One of my favorite perks of staying at a Disney World hotel is the free ride to and from the airport on the Disney Magical Express.
However this service is ending on December 31st, 2021. But there are still lots of other options from getting to and from the airport!
In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know about using the Disney Magical Express plus your options starting in 2022.
What is Disney’s Magical Express?
Magical Express (aka Disney Magic Express or Magical Disney Express) is the name for the Disney airport shuttle. It provides coach bus service from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to all Disney World resort hotels and back again.
The buses are very nice coach buses with fabric seats and TV entertainment. They run continuously from the airport to all resorts owned and operated by Disney.
Here’s a peek at what the buses look like inside:
Magical Express will drop you off at the front of your resort very close to the check-in desks.
Is Magical Express Free?
Yes! Magical Express is complimentary for guests staying at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.
Here is the official list of resorts that provide Magical Express:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort & Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins & Campsites
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort & Bay Lake Tower Villas
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Villas
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
There are some hotels that are located on Disney World property but are not owned and operated by Disney, such as the Disney Springs area hotels and the Swan and Dolphin. These hotels do NOT offer Magical Express bus service.
What is Mears Connect?
Mears Connect is the replacement for the Magical Express that will start service on January 1st, 2022.
It will use the same buses and work in the same way, except that you will have to make a reservation with Mears and pay for the service separately.
Here are the prices for roundtrip transfers to Disney World resorts:
- Adults: $32
- Children (3-9): $27
You can buy one-way tickets at half this price. Children under 3 are free to ride.
They are promising a less than 20 minute wait once you check in (which we assume will be at the same location as the current Magical Express).
You must have your flight information at the time of booking. You pay with a credit card when you make your reservation however it is fully refundable up to 24 hours in advance.
We don’t have any information on how bags will be handled but I will update this post once that is available.
Depending on how many people are in your party and if you need car seats or not, Uber or Lyft may be the better way to go. Learn all about using Uber and Lyft around Disney World in this post.
How does Magical Express luggage transfer work?
In addition to transporting you from the airport to Disney World, Magical Express also provides transportation for your luggage. You will be able to skip baggage claim and head straight to the Magical Express bus.
Or if you want to pick up your luggage yourself to keep it with you feel free to do that. There is plenty of room to store luggage under the bus.
When you have booked Magical Express as part of your trip (details on how to do that next), Disney will mail you luggage tags a few weeks before your departure.
Place these luggage tags on your checked bags only. Disney cast members will collect your bags and have them sent directly to your hotel. This means you do NOT have to go to the baggage carousels and collect your bags!
Your bags will be delivered directly to your room at your resort later that day.
It sometimes takes upwards of 5-6 hours for your bags to arrive at your resort. Disney will tell you 3-4 hours, but in reality, it can take upwards of six hours.
Be sure to pack everything you will need for the first 6 hours of your stay in your carry-on bag.
This includes medications, diapers, your MagicBands and park tickets, sunscreen, swimsuits, etc.
How Do I Reserve Disney Magical Express?
There are a few different ways to add a Disney Magical Express reservation to your Disney resort reservation:
- Add it when you make a reservation through DisneyWorld.com
- Have your travel agent add it for you
- Use the Magical Express reservation site to add it yourself
- Call the phone number for Disney Magical Express: 866-599-0951
What terminal is Disney Magical Express?
Magical Express is located on Level 1 of the B Side at Orlando International Airport. Here’s how to find it at the airport:
- After you depart your plane, follow signs to Ground Transportation. You will take a short tram ride to the main terminal.
- Once in the main terminal, find the B Side.
- Take the elevator down to Level 1.
- Follow the signs to Magical Express at the far end of Level 1.
Here is a map that might help:
Once you arrive at the Magical Express area, you will be asked to scan your Magic Band (each person in your party needs their band) or provide your Disney confirmation number if you are picking your bands up at your resort. Then you will be directed to the correct bus for your resort.
How long does it take to get to Disney World on Magical Express?
The actual drive from the airport to Walt Disney World property is about 30 minutes (more or less depending on traffic conditions).
However, I usually estimate 90 minutes from the time my plane lands to my arrival at my resort. This factors in time to get to the Magical Express area at the airport, time waiting for your bus to depart (which if you are the first on can be up to 20 minutes), and actual drive time.
The bus will make up to four stops at different Disney World resorts. If your resort happens to be the first stop, then you can expect a slightly shorter trip.
Does Disney Magical Express go to Sanford?
No, Magical Express only picks up at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Your best option to get from Sanford Aiport (SFB) is to take Uber or Lyft – get all of my tips for using rideshares in the Orlando area here.
What Are the Other Ways To Get From MCO To Disney World?
While the Magical Express is the only free way to get from MCO to Disney World, there are other ways.
A one-way trip from MCO to anywhere on Disney World in an Uber or Lyft will generally cost $35 and up depending on the type of rideshare you get. Get my tips for using Uber at Disney World in this post.
A taxi will start at about $50. There are various other services you can use to get from MCO to Disney World, from town cars to limos.
And of course you can rent a car at Orlando International Airport and drive yourself.
How does using Magical Express for your return trip to the airport work?
If you have scheduled the Magical Express Disney airport shuttle for your return trip to MCO, then you will receive a letter hanging on your hotel room door the night before you depart.
The letter will contain your Magical Express pick up time. It will be about 3 hours before your plane departs. This letter serves as your Disney Magic Express return ticket, so you must bring it with you with you when depart.
I suggest being at the Magical Express bus stop (usually very close to the same place where you were dropped off) about 10 minutes before your pick-up time.
How Does Resort Airline Check-In Work?
Disney World resorts offer a wonderful service called “Resort Airline Check-In”. This allows you to check-in for your flight, receive your boarding passes, and check your bags right at your hotel!
Any guest at a Disney resort can use the Resort Airline Check-in Service, even if you aren’t using Magical Disney Express for your return trip.
If you are flying on the major airlines you can use this service, including Delta, American, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue. Unfortunately, this service isn’t yet offered by low-cost airlines such as Frontier and Spirit.
The Resort Airline Check-In desks are found at the front of the resort, very close to luggage service and the Magical Express bus stop.
Here are some of the important rules for Resort Airline Check-In:
- The desk is only open from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm (noon).
- You must check your bags at least three hours before your flight to use this service.
- You can check your bag as early as you’d like if you have an evening flight.
- All guests must be present for check-in and have their ID.
And if you are using Magical Express and would rather keep your bags with you, that’s not a problem. You can take your bags with you and they will be stored under the bus.
How early does Magical Express pick you up?
Your Magical Express pick up time will be about three hours before your scheduled flight. Your bus makes up to three additional stops at other resorts and then go to the airport.
Does Magical Express Run 24 Hours?
Yes! Disney Magical Express runs 24 hours a day.
While Magical Express runs around the clock, the luggage delivery service does not. Luggage delivery service runs from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. If your flight arrives before 5:00 am or after 10:00 pm, you will have to retrieve your luggage from the carousels yourself.
Is there Magical Express for Disneyland?
No, unfortunately Disneyland doesn’t offer complimentary airport bus transfers like Disney World.
Your best option is to purchase a ticket for the Disneyland Resort Express bus for airport transfers. I suggest getting discount Disneyland Resort Express tickets from Undercover Tourist, my preferred ticket provider.
What is the Disney Magical Express Phone Number?
In the US the phone number for Disney Magical Express is 866-599-0951. The number in the UK is 0800 16 90 730.
I hope this post answered all of your questions about using the Disney Magical Express bus! If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below or join the discussion in my free private Facebook group for The Budget Mouse!