Buh-bye Magical Express: How to Get From Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World Resort

2021 is starting off where 2020 ended. . .more bad news.  This week, Disney fans were dealt a few blows including the end of Extra Magic Hours, so long to Disneyland Annual Passports, and the end of Disney's Magical Express Service beginning January 1, 2022.  I saw such a huge reaction on social media to this announcement - and for good reason.  Disney's Magical Express has been a staple in helping guests get to their resorts from Orlando International Airport for years - since 2005 to be exact.  So what does the end of Magical Express mean for your Walt Disney World Resort vacation?  What options do you have to get to your Disney resort property now?

Ride Share / Taxis

Let's start with probably the most obvious answer that comes to mind.  We all know that Uber, Lyft, and other ride share and taxi services are popular in tourist areas and Orlando is no different.  You can easily find these options at the airport and they will happily whisk you away to your happily ever after.  While many of us already are familiar with these services, there are a few downsides to note when deciding if this is right for you.  If I was traveling alone or just with my husband, this may be a great option.  But if I'm a mom juggling oodles of suitcases, worried about car seats, and wondering if my stuff will fit in the car that arrives, this option may stress me out a bit.  I have NEVER traveled with a car seat - which says something when you think about how much we traveled with our kids.  We always found options that guaranteed us car seats at our destination when needed.  To me, this is the biggest downfall of ride shares.  There are a lot of extra steps for young families.  The price is right though and this may be the best option for families with older kids and adult travelers.

Luxury Town Car Chauffeur

This is my ride of choice when we visit Walt Disney World.  If you've followed my Disney posts before, you know we like to stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek where we have tons of Hilton points and stay for free.  That means we didn't use Disney's Magical Express anyways on most of our trips.  Our family preference has always been prearranging a private car with Mears prior to our arrival for travel to and from the airport.  You will really feel like royalty as your chauffeur greets you with one of those little signs with your last name as you exit the terminal, helps you manage your luggage, and whisks you to your private car to drive you to your destination.  As a mom with young kids, this option was especially meaningful because they would provide car seats and we didn't have to worry about traveling with our own.  I also didn't have to juggle EVERYTHING and a sleeping baby - we had an extra set of hands.  The downside here is cost.  You pay for the service, plus will want to tip your driver - but convenience is worth it to me!

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Shared Busses and Vans

There are a few private options of shared vans / busses for travel to Walt Disney World area resorts.  Mears offers this service as well which you can book on their website ahead of time.  It's significantly cheaper than your own private car - but will likely cost your family the same or more as a ride share service.  This would be my last choice option as I don't like the fact that these rides are often crowded and stop a number of places.  All of those extra stops can be torture when you have little ones who have been traveling for hours already.

So with the departure of Disney's Magical Express, resort guests certainly have something to lament.  When we did use the service it always added a pinch of pixie dust to the beginning (and even the end!) of our vacation. It was a great "freebie" and, I'm willing to bet, resort guests aren't going to find any savings on their 2022 and beyond trips now that this service has ended.  Bye-bye Magical Express - you'll be missed!



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