visiting a theme park - take the tram, or take a walk? Not everyone is blessed with the ability to make this choice, of course. For guests with mobility issues, transportation such as parking trams provide an essential accommodation when visiting a theme park. But those who can make the walk sometimes can save time and avoid crowds by hoofing it rather than waiting for a seat on the tram. That's especially true at the end of the day, when many guests go to leave the park at once.

I was a walker long before Covid led Disney and some other parks to park their trams temporarily. Pretty much no matter what park I visited, if there was a line to get on the tram, I walked instead. The more you walk each day now, the more likely you will be to walk each day later in your life, I say.

But sometimes I visit with people who would rather just stay in the car and drive home than have to walk across the parking lot and beyond to get into the park. And at the end of the day, many fans consider sitting down in a tram for the ride back to their car as one of the most refreshing moments of their visit.

More and more parks are looking to make an extra buck by selling you up-close parking that eliminates the need for a tram. And others don't even offer them. At Universal Orlando, for example, you ride moving walkways between CityWalk and the far reaches of the parking structures. (Whether you ride moving sidewalks or walk around them is a topic for another vote on another day.)

Yeah, it's a trivial decision. But I think this choice tells you a lot about what kind of theme park visitor people will be that day. Will you look to slice through the crowds, walking miles back and forth across the park throughout the day to minimize wait time and maximize rides? Or will you look for a more relaxed approach, taking it easy rather than burning through the day? Or will you just say 'to heck with it' and pay whatever upcharge the park offers in order to skip as a many queues as possible?

The decision you make when you get out of the car just might provide that answer.

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Replies (9)

February 12, 2022 at 5:34 PM

Ultimately, it depends on the park and where my car is parked. At Busch Gardens Tampa, for example, trams are pretty much a necessity unless you've got the premium/handicap spaces. But when it comes to Disney, I'm usually there early enough that I'm pretty close to the entrance and can just make the walk myself. Unless of course that the tram is right there and ready to go with empty seats.

February 12, 2022 at 5:54 PM

For me it is not as straight forward. There is really a decision tree to follow. Did I get to the park early and row 34 is available. Or did I sleep in and get there in time to snag a spot in row 843Z. Is there a line for the tram ? Which negates being in row 843z. Is it Florida hot or Northeast hot ? Is this a turbo trip (in and out in 4 hours, yeah it can be done) or am I spending the whole day in hell watching families melt down ? Am I doing this on my own or with a group (How much pain can I put them through)? Is grandma here with her mobility scooter ? Will she burn threw the battery by the time we get to the gate ? And finally am I just being lazy today?

February 12, 2022 at 6:05 PM

What's made me angry with the discourse about trams since reopening is treating them as a luxury, with maybe an aside to acknowledge not everyone is abled.

"Accessibility is accessible to everyone." That's my catchphrase in regards to any design in any context. Having accommodations is better than none at all, but the true accessibility is transparent. A ramp to an automatic door is required for folks with mobility aids, but is also useful walking in while carrying something with both hands. One doesn't need permission or process to use the aids. They're for everyone without any drama.

Trams provide a soft accommodation that don't segregate or require proof to use. Anyone with need can be in the same space as one without the need and have dignity of their choice. I am very forgiving for the dimensions of reopening, but the lack of trams is the guest accommodation rubbed me the wrong way.

We have to advocate front and center for accommodations for all. Even if we don't require the accommodation, we have to stand up the minority that do. Only then can the joy of theme parks be accessible.

February 12, 2022 at 6:27 PM

Depends on the park/hotel distance in some cases. We stay at Yacht club, we just walk right to Epcot but sometimes prefer the boat if Dolphin or Boardwalk. Likewise, just take boat from any to Studios.

For Magic Kingdom, it's usually either a bus right to the gate or TTC and then monorail (assuming not staying at Contemporary or Polynesian). It varies I suppose, can handle walk but understand others want to save energy.

February 13, 2022 at 6:22 AM

Ever since the kids got a bit older, we almost always walked to the gates. Unless there was a tram pulling up with no significant lines, just as we were there, we take the walk. Otherwise, if you're going to be on your feet all day anyway, might as well not stand still.

February 13, 2022 at 7:49 AM

Always the tram for me as I love to hear the safety announcements in Spanish.

February 14, 2022 at 8:28 AM

I think it really depends on the specific conditions and how individuals are feeling at the time. Sometimes its nice to take that long walk to get your body warmed up in the morning. However, sometimes you just don't feel like taking that walk, or are exhausted at the end of the day.

February 14, 2022 at 10:54 AM

Well said TheSeg. I like the term you used, "soft accommodation".

I think there are times if you skip the tram and walk, you can expedite to your experience in a park. Still, I tend to suggest a Guest take any opportunity to sit and relax a bit at WDW. Its a lot of time on your feet!

February 14, 2022 at 9:23 PM

I always take the tram because I enjoy hearing the Spanish safety announcement

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