Express Authority Votes to Delay Decision on Brightline Train Route to Disney World

Disney’s Magical Express may be ending in 2022, but there’s a new form of transportation that will take guests between the airport and Disney World in the works.

Disney’s Magical Express

The high-speed train Brightline is a new transportation option that is set to open routes from Miami to Tampa in the next few years. The private company is currently in the process of finalizing important details of the route that will connect the airport to Disney Springs before they can begin construction, and it seems that the project may be delayed a bit longer than anticipated.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Central Florida Expressway Authority (which must provide approval of the new route) decided in a recent meeting to indefinitely delay a decision on the route that the Brightline Train can take between the Orlando Airport and Tampa.

©Brightline

Brightline has put forward a preferred route, which would travel from a corridor at the airport along State Road 417 to I-4 and to Disney World. But, this route travels near the Hunter’s Creek residential community and other wetlands areas.

And, it is the advocacy from the International Drive tourism strip and the Hunter’s Creek residential community that had led to the postponement of the decision.

©Brightline

Brightline has considered one other route that would begin at the airport and travel to State Road 528 where it would pass the International Drive corridor (and have a station at the Orange County Convention Center) and then go along I-4 to Disney and Tampa. But, this route will cost the private company at least an additional $700 million or more according to an expressway authority’s consultant (with the preferred route already projected to cost $1 billion).

©Orange County Convention Center

Thus far, Brightline has not asked for any public funds to support the construction of the new train route and expects to finish the route from South Florida to the Orlando airport next year.

©Brightline

The Orlando to Disney route was previously slated to be completed by 2026. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for updates on that.

Brightline shared a press release about the recent vote that took place. In it they note that the Central Florida Expressway Authority “unanimously approved a resolution of support for Brightline’s planned expansion between Orlando International Airport and Tampa.” They also shared that the Central Florida Expressway Authority Board, the governing body for SR 417, “cleared the way for Brightline to study a high-speed rail alignment along this corridor.”

The Orlando Airport to Tampa route will include a stop at Disney Springs ©Brightline

Brightline’s senior vice president for corporate development, Christine Kefauver also commented on the decision, stating that “Today’s resolution of support brings us one step closer to connecting Orlando and Tampa with Brightline’s modern, eco-friendly intercity rail service.”

Of course, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for updates, so be sure to stay tuned to AllEars for the latest!

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6 Replies to “Express Authority Votes to Delay Decision on Brightline Train Route to Disney World”

  1. I agree with Rob about the convenience of Magical Express, didnt have to wait for bags and start your vacation early. My family loved it we at the parks 2 hours after arriving at MCO,

  2. There are several ways to get to the theme parks and hotels quickly without the Magical Express or a train!!! You will always have whiners and miserable people just looking for reasons to moan, groan, and complain!!!

    1. Not whining. I used to love going to WDW. That’s why we bought DVC and are platinum on DCL and have been on several Adventures by Disney. The value proposition of the parks has gone down over the years.
      Yes, there are other ways to get to the parks, but the removal of a convenient service that was included in your price is a price increase. It also makes it much more of a hassle to get there. Even if Mears provides a similar service, now we have to take the time to wait for luggage and schlep it around. Not going to look at that as a plus.

      1. The Magical Express was started in 2005 before that Mears was the transportation we used already, and they will still be the transportation that will be available, besides Taxis and Ubers.
        When Disney started the Magical Express they increased prices to cover it, it was never free, just hidden in the cost of going.
        So only thing being lost is the convenience of setting it up with the vacation package. Its just going back to how it was before they started it and Guests will have to book their own transportation from MCO.

  3. Rob, I’m with you. This likely will be more than 10 years, if ever before this train route is built. Cutting out so many perks/features in addition to jacking up prices as they have is ridiculous. And rides should be in perfect condition when they’re reporting record profits so many quarters. We’re DVC member, go on the cruise line and have been and Adventures. Don’t want to pay those prices just to do a few things for nostalgia.

  4. Great, great news…NOT. I’m surprised the project has gotten as far as it has. It’s bad enough that the Magical Express is being discontinued. The idea that we should have to wait years for a train from MCO, to DT Disney (not even directly to the resorts) is laughable. The company building the train is in no way connected to Disney, so there’s little recourse they have to “speed it up.” Disney management has become very greedy, eliminating too many things over the last few years, which does not sit well with most long-time patrons (DVC members, Passholders, etc…). I foresee a future with fewer and more far between trips.