How do you get from the airport to Disney World? Take Disney’s Magical Express, hop in a taxi, book a rental car?
Well, the way you get to Disney World might be changing soon. Last year, Disney announced that its Magical Express transportation would be discontinued beginning in 2022. But, a Brightline train is set to connect Orlando International Airport to Disney Springs, and was originally targeting a 2023 opening date. It seems that opening date may now be delayed until 2026. But, how will you get yourself and ALL of your luggage from Disney Springs to your Disney hotel? Here are our thoughts.
Some expert packers may be able to survive a week-long trip to Disney World with just one small carry-on bag. But, for many, a trip to Disney World involves packing (and OVERpacking) multiple smaller bags or a few large bags that Gaston himself couldn’t carry.
Undoubtedly, one of the major perks of Disney’s Magical Express is that Disney takes care of taking your luggage from the airport to your hotel. You don’t even have to think of it.
But, when the Magical Express is gone, you’ll have to explore other options to get from the airport to your hotel. And, once it opens, the new Brightline Train might be an option you’ll consider.
Maybe you’re okay with the potential price for the train ride, and even okay with having to lug around your bags with you on the train to Disney World. The Brightline train will connect Orlando International Airport to Disney Springs. But, once you get to Disney Springs, how will you and your luggage (whether that’s 1 item or 20) make it to your Disney hotel?
Well, Disney hasn’t actually answered this question yet. So, here are some things we think could happen.
1. Disney Bus
Disney Buses do run directly from Disney Springs to the Disney hotels. But, the Disney website specifically notes that “No luggage or alcohol of any type is permitted on Walt Disney World Resort buses.” So while you could take the bus, your luggage could not.
If the only “luggage” you bring is a regular-sized backpack, then you might be able to just take the bus to your hotel. But, if you’ve got real suitcases, it looks like that won’t be allowed according to Disney’s current rules.
It’s possible that Disney will eventually change those rules if it ultimately relies on this form of transportation to get guests from the train station at Disney Springs to their hotels. But, at least under the current rules, it generally wouldn’t work. So, what other options might become available?
2. Magical Express-type Option
Another possibility is that Disney could potentially create a Magical Express-type bus coach service from Disney Springs to the individual Disney World hotels. Basically, Disney could run Magical Express-type buses to its hotels, but they would only need to travel on Disney property, from Disney Springs to the resorts.
Disney could make this a paid service. Or, they could make it free. At the end of the day, it would likely cost Disney less than the original Magical Express service because the buses would only have to travel on Disney property — a much shorter distance than having to travel all the way from the airport. It could be quite convenient too, and potentially worth it depending on the cost.
3. Minnie Vans
Disney could also reinstate Minnie Vans with a dedicated fleet of cars to take train passengers to their Disney hotels. If you aren’t familiar with Minnie Vans, they’re Disney’s branded ride share service that is powered through Lyft but driven by Cast Members of Walt Disney World. Basically, it’s a personal ride service that can take you all around Disney property and even to the airport.
The Minnie Van service was temporarily halted due to the pandemic and has not become available again yet. But, the service could return in the future. If/when it returns, Disney could potentially create a dedicated fleet just to take train passengers to their hotels.
We expect this would be a paid service, just as the traditional Minnie Vans are. The Minnie Vans actually use a distance-based pricing model meaning your cost will vary based on the distance from your pick-up location to your destination. You’ll be able to see the final price on the Lyft app.
In 2018, the prices for the Minnie Van were $15 plus $2.75 per mile. That was typically more expensive than even a regular Lyft. There are approximately 6.4 miles between Disney Springs and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. That would come out to about $32.60 before any tax or tip. And that’s assuming that those prices remain the same if and when the service returns.
We priced a regular Lyft ride through the app from Disney Springs to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Lyft gave us ranges in price from $12-15 for their cheapest option, to all the way up to $42-49 for their Lux Black XL option, which fits 6 passengers. Depending on how many people are in your party and how much luggage you have, you’ll have to look for an option that fits your needs.
Of course, the Minnie Vans had some special bonuses like they included the price of a car seat, and they all seat 6 passengers, while some Lyft options only seat 4. But still, it could be a fairly significant cost depending on the size of your party and what you need. It’s something you’ll want to budget in advance for.
Disney could also just do nothing and assume that guests will either use Disney buses (if the rules eventually change about bringing luggage on the buses), book their own rideshare service, or even get a taxi from Disney Springs to their hotel. Guests could also ship their luggage or some items to their Disney hotel, but this can be quite the HEFTY cost depending on how big of a package they ship.
At the end of the day, getting yourself and your luggage from Disney Springs to your hotel is going to be an issue Disney is going to have to consider and address in some way (either by letting guests handle it on their own or offering a solution of their own).
Disney hasn’t made any statements yet about how or if they’ll do anything about this. But, we’re on the lookout for more information and will let you know if we see any updates. Stay tuned to DFB for all the latest.
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Would you take a train from the airport to Disney World? Let us know in the comments.