It’s a sad day for Disney fans across the globe – Disney’s Magical Express has officially been retired.
Another piece of Disney magic has been lost, and Disney Guests are still in shock at the retirement of this transportation service.
Disney’s Magical Express used to take Disney Resort Guests from Orlando International Airport to their Disney Hotel with an all-inclusive start to their Walt Disney World experience. The service was completely complimentary for those staying at a hotel owned and operated by Disney, and with Disney music, trivia, and games, the Magical Express often felt like Guests’ first “ride” of their vacation.
Previously, arriving at Orlando International Airport was largely stress-free due to the offering of Magical Express. With the 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World starting months after Disney announced that Magical Express services would be ending, the news came as a shock to many Disney fans.
Here, we have our tips on its third-party replacement and other ways to get to and from the airport for your next Disney vacation.
When is Disney’s Magical Express retiring?
Disney’s Magical Express ended its service from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World Resort hotels on January 1, 2022; however, the service continued transporting Guests from Disney back to Orlando International Airport through January 10, 2022.
Without this complimentary airport transportation, heartbroken Guests are sharing their opinion that there won’t be enough benefits to staying on Disney property. The announcement of the end of Disney’s Magical Express came a year after Disneyland Resort announced that they would be ending their airport shuttle service, as well.
Will Magical Express ever see a return?
Unfortunately, no further updates have been released regarding the return of Disney’s Magical Express, or any complimentary replacement. Guests, however, are trying to get Disney to bring it back and have created a petition on Change.org to save Disney’s Magical Express. The petition now has almost 10,000 signatures and went viral on Twitter.
The petition “Save the Magical Express” reads:
On Jan.1 2022 Disney has announced the end of The Magical Express.
We think this is a massive mistake. We love The Magical Express and consider it an integral part of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort that needs to continue.
Save The Magical Express – Sign the Petition today.
If you attempt to visit Disney’s Magical Express page on the Walt Disney World website, you will get an error as the page has been removed.
How much is the replacement service?
Mears, the company that operated Magical Express, revealed that it will be running a new shuttle service beginning January 1, 2022. Note that this is not a service operated by Disney, and instead, if you want to reserve your spot on this shuttle service, you will have to do so through this third party.
The website for Mears Connect prices the trips at $16 one way for each passenger who is ten and older and $13.50 for ages three through nine. Children under three will ride for free. Roundtrips will cost $32 for each rider ten and older and $27 for children. Bear in mind this is an introductory rate.
The Standard service is a shared-ride service on a bus, van, or small vehicle, similar to the current Magical Express. The Express service is a direct service to your Disney Resort and back to the airport with limited to no wait time.
Passengers can board Mears Connect on level 1, ground transportation level, in terminal B, at Orlando International Airport. On your return trip, you will board Mears Connect at your Disney Resort.
What are some alternative ways of getting to my Disney Resort?
At this time there is no complimentary way of getting to your Walt Disney World hotel (although complimentary transportation to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will still be available for Resort Guests once they are at their hotel and traveling throughout Disney World) but it seems Uber may be the cheapest option.
An Uber from the airport to Disney World (not during a busy time of the day) typically costs around $30.00, which would mean around $60.00 for a round trip. If you are a family of four (two adults, two kids), that total cost for a standard round trip is $118.00 on Mears Connect, and you still may be making multiple stops, unlike an Uber.
When we looked online, one website stated that a taxi service would cost approximately $66.51. Again, keep in mind that this would only be for one way, meaning once you are ready to return to Orlando International Airport, you would need to request another taxi.
Renting a car is also an option for your next Disney vacation. After a quick Expedia search, it appears a 1-week car rental in January 2022 totals around $300.00 for a regular-sized car, picking up and dropping off at MCO. Keep in mind that parking fees and gas will need to be factored into this rental car cost, but that convenience and freedom to explore Walt Disney World at your pace may outweigh that.
The “Sunshine Flyer”
Transportation Management Services (TMS) recently announced the launch of The Sunshine Flyer, a themed motorcoach bus experience that will transport Guests from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Walt Disney World Resorts.
The Sunshine Flyer’s buses are premium motorcoaches with themes that center around old-fashioned passenger cars and train engines. From the bus designs to staff dressed as 1920s rail conductors and engineers, the motorcoaches offer a glimpse into 1920s rail travel.
The Sunshine Flyer offers transportation to all Walt Disney World Resort destinations, including Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and more.
The service costs $17.00 per adult and $12.50 per child each way. The transportation service will start February 1, 2022. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.sunshineflyer.com.
We at Disney Tips definitely want to try this time travel experience on our next visit to Walt Disney World!
MCO will have a high-speed train option in 2023 that Guests can use to get to Disney property. The Brightline train will travel from MCO to Disney Springs, at which time Guests can go to the Disney Resort bus area and hop on their bus to their Disney Resort.
So, there you have it. Whichever method you use to get from the airport to your Disney World vacation in Orlando, Florida, we hope you have the most amazing adventure exploring Walt Disney World’s theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) once you arrive!