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Author Topic: Walt Disney World (WDW) and Reedy Creek Improvement District improvements  (Read 1207 times)

froggie

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Just spent a week down at WDW, where I observed quite a bit of road-related stuff during bus travels between the resort we stayed at and the various theme parks at Disney.

For those who aren't aware, the Reedy Creek Improvement District (which incidentally turned 50 this year) is a quasi-governmental agency created by the state legislature that effectively functions as a county government for the WDW area, building and maintaining utility infrastructure, roads, and fire & EMS services.  They are also given the ability to issue bonds for infrastructure improvements, paid back via "property taxes" levied on landowners in the district (mainly Disney).  The RCID covers land on both sides of I-4 in both Orange and Osceola Counties and also some land west of FL 429.

From what I could tell, pavement, striping, and traffic signals were generally to FDOT-standard, though most roads and even some of the freeway segments lacked a shoulder.  Signage is most definitely NOT standard.  Guide signs use a purple background with red bottom and a non-standard font (defined here as something other than Clearview or FHWA Highway Gothic).  Regulatory and route traiblazer signs also use a non-standard font.

Freeway facilities on WDW include World Drive (the main north-south spine) from US 192 to the Magic Kingdom "Toll Booth" (as some Disney blogs call it), the length of Epcot Center Drive from World Drive to I-4/FL 536, and a short leg of Osceola Parkway from the Animal Kingdom parking entrance to the Victory Way intersection.

Two road improvements were recently completed.  One built a new direct ramp from WB I-4 into the Disney Springs area, branching off the pre-existing ramp from WB I-4 to Epcot Center Dr.  The new ramp offers direct connections to the newest parking garage at Disney Springs, nearby parking areas, and EB Buena Vista Dr.  The second recent improvement basically converted the World Dr/Osceola Pkwy interchange into a full cloverleaf.

Three major road improvements are currently underway and in various stages of construction.  The farthest along is a widening project along Buena Vista Dr at Epcot Center Dr and Bonnet Creek...as part of this, the loop ramp from NB Epcot to WB Buena Vista was removed and the NB Epcot exit ramp was relocated.  I'm not certain of the following, but it also appears that the bus lanes in the median of Buena Vista (farther east towards Disney Springs) will be extended through the interchange.

The second major road project is building an overpass and realignment of World Dr at the Magic Kingdom "Toll Booth".  The project builds an overpass for World Dr over the northbound entrance to the Magic Kingdom parking area.  This will allow traffic destined for the resorts (most of whom get complimentary parking as part of staying at the resort) to avoid having to go through the toll booth.  It will also enable resort traffic to continue on World Dr directly to the south, instead of having to detour over to Floridian Way to continue south.  As part of this project, what will effectively be a trumpet interchange is being built at World Dr/Vista Blvd.

The third project was mentioned in a previous thread.  This project is effectively building two interchanges on top of each other.  One part will be a either a standard diamond or SPUI interchange on Osceola Pkwy at Victory Way (with Osceola bridged over Victory).  The second part will effectively be a trumpet interchange built on top that will connect to a new road and entrance to the Hollywood Studios parking lots, which are also being expanded ahead of two new areas being built at Hollywood (Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land).  A byproduct of this project is that the freeway segment on Osceola Pkwy will effectively be extended to I-4.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 09:44:56 PM by froggie »
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briantroutman

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I know this is somewhat off your original topic, but hopefully you wonít mind me interjecting this: I think itís a terrible shame that these road improvements are necessary in the first place. Walt Disney World is, in my opinion, a monumental disappointment as far as transportation infrastructure is concerned.

The reality of today is quite a letdown when you contrast it against what was envisioned in 1966: An on-site jetport to serve as the primary gateway for vacationers, a monorail line connecting the airport and all major areas of the property, and automated peoplemovers radiating from monorail stations to within steps of most final destinations.

Instead, today looks like this: No on-site airport; most visitors arrive through an airport thatís over 20 miles away and accessible only by automobile or bus over frequently congested roads. A monorail was constructed but connects only two of the propertyís four major parks (plus a few $500+ hotels). Reaching secondary attractions (Disney Springs, Boardwalk, waterparks) and other on-site hotels requires getting in a car or busóor in some cases, boarding a ferry. The only peoplemover constructed doesnít serve any functional purpose (as transportation). Noisy diesel-powered trams are used to transport visitors to and from parking lots.

Perhaps this setup works well enough and keeps the parks as profitable as they can be. But the heavy reliance on private cars, conventional transit busses, and tramcars seems like a major deficiency in a resort that is otherwise so focused on fine details of the customer experience.
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DeaconG

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I know this is somewhat off your original topic, but hopefully you wonít mind me interjecting this: I think itís a terrible shame that these road improvements are necessary in the first place. Walt Disney World is, in my opinion, a monumental disappointment as far as transportation infrastructure is concerned.

The reality of today is quite a letdown when you contrast it against what was envisioned in 1966: An on-site jetport to serve as the primary gateway for vacationers, a monorail line connecting the airport and all major areas of the property, and automated peoplemovers radiating from monorail stations to within steps of most final destinations.

Instead, today looks like this: No on-site airport; most visitors arrive through an airport thatís over 20 miles away and accessible only by automobile or bus over frequently congested roads. A monorail was constructed but connects only two of the propertyís four major parks (plus a few $500+ hotels). Reaching secondary attractions (Disney Springs, Boardwalk, waterparks) and other on-site hotels requires getting in a car or busóor in some cases, boarding a ferry. The only peoplemover constructed doesnít serve any functional purpose (as transportation). Noisy diesel-powered trams are used to transport visitors to and from parking lots.

Perhaps this setup works well enough and keeps the parks as profitable as they can be. But the heavy reliance on private cars, conventional transit busses, and tramcars seems like a major deficiency in a resort that is otherwise so focused on fine details of the customer experience.

There is an onsite airport, but it was only used for two years; basically, there wasn't enough money generated to make the service work. Check out one of Adam The Woo's videos, he actually goes to it (it's a parking lot now).
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briantroutman

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There is an onsite airport, but it was only used for two years...

Yes, Iím familiar with the STOLport, although the short-lived service there was just an air shuttle to the airports at Orlando and Tampa rather than a gateway for national or even regional flights. Still, that was a more elegant solution than arriving at MCO and boarding a bus or renting a car, even though (Iím guessing) an infinitesimal percentage of Disney World guests ever got to experience the service.
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Voyager75

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They do have they weird choice of Gondola transportation coming soon for Epcot, Hollywood and all the resorts in that area. The purple BGSí are just horrible in reading and design. There is a 3 panel overhead on World Drive with a lonely Epcot on it. Nothing else.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/World+Dr,+Kissimmee,+FL+34747/@28.35586,-81.5640082,3a,48.5y,5.42h,88.14t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sl-7saKAM3JCrjQA-4f-_Aw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x88dd7efcb93ecb6d:0x9744d2d06774d4a?hl=en

I assume itís supposed to be on the panel to the left but they ran out of room and just stuck it on its own. Noticed it last week when me and the family were there(9th time). We drive our own vehicle down as the bus system is sent form Hell. We get free parking from staying on property anyway.

And the Disney diehards know this Iím sure but there were master plans to eventually build a International Airport on site just to the west of the I-4 and World Drive or FL 429 interchange. Canít remember which one. Walt should have sped that up and not even worried about the STOLport.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 11:11:01 PM by Voyager75 »
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jwolfer

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I know this is somewhat off your original topic, but hopefully you wonít mind me interjecting this: I think itís a terrible shame that these road improvements are necessary in the first place. Walt Disney World is, in my opinion, a monumental disappointment as far as transportation infrastructure is concerned.

The reality of today is quite a letdown when you contrast it against what was envisioned in 1966: An on-site jetport to serve as the primary gateway for vacationers, a monorail line connecting the airport and all major areas of the property, and automated peoplemovers radiating from monorail stations to within steps of most final destinations.

Instead, today looks like this: No on-site airport; most visitors arrive through an airport thatís over 20 miles away and accessible only by automobile or bus over frequently congested roads. A monorail was constructed but connects only two of the propertyís four major parks (plus a few $500+ hotels). Reaching secondary attractions (Disney Springs, Boardwalk, waterparks) and other on-site hotels requires getting in a car or busóor in some cases, boarding a ferry. The only peoplemover constructed doesnít serve any functional purpose (as transportation). Noisy diesel-powered trams are used to transport visitors to and from parking lots.

Perhaps this setup works well enough and keeps the parks as profitable as they can be. But the heavy reliance on private cars, conventional transit busses, and tramcars seems like a major deficiency in a resort that is otherwise so focused on fine details of the customer experience.
I would guess that Orlando and Orange County officials wanted the airport closer to the city rather than way out in what was BFE in 1965

Z981

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jeffandnicole

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They do have they weird choice of Gondola transportation coming soon for Epcot, Hollywood and all the resorts in that area. The purple BGSí are just horrible in reading and design. There is a 3 panel overhead on World Drive with a lonely Epcot on it. Nothing else.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/World+Dr,+Kissimmee,+FL+34747/@28.35586,-81.5640082,3a,48.5y,5.42h,88.14t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sl-7saKAM3JCrjQA-4f-_Aw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x88dd7efcb93ecb6d:0x9744d2d06774d4a?hl=en

I assume itís supposed to be on the panel to the left but they ran out of room and just stuck it on its own. Noticed it last week when me and the family were there(9th time). We drive our own vehicle down as the bus system is sent form Hell. We get free parking from staying on property anyway.

And the Disney diehards know this Iím sure but there were master plans to eventually build a International Airport on site just to the west of the I-4 and World Drive or FL 429 interchange. Canít remember which one. Walt should have sped that up and not even worried about the STOLport.

You couldn't comprehend the signage? Sigh. Very easy to read.

Epcot...straight ahead. Just like any other pull-thru sign on the nation's highways. And a sign further down would show that your guess was wrong.

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roadman65

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Most purple Disney signs have too much information overload.

Also I was in WDW and saw the construction on the Epcot Center Drive and Buena Vista Drive interchange. Yes I though it was different as left turns are allowed again onto WB Buena Vista where only right and straight movements were allowed when Disney improved that intersection back in the late 80's.  The straight movement BTW is for Bonnet Creek Parkway. 

Good that WDW is allowing a continuous flow on World Drive SB at the Toll Booths as that was a pain in the ass to go around the long way to make a straight line.

As far as the City of Tomorrow went, yes Disney would be flipping in his grave if he saw what the land looks like today.  Only Celebration is close to a city as the original vision, but with no modern conveniences as its all cars and golf carts and residential homes occupying its borders.  Also Disney Springs (former Downtown Disney and previously Disney Village) was to have five office buildings that only one got built (the SunBank building). 

Disney Springs also has overhead pedestrian bridges now at Hotel Plaza Blvd. and Buena Vista instead of crossing at grade like before.  They fixed that up nice over there since the garages were built.  Its a shame that Pleasure island is not longer there as that was a neat place to go in the day.
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