In 2021, Disney announced that their Magical Express bus service from the Orlando International Airport to the Disney World Resort hotels will be discontinued in 2022.
If you’ve relied on Disney’s Magical Express for all of your transportation needs between the airport and Disney World, you might already be thinking about what other transportation options you’ll be able to use once Magical Express is discontinued. So today we’re breaking down some of the BEST ways to get to Disney World once Magical Express is discontinued.
Now, the value of some of these and how effective or efficient they might be for your traveling crew can depend on how many are in your party, so that’s something to keep in mind. Let’s dive in!
1. Use a Rideshare Service
Whether you turn to Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare service, using typically an app on your phone to arrange for someone to pick you up from Orlando International Airport and take you directly to your Disney World hotel can be fairly simple and quick. You’ll want to keep in mind the price of this option to determine if it’s best for your group.
We previously looked at what a ride from Orlando International Airport to Disney’s Contemporary Resort would cost. The Uber app showed that an UberXL for that trip would cost $51.77 with a car that fit up to 5. An Uber Comfort cost $41.31 and an UberX cost $35.10 — both of which fit up to 3 passengers.
Want to go for something a bit more luxurious? The Uber Black was priced at $90.27. There are also separate costs for cars with car seats. At the time we checked, the prices were UberX Car Seat $45.10, Black Car Seat $100.27, and Black SUV Car Seat (with seating for up to 6) $115.95. These rates can all vary, however, depending on the date and time when you request your ride.
Car Seat Info
If you need a car seat, you’ll want to look into what options the rideshare service offers. Uber, for example, offers a Car Seat Service in select cities, including Orlando. With this service, the car that will come to pick you up will be equipped with a car seat. When selecting your car in the app, you’ll want to scroll down to see the cars with that particular option. When we checked on rides from the airport to the Contemporary one day, there was an UberX Car Seat option available for $45.01, a Black Car Seat option available for $99.70, and a Black SUV Car Seat option for $115.30. Prices will vary.
A rideshare option be somewhat limiting depending on the number of people in your party and the amount of luggage you have. If you’re traveling with a large group or simply have a large family, you may not all fit in a single vehicle, even a larger one. One big benefit to this mode of transportation though is that you can be dropped off directly at your hotel, without the need to stop at other hotels to let out other guests. So, if you’re in a rush or trying to drop off your bags quickly so you can then run right into the parks, this can be a good option.
2. Rent a Car
Another thing you might want to consider is renting a car. Orlando International Airport has lots of major rental car companies located right on the airport, meaning (for many of the companies) you won’t need to take a shuttle bus to pick up your rental car.
We looked at Alamo and priced out what a rental car would cost if it was picked up at the airport on January 17th and returned to the airport on January 23rd. An economy car that fits 4 passengers was priced at $365.75 total. A compact car that fits 5 was priced at $376.54 total. A mid-size car that fits 5 was priced at $391.72. A 7-passenger minivan that fits 7 was pried at $428.42 total. There were lots of other choices too. Again, keep in mind that these prices are all subject to change.
Car Seat Info/Parking Fees
Alamo, and, we expect many, if not all, of the other car rental companies, also offer child safety seats for an additional per day charge. But, if you rent a car for the entire length of your trip you’ll also need to factor in Disney’s daily hotel parking charges. Currently, Disney charges $15 per night for parking at Value Resorts, $20 per night at Moderate Resorts, and $25 per night at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts.
To avoid some of these parking charges, you could rent a car just for the day of your arrival, pick it up at the airport, drop your family and bags off at the hotel, and then designate one person to go return it that very same day to Disney’s Car Care Center, and take advantage of the Complimentary Shuttle Service to get back to your hotel. And then you could do it all again in reverse for your return to the airport. When we looked, a single day rental for a 7 passenger minivan (picked up at noon from Orlando International Airport and returned to Disney’s Car Car Center by 4:30 PM) was $87.71 total for January 17th. That price, again, is subject to change.
It may seem like a lot of work and effort to rent a car, but you’d have to crunch the numbers to see if it’s worth it. And keep it mind, that having a car to use throughout the trip will give you a bit more flexibility and you won’t have to wait around for Disney transportation.
3. Get a Taxi
Another option is to simply hop in a taxi at the airport. You can actually book a local taxi cab through some rideshare services, like Uber, directly on the app, or you can call or hail a cab while at the airport. According to one website, the estimated taxi fare can be around $71.72 for a trip from Orlando International Airport to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Some taxis can carry up to 9 passengers. That can be good if you’ve got a large party. If you need a car seat, you may need to call the taxi company to request it and some may charge a fee, so keep that in mind.
4. Use a Shuttle Bus & Shuttle Van
Although the Magical Express will be discontinued in 2022, there are other shared ride shuttle busses and vans available from the airport that can take you to your hotel. For example, there are some vans and busses operated by Mears separate from the Magical Express. (And, in fact, Mears has announced the upcoming Mears Connect service since we originally wrote this post!) These shuttles or vans can be quite economical.
You’ll just need to keep in mind that depending on the time of transfer and your destination, the shuttle may make more than one stop. So, if you’re in a hurry to get to your hotel or want the transportation vehicle all to yourself, then a shared service like this might not be ideal for you.
5. Other Private Car Services
As another alternative, you could book a car, van, or other vehicle from a private car service company. Some of these can seat a large number of passengers, can be pet-friendly, have child seats available, or have other amenities that might be important to you. If you are celebrating a special occasion or just want to add some extra style to your trip, you could also opt for something extravagant like a limo!
Ultimately, getting a van or other car from one of these private services can be a good financial decision depending on how many people you’re sharing the cost with.
6. Mears Connect
In April 2021, Mears Transportation officially introduced Mears Connect, as mentioned above! This service will debut in January 2022 (when Disney’s Magical Express services conclude), connecting the Orlando International Airport to the Disney resort area.
According to Mears, Mears Connect will be “the same reliable, safe, express service” we’ve come to expect from the Magical Express. Reservations can now be made, and you can find pricing information here.
7. The Sunshine Flyer
The Sunshine Flyer is another new airport transportation service coming soon to Orlando International Airport. Set to debut on February 1st, 2022, the buses will be premium motor coaches that service all of Disney World’s resorts. Trips on The Sunshine Flyer must be booked at least 4 days ahead of your arrival.
The new service was announced by Transportation Management Service, who said this new service will “allow guests to start the magic of their Disney vacation from the moment they step off the plane.” The buses will be premium motor coaches themed around old-fashioned passenger cars and train engines — the staff are even set to be dressed as 1920s rail conductors and engineers. You can find out more details about The Sunshine Flyer, including pricing, here.
In the Past: Minnie Vans
In the past, guests could also use Disney’s Minnie Van Airport Service to set up a ride to or from the airport and their Disney World Resort hotel. The Minnie Van airport service was previously priced at $155 each way, gratuity not included.
Disney’s Minnie Van service, however, is temporarily unavailable at the moment. You can read more about this and the latest update on the service from Disney — here. We’ll be on the lookout for any updates about that in the future.
In the Future: Brightline
The Brightline train’s connection from Orlando International Airport to Disney World is not something you can take advantage of yet, but we couldn’t make this list without at least mentioning it. In the fall of 2020, Disney and Brightline shared that a near-high-speed rail station will be built at Disney Springs.
The proposed station’s design is currently set to include a lobby on the ground level, passenger facilities, and an upper-level train platform. With this train service, guests would be able to hop on a ride from the airport to Disney Springs, and then take Disney’s bus (or other) transportation from Disney Springs to their hotel.
Curious what this train could look like, where else it will go, and what services will be on board? Check out our full post for more info! Currently, the train is targeting a 2023 Disney Springs opening.
And that’s our break-down of some of the best ways you’ll be able to get from the airport to Disney World once Magical Express is gone. Keep in mind, for many of the services discussed, you may need to factor in a tip for your driver. Overall, what mode of transportation is best for you will depend on how many guests you have in your party, any special things you may need, and what you’re willing to spend in terms of cost. We’ll continue to keep you updated if we hear more about the discontinuation of Magical Express and other Disney news.
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
How do you usually get from Orlando International Airport to your Disney hotel? Let us know in the comments!