Many people have differing opinions about Disney’s Magical Express Service, from loving the generosity of the Disney Company for providing free transportation and being environmentally conscious to hating the Disney Company for stranding unsuspecting tourists on their property so they can extract the maximum money from their wallets.
Which perspective is correct? Is Magical Express a gift or an entrapment?
There are plenty of good things about Magical Express, and depending on your situation, perhaps a few bad ones too.
Let’s look at the top eight questions and answers about this service.
1 – What Is Disney’s Magical Express?
Disney’s Magical Express is a free service that will pick you up at the Orlando International Airport and transport you to a Disney Resort Hotel at the start of your Disney World vacation, and then will take you back to the airport at the end of your vacation.
The service only works at hotels owned and operated by Disney World. There are a few hotels on Disney property that are not operated by Disney, so they are not eligible for Magical Express.
Specifically, you can’t use Magical Express if you are staying at the Walt Disney World Swan, the Walt Disney World Dolphin, or the Shades Of Green resort dedicated to those in the military. Also, there are quite a few independently operated hotels in the Disney Springs hotel area that don’t use Magical Express.
The service is free – you just have to arrange for the service in advance
2 – How Do I Get Signed Up For Magical Express?
It’s pretty easy. If you made your reservation for your Disney hotel directly with Disney, they will ask you if you would like to use the service. Give them your flight information and a few weeks before your departure they will send you vouchers (basically tickets for the bus) along with luggage tags. Before you leave home, put the luggage tags on your bags if you plan to check them. When you check in at your home airport, give them your tagged bags. That’s all you need to do. Then, about five hours after you arrive in Orlando, Disney will deliver your bags directly to your Disney hotel room. Very nice!
If you didn’t book your reservation directly with Disney, you will need to call Magical Express directly at 866-599-0951, and they will get your information and arrange to send you vouchers and luggage tags.
3 – How Does Magical Express Work?
This part is also easy. When you arrive at the airport, follow the signs to the Disney’s Magical Express check in area and show them your vouchers. The Magical Express Cast Members will scan your tickets, and you can get onto the bus.
The Magical Express buses are typical but nice. There are two seats on each side of the center aisle. There is a small restroom in the back, and the bus plays a video with information about Disney World. Many people really enjoy the videos on the bus.
It takes about 30 minutes to drive from the airport to Disney’s property; however, each bus stops at three or four different resorts. If your stop is first, then the entire process might take 30 minutes. If your stop is last, it could take more than an hour.
You don’t need to pick up your luggage when you arrive in Orlando. Several hours after your arrival, Disney will deliver your luggage directly into your room. This means that you are free to go and start having fun as soon as you arrive at Disney World. This is one of the best parts of the service – aside from the fact that it is free.
4 – Are There Any Special Considerations?
Disney’s Magical Express will only take you from the airport to your Disney Resort, and will only pick you up from your resort to return you to the airport. They won’t take you or pick you up directly at a theme park. This means that you will need ultimately to take a few different forms of transportation to get to the theme parks.
5 – Is This A Good Deal?
Generally speaking, Disney’s Magical Express is a good financial deal as far as travel is concerned. A taxi ride from the airport to Disney costs $75 or more. A rental car will cost several hundred dollars, plus money to fill it back up with gas before you return it and time to check it out and return it.
6 – What Are The Cons Of Magical Express?
It may take a bit longer to ride the Magical Express bus from the airport to your hotel than it would if you had a car, but then again it takes time to check out and then check back in a car.
Once on Disney’s property, you will need to use Disney transportation to get everywhere you want to go. The good news is that Disney can always get you from point A to point B. Going from your Disney hotel to the Magic Kingdom? No problem. Headed to Disney Springs for dinner? Can do. However, some trips, like between resorts, can take much longer than you might like with Disney transportation. Fortunately, taking a taxi is always an option if you are tight on time.
Some people don’t like the concept of being stranded on Disney property, with no way to get to a local grocery store to pick up less expensive food, or travel around to nearby destinations. If this is you, you might want to consider skipping Magical Express, taking a taxi from your Disney hotel to a nearby destination, or renting a car for a few days using one of the car rental locations on Disney property.
7 – What If I Am Traveling From Outside The US Or Canada?
Magical Express is a great service for those people traveling internationally. You don’t have to worry about issues with driver’s licenses and traveling on unfamiliar roads – and possibly roads where people drive on a different side of the street than you do.
Given how international customs regulations work in the United States, you will need to pick up and re-check your luggage at your first arrival location in the US. Beyond that, the service mostly works the same way.
8 – What If Things Go Wrong?
With any travel, things might not go as planned. Weather can delay flights. Luggage can get misrouted by airlines and sometimes, you miss a connection, or lose your travel vouchers. Don’t worry. The nice Cast Members at Disney’s Magical Express deal with these situations every day. Just give them a call or visit them at the check in area at the airport. They will take good care of you.