Disney's Magical Express is the free airport-to-hotel shuttle for Walt Disney World guests in Disney hotels.
On this post
We will leave this post here as a reference of how this service worked!
Here we will give you some information about this famous Disney service along with our experience with it for you to assess whether it is worth using it, or whether you should rent a car or look for an alternative transport service.
Disney's Magical Express is available to Walt Disney World guests at a Disney-owned hotel.
That is, if you are staying in a hotel with the name “Disney's” on the front, you are able to use this service.
As for what Disney's Magical Express offers, let's start with a brief overview.
The service operates only to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO), where it is located on Level 1 of the B-side baggage claim area.
It is worth mentioning that it operates 24 hours a day (as long as the airport is open).
How to Book Disney's Magical Express
To take advantage of Disney's Magical Express, all you need to do is indicate that you want to use it when making your hotel reservation, and the agent will automatically guide you through the process.
If you would like to add it to your reservation after making it, you can do so online or by calling (11) 4700-2835
For more information, be sure to look the official transfer website.
We like to schedule so as not to take unnecessary risks on our trip, I'm very pragmatic and anxious, so the more confirmations I have, the more relaxed I'll travel.
However, if you are unable to make an appointment for whatever reason, you can simply show up at Disney's Magical Express kiosk, where they will scan your MagicBands (or your printed hotel booking confirmation) and let you board the bus.
This is also an option if you lose your vouchers, your flight is delayed, etc.
As long as you're a registered guest, they'll get you to your hotel the best Disney way!
They will even offer to pick up your checked bags if you don't have the yellow luggage tags and describe the bags to them.
So, don't worry – after all, Disney wants you to get to Walt Disney World and it wouldn't be any different with the company that is a reference in service excellence worldwide!
Advantages of booking
The advantage of making a Magical Express reservation in advance is that Disney will mail the bus boarding vouchers along with the yellow luggage tags for the checked bags mentioned above.
If they don't send you enough, you can call and they'll send you more labels.
Disney will then collect your checked bags for you and take them to your hotel room, yes, you won't even have to worry about getting your bags.
Bags usually arrive about 30 minutes to 3 hours after you arrive at the hotel. We never used this service because as we travel as a couple, picking up the bags is not usually a problem.
But if you opt for this service, all you have to do is get off the plane, walk to the Magical Express area with your hand luggage and board a bus to your hotel (why is there still no magic express direct to the Disney parks Hahahaha). Very simple.
Disney's Magical Express buses are buses operated by Mears.
They have restrooms and displays on the bus that run through a video that covers the basics of Disney's Magical Express and Walt Disney World which is a lot of fun.
There's also an hour-long loop of background music that plays on the bus (which is also conveniently available online – it's great background music to play at home!).
If you're "lucky" to still be on the bus after this video ends, you'll see some drawings of Mickey and Donald.
To show you better, how about showing you how easy it was to board the Magical Express on the trip I went alone at the invitation of Disney for its program of Magic influencers.
How long does it take to the Hotel?
In total, the journey from your plane (via walking and a monorail from the airport) to the Magical Express area will take about 10-12 minutes (not counting immigration), the wait from the moment you arrive in the Magical area Express to bus departure will be about 10- 30 minutes, and the journey from the airport to the main entrance of Walt Disney World takes about 30 minutes.
After that, add about 7 minutes for each hotel the bus stops at.
In other words, another 7 minutes if you stop 1, another 28 minutes if you stop 4 (your hotel might be the last stop on that line).
The whole process will take at least about an hour. and in maximum just under two hours.
Please note that if you prefer a faster private journey but don't want to hire a car, airport transfers from Uber are now an option at Orlando International Airport.
Unfortunately, they are currently limited to UberSELECT or UberFAMILY, which are the two most expensive types of rides, but will save you a good amount of time if this is a bigger concern.
The entire process for Disney's Magical Express is similar to leaving the Walt Disney World resort.
You will need to book your Disney Magical Express trip in advance and you will receive a voucher placed under your hotel door the day before you depart, with a pickup time approximately 3 hours before your domestic flight or 4 hours before an international flight .
Observe que no ano passado, entre o agitado período de Ação de Graças e o New Year, o Disney’s Magical Express buscou os hóspedes em seu hotel do resort do Walt Disney World 4 horas antes do horário programado para voos domésticos e internacionais.
This change was due to a combination of increased TSA wait times during the busy holiday season and construction at Orlando International Airport.
Pickup time is now back to normal, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the 4 hour time implemented again during Thanksgiving, Christmas or some peak season period.
Security at MCO (Orlando Airport) can be really tight during hectic travel times. days, and holidays are completely chaotic.
If you have, you'll be very grateful for the TSA PreCheck.
In terms of the procedure for using Disney's Magical Express for your trip back to MCO, it's very simple.
On the morning of your departure, you can leave your checked bags at the ?Resort Airline Check-In? at your Walt Disney World hotel, which will deliver them directly to your airline.
So head out to enjoy the parks on that precious last day of your vacation!
Make sure you have enough time to return to your hotel and catch the designated bus.
Unlike the ride to the Walt Disney World property, Disney is not as flexible in accommodating you on the way back to your hotel.
If you've never used it before, it might sound complicated, but it's actually incredibly easy to use. It's actually pretty fool-proof too.
As long as you can find Level 1 at the airport, you're all set. Someone there will help you with the rest of the details and drive you to your hotel.
Is Disney's Magical Express worth it?
Some of you are probably wondering how something that is “free” could not be worth it.
Well, free is in quotes in several places throughout this article because it really isn't free.
You probably don't need a reminder of this, but Disney is a for-profit company that doesn't give things away out of corporate benevolence (although they do their best to make you feel special at every turn).
As such, there are some costs associated with Disney's Magical Express.
The first is your freedom.
This is a big reason why Disney offers the service, as it makes guests much less likely to rent cars when visiting Walt Disney World, and therefore makes them less likely to visit competing theme parks like Universal and SeaWorld, eat outside the property or even go to the supermarket.
In short, using this service instead of renting a car will make you more likely not to leave the Disney property and spend all the money planned for your trip within Disney itself.
This is not necessarily a bad deal, but think carefully about the logistics of your trip.
If you plan to spend your entire vacation at Walt Disney World and therefore don't really care about your freedom, this isn't really a cost, on the contrary it will be totally beneficial.
Even if you worry about having a little freedom, services like Uber and Lyft have made getting off property a lot easier for a relatively low price.
Nowadays, we don't see “freedom” as a great cost.
The second cost is your time.
As you can see from the information above, using Disney's Magical Express can be a relatively time-consuming alternative.
Even in the best case scenario, using Disney's Magical Express will take longer than taking a rental car and driving directly to your hotel.
Unless you're awesome at getting lost in Orlando.
Depending on how you rate your vacation time, the cost of those two hours front and back of the trip might not be worth it.
You may see better value in just paying for a rental car during your trip.
These are the two main “costs” of Disney's Magical Express. When planning your Disney trip (or living life in general), it's sometimes important to remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Is the Service worth it?
As for the service itself, we generally love Disney's Magical Express (already being inserted into the “disney world” while still at the airport is fantastic!).
Even though it takes longer when using Disney's Magical Express than when not using it, we believe the difference is negligible.
You're probably looking at a total of two hours of vacation time (round trip, and that's max), which isn't a big deal for us.
Granted, that time is at the front and end of the vacation when you'd do just about anything for "another hour" at the parks, but in the grand scheme of a trip, it's not much.
The big benefit of Disney's Magical Express, as we see it, is convenience.
All we have to do is simply be there, and we are put on a bus and dropped off at our hotel.
We can even sleep on the way, although we are always very excited about it.
And of course, sleeping means you'll miss the video that takes place on the bus.
When discussing Disney's Magical Express, the topic of renting a car always seems to come up.
In addition to the above (using the rental car instead of Disney's Magical Express to and from the airport), it is important to remember that using Disney's Magical Express and renting a car for your trip are not mutually exclusive.
You can take Disney's Magical Express, then rent a car once at Walt Disney World for just a few days of your trip (or the whole thing, if you really want to).
And of course, we always recommend that your car rental be done on a trusted website. For those who like to solve everything online, we recommend the rent cars because in addition to being extremely reliable, you can compare prices between major rental companies and make the best car reservation for you and your group!
But if you are one of those people who prefer a personalized service, we recommend that you make your quote with our partner rental agency clicking here!
If you're one of those travelers who, like us, tend to change hotels mid-trip, this could be especially useful for you!
If you're on the fence about renting a car for your Walt Disney World vacation, getting to and from the airport shouldn't be considered anyway.
Also, taking Uber instead of Disney's Magical Express might be an option (with some caveats).
Remembering that the Disney Magical Express is the only transportation from the airport, to other Disney locations, it presents others meitransport, but rest assured that we have already covered them here on the blog as well.
Overall, we believe that Disney's Magical Express is an extremely helpful service that provides a fun way to start your vacation.
Let's agree that it's not a “premium” experience like riding our beloved monorail, but it still has a “Disney world feel” that we would miss if we didn’t.
As far as efficiency goes, it's unquestionably less efficient than renting a car and driving straight to your hotel, but the tradeoff is convenience and lack of additional out-of-pocket cost.
It won't be for everyone, and rental car fanatics are unfortunately changing their ways due to Disney's Magical Express, but for everyone else, Disney's Magical Express is a good service worth using.
In short, if you ask us whether or not we recommend Disney's Magical Express, categorically and objectively, YES, we do!
I hope again that this post helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.
As a way to help us keep the blog going, we just ask you to help us by sharing this publication and subscribing to our social networks as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube channel.
In addition to helping us, we are sure that there you will find hundreds of useful posts for your trip!
About the Author Carlos Braga:
Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.
My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.
During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!