Walt Disney World has started to roll out updated, new buses to its expansive fleet. The buses appear to be a new purchase order, and are being rolled out across the parks and resorts now. Depending on the size of the order and any sunsetting of older buses, this could push the fleet size above 500 buses in total. If word on the street is correct, this could be the single largest purchase order of buses by Walt Disney World.
As far as we can tell, this marks the first large order of new buses since the purchase of more than 70 buses back in 2019. Here’s our article from the July 2019 rollout of the newly purchased buses, which didn’t even have Disney branding on them at the time we noticed them.
The new 2024 buses feature new technology such as a new ECV/wheelchair securement system that allows for an easier, safer, quicker transport. There are also updates to guest seats. Before we take a look at the new buses, here’s a look back at the “old” style, which is the current style for most of the fleet.
Disney World Bus (Old Style)
First, here’s a look at the old(ish) style of Disney World bus. This style accounts for the majority of the current fleet. The two-tiered layout allows for ECVs, wheelchairs, and those with mobility issues to sit on the “first floor” with additional seating toward the back of the bus a step higher than the main section.
There is an area that allows for ECVs and wheelchairs to be secured near a ramp in the middle of the bus. The seats in this area fold up when the ECV/wheelchair stations are in use.
Here’s a look at the seating that is a step higher than the rest of the bus.
Disney World Articulated Bus (Old Style)
For busier routes, Disney World also has double-long, articulated buses that are high-capacity vehicles. These certainly look and feel older than even the “old” single length buses.
There are multiple spots for an ECV or wheelchair to be secured during transport. Here’s a look at two of the options.
Over the wheel wells, there is raised seating before a hinge and the second half of the bus.
Here’s a look at the seating toward the back of the double-long buses.
Disney World Bus (NEW)
Finally, here’s a look at the new style of bus that is now in use around Walt Disney World property. These appear to be a new purchase order of Gillig Low Floor models, which should be familiar to Disney fans as they make up the majority of the fleet. From the outside, it looks mostly the same as the existing buses in the fleet, but there are some modifications inside the bus that we’ll soon take a look at.
However, once you step inside, you notice a much, much more spacious front half of the bus. That’s because the seats next to the two new ECV/wheelchair securing machines now auto-fold when not in use. Not only does this allow easier navigation for the ECV or wheelchair users, it also potentially allows for more standing room should guests want to stand. Of course, if you’re tired after a long day at the parks, you can fold down the seats and rest for the 10-minute ride back to the hotel.
We noticed that many of the seats now have USB charging underneath them or to the side of the seats.
The back of the bus looks similar to the current bus layout.
Going back to the ECV/wheelchair section, the driver was kind enough to show off how the new, automated Q’STRAINT Quantum securement station works. The wheelchair user will back into the system by themselves in a completely hands-off automated process where the driver hits a button and the securement arm lowers into place.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!