Is Uber Cheaper Than the Service Replacing Disney’s Magical Express?

Beginning January 1st, 2022, Disney World will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express shuttle services, but there will still be plenty of ways to get between the Orlando International Airport and your Disney World Resort (though they won’t be free)!

Disney’s Magical Express

Earlier this week, Mears (the company that currently operates the shuttles) released their reservation system for a new shuttle service that will replace Disney’s Magical ExpressMears Connect. Of course, the service will no longer be free, so now those vacationing to the resort will need to factor the transportation cost into their budget. But, is Mears Connect really the cheapest option?

Well, today we’re comparing the cost of choosing Mears Connect versus opting to use rideshare, such as Uber, to help you decide which is best for you!

Mears Connect

Standard vs. Express Service

Before you open up the Mears Connect webpage to make your reservation you’ll need to have already booked the flights for your trip and determine if you would like to utilize the Standard or Express level of service. And, there are TWO major differences between the options.

©Mears

The Standard Service is cheaper and includes stops at multiple different Disney World Resorts for drop-offs and pick-ups. So, you could end up waiting about 20 minutes at the airport from the time that you check-in at the Mears Connect reception area before traveling to Disney World.

Mears Bus Transportation at the Swan and Dolphin

On the other hand, the Express Service is more expensive but will take guests directly to their Disney World Resort hotel without a wait time or additional stops.

So, how much does it actually cost?

Cost

Mears Connect has released a chart with their introductory rates that begin at $16 per adult and $13.50 per child for one-way Standard Service and range up to over $200 for parties of four or more using the Premium Service.

©Mears

So, for a family of four who is traveling with two adults and two children using the Standard Service, the round trip to any Disney World Resort hotel would be $118.

©Mears

And, if that same family opts for the Express Service, the cost of a round trip will be $200 total.

©Mears

If your travel party is a bit smaller and you’ve only got two people in your group, the cost for a round trip is a bit cheaper using Standard Service, costing $64.

©Mears

However, a party of two opting to use Express Service will not save on cost, as the round trip is priced at $200 for up to four passengers, regardless of whether you’re traveling with less.

©Mears

Keep in mind that Mears Connect does NOT charge extra for your luggage, so the rate that is listed on the website is what you can anticipate your fare costing. Though, these are listed as “introductory rates” so they will likely increase over time.

Uber

UberX vs. Uber XL

So, how does the cost of Mears Connect compare to rideshare programs like Uber? Well, let’s first cover the different options you have to select from.

Unlike Mears Connect, you won’t have to share a ride with guests who are outside of your party and you’ll be able to be taken directly to your resort without having to stop at any others (something that’s comparable to the Express Service). But, you’ll want to keep in mind all of the options that you have to select from.

All-Star Movies

Overall, Uber has over 10 different ride options, but the two cheapest options for guests are UberX and UberXL. 

Uber X is the most affordable economy option with Uber and fits up to three passengers. But, if you’re traveling with more than three in your party (or you just want extra space) then you’ll need to opt for the Uber XL, which accommodates up to five people.

©Uber

And, what will it cost you for a round trip using Uber?

Cost

We input some test rides with Uber and found that for a trip from the Orlando International Airport to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside with two adults and two kids the roundtrip fare would cost a total of $83.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be picked up in THIS car?!

And, keep in mind that Uber doesn’t take into account how many people are traveling when they calculate the cost of the trip, so a family traveling with two adults would also be charged $83 round trip using UberXL.

The only cheaper option would be available for guests with a party of two or three using UberX, making the round trip a total of $61.

©Mears

Now, Uber rates can vary a lot, so depending on which Disney World Resort you’re staying at, traffic delays, surge pricing, and other factors your trip with Uber could end up costing you more or less.

Which is Better For Your Trip?

So, looking at these numbers, it looks like the cheaper option for guests would be taking an Uber, though there are still some other factors to consider.

Mears Connect does not have surge pricing rates, so the cost on their price chart is the cost that you’ll be paying no matter when or where you’re traveling to. Whereas, with Uber, you could end up paying more than the cost of Mears Connect due to all of the variables.

Mears Bus Transportation at the Swan and Dolphin

Another thing to consider when deciding which transportation service you’d prefer for your Disney World trip is whether you’re willing to ride on a coach bus with other guests and make stops at other resorts before being dropped off.

Mears Connect Express Service is your only option to get straight to your hotel without a wait and costs $200 at a minimum. On the other hand, Uber will always provide you with the direct service and could cost much less than $200.

Mears Coach Bus

And, you’ll want to think about all the luggage you plan to bring with you when deciding! Both Mears Connect and Uber do not charge for luggage, however, if you’re traveling with many bags you may have trouble fitting into Uber’s smaller transportation options and end up needing to pay more for a larger car.

All-Star Sports Luggage Cart

Overall, you’ll certainly need to weigh your options when deciding how you’d like to get between the airport and your Disney World hotel when visiting after January 1st, 2022, but when it comes down to cost, Uber seems to have Mears Connect beat.

Of course, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates from Mears Connect and bring you all the latest updates on the best ways to plan for your Disney World trip, so be sure to stay tuned to AllEars for the latest!

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Which transportation service will YOU be choosing to use for your next Disney World trip? Let us know in the comments!

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19 Replies to “Is Uber Cheaper Than the Service Replacing Disney’s Magical Express?”

  1. We used a limo service a few times. We got a van since there was 6 of us. All our luggage fit in the back. They met us in the building and helped us get our bags. We even stopped off for some supplies quickly. Was it a little more expensive? Maybe but we would have needed 2 Ubers and none of the personnel touches.

  2. Before the Magical Express, we always took Mears both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We will do so on future trips as well. On Wednesday we’re arriving for a week at WDW to celebrate the 50th, so this will be our last trip for the ME. Can’t wait to get back “home”!

  3. We are planners so, we want transportation that we know is available and what it will cost. The idea of grabbing a random Uber / taxi at the airport is not attractive.

  4. It was a nice perk, while it lasted.
    The price of everything has increased including tickets, hotels, food, souvenirs at Disney and it’s a shame. We used Mears Motors before they had Disney Express and the price per person round trip was $25.00. So, $32.00 round trip has not increased that much.

  5. We have been using the same taxi service for the past 30 years (same driver). Yes, we pay for it but when we get off the plane we didn’t want to take a bus and drive from resort to resort. We also have our luggage with us all the time. Our driver meets us at the airport and we’re off to our resort. No line waiting to get on a bus. Our driver picks us up two hours before our flight home and we get to the airport in plenty of time. If he can’t pick us up he always has someone else meet us. The last time we were at Disney World was in January 2020. We paid round trip for 4 adults $134. There are options out there besides Mears and Uber.

  6. The *magic* was dropping my luggage at the airport in Boston and not seeing (or touching!) it again until it materialized in my room at the Poly. Without that perk, Uber looks much better and more direct than a crowded and expensive Mears ride.

  7. We’ve been to Disney many times, but flown only once. Taking DME was part of the excitement…your vacation started there. Now to have to pay, it kinda sours that a bit . And to drive there, you now have to pay for parking, so that’s not a great option anymore either. Prices have gone up for the parks as well as the hotels. Now to pay more to get there is crazy. If they’re going to hike hotel prices up, put it towards my transportation on DME.

  8. Why did Mears get so expensive? Our family used Mears Transport all the time a few weeks ago. We were near Universal Studios and transportation there for 5 adults was about $50. The size of the family did not matter, only mileage counted

  9. I think some of this may very well backfire on Disney. As in fewer may decide to stay on site. If I decide to rent a car I will spend more time at Universal ESPECIALLY when Epic Universe opens.

      1. Many off Disney property hotels offer a shuttle service so you can avoid the parking charges at the Disney parks. I’ve started staying off property now that Disney charges us to park at their hotels.

  10. Other than cost, what was wrong with the Magical Express ? Why eliminate it, then have Mears restart it ? On 1/22 ?

    Answer: you pay for transportation, and the fee built into the resort packages for the service remains, as pure profit !

  11. I thought of something else that’s a huge difference that needs to take into consideration You can’t preschedule pick ups on Uber at MCO. Meaning, you are at the mercy of fare pricing at the time you are there needing transpiration. You can’t budget for it and you run the risk of, well, not finding an available driver if everyone else is going rideshare over Mears Connect. The numbers of people coming in at a time into MCO and going to WDW isn’t going to change without DME. So, it’s hard to imagine today’s Uber fares being comparable to that post DME environment.

    Do you want to risk passing on uncertain pricing and availability before you go? I’m guessing not which is why many will still pay to use Mears Connect. They will need to or else rideshare won’t be an option for everyone due to bandwidth and surge pricing.

  12. Curious if you ran the Uber pricing during MCO’s normal surge time for arrivals which is during the early morning hours of the weekend? I bet once surge pricing is factored in, then Mears is cheaper for a family.

    The biggest problem is with MDE still operating, it’s hard to model what rideshare prices would be without it. Do Uber and Lyft have the capacity during peak arrival times at MCO to handle it post-MDE? What would the fares be in THAT scenerio. Might want to run this experiment again next Spring Break season. Would be decent video content too.

  13. Is there anything Disney will do for their guests that doesn’t cost ? Used to be a complimentary ride from the airport to Disney grounds. Now it’s just another way of soaking you for money. Soon there will be a fee you’ll have to pay to the ride attendants, a fee you have to pay for information, a fee for a server to bring your food. Want to see the parade ??? 50 bucks please. 25 bucks to enter a shop to buy souvenirs ? HMMM, there’s a thought. Good grief. It’s become a money pit to take a vacation there. I fold. Too rich for my blood.

    1. Actually up until 2005 the Mears bus was an extra charge. After that Disney just buried the cost into the room price. Disney wouldn’t do away with a money maker so I think the Magic Express was a loser the last few years. Nowadays more people rent cars or use Uber or Lyft. Or they drive down with their own vehicle.

      1. I agree that ME was an expense for Disney but, I disagree that Uber / Lyft made it any less popular. We typically visit WDW 1 -2 times annually and always used the ME. The coaches were always full.

    2. Disney has been gradually doing this for years. Charging more and more for less and less. Their corporate greed lost very many loyal fans who formerly spent a lot of money there. Including my family. If people stopped going maybe Disney will get the message.