Typhoid Lagoon spies have recently uncovered permits filed by Reedy Creek Improvement District to start a new transportation service between the parks. The files indicate that rickshaws are being strongly considered to shuttle guests from park to park.
Rickshaws (alternatively known as “ricksha” and “rikisha” in other parts of the world) are human-powered carts that have a maximum capacity of two people – or one very large woman from the Midwest. They were invented in Japan in the late 1860’s due to Japan’s airways being clogged with traffic from hovering vehicles. It was a simple, yet effective mode of transportation, as long as you have an able-body to lift two individuals and transport them from one destination to the next.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to shuttle guests to and from destinations within the Walt Disney World Resort,” said Megan Thompson, Vice President of Walt Disney World’s Transportation Division. “Over the years we’ve considered a wide range of options, including expanding the monorail, triple-stacked busses, gondolas, and even drones. The idea of using rickshaws was born during our weekly transportation meetings.”
Rickshaws have been gaining popularity in the United States in the last decade as a versatile form of transportation. Whether you’re trying to avoid a traffic jam or perhaps taking in a romantic night out on the town, rickshaws have been around for over a century and show no signs of becoming obsolete anytime soon.
The idea for utilizing rickshaws at Walt Disney World came from Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III. Geronimo is Vice President of the Orlando-area Rickshaw Implementation Society. His organization lobbies to city officials and theme parks around the world to get rickshaws in use as a valid form of transportation. One such lobbying effort landed him in front of Disney executives.
“Ever since I saw the Seinfeld episode where Kramer and Newman try starting their own rickshaw service, I have been a fan,” Geronimo told us. “I can’t think of a more efficient and ‘green’ way to get from Point A to Point B. The environmental impact – or the lack thereof – is ultimately what sold the idea for Disney.”
Geronimo is referring to the Seinfeld episode titled “The Bookstore” which was the 17th episode of the ninth and final season. In the episode, Kramer and Newman employ the homeless in a failed attempt to get rickshaws to catch on as an alternative form of transportation.
Disney’s new rickshaw system will start carting guests between Epcot and Hollywood Studios first, with other parks coming online later this year, according to Thompson. This will be a free service to guests staying at any one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Guests staying off property can expect to pay $35 one-way, not including tip.
“Although the trip from Epcot to Hollywood Studios has been clocked at 45 minutes during our test runs, we think our guests will enjoy taking in the beautiful sights and sounds surrounding the Walt Disney World Resort,” concluded Thompson. “Walking would technically be faster [than riding in a rickshaw] but many of our guests are unfamiliar with the concept. This is a win-win for everyone involved.”