Last year my son and I took a short-notice trip to Disneyland just after the holidays. We both needed a break and a quick trip to Disneyland sounded just right. Unfortunately, the only hotel we could find was a long ways from the park, making walking back and forth very impractical. And the hotel didn’t have a shuttle. Sheesh. What to do? Uber every day? Maybe. Then we discovered that it was on the ART line. “Hey, it has a bus stop, maybe we could take the bus to the park”. I thought to myself, “Take the city bus in California? Yuck!” Memories of walking past the bus stop across Harbor Blvd from the entrance to Disneyland filled my mind. Not pleasant. But then I thought, hey, this is a chance to check out the ART that I’ve heard about for so long, and since I’m a guy who likes to have new experiences, my curiosity overcame my trepidation and I decided to take the plunge.
And ya know what? It was a very pleasant surprise. The bus stop was right outside our hotel, it had a credit card kiosk that made purchasing tickets a breeze, and the bus arrived right on time. What? The bus driver was a happy guy who greeted us warmly, the bus was clean and not over crowded, and the ride was quick and uneventful. When we were getting off, the bus driver told us when and where to catch the bus on the way back, and reminded us which line we were on. My son and I each bought a 3-day pass for $16 and we rode the bus 12 times in 3 days, for an average of $1.33 per ride. And each ride was smooth and quick with no hassles. We were sold. When we got home we sang the praises of the ART to family and friends, and now I’m here to pass the good news onto you, our Disney friends.
What is the ART?
ART is Anaheim Resort Transit, which, according to their website “is a hop-on, hop-off public bus service with 81 eco-friendly and comfortable buses that run on 20 scheduled routes in Anaheim and Orange County. All of our routes begin and end at the Disneyland® Resort Transportation Center, and serve over 60 hotels and dozens of popular destinations for dining, shopping, and playing! Transporting over 9 million passengers each year, ART is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service while connecting you to more fun!”
ART connects you to theme parks, hotels, restaurants, shopping, dining, and other destinations within the Anaheim Resort area, including the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Costa Mesa and Orange.
ART also connects you to other services such as Orange County Transit Authority, Greyhound, Megabus, Amtrak, and Metrolink to give you access to sports venues, southern beaches, and many other destinations.
And all buses are equipped to provide service to those with a variety of disabilities or who require wheelchairs or other assistive equipment.
What can ART do for Disneyland visitors?
Art provides reliable, low-cost bus service between local area hotels, shopping, etc, and the Disneyland Transportation Center, otherwise known as the shuttle drop-off area. Many of the good neighbor hotels and other lodings in the area, such as AirBnB, time-shares, and VRBO can be as much as a 30-60 minute walk, or a 20-30 minute drive from the turnstiles. And, of course, if you drive yourself, you still have to pay $25 per day per car to park in the Mickey & Friends parking structure, or $56 per day if you splurge and park at Downtown Disney. Taking advantage of ART transportation widens the cachement area for your visit, giving you more options for lodging by giving you a way to get to and from the parks quickly and conveniently, without having to put unnecessary miles on those new Nikes.
Where does the ART go, and where can I catch it?
The ART has 15 bus routes that service the Disneyland Resort area. These lines cover every quadrant around the resort, and most make one complete loop every 20 minutes, dropping and picking up visitors at the hotels and at the shuttle drop-off area near the turnstiles. The Harbor Line runs up and down Harbor Blvd outside the entrance to the resort, making 10 stops at hotels and along the boulevard. The Grand Plaza Line runs up and down Harbor and turns into the Convention Center, making 5 stops along the way. The Hotel Circle Clementine Line circles around East of the resort, covering Harbor Blvd, Katella, Disney Way, and Anaheim Blvd, making 13 stops and providing service to the resort RV Park. Other lines fill in the blanks and go to local shopping, the convention center, the main transportation hub, and other areas of interest.
Buses typically stop at major hotels, and major street intersections. Route maps are available at most hotels, are posted at the shuttle drop-off area at the park, are clearly posted at all bus stops, and are easy to access at the RideART website. ART information is also integrated into Google Maps, and can be accessed thru the RideART app described below.
When do the busses run?
ART buses generally run from 6:20am to 12:30am, and bus drivers will usually remind you about the last bus of the day leaving the park and where to catch it. An excellent way to check the bus schedules is on the RideART mobile schedules page. Simply choose the route and your stop, and get an instant update on the arrival time of your bus at that stop. This is a nifty feature that we used during out trip. ART has also assigned a unique code to each bus stop, that’s listed on that same mobile schedules page. You’ll see the code underneath the listing of the arrival time. Next time you want to check on your bus, simply text RIDEART and the code to 41411, and get an instant update on your bus’ arrival time. For instance, using the example on their website, if you’re at the Peacock Suites, the bus stop code is 3013, so you would text RIDEART 3013 (with a space in the middle) to 41411 and it texts you back the next bus arrival time at your stop. The text back is usually immediate, so no waiting. You can also use the very good Trip Planner linked on the ART homepage. BTW, the bus stop code for the Disneyland Transportation Center is 1, so if you text RIDEART 1, you’ll receive a text listing the arrival time for every bus inbound to Disneyland. Cool.
Where can I score a bus pass?
I’ve only used the kiosk at the hotel bus stop. This is a quick credit card transaction. Be aware that not all bus stops have kiosks, but the ones at major hotels, the convention center, and the shuttle drop-off area at Disneyland Resort have kiosks. The best way to purchase your pass is with the RideART smartphone app, described below. This is a quick, easy, and secure transaction on your smartphone that you can make at any time, right up to the time you step onto the bus. Other places you can get passes include the RideART website where you can purchase physical passes that you can have mailed to you, delivered to your hotel, or which you can pickup at the ART transportation hub. If you want physical passes delivered to your hotel, be sure to purchase them at least 3 days in advance of your visit to assure that they get delivered on time.
Many of the hotels also sell bus passes, especially those that are Disneyland good neighbors, are part of a large hotel chain, or have concierge desks. These include the Anaheim Resort RV Park, Clarion Hotel, Hilton Anaheim, Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort, Peacock Suites, and WorldMark Anaheim.
You can also get passes at the the Visitor Desk in the lobby of the Anaheim Convention Center, Denny’s Restaurant, Cleaver Brothers Discount Tickets and Tours at the Grand Legacy Hotel, and, of course you can simply hand the driver exact change when you step onto the bus.
How much does a pass cost?
A one-way bus fare is $4.00 if you pay on the bus, but you’re probably at the resort for a day or more and will need to make several trips, so get yourself a pass. A one-day pass costs $6.00 for an adult and $2.50 for a child. A 3-day pass is $16.00 for an adult and $3.50 for a child. And a 5-day pass is $25.00 for an adult and $5.50 for a child. Sorry, no even-day passes available, but there are greatly reduced fares for those 65 and older, and those with a Disability Identification card from a government agency, such as Medicare, the Braille Institute, or the VA.
How long do passes last?
Passes are valid for unlimited trips on all ART lines until they expire. Passes are good for consecutive days from the day of purchase, and cannot be used intermittently to save up days. All passes expire at 2:59am the morning after the last day they’re valid, regardless of when they were purchased. So, if you purchase a 1-day pass at any time on Monday, it’s good until 2:59am on Tuesday.
Can I get all of this on my phone?
Absolutely! There are several ways to interact with ART electronically. Their website has good functionality and is very intuitive, so you can accomplish almost any task by simply browsing a bit. If you’re a Google Maps user, you’re set because all of the bus route information, including transit times, bus stops, and arrival times are integrated into Maps. Bing Maps also integrates ART information.
There are several good apps you can use as well. The best is ART’s own RideART app for iOS and Android. This is a free download from your AppStore or Google Play, and download links are here. This app lets you buy, store, and use bus passes, and access all critical bus information including arrival and transit times. Other apps recommended by ART include Transit, CityMapper, SmartRide, and Roadify. Check out the details of these apps at the ART App Center. ART interactivity is also possible thru the accessibility apps BrailleNote and VoiceNote.
Summing it all up
This last year I was impressed with the Anaheim Resort Transit system during an impromptu trip to Disneyland with my son. I didn’t relish the idea having to take a city bus to and from the park, but after trying the ART service I was sold on its many benefits. The ART is a quick, reliable, and inexpensive option for traveling to the parks from a local hotel each day. We found the drivers to be pleasant and helpful, the buses to be clean and not crowded, the buses to be on time, and the trips to be quick and smooth. It was easy to purchase tickets from the bus stop kiosk and track our bus with the handy Text2Go service.
So, my message to you, my Disney friends, is “Don’t fear the ART!” Embrace this excellent service and let it open up new options for you when visiting the happiest place on earth!