Getting to Cirque du Soleil by Bus

ICFA has some good evening programming to check out, but maybe you’re looking for something a bit different to do for one evening, something away from the hotel. Maybe you’re coming in a bit early or staying a bit late. Maybe you don’t usually stay for Saturday night’s banquet.

If so, you might want to check out Cirque du Soleil’s show La Nouba at Downtown Disney World. I saw it last year and am going to see it again this year, and I thought some of you might want to know how I’m going to get there on public transit.

I’ll let those of you with a car check out Google Maps for driving directions. If you’re not driving, you could certainly take a cab or get a group together for a shuttle, but if you want to save some cash, it really isn’t that difficult to get around Orlando by bus, especially if you are used to using public transit at home.

There are a couple of different routes you could take. Last year I tried transferring from the #42 Airport/International Drive (see last year’s post for using this bus to get to Florida Mall and the Outlet Malls) to the #50 Downtown Orlando/Magic Kingdom. It worked out well except that I didn’t like the looks of the transfer point near Sea World on the way home: by the side of a highway in the dark. Instead, I transferred to the #111 Airport/Downtown Disney and I think that bus will work much better.

Both the #42 and the #111 begin at the Airport, only minutes from the hotel. You can hop on the hotel shuttle to the Airport and walk down the bus/shuttle area to the public transit stop, or you could pick up the #42 in front of T.G.I.Friday’s on S. Semoran and be there in a few minutes.

The #111 leaves the Airport on the hour and half-hour all day, and takes about an hour to get to Downtown Disney. Or you could pick up the #42 across the street from T.G.I.Friday’s and transfer to the #111 at Florida Mall (the connection times look pretty good).

The #111 does not go into Downtown Disney itself, as the #50 does (at least, it didn’t last year; the schedule now suggests that it does). It runs down Buena vista Blvd, past Downtown Disney (clearly visible on your right, and the bus will announce it also), on its way to the Ticketing and Transportation Center for Walt Disney World. You can get off anywhere along Buena Vista Blvd in front of Downtown Disney, and walk through the area to the Cirque du Soleil on the west side.

To get back to the hotel, you’ll need to cross Buena Vista Blvd; there’s a crosswalk at the parking lot entrance, right near Planet Hollywood, and you just walk up the sidewalk until you come to a stop with #111 listed on it. The area is busy and brightly lit, so I didn’t feel at all worried last year waiting for a bus late in the evening. Take the #111 right to the airport and either call the hotel shuttle, or transfer to the #42 at Florida Mall (getting off in front of T.G.I.Friday’s and crossing S. Semoran) or at the Airport (getting off at the stop right after the intersection of S. Semoran with Lee Vista Blvd). Then it’s a short walk back to the hotel.

Last year I went to the 6pm show and was back at the hotel in lots of time to drop in on the Tuesday night party in the President’s suite.

Helpful links:

Orlando’s transit page, with maps and schedules.

Here’s a link to La Nouba. The show runs twice per evening, Tuesday through Saturday. You can buy tickets now to be held at the ‘will call’ or you can wait until you get there and hope there will still be some seats on sale at the box office (which did seem to be the case last year).

Here’s a link to Downtown Disney which is a shopping area (mostly Disney merchandise) on the outskirts of Walt Disney World. There are restaurants such as Planet Hollywood and House of Blues, and Fulton’s Crab Shack, and the theater for Cirque du Soleil, all bordering a nice little lake where ferries shuttle Disney World guests. So you can have a nice meal, walk around the lake, and then take in the show.

A Wikimapia view of Downtown Disney. I centered it on Planet Hollywood, and you can see the Cirque du Soleil tent on the left side of the page. Buena Vista Blvd is the road marked in yellow, curving along the bottom of the screen. You can see a crosswalk out of the parking lot at the center bottom and another one near what’s marked as Hess Station; the bus will stop every couple of blocks along Buena Vista. The schedule map shows it stopping at Downtown Disney West Side Transfer Center (timing point 3) but it didn’t do that last year, so I’m heading for a stop on Buena Vista just in case. But I’ve marked the location for the transfer center on the Wikimapia; it’s a very short walk from the Cirque du Soleil tent.

Of course, if you just want to do some shopping, check out last February’s entry on taking the bus to Florida Mall and the Outlet Malls. It’s in the archive under February 2009.

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