Disney Trip Planning: Disney’s Magical Express

magicalexpressDid you know that if you are traveling to Walt Disney World by plane (on participating airlines) you can get free transportation right to your Disney resort hotel?! Disney’s Magical Express is a free shuttle for Disney Resort guests! You basically let them know when you book your hotel room what time your flights there and back are and they schedule a time for you to be picked up! Lots of people take advantage of this rather than renting a car or calling a cab. In the mail, at some point before your trip, you will get a packet in the mail with your Magical Express Vouchers and Luggage tags.  The luggage tags are for their bag pick up service. Instead of going to the bag pick up area when you arrive in the Orlando International airport (MCO), a Disney Cast Member will fetch your bags for you and bring them straight to your room at some point before the end of the day! Here are some extra tid-bits you might not know or think of if you are using Magical Express:

-Bring a carry on bag of things you know you will need in the first day. This is in case your luggage doesn’t get to the room right away. This might mean an extra change of clothes, your bathing suit, sunscreen, and emergency stuff. (Don’t forget to check the TSA website to see what is allowed to be a carry-on item on your flight!)

-Carry your Magical Express Vouchers on  your person along with your wallet and phone! You’ll be needing it to board the shuttle, so you don’t want it in your checked luggage which is inaccessible at this point!

-You cannot use the shuttle if you don’t qualify for it. They will not non-Disney-Resort guests board.

It's pretty easy to navigate the airport, and this little map comes in your Magical Express Voucher packet to tell you where to go!

It’s pretty easy to navigate the airport, and this little map comes in your Magical Express Voucher packet to tell you where to go!

-You cannot use the shuttle any day other than the day of your flight. Your flight time is written on the ticket. This means you can’t spend a day sight seeing somewhere else, then get a ride to the airport and hop on a shuttle.

-Disney uses multiple buses for different resorts. In other words – there isn’t just one shuttle that shows up to take everyone to every resort. For example: I always stay at the All-Stars and there’s a designated bus just for that and Coronado Springs.

-It can take anywhere from about 30min to an hour or so to get to your resort depending on traffic, distance, etc.

-If your Magical Express time is earlier than the resort check in time, no fears, your resort will hold onto any of your baggage for you until your room is ready. Also, they can get you all checked in and ready to visit the parks if you’d like!

-When leaving your resort at the end of your trip to go back home, a cast member drops off new luggage tags in your room to attach to your luggage (the night before you leave). You also receive a notice of your designated pick up time for the Magical Express Shuttle to take you back to the airport. Just take off the old Magical Express Luggage tags and attach the new ones, then you can bring them with you to the front desk of your hotel to check them into the airport. They weigh your bag for you, too, to make sure you aren’t over the weight limit! Make sure your carry-on bag is packed with the essentials and be on time for the shuttle to pick you up (about 3 hours before your flight time)!

Sadly, this is false advertising. Mickey PROBABLY wont be there to welcome you aboard!

Sadly, this is false advertising. Mickey PROBABLY wont be there to welcome you aboard!

-The shuttle drops you off at your hotel’s front entrance, and picks you up at the Magical Express bus stop (usually located in the same area as the other shuttle bus stops for the parks!)

-Double check with a cast member, but I have been reading that the new Magic Bands work right away and don’t require you to have them activated at your resort hotel! If this is the case, and you have a  Magic Band, you can take a Magical Express shuttle to any of the resort hotels and from there, get right on a shuttle to the parks!

-Once you board the shuttle, they turn on a video on the various screens over head. Last trip I remember, it was a welcome video and intro to the parks and your vacation, plus some cartoons! The video keeps you occupied for the drive between the airport and your resort!

-The shuttles they use for Magical Express are different than the buses you use to get back and forth between your hotel and the parks during your stay. The Magical Express buses are more like coach buses, with cushioned seats and foot rests. The shuttles you take getting back and forth to the parks and your hotel are more like public transportation, just less smelly and cleaner – with hard plastic seats, cramped seating, and hand rails to accommodate room for standing.

-Note: for flights that leave or arrive in MCO in the middle of the night, you may have to carry your own luggage rather than have them pick it up for you!

Overall, I think Magical Express is one of the best things they have going at Walt Disney World. Everything about a WDW trip is magical and they really hit the nail on the head by offering Disney Resort guests a free way to get back and forth to the hotels!

I’m sure I overlooked including some details here and there, so why don’t you all help me and tell me some of your tips and insider-info on using Disney’s Magical Express in the comments below!

Angie Carreiro


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Modern Mouse Radio is a multimedia Disney fan site run by Josh Taylor and put together by a crew of amazing individuals. Check us out. You won't be disappointed.

Posted on January 28, 2014, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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