Everything We Know About Disney’s Magical Express (and What Will Replace It)

Since 2005, Magical Express has allowed Disney World resort guests to hop on a bus for FREE to travel to and from Orlando International Airport and Disney World Resort hotels.

Disney’s Magical Express

The service included picking passengers’ bags up for them on the carousel, meaning the magic would start the moment you stepped onto the bus. But, this will be ending soon, as many Disney World guests were shocked when Disney announced that they would be discontinuing the Magical Express bus service from Orlando International Airport (MCO).

The Demise of Disney’s Magical Express

The demise of Magical Express began with the reopening of Walt Disney World in 2020. After Disney World reopened, it was announced that guests now had to pick up their own luggage at baggage claim and take it with them on the Magical Express bus (something that they did not need to do previously).

Plus, airline check-in at the Resort was also suspended, so guests currently have to check in their luggage themselves at the airport.

MCO Airport

The next change came in 2021 when Disney announced that it would no longer mail confirmation paperwork for guests using Magical Express prior to their arrival at their Disney World Resort. Before, guests would use that paperwork to check-in for Disney’s Magical Express at the airport. But, instead, guests must now use either their MagicBands or the MagicMobile feature in the My Disney Experience app to check in at Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center at the airport.

Magical Express Check In

Mears Connect

As it stands, Magical Express will continue through December 31st, 2021, but as of January 1st, 2022, it will be discontinued. A new service, Mears Connect, offers a similar replacement, but that service will be offered through the Mears company (Mears operated Magical Express for Disney, so they know the drill) for an additional fee to Disney World guests who wish to use it.

©Mears

Bookings for the new transportation service are already available and pricing will vary based on your travel dates, which Disney World Resort you’re staying at, how many people are in your party, and which level of service you choose (Standard or Express).

So, the trip can cost as little as $16 for one adult one-way or up to $250 for a family of four using the Express Service.

©Mears

Keep in mind that the Standard Service is a shared-ride service in which guests travel in a charter-style bus or van. It promises to have you on your way to your Disney World hotel within 20 minutes of checking in with Mears at the Orlando airport and to make “a limited number” of stops.

Mears Bus transportation at the Swan and Dolphin

The Express Service on the other hand is a direct service with limited to no waiting. Mears specifies that guests may travel in a bus, van, or a small vehicle depending on the number of people in your party or whether any other parties are traveling with you (note that this is NOT considered a private service)

Learn more about the Mears Connect service here —  including what it costs and what you’ll get for your money.

Brightline High-Speed Train

Another option for guests traveling from the airport to Disney World is the upcoming Brightline High-Speed Train that will connect the airport to Disney Springs. However, Brightline is in the process of finalizing agreements with local and state governments (that should happen soon), so there is no timetable on when that train route will be available.

©Orlando Business Journal

But the good news is that guests will have several options to get to and from the airport to their Disney World hotels. And there are always taxis and rideshare options, as well, so each guest can choose the transportation option that’s best for them and their budget.

NEWS: Brightline Train Line to Orlando Hits a BIG Milestone

Our friends over at Happy Limousine also offer car service from MCO to Walt Disney World. You can learn more about Happy Limo here.

Are you disappointed about the suspension of Magical Express? Which transportation option do you think you’ll use after 2022? Let us know in the comments!

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16 Replies to “Everything We Know About Disney’s Magical Express (and What Will Replace It)”

  1. I probably will pause our annual trips after just visiting for the week of Oct 1. But if I do go back soon, I’d take the Lynx bus for a few dollars from MCO (transfer near sea world) and stay off-site near Disney Springs. Better hotel value that way.

  2. I agree with most statements here. This was the best perk of staying on property. I didn’t have to worry about transportation to the resort. The pandemic hurt most of us. I am still coming because we are in need of that magic. I have been to Disney 7 times in the last 3yrs. I was looking into purchasing a DVC. No longer!! It’s not worth it. I would have rather have paid a little extra for the service.

  3. I know the comments here are not statistically relevant. But of the 12 I see, ZERO are positive about Disney. ZERO. And elsewhere in the articles recently are stories about the increase in mask prices, the need to pay for the new fast pass system, the need to pay more for restaurants at WDW, and so on. But I see no evidence whatsoever that anyone at Disney is at all bothered by the fact that the LOYAL guests are all incredibly upset about what Disney is doing. I get it the pandemic hurt the bottom line. It did that to everyone. But Disney will make up the loss and then some. By doing nothing. Clearly if this site needs to keep track of attendance and airport usage, people still want to go there. But no one can sit there and tell me that making your MOST LOYAL customers angry, upset, and frustrated is a smart business move. And I can fantasize that at some meeting high in the corporate world of Disney, someone is saying “Who is the bone head that thought these things up?” But the reality is that person is getting the pat on the back and lots of kudos. In my experience, whenever, and I mean whenever, Disney messed up and you let them know, Disney made it right with you. On this page are 12 people who are saying Disney messed up. And Disney’s response is “TOUGH.”

  4. Our Disney vacation used to start the minute we checked our bags at our airport. We just relaxed and let others take over our transportation needs. I remember using Mears before the ME came to being. It was less organized and far less fun. We are sad to see the ME retire.

  5. It is disappointing that Disney is now charging for services that used to be included in the price of a resort stay or park ticket. Not having the Magical Express makes getting to the resort more of a hassle which doesn’t start a vacation on a great note. Charging for transportation from the airport to the resort, charging for parking at the hotels and now charging for fast passes all increases the cost of Disney vacations and makes an impact on the overall experience.

  6. If I didn’t have a DVC membership, I’d never go to Disney again. Most of the things on the “PRO” side of the balancing of “Should I buy A DVC membership?” Are now gone. Oh well, live and learn. Disney feels they have to do all this to preserve their profit margin. Well so do I. I just won’t stay as long, buy as many days on a park pass, or spend as much on food and souvenirs. And when the public is no longer willing to wear the hats and shirts and be walking advertising for Disney ( I am ashamed to wear my Disney hats and shirts), you have to ask ” Did they have to go this far?” When all they needed to do was say ” Can you pitch in for the luggage and bus service?”.

    1. James, I totally agree with your closing statement. Disney spoiled us all with the perks, but they also implied that was why their “sub par” rooms were at “above par” pricing. We foolishly continued to pay top price for rooms without mini fridges or microwaves when that was the standard at even the lowest priced off property hotel. But we were happy paying the premium price for the perks we found to be helpful and worth the price of the room. IMHO, Disney should have just started charging for ME, like Mears did prior to it. Yeah, we would grumble a bit, but it would not have pushed nearly as many over the edge like the discontinuation of it has.

  7. My wife and I will have to stop attending after 29 yearly visits to Disney. The magical express service was such a tremendous help to us, concerning our health and age. This vacation had become such an exciting event for both of us, and we are so disappointed in Disney making decisions as this, apparently over the aspect of charging more money for a bit of the magic. Sure there are other options that Disney or Mears will offer. But when families have several children, or like us, reached retirement ages and physically cant handle the luggage place to place to place… guess this is payment for being faithful Disney lovers for all these years and being continuing guest paying thousands per year isn’t important to Disney as much as making a few more dollars in saving gas and employees handling luggage. Thanks for the memories Disney!

  8. Out of all the changes this has to be the worst one. Magical express was one of the main reasons I stayed at a Disney resort. I loved that As soon as I got on the plain my vacation started. So bummed to see this go.

  9. I am very disappointed that the Magical Express is going. It was a wonderful way to start a vacation. And to be replaced by a service that I have to make a separate reservation. It just one more thing I have to figure out now and pay for.

  10. The best option for me and my family for transportation is to stay home. I am sure the built in cost of DME was at least 15 bucks one way per person. I am sure that the mears buses will wait in the same entry lanes to resorts other vechiles do and not the express la e they used to have. Then fule surcharges and a state tax on tourists like at a rental agency.

    If this keeps up they may have to institute a state tax to make up for lack of tourists….

  11. I’m incredibly upset— it was honestly one of my kids favorite parts of our Disney trips… they just loved how the experience started immediately. I am just glad my kids are a bit older now it was one of the huge things that made traveling with little ones easy!

  12. This year will be my last year going to Disney. Its not fun anymore more and more costs less and less service. Even budget friendly hotels are no longer budget friendly. Disney has finally ruined Disney for me