Disney’s Magical Express Retired! Now What?

by | Jan 7, 2022

An era met its end this month. As of the first of this year, Disney’s Magical Express finished its run serving guests of the Walt Disney World Resort. Most guests who flew into the Orlando International Airport will have fond memories of scanning their Magic Bands in Terminal B and forgetting all about their baggage as they floated down the Interstate toward the most magical place on Earth.

Magical Express Ticket
The day of yellow luggage tags are gone, now.

The Magical Express wasn’t all Mickey Mouse cartoons and happiness of course. Like any of the mass-transit options at Walt Disney World, it could involve significant waits and the exquisite agony that is pulling in to the porte cochere of one Disney resort, but not your own. These majestic buses picked up your luggage for you, but sometimes those nefarious airlines would lose your tags, leaving you without your bags for many hours. (Not that this ever happened to this ConciEAR three times….)

But let’s not dwell on the past, eh? Let’s look toward the future! Or the now at this point, I suppose. How does one get one’s family from the airport to the Magic in an efficient and affordable fashion these days?

Travel by Bus

If you long for the feel of Disney’s Magical Express, there are two great options available to you these days. The first is from Mears. This company was the backbone of the Magical Express fleet, servicing Disney guests for years. Even though your driver was not a Disney Cast Member, you can probably remember some exceptional drives from the airport to your resort.

Mears offers their own service now called Mears Connect. They have two services with some significant price differences. All of their trips use a mix of buses, vans, and smaller vehicles based on arrivals and destinations. Regardless of which service you choose, you might ride with some other guests, but you will have on-the-road entertainment while you travel.

Picture Courtesy Mears

Standard service costs $32 per adult and $27 per child round-trip. If you prefer to book just one way, it’s $16 per adult and $13.50 per child. Standard service gets you all the amenities, but you might have to wait a bit. Multiple resorts will be included on your ride. Return trips pick you up 3 hours before your flight.

The Express service charges $250 for a round-trip of up to four guests and $55 per additional guest. They do not make a distinction between adults and children and they only sell round trip tickets at this time. The advantages here are, you will be guaranteed that your first stop is your home resort, even if there are other guests on board. Your return trip to the airport will be within two hours of your flight as well. 

As mentioned before, Mears has been doing these trips for years and many of their drivers are likely to have ferried you to the resorts in the past. 

ServicePriceWaitShared Vehicle
Mears StandardRound Trip $32 adult, $27 childMediumYes
Mears ExpressRound Trip $250 for 4, $55 each additionalShorterYes
Sunshine FlyerRound Trip $34 adult, $25 childMediumYes
Lyft/UberMinimum $35 one way, variable priceShort to MediumNo
Taxi CabAverage $50 one way, variableShortNo
RentalHighMediumNo
Choices for all

The new kid on the block is the Sunshine Flyer. This fleet of buses features fun wraps that make each bus look like a locomotive or passenger car from the 1920s. Your drivers are all dressed the part too, looking like period conductors! Minus the soot, I suppose. Onboard entertainment will keep the family engaged on the trek from the airport.

Start and end your trip in a new theme!

The Flyer costs $34 per round trip for adults and $25 for children. They state that no rider will wait more than 20 minutes for their bus to arrive at the terminal. Then, despite multiple stops per trip, you will wait no more than 65 minutes form landing before reaching your destination. Similar to the Standard Mears service, you will board a bus back to the airport three hours from your flight’s departure.

You can book either of these options for yourself, or if you prefer, have one of our ConciEARS planners do it for you! It’s just another service we are happy to provide.

Or Travel by Something Else!

There are plenty more options available to get to and from your resort. If you prefer a little more freedom, you can rent a vehicle from any number of rental services. Be warned, though! Parking at your resort will cost $25 per night and $33 for valet service. Your room only allows one vehicle parking pass per room.

Picture Courtesy Sunshine Flyer

The popularity of ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber changed the landscape of travel. During normal times, you can catch a ride to the resorts for about $35. The downside here is car size. You might need to pay more for a guaranteed larger vehicle with one or more car seats. If it’s a high travel day, there will also be an extra charge. Be prepared to wait a bit for your ride to show up as well. 

Finally, there is the old standby, the taxi. The biggest advantage here is that you are practically guaranteed to have a vehicle the right size for your party just waiting for you when you get your bags. The cost is higher, but you are paying for convenience.

OK, I suppose you can also charter buses, limos, and other drivers as well. Mears and other companies have a wide variety of other services to fit every need. Just be prepared to pay for it!

Across our team of expert travel planners, your ConciEARS crew has seen and done it all! Even when the landscape shifts and our old favorites like Disney’s Magical Express go away, we have plenty of other options. We will make sure your family and friends all arrive at the resort in a timely and affordable fashion. Just ask how!

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