The Massive FREE Perk Disney World Got Rid of in 2022

A lot has changed when it comes to “free” Disney World perks for guests over the past year!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

In 2021, we saw Disney discontinue its complimentary MagicBand program for both Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders, replace Extra Magic Hours with Early Theme Park Entry for all guests, and Extended Evening Hours for select guests, and replace the previously included FastPass+ service with the paid Disney Genie+. And, as of January 1st, 2022 another free perk is no longer available.

At the beginning of 2021, Disney made the HUGE announcement that Disney’s Magical Express would be discontinued on January 1st, 2022 and that date has now come and gone! So, guests no longer have a free option for getting between their Disney World Resort hotel and the Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Disney’s Magical Express

As a quick refresher, Disney’s Magical Express was introduced back in 2005 as a complimentary transportation system for guests traveling to Disney World. It took the worry out of airline travel by giving guests the opportunity to input their flight information prior to their trip, drop off their bags at their hometown airport, and hop on a bus in Orlando that took them directly to their hotel. Plus, they didn’t have to worry about picking up their bags at MCO as Disney would deliver them directly to the room.

Disney’s Magical Express check-in area at MCO

Disney’s Magical Express service had already changed quite a bit over the past year and a half (with luggage transportation, airline check-in at the hotel, and the mailing of confirmation paperwork prior to the trip unavailable throughout 2020 and 2021. But, now the entire transportation service is gone.

Instead, guests need to find their own transportation between MCO and Disney World, and it likely isn’t free anymore.

Airport Shuttle Departures location at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

If you’re looking for a service that is similar to what was offered by Disney, Mears (which is the company that operated Disney’s Magical Express) has introduced a new shuttle service called Mears Connect as of January 1st, 2022.

Mears Connect Bus

The transportation service functions in a very similar way to Disney’s Magical Express, however, there is a cost associated with using it. Prices vary based on when you’re traveling, 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).

©Mears

So, the trip between the airport and your Disney World hotel can cost as little as $16 for one adult one-way or up to $250 for a family of four using the Express Service.

Learn More About Mears Connect HERE!

Another shuttle service will soon be offered by another private company in Orlando called The Sunshine Flyer. The service is set to launch in February 2022 and will function much like Disney’s Magical Express, guaranteeing that guests arrive at their hotel within 65 minutes of leaving the airport.

©The Sunshine Flyer

Unlike Mears Connect, The Sunshine Flyer is only offering the shared-ride shuttle service but the cost is very similar. Currently, One Way service is priced at $17 per adult and $12.50 per child, and Round Trip service is priced at $34 per adult and $25 per child.

©The Sunshine Flyer

So, while The Sunshine Flyer costs $1 more per adult, the per-child rate is $1 cheaper compared to Mears Connect’s Standard Service.

Learn More About the Differences Between Mears Connect and The Sunshine Flyer HERE!

Guests can also choose to use a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft. Unlike Mears Connect, you don’t have to share a ride with guests who are outside of your party and you’re able to be taken directly to your resort. But, keep in mind that you aren’t able to plan ahead and secure pricing in advance.

©Uber

Depending on when you’re traveling (and what service you’re booking), using a service like Uber could end up costing you as little as $61 for your entire party one way, but with surge pricing, it could end up being much more.

Is Uber Cheaper Than the Service Replacing Disney’s Magical Express? We Broke Down the Cost HERE!

Other transportation options include renting a car (though you’ll want to keep in mind that Disney World resorts and the theme parks charge for parking), reserving a private car service (we recommend using Happy Limousine), or using Disney’s Minnie Van service (when it is operating).

Disney World Resort parking fees can stack up!

Additionally, the private company, Brightline, has also announced plans to build a high-speed train route running all the way from South Florida to the Orlando International Airport and onto Tampa with a stop at Disney World.

©Brightline

However, a recent ruling from the Central Florida Expressway Authority has indefinitely postponed a decision on the route, so it may not be completed and operational until after 2026.

Check Out More Details on All the Ways to Get To and From the Airport Without Disney’s Magical Express HERE!

So, if you’re planning a 2022 Disney World vacation (or beyond) and flying into the Orlando International Airport, you’ll need to plan ahead and budget for this new expense. And, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for more ways to get between the airport and Disney World, so be sure to stay tuned to AllEars for the latest!

Check out 5 Things You Did in Disney World for the LAST Time in 2021

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42 Replies to “The Massive FREE Perk Disney World Got Rid of in 2022”

  1. It’s most likely Bob Chapek’s doing. Not a lot of people are really happy with all the changes and/or cutting corners with the perks. Hire someone competent who won’t cheat people out of the experience.

  2. WDW is no longer worth the cost. They used to be about the magical experience but with all the corners they have cut along with their outrageous cost increases, it’s clear they are no longer ‘about’ the customer. We were loyal customers staying at the resorts every year for extended stays. Not anymore. There are so many other places to vacation where customer experience is still important and where I can stay twice as long and still pay less.

  3. The Rat is becoming more and more family unfriendly. Cost is going up and benefits and disappearing. And Disney is happy as long as they are making money.

  4. Disney is not family affordable…You have to be practically rich to stay on resort, buy tickets, transfers, food….Disney has turned into a nightmare for kids. Why was Disney implicated by Ghislaine Maxwell the pedophiles? Answer me that Disney?

  5. The impact of losing Magical Express will be felt most by disabled guests who must travel with their wheelchair or other mobility device.

    If you are someone who is unable to transfer easily, or if your wheelchair isn’t a collapsible one, there are basically no other options besides renting an accessible wheelchair van— at a cost of $75-100 per DAY at peak times of the year.

    If you call Mears Transportation ahead of your trip, their office will *tell* you they have some busses & shuttles that are wheelchair accessible & to call when you arrive to have one dispatched… but once you get there & call— well, you could be waiting for hours… *if* you get picked up at all!! If you have a late arrival (after 9 pm or so) you may be told they don’t have anything available until morning, and to CALL BACK THEN!! They still WILL NOT schedule you for a pick up.

    According to their shuttle drivers, of the limited number of lift-equipped busses/shuttles, many have inoperable lifts. There have also been passengers who have been told by drivers that the bus has a lift, but they (driver) either don’t know how or aren’t “allowed” to operate it.

    Mears also operates an accessible taxi service. But again, it can’t be scheduled ahead of time, so you have to call when you arrive. Then, even if you manage to get to get them to dispatch an one to you, they do not guarantee an arrival time. You are expected to just wait at a pickup area… if you have to use the restroom, and they show up before you get back outside… you are SOoL. (Obviously, this issue is made worse if you are traveling alone. Even if you have an a traveling companion, if you require assistance in the restroom, you are in the same boat when it comes to waiting on the taxi.)

    ✨Magical Express✨ was a godsend for those who are disabled.

    If anyone wants a sure-fire business idea at MCO— start a *fully-accessible* shuttle service to get disabled travelers and their families to the various resorts @ Disney, Universal & Sea World. It would probably be most cost effective to run it like a ferry— leaving at scheduled times but with advance paid reservations highly recommended. “Advance” could mean if you show up without a reservation, you can purchase space on the next shuttle with availability. That would accommodate anyone who shows up expecting to use Mears, but who ended up getting a run-around from them.

    Designing the busses to be able to be filled with only wheelchairs/scooters, but to have flip-down seats for the others traveling with disabled persons to sit as well would really be smart. (In other words, you don’t want to have empty regular seats, but have to turn away a disabled rider due to running out of tie-down spots.)

    I hope someone takes this idea and develops it. I will never live there to start such a business— but it is very seriously needed!!

  6. I personally believe Disney are cashing in on the misery of covid, they realise that people are desperate to get on holiday after two missed years and will just pay the extra. I personally will not be going next year as originally planned, we have lost the meals offer the transport and the loss of fastpass is a huge loss. When we go to Florida next we will stay off site and spend a lot less time and money in Disney and more on other attractions, hope to see Disney then go back to their old ways. I’m sure Walt would be disgusted with what Disney are becoming.

  7. We are sad to see this service go. More than the bus though we will miss the luggage service, which was not operating this year any way and the airport check in service at WDW hotels. We rent a car, but would use DME just for the luggage service. Will have to pack lighter to get all our luggage in the rental car now. I am sure the rental car business and UBER (similar) are excited as they will see a bump in business. Also, Disney will profit with the cost of more rental cars at hotels. I am lucky as we have DVC and don’t have to pay that fee. So for us, it is the “magical” (pun intended) way we used to be able to travel to WDW. Once I checked into my home airport it was magical. Now I will be a sweaty mess from lugging my luggage 🙂

  8. The dream of Walt Disney, is fading and the need to make money at every turn is taking priority.
    What has happened to the magic, family enjoyment and the belief ???

  9. Boycott/Cancel your Disney+ Subscription. Bob Cheap(ek) only cares about subscriber “data” to beat Netflix, since it is a key aspect of his strategy as CEO. If you support Disney+ with a subscription, you support Bob Cheap(ek). Drop Disney+ and maybe Disney will drop Bob Cheap(ek). Fire Bob Chapek!

  10. In October we stayed off property for the 1st time in 20yrs. It was fantastic, only did 2 days at WDW and then we did Universal for the 1st time, 2 days also. I don’t think i will ever stay on property again as we enjoyed having a car and doing so many other things around Orlando.
    We used to use DME and stay and spend all on Disney property, THANKS DISNEY for making it a better vacation now for us as we can explore other places.

  11. This service was used to “capture” the guest. If the guest would make it to Disney without transportation they would be less likely to leave to visit the competing parks in the area (Universal, Sea World, Legoland, Busch Gardens). Now, Disney feels comfortable that guests will want to experience their parks regardless of the competition. Time will tell if this was the right decision.

    1. DME service made flying in to visit the parks easier for an unplanned/last minute weekend or a couple of days. Now too much planning and lugging luggage to bother for last minute getaway.

  12. The best way to send the mouse a message is NOT a to go. I honestly love Disney world and have been going for years but with the constant decline of customer service and all the other stuff that’s going away, it’s not the same. I understand the planning thing but it’s getting ridiculous. Park reservations, Geni plus , pay more if u want to ride premium rides. Soon Disney will offer a course in how to vacation there for an additional 99.00 . I don’t like being nickel and dime. I don’t care one bit about the price increases, I’ll gladly pay them but at the very least keep the service level where it used to be and don’t charge me more for less. It’s a business I want the shareholders to make more money every year but I’d also like every child to be able to experience Disney including this one very big kid!

    1. Yup. Things have really changed there. The parks are not clean they are short staffed. Everything is extra. But you know no matter what they change people will still go. And Disney knows that. If they charged 1000k a ticket people would go. And say I’m so happy bc there would be less people at the parks and I can enjoy it better. And that’s fine if that’s all you have to do with your money.

  13. Just another reason that Universal Resorts care more for the guest experience and their employees. During the pandemic Universal still paid their team members instead of laying them off.

  14. Stop referring to this as a free perk. The cost of the DME and its luggage service were factored in to the room price which is not being reduced to compensate the guest. The main motivation Disney had with these services was to get guests to stay on Disney property. Now there is little benefit to doing so. Remember if you are on Disney property, staying there or not, you can use the buses, no questions asked. Lastly, think about this: Chapek will raise the share price, get a big bonus, and be all smiles for the cameras. Kind of like Santa skipping the stop for toys at the workshop and putting coal in everyone’s stocking instead and expecting to still be adored.

    1. You don’t know that it was ever factored in and Disney didn’t just absorb the cost. I hate that people criticize Disney based on nothing more than their own suppositions about things they think they know but don’t actual know if it is actually the case. This is self-confirmation bias.

      1. Disney Raised Prices in 2005 when they implemented DME and that was used to cover the costs associated with it. We used to go all the time and paid attention to this, sorry this was 16 years ago so no one can provide you with the actual increases. we noticed a little more of an increase on things that year as we were setting up the first trip using DME. we used MEARS all the time before that, so we were happy to use them still but not in a Town Car and it did save money from the town car expense, now they will not lower any of the prices with its removal.

  15. I am 75% disabled. I am planning a Disney cruise for December 2022. I use a mobility scooter (ECV). The last cruise I went on before the pandemic I used Disney’s Magic Express because they could load my ECV underneath the bus. Hopefully this will still be the case in a year. Only time will tell. Fingers crossed.

    1. I have not heard that they are removing the buses for DCL, which have always cost a fee to get to port and back to either WDW or airport. I would assume this would continue and accommodate your needs.

  16. Alternatively book a much much cheaper hotel that will probably be better quality, rent a car and use their free parking and Uber to the parks. There you go. I just saved you a fortune

  17. This is not new news! Here I am panicked that another thing is going to be gone. Well, this was announced months ago. The headline makes it sound new. Click bait.

  18. We are avid Disney World patrons but even we see with this new CEO, the dollars and making shareholders richer means more than making people who go their parks happy. I don’t think Walt Disney would approve of a lot going on, especially paying $147 to get in and the. If you want to ride the rides in the park, you have to pay more. That has been the BIGGEST disappointment.

    1. You don’t have to pay more to ride the rides (although you DID all the way until the 1990s). You only have to pay if you want to be able to skip the lines other than use single rider lanes.

      1. Good luck getting on rise of the resistance without paying extra. Sure a couple of times a year the crowds may be lower but in general the horror stories from Thanksgiving week indicate that even if you pay extra you may not even get a chance ride

  19. Wow, another Disney perk laid to rest. So surprised. Plus the possibility for more profit to be made for Disney. While profit is the name of the game, it being the end all be all didn’t seem to be a company standard historically. Times have changed, everyone looking to recover from the pandemic on the back of someone else just as impacted. Thanks for keeping the magic alive.

    1. I love that people here think Walt through Michael Eisner never cared about profits. Walt built WDW to make more money and have the top tourist attractions on both coasts.

  20. Disney should start charging for the TTC ferry ride to the MK and for monorail service. They should also charge for bus transportation to the parks. It has been a free ride for too long and Disney could use the extra cash.

  21. Not offering magical express is going to come back and bite WDW in the A$$. One of the biggest mistakes they will make. Time will tell, but you can almost guarantee that hotel capacity will be down in the future.

    1. Them refusing to clean the room at all during your stay while saying they still provide “house keeping” but they made their own definition is probably worse than this. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is of this. If you take away all perks, wouldn’t people just stay in a place that has basic amenities?

    2. As the article notes, Magic Express didn’t exist until 2005. So it’s effectively only been around 15 of the 50 years WDW has been open. I hate to break it to you, but if Disney believed that Magic Express was critical to keep their resorts open they would have accepted any terms Mears wanted. They didn’t. We don’t really know WHY this service was cancelled other than Disney and Mears could not come to terms to continue it. Perhaps Mears wanted the same guaranteed revenue even during the pandemic even though resorts had lower occupancy. Maybe Mears wanted terms related to the threat a Brightline line brings. We don’t know, but it’s just assumed Disney made the decision in a vacuum and it wasn’t because two parties to a contract couldn’t agree on terms.

    1. Wait! I know! Disney could start charging bag fees for every bag or suitcase brought into the park! They could also set up tolls between every land in the Magic Kingdom and hire squeegee men for the parking lots! Pay up or Disney will kick your door! Brilliant!!! So much money to be made! I am SO SMRT!

    2. I don’t know why they feel they need to do this they are making a ton of money its about to the point were disney just another theme park magical express was the cut above all theme parks I think it’s possible mr. Chapick was brought in to kill the magic I hope not but hard not to think it

      1. Magic Express didn’t exist through MOST of Disney’s history. We don’t know what Mears was demanding to continue the service. There are two parties in a contract and we are too quick to say Disney just chose not to renew the contract. It’s probably a bit more nuanced that that.

        1. Let’s be honest. People are suckers. Disney knows no matter what changes they make no matter what services they take away, the hardcore marks are still going to go, with their tails wagging. Disney could announce a 200% price increase and the hardcore marks would still be going.