Changes are coming to Walt Disney World's bus routes, making it easier for guests to visit the rapidly-expanding Disney Springs shopping and dining district.
Disney Springs Town Center
More than a decade ago, Walt Disney World eliminated all round-trip bus service between its theme parks and shopping district, then dubbed Downtown Disney. The reason for this move was seemingly tied to parking fees charged across property. Downtown Disney--now Disney Springs--has always provided free parking to visitors while the theme parks charge rates which currently start at $20 for cars and SUVs. By providing bus service between Downtown Disney and the parks, guests had an easy method for avoiding those parking fees: leave their vehicle at Downtown Disney and take a bus to their theme park of choice.
Now that direct bus service is set to make a (partial) return.
Starting Sunday, August 28, 2016, Walt Disney World will provide one-way bus service from each of its theme parks to Disney Springs. This service will begin at 4:00pm daily and end at 11:00pm or 2 hours after the park close, whichever is earlier.
No transportation will be provided between Disney Springs and the theme parks.
The Downtown Disney / Disney Springs bus policies have frequently generated criticism among resort guests, particularly those who frequent nearby Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Some of the more frugal theme park guests have been known to take advantage of complimentary parking at Disney Springs, walking over to Saratoga Springs to catch a bus to their final destination.
Elimination of the closest surface parking spaces at Disney Springs may have curbed this practice to some degree. The closest parking is located in the new Lime Garage. With a walking distance of roughly 3/4 mile between the Lime Garage and nearest Saratoga Springs bus depot, the journey takes guests around 20 minutes moving at a leisurely pace. Wait time and the bus ride itself add to the journey.
At this time, Disney has no plans to offer service which originates at Disney Springs and runs to its theme parks.
I'm not sure it will help much (or at all) the problem of those "frugal" park visitors who park at DS and take the SSR busses to the theme parks.