Disney World Is Left Behind as Brightline Works to Open Its New Orlando Station

Arriving at the Walt Disney World Resort is a breeze, with the Orlando International Airport located only about 35 minutes from hotels and theme parks. Ground transportation chosen by Guests after they land at the airport, however, can really make or break the amount of time it takes to arrive at their Resort.

Since Disney’s Magical Express service ended in 2021, Mears has offered up an official replacement to Disney’s former complimentary motor coach rides, and other comparable options have sprung up as well, including the Sunshine Flyer.

Orlando International Airport (1)

Credit: Orlando International Airport

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In addition to motorcoach transportation (or renting a car or picking up a rideshare or taxi) the Orlando International Airport is set to open a new Brightline rail station in 2023. The new Brightline station, set to open in MCO’s new Terminal C, will bridge gaps currently set in Orlando’s public transit lineup, but it will primarily serve to connect travelers in Orlando to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke with ClickOrlando on the importance of the new Brightline station’s location in “The City Beautiful” saying:

Being able to ride from the Orlando International Airport to Downtown Miami in roughly three hours and know that you are going to be on time because right now if you get in your car and drive down there, you never know what type of traffic there is going to be and what time you’re going to get there.

Brightline Train

Credit: Railway Age

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What does this mean for Guests visiting Walt Disney World, though? Disney was originally set to be included among new stations on the Brightline expansion, with a stop at Disney Springs. Unfortunately, the Disney Springs expansion was canceled in the summer of 2022, leaving Disney behind as a more efficient transit system takes shape throughout the Sunshine State.

While later expansions of the system are always a possibility, we do not expect to see a Disney rail station in the near future given that the Orlando station is already set to open this year. It may take some mental gymnastics to figure out what is worth the most in terms of both your time and money, but the one “bright” side specifically for Disney World Guests so far is that the new Brightline station will make it easier to add on stops in other parts of Florida to your Disney vacation. And, if it is significantly cheaper to fly into an other airport, you may be able to then catch a train to Orlando. (Not as convenient as a Disney Springs station would have been, but it’s something!)

50th Anniversary Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

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We will continue to monitor updates on the new Brightline station as it prepares to open this year at Orlando International Airport and will report back with new information as it is available here on Disney Tips.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."