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The Ins and Outs of Disney's Magical Express

by Leap on June 18, 2019 49 Orlando

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? The "magical" part comes in in that your luggage will magically appear in your hotel room later on in your arrival day! Not to mention, you'll get to ride on a bus toadally Disney-themed, with the Fab Five painted on the outside of the bus, and movies and music to enjoy on your ride to the hotel. Hop aboard Disney's Magical Express!

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. So 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. Here is an overview of Disney's Magical Express, as well as a few pros and cons of using the service.

Disney Magical Express - Caribbean Beach Station

How to Use Disney's Magical Express Service

Pre-Arrival

Reserve Disney Magical Express transportation by calling 407-939-1936 (0800 16 90 730 if calling from the UK). 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 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.

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.

Arrival

Upon landing at Orlando International Airport, skip baggage claim and proceed to the Disney Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1. Disney Magical Express cast members will collect your 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.

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 Magical Express to collect if you arrive between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., or you can bring it with you to the Disney Magical Express Welcome Center.

Do not pack your MagicBands in checked luggage! You will use your MagicBands to check in with Disney Magical Express and to unlock your room when you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel.

Disney Magical Express Loading

Departure

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. 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.

Using the Resort Airline Check-In Service

1. If you are departing on a participating airline, you are 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Once you arrive at the airport, just head directly to the security checkpoint!

Pros of Using Disney Magical Express

Disney Magical Express Unloading

1. It is free. (However, it is customary to tip your driver.)

2. If you are planning to use complimentary theme park transportation, Disney 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. If you are traveling with kids, there is much less to worry about upon landing. Just get off the plane and head to the Disney Magical Express Welcome Center.

Cons of Using Disney Magical Express

Disney Magical Express - Beach Club Station

1. 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.

2. Disney suggests the trip from Orlando International to the Disney Resorts takes between 45 to 75 minutes. In reality, the trip is closer to 90 minutes.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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

Related: The Best Disney World Resort Hotels for Families

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Oct 3, 2019 at 2:15 p.m. Alli Henson Says...

We are only carrying carry ons... how do i get the carry on to the right spot ? we plan on ubering since our flight doesnt get in till 1 and have a fastpass at 2:30 :{

Reply
Oct 4, 2019 at 2:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alli!

Disney Magical Express doesn't transfer carry-on luggage without one member of your party being on board the motor coach, unfortunately. You could send one member of your party to check in with all of the carry-ons (which will get checked in by hand and stored beneath the bus), or you could Uber to the resort first to drop everything off before hopping to the parks. If the FastPass is for an in-demand ride, be sure to keep refreshing to see if later times become available!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 24, 2019 at 6:51 p.m. Brandon Says...

Our resort check-in is on Saturday but were able to find cheaper flights for late Friday night and stay off-site. If we stay close to the airport can we still ride the Magical Express without going through airport security?

Reply
Sep 24, 2019 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brandon!

You sure can! You'll see signs when you head in, but the Magical Express pick up is near baggage claim, so you won't need to head back through security.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 23, 2019 at 6:17 a.m. Ashe Says...

I’m living in Singapore and all my research have pointed out that Disney doesn’t send the package with the luggage tags and magic bands to address outside of US and Canada.

I’m not worried about the magic bands and I know there’s a workabout to get magical express to collect my luggage straight from the airport for me.

But I just wanna check if they would send the package to a hotel in US instead? Since Orlando won’t be my first destination in US.

Appreciate it if you have the answers.

Cheers

Reply
Sep 23, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ashe!

We don't think shipping the luggage tags to another destination will be an issue on Disney's part since your billing and shipping addresses will be handled separately, but you'll want to call your first destination (where the luggage tags will be sent) to verify that they can receive a package in your name and look into holding/receiving fees. Have a great trip!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 16, 2019 at 6:47 p.m. Neil Says...

On arrival, I intend to go shopping. Can I send my luggage with DME to the pop century resort without me boarding the bus? I intend to take an Uber to the outlet mall?

Similarly on the last day, my flight is at 8.45 pm & I intend to visit kennedy space centre. Can I use DME to transfer luggage to MCO which I can collect from the desk at the airport?

I will be carrying the luggage in the flight & not checking in.

Please help

Thanks

Reply
Sep 17, 2019 at 1:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Neil!

Unfortunately, the Magical Express does not allow for luggage-only transfers; one member of your party would need to be on the motor coach for the luggage to also be transported to your resort. That said, we'd either recommend hopping on the Magical Express with your luggage and then taking an Uber from your resort, or taking the Uber to your resort to check-in, then taking another to shop. On leaving the resort and heading back to the airport, you manually hand and receive your luggage as you get on and off of the bus, so you'd need to find alternative arrangements for your luggage.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 15, 2019 at 12:20 a.m. Jess Says...

Can I make a reservation and decide not to use it from the airport to the parks? Thinking if it's a lot of people or a long wait, we'd just uber. We are arrive at MCO at 7:30am. Also, if I just have a carry on with the luggage tag on it, can I leave it for the bus to take to my resort?

Reply
Sep 16, 2019 at 9:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jess!

Unfortunately, the Magical Express does not allow for luggage-only transfers; one member of your party would need to be on the motor coach for the luggage to also be transported to your resort.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 11, 2019 at 9:14 p.m. Scott F Says...

We’re arriving Monday morning into MCO, and staying at the All Star Movie resort. But we want to go right from the airport to Universal Studios first. Can the Magical Express just take our luggage without us on board? (We’d Lyft from Universal to Disney later that day.)

Reply
Aug 13, 2019 at 1:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Scott!

Unfortunately, the Magical Express does not allow for luggage-only transfers; one member of your party would need to be on the motor coach for the luggage to also be transported to your resort.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 29, 2019 at 8:49 p.m. Chris Says...

Hi if I were to arrive at lets say 11 am and check in is at 3 , can i explore the Orlando Airport for an hour and get to the Disney Express bus line after ?

Reply
Jul 30, 2019 at 9:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

You have to make a reservation to ride the Magical Express, and that time slot is generally based on your flight information. If there's enough wiggle room before your reservation time to hop on MDE, you could certainly explore!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 16, 2019 at 10:57 p.m. Adam-G Says...

Hi, I am looking into booking a disney hotel reservation for a party of four. We are travelling from different parts of the UK. For our hotel reservation if certain members of the party wish to arrive a day later and/or depart on an earlier day and not stay during the whole duration of the booking can these individual guests book separate DME arrival and/or departure arrangements under the same reservation?

Reply
Jul 17, 2019 at 1:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Adam!

Booking multiple DME trips under the same reservation is no problem at all! Enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 8, 2019 at 8:07 a.m. Mike Says...

Hi - We are booked with Virgin to stay at Coronado Springs but can check out at Disney Springs on our last day - does the Magical Express pick up from Disney Springs?

Reply
Jun 10, 2019 at 8:40 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mike!

No, unfortunately the Magical Express will only pick up from your Resort hotel.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 24, 2019 at 2:28 a.m. Beth Says...

So I just read of these about the DME and to clarify. I can go straight to the bus with my carry on stuff and not go to baggage claim OR I can go grab my suitcase in baggage claim and then go to the bus? And when I know MCO and the resorts are 30 minutes apart so I should consider it may take another after we get there before we can get to the Value Resort? Do they deliver guest to the higher priced places first? Just need clarity I am considering Uber.

Reply
Jun 25, 2019 at 1:36 p.m. NC_Dad Says...

There is more than one DME bus. Each resort area has a bus. So MK area resorts will have one bus; EPCOT area resorts have a bus, etc. But within that area, you may be dropped off first, last, or somewhere inbetween.

Reply
Mar 25, 2019 at 10:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth!

If arriving to MCO prior to 10 p.m., you can bypass Baggage Claim and head straight to the bus (just make sure you have your MagicBands with you)! Alternatively, you can opt to grab your own luggage from Baggage Claim if you don't want to have Disney deliver it directly later, and can bring it directly to the bus. If you are arriving from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m., you'll need to grab your baggage from Baggage Claim before heading to DME. As you noted, some buses do service more than one resort, so it can take some time to get from the airport to your resort (anywhere from 30-120 minutes for the total journey), and it can take up to 3 hours for your luggage to be delivered at your resort. If time is of the essence for you, Uber is a good idea.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 10, 2019 at 2:46 a.m. Karen Says...

Our flight leaves very late on our last night. Are we able to check our bags early and spend the morning/early afternoon at a park or Disney Springs before we have to be on the DME to the airport?

Reply
Feb 12, 2019 at 12:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen,

Yes! You can leave your bags at your hotel and spend the day at a park or Disney Springs.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 26, 2019 at 3:45 p.m. Disney Dame Says...

Be aware that if you have any special circumstances, like Southwest has branded you a customer of size and you get the extra seat card, you cannot use the Airline Check-In at the resort. It's not a Disney thing, but either the airline or TSA.

Reply
Nov 14, 2018 at 2:01 p.m. Laura Says...

Just a tip based on my experience in June this year: Disney will leave a note on your final day with confirmation of your check out the following day. Mine didn't say a time so on my return from the EPCOT that night, I stopped by reception to find out what time I should arrive. I was stopped short of the desk however by a Brazilian cast member who said I didn't need to confirm my time, I should just show up. Like a fool, I believed her and went back to my room. I'm sure it was an innocent mistake but it ruined everything.

The next day when I lugged my bags to the bell hop, I ran it by them to confirm if this was true. I was heading to Disney Springs for a final meal and would return in about an hour. The look on the bell hop's face said it all. I was absolutely told the wrong thing. Thankfully, there was a spot on the bus at my latest leaving time. Absolutely make sure you have a time allocated to you.

Frustratingly, I ended up missing it after all that fuss because two very rude, self-absorbed guests delayed the bus I needed to get back to my resort. I missed the express by a good 10 minutes because of their behaviour. I was told I would have to get a taxi. Being an international tourist by myself, this was extremely stressful and I was almost in tears in the lobby. The angel at reception very kindly gave me a slip of paper to pay for a taxi directly to the airport because the next DME wouldn't get me there in time. Thankfully a taxi was pulling in at that very moment so I made it to the airport in time. Don't do what I did. If you intend to go to a park or Disney Springs before departing, allow more than enough time to do so. Don't bank on the last bus.

(My whole return trip was delay after delay with a missed international flight and a 17 hour stay at San Francisco airport. The Disney part was fantastic but man, leaving was hard in so many ways!)

Reply
Oct 24, 2018 at 4:14 a.m. Bryan Cornforth Says...

If we pack overnight supplies in our carry on. And are arriving after 10pm. Can we expect our luggage to be delivered the next day? Or do we have to pick up our luggage regardless of that plan?

Reply
Oct 26, 2018 at 12:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bryan!

You must pick up your own luggage if arriving after 10PM.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 23, 2018 at 12:01 a.m. Helen Wylie Says...

We don’t need DME when arriving in Orlando ( we’re staying at Universal for the first couple of nights) but will need it for the return to MCO after staying at P.O. Riverside, will this be a problem? Thanks, love your very informative site btw x

Reply
Mar 10, 2019 at 11:44 a.m. Brian Guy Says...

Return-only DME reservations can be made in the online form provided at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/airport-transportation-reservation/ as long as you have your flight information and hotel reservation number handy.

Reply
Mar 11, 2019 at 9 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks Brian!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 23, 2018 at 5:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Helen!

Disney's Magical Express is a very structured process, so we recommend letting Disney know this ahead of time. We're sure it won't be a problem to only take it one way!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 6, 2018 at 11:54 a.m. Steve Says...

My family has been to Disney World 5 times and used DME each time. From touchdown in MCO, to entering a park is about 2 hours. If I could shave 30-60 minutes from that time, it would be worth renting a car for me.

The return trip to MCO at the end of the trip is so easy with the resort airport check-in.

Big fan of DME.

Reply
May 18, 2018 at 2:53 p.m. Jeffrey Swaney Says...

Did you know that you can get off the very first stop on Disney's Magical Express bus service? If you have no luggage, then get off the very first drop off and catch a disney bus to the parks or disney springs. I verified this with Disney Mom's panel and called Disney Express and they both agreed that you can do this. However, you cannot grab just any bus at MCO, it must be the bus going to your resort.

Reply
Aug 6, 2018 at 11:56 a.m. Steve Says...

Good tip if it can get you to a park sooner!

Reply
Jun 24, 2017 at 5:55 a.m. Azaria Says...

Traveling to the french quarter resort, which stop is it?

Has anyone use the service past 10PM? will the bus wait for you to get your luggage ?

Reply
Jan 8, 2017 at 7:05 a.m. Wayne Taylor Says...

Travelling in from LAX, after a flight from Australia. is there another way to book this transfer without making a call ?

Reply
Jan 13, 2017 at 12:21 a.m. Michele Says...

Wayne, I believe that you can request Disney's Magical Express through My Disney Experience. Please check the Walt Disney World web site to verify that this will work for you.

Reply
Jan 9, 2017 at 3:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wayne,

The only way to make Disney's Magical Express reservations is through 407-939-6244.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 3, 2017 at 9:56 a.m. Tina Says...

Not true I booked my Magical Express online, don't remember how I found the website, maybe I googled Disney Magical Express reservations, but calling is not the only way

Reply
Mar 10, 2019 at 11:40 a.m. Brian Guy Says...

DME reservations can be made online at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/airport-transportation-reservation/ once you have your flight information and Disney hotel reservation number.

Reply
Oct 25, 2016 at 3:50 a.m. Vickie Says...

Hi we are staying a Carribean beach resort how many stops until we get to the hotel?

Reply
Jun 23, 2016 at 3:18 a.m. Wyge Says...

Hi,

Im intending to make a disney resort reservation with undercovertourist, but i could not find the option to reserve a seat with Magical Express during checkout. Any advice please?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 8:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wyge,

Please call Disney at 407-939-6244 to make these reservations.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 6, 2016 at 2:28 p.m. leeanne Says...

Hi, staying at Coronado springs in June travelling from the UK and using DME bus. Any idea how the journey will be? heard it could be 90 minutes which after flying almost nine hours doesn't sound great. Also can you tell me if we need to take more than one bus to the parks/waterparks. Not sure if early Magic hour will be worth it if travelling for an hour before??

Thanks in advance Leeanne

Reply
Mar 7, 2016 at 9:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Leeanne,

I would not expect the trip to be 90 minutes. I'm sure it has happened, especially with traffic, but that would not be the norm. The buses do usually drop off to several hotels, so if you're not the first stop, you will have a longer wait.

You will have direct bus service to the parks and hotel.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 10, 2016 at 11:53 a.m. lee-anne Says...

Thank you, Undercover Tourist has made planning our holiday so easy ????

Reply
Nov 20, 2012 at 7:03 a.m. Have You Thanked A Disney Cast Member Lately? Says...

[...] a huge part in making your Disney stay memorable. If you’re staying on property and taking Magical Express, they are there to greet you at the airport. If you’re traveling by car, they are there at [...]

Reply
Feb 10, 2017 at 7:11 p.m. Miguel Rolon Says...

On Jan 26 to the 31st, we have a cruise and stay at a Disney hotel. Almost every Disney cast member we met where excellent. But we want to mention the best of all: Reuben Shaw. He was the driver of the bus that took us to the airport. He was incredible. Good sense of humor, great with the travelers and for us was the best ride ever back to the airport from any place in Disney.

Thanks Reuben. Hope to see you at our next trip to Disney in Orlando.

Reply
May 12, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. Matt Browning Says...

We had our first experience with DME last month. Overall we were pleased. I did not expect to wait in line at the airport. When we got in the line for Port Orleans Riverside we stood there about 20 minutes which seems like eternity when you want to get to WDW. I guess I expected to walk right on a bus and be whisked away but I know thatis a little unrealistic. If you are going to Port Orleans Riverside then know that you will be the 4th stop. However, I don't think the ride itself took 90 min. It was more like 45 min. They pales classic cartoons so it was enjoyable. We had friends with us but they were staying at French Quarter. Just know the French Quarter uses a different DME bus. Not sure why but we were separated into different boarding lines.

Reply
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