A note from Leap: Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Disney's Magical Express service has ended. Free Disney transportation to and from theme parks — such as buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner — will continue to be available. As a replacement, Mears Transportation Group has a new service, "Mears Connect," which offers direct transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World Resort for an additional cost per person. Other options include rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, or renting a car (did you know that we frogs have hoppin' deals on car rentals?)
Guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels get so many magical benefits! Did you know that Disney Resort hotel guests get free transportation to and from Orlando International Airport? This magical motorcoach immerses you in the Disney "bubble" just after you get off of the plane ... and your luggage magically appears in your hotel room later on your arrival day! Not to mention, you'll get to ride on a bus that's toadally Disney-stacked, with the Fab Five painted on the outside of the bus, and movies and music to enjoy on your ride to the hotel.
Disney's Magical Express completely eliminates any worry or stress about getting to your Disney Resort hotel. Especially if you're making a first visit, you've got enough to think about in regards to planning your theme park vacation. Sit back and let Disney do the driving with Disney's Magical Express! This complimentary, round-trip airport transportation and luggage delivery service is for guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Let's hop aboard the ins and outs of Disney's Magical Express!
How to Use Disney's Magical Express Service
All Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests are able to take advantage of Disney's Magical Express service to and from Orlando International Airport (yes, if you booked through your favorite frogs, you can hop aboard too!). You can make your Disney Magical Express reservation by calling 407-939-1936 (0800 16 90 730 if calling from the UK), or reserve online here. For international guests, reserve through the same travel agent or tour operator who booked your trip and say you'd like to include Disney Magical Express with your Disney hotel plans. Reservations must be made at least 10 days prior to arrival. It is recommended that you make your reservation at least 30 days in advance.
You'll also want to decide whether you'll be having cast members grab your larger bags at baggage claim to deliver to your room later (currently unavailable), or if you'd prefer to carry your own onboard (which means you'd offload your own luggage upon arrival). You will receive special luggage tags in the mail two to three weeks in advance that should be attached to each bag you'd like delivered to your room before checking in at your local airport. We also recommend packing a light arrival-day bag if you are opting to check your larger bags. Sometimes, luggage can take a bit to get to your room, and you'll need your MagicBand to get on the bus (and access your hotel room). Anything essential you'd like to have sooner rather than later (select toiletries, a swimsuit if you'll be swimming, etc.) are good picks for your smaller carry-on bag.
If you haven't received your luggage tags by the time you reach your airport (and are scheduled to arrive in Orlando between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.), don't fret! Just provide your baggage claim numbers to a representative at the Disney Magical Express service location at the airport.
Upon landing at Orlando International Airport, skip baggage claim (if you are having cast members grab your luggage to deliver later) and proceed to Disney's Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1. There are signs throughout the airport to guide you along your way. Disney's Magical Express cast members will collect any tagged luggage and deliver it directly to your Walt Disney World hotel room within three hours after you check-in at the resort. The luggage delivery service is available for flights arriving between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. If your arrival is not during that time, you must collect your luggage at baggage claim on Level 2 and transport it with you on the motorcoach. Likewise, if you'd prefer to handle your own luggage, you are welcome to do so.
International guests: If you are flying into Orlando International Airport from another country, you will need to claim your luggage and then proceed through customs. You can then return your luggage to the baggage carousel for Disney's Magical Express to collect if you arrive between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., or you can bring it with you to Disney's Magical Express Welcome Center.
Once you arrive at the Welcome Center, a cast member will scan your MagicBand and verify your arrival details (remember, keep your MagicBand handy!). You'll then be assigned a numbered lane based on your resort hotel. Each bus generally services two to three other resorts in the same area. After heading to your lane, a cast member will confirm your resort, scan your MagicBand once more, and off you'll go onto the Magical Express!
Near the end of your Disney vacation, you will receive a Transportation Notice advising you of the pick-up time and place for your motorcoach ride back to Orlando International Airport. This is generally either left under your door or hanging from your hotel doorknob. It is your responsibility to bring your luggage to the pick-up point.
Transportation is scheduled approximately three hours prior to your flight departure time for domestic flights and four hours prior to international flights. Be sure to have your Transportation Notice with you. The motorcoach driver will collect it before you board since MagicBands cannot be used to check in for your departure trip. It's generally at this point that folks start calling it the Tragical Express — bye, Mickey! See ya real soon!
Using the Resort Airline Check-In Service
Prior to COVID-29, if you were departing on a participating airline, you were automatically enrolled in the Resort Airline Check-In service when arriving through Disney Magical Express. This allows you to receive your return boarding pass and check luggage at your Walt Disney World hotel, bypassing airport check-in completely. If your flight is after 12 p.m., your boarding pass will be delivered to your room on the morning of departure.
At the Airline Check-In desk at your hotel, have each guest's valid government-issued ID (for domestic travel) or valid passport (for international travel) ready. All guests must be present. You must check in no later than three hours before your scheduled flight.
Resort Airline Check-In Service is available for: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (domestic flights only), JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
Once you arrive at the airport, just head directly to the security checkpoint! (Note that during Disney World's phased reopening, this service may be unavailable.)
Pros of Using Disney Magical Express
- It is free. (However, it is customary to tip your driver.)
- If you are planning to use complimentary theme park transportation, Disney's Magical Express eliminates the need to hire a car or shuttle to take you to your hotel and back to the airport at the end of your vacation.
- On that note, no need to stress over traffic or directions, since you won't be taking the wheel!
- Once you arrive at your hotel, you can head directly to the parks instead of fussing with your luggage. They will be delivered to your room.
- You do not have to use the luggage tags and have Disney Magical Express deliver your bags to your room. You can take them with you on the motorcoach if you'd prefer.
- The ride is comfortable. The seats are spacious, and much like on the airplane, you have your own AC controls (thank goodness, because Florida weather), plus a footrest, USB charging stations and onboard entertainment. You'll definitely see a few Mommy and Daddy frogs taking a nap on the way to the resort (myself included).
- If you are traveling with kids, there is much less to worry about upon landing. Just get off the plane and head to Disney's Magical Express Welcome Center. Not to mention, the ride itself is a fun one for tadpoles! Tad and Lily love using their MagicBand to hop on, charging electronics in the USB ports and watching cartoons and teasers. It really is a magical way to kick off your vacation.
Cons of Using Disney Magical Express
- You will need to bring a carry-on bag with necessities and a change of clothes for everyone. There are circumstances when luggage delivery is delayed, and after a long flight, you'll probably want to be able to freshen up.
- Disney suggests the trip from Orlando International to the Disney Resorts takes between 45 to 75 minutes, depending on traffic. This can vary, so you'll want to be mindful of this when making arrival day reservations.
- Your scheduled return trip to the airport at the end of your vacation on the Disney Magical Express is non-negotiable. If you miss your pick-up time, there is a good chance you will not make your flight with the next bus and will have to arrange for other transportation.
- Disney Magical Express makes more than one stop on each trip. Depending on what resort you are staying at, you may be the first drop-off or the last. The same goes for the ride back to the airport.
- There are times when it makes more sense to rent a car. It is more convenient and sometimes more economical to rent a car, especially if you are visiting multiple theme parks.
- Disney Magical Express only stops at the resort hotels — no theme parks.
- You cannot send your luggage ahead on the Disney Magical Express, while you hop on a ride share service to the theme parks, unfortunately. If your luggage is riding, it's expected that you are too! If you're anxious to hop to the parks (we don't blame you!), renting a car is probably your best bet.
Have you used the Disney Magical Express? Would you recommend it to others? Tell us about your experience. Want to know all the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel? Check them out and pick the right hotel for your family using our handy hotel comparison matrix!