Disney’s Magical Express service, which transports guests to and from the airport and their Disney hotel, officially discontinued service at the beginning of January 2022.
But, a new service from Mears, the company that previously operated the Magical Express, has taken its place. Now that we know the pricing for this new service and how it operates, we’re wondering if it’s still your best best for getting to Disney World. But, just how does that pricing compare to ordering an Uber to take your family to and from the airport? We’re breaking it all down to find out.
First, we want to quickly discuss Mears Connect — the service that has replaced Disney’s Magical Express. This new service began January 1st, 2022, and we’ve had a chance to see how Disney World guests have responded to it. Mears Connect states that they provide the same “reliable, safe service guests have been using for decades to Disney area hotels.”
There are two different pricing options for Mears Connect: standard and premium.
UPDATE: Note that the “premium” service is now referred to as “express” service.
The standard rate costs about $32 per adult round trip and $27 round trip per child. The standard service is a shared service that will make a limited number of stops. According to the website, it’ll have you on your way to the resort within 20 minutes of your check-in to the reception area.
The premium service costs $200 for up to 4 passengers, and $55 per additional passenger. The premium service is a direct service with limited to no wait time.
UPDATE: The former premium service, now referred to as “express service” has increased in cost. The cost is now $250 for up to 4 passengers. Each additional passenger is still $55.
Note that these are the current prices, and are subject to change in the future.
Some Quick Notes
For our searches, we looked at estimated prices for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids, 4 bags) and a family of 2 adults (2 bags). For Mears Connect, we were able to search for trips starting in January of 2022, when the service began. Specifically, we looked for trips with a pick-up date from the airport of January 6th and a return date of January 10th.
Note that you can/will need to select and input a number of different pieces of information in the Mears Connect page including your drop-off and pick-up locations, airlines, flight numbers, and more.
For Uber, when we originally began researching this article, we couldn’t search for rides for 2022, so we just looked for a ride on August 6th (the date we first researched this article) around 10:45AM CT both to and from the airport to the hotel.
Keep in mind that Uber costs can greatly vary depending on the time and date you search for the ride, as well as a number of factors. You’ll also want to take luggage into account. Even if you’re only traveling in a party of 2, if you’ve packed a LOT of luggage, you may need to order a larger car that will fit it all.
The hotel we picked for both rides was Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Alright, let’s get on with our search!
Family of 4
For our first example, we priced out a trip for a family of 4 — 2 adults and 2 children, with a total of 4 bags. The Mears Connect website showed that the standard service round trip price for this would be $118.
If you were to utilize the more expensive, premium (now “express”) service, that would be $250.
For Uber, there were a number of choices available for the trip from the Airport to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but only some would fit 4 passengers.
Specifically, the Uber XL ($49.86) noted that it would fit up to 5 passengers.
The Black Car Seat ($95.32) could seat 4 passengers, and the Black SUV Car Seat ($110.36) noted that it could fit up to 6 passengers.
This was only for a 1 way ride from the airport to the Contemporary Resort. From the Contemporary Resort back to the Airport, we ran another search to see if the prices would be any different. Again, there was an UberXL that could fit up to 5 passengers ($49.41)…
…as well as an Uber XL Car Seat which could fit up to 6 passengers ($59.41).
Pricing together the cheapest options to and from the airport through Uber would come out to about $99.27 round trip. Keep in mind, however, that this pricing was obtained based on looking at the cars available around 10:45AM CT on August 6th, 2021. Pricing for Uber can vary greatly depending on the time of day a ride is obtained and general availability; whereas the pricing for Mears Connect is standardized.
So, from a pure numbers perspective, Uber is about $19 cheaper than the Mears Connect standard service, and about $150 cheaper than the Mears Connect Express Service. But, again, the Uber prices could vary greatly in the future depending on the date and time you search for your ride.
Family of 2
For a family of 2, the Mears Connect standard service price was $64 round trip. The premium (now “express”) service would cost $250 round trip.
In terms of Uber pricing, we took a look at the same pricing estimates from above, but the family would not need to only select larger vehicles. Instead, they could opt for an UberX ($36.94), or an Uber Comfort ($42.57). Or go for more premium options like Uber Black ($85.32), all of which seat up to 3 guests.
On the return trip from the Contemporary to the Airport, again they could stick to Uber options that fit fewer guests like the UberX ($36.97), Uber Comfort ($41.32), or the Uber Black for $92.38.
Altogether, choosing the cheapest options to and from the airport, the Uber cost would be around $73.91, but again these prices can vary.
In this case, the Uber costs are actually just over $9 more expensive than Mears Connect’s standard service, but just about $177 cheaper than Mears Connect’s Express Service.
Overall, there are a variety of factors to consider when selecting the transportation service you need/want. Do you want to go directly to your hotel and not stop at other locations or be seated in a vehicle with other guests? Or are you okay with making a few more stops? When will you be arriving and leaving, and how might your arrival/departure times affect Uber costs?
Would you rather pay for a service with costs that are standardized? Do you need a car seat if you take an Uber? How much luggage do you have? How many are in your party? How much are you willing to spend? All of these factors and more should be considered when deciding what transportation to book.
For some, Mears Connect may be a better and sometimes cheaper option. For others, Uber may ultimately be slightly cheaper (in certain circumstances) or simply more direct/convenient. It will depend on your situation. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates and information about Mears Connect and other things that may impact your future Disney trips, and we’ll let you know what we find.
ANOTHER Airline Has Stopped Service to Orlando
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What do you think of the Mears replacement service? Let us know in the comments below.
From the comments on fb, I’m not sure ppl quite grasp just *how* much the prices for Uber can vary.
In March, our flight was delayed. We landed at MCO around 11pm, and Magical Express had a very long line. We decided to grab an Uber thinking it would be no big deal. We were wrong.
There were very limited rides available and zero with car seats.
There were 4 of us (2 are kids) and our ride ended up being $110 one way before tip. The others in our extended traveling party paid near that as well for their Uber rides.
In theory, Uber and Lyft are great, but circumstances play a big role in price.
Also keep in mind the time factor in regards to Mears Connect picking up 3-4 hours before your flight home… if you are flying within the country and have pre-check, that’s an awfully long time you may be sitting at the airport…
Also remember that the Mears premium includes one stop. So if you need to stop to pick up groceries this is helpful. Not sure about stops with Uber and Lyft.
For us the major benefit of ME was not having to check car seats. Will the standard Mears Connect service be on a big coach like ME? So we won’t have to bring car seats?
DFB Sarah says
Amy, that’s my understanding.
Question- you never mentioned if Meres is going to manage the luggage like Magical currently does, with TSA right at the hotel, when you check out. Making it so convenient to drop off your bags right there at Bell services. You don’t have to lug and check bags in at the airport.
Is that still going be a service that Meres will provide?? That would be well worth the extra few dollars.
One of the major reasons why we had used Magical Express in the past was so that we got off the plane and didn’t have to worry about our bags.
The same to go home. We left the hotel, turned our bags in, and didn’t have to worry about them until we landed at home. I will really miss this nice add on to traveling to Disney
What I find disturbing is that the discontinuation of Magical Express was directly due to the train system taking its place. Since that is now in limbo and Disney is discontinuing this service are they now going to reduce their room pricing to compensate for this service which many of us where sold on in order to pay for an on property stay. Seems like just another way to make money and cut costs!
Amy B says
Were Lyft prices comparable to Uber?
Will the Mears Service also pick up your bag and take them to the room as the magical express did?
Will you have to pick up your luggage and bring it down to the busses? Having it brought to the hotel was a huge plus. I’m guessing this will not be a part of the new service.
Frank Haney says
The baggage part of Magical Express was priceless. Will Mears Connect pick up that Service ?
People should also keep in mind that around holidays, grabbing an uber could be a-lot harder to get, where as Mears has buses running. We tried to get an uber from the Contemporary to our resort Christmas eve, and took over an hour to get one. Disney buses were done running by the time we were ready to go back to our resort. So uber may not be that readily available around the holidays.
DFB Sarah says
Frank, the site doesn’t say anything about luggage. We’ll keep trying to find out and share that info when it’s available.
DFB Sarah says
Bobby, no word from Mears on this.
DFB Sarah says
Carol, no word from Mears on this.
Lacy J. says
Not only are the prices outrageous to travel less than 20 miles, but the added traffic at Orlando International will be absolutely devastating. On any normal day, the pick-up lanes/area are so congested that they are downright dangerous. Now, Disney is going to force hundreds to maybe thousands of more vehicles into these poorly designed, tight spaces. Families will be getting into the wrong Uber / Lyft or other vehicles (which we now know can be deadly). There will be fights over rides. It takes extra time to arrange car seats, and getting everyone situated, so that will lead to longer wait times for everyone, leading to further frustration. Vehicles will be backed up for miles. The problems go on. It is an absolutely untenable situation, and I don’t understand the reasoning behind this self-inflicted catastrophe. Is Disney trying to blackmail the airport into covering the cost of the buses by blackmailing them into it? Disney is certainly creating an incredibly dangerous situation.
Disney world may be magical, the transportation to and from the airport to the resort really sucks. Best reason I know for staying home. The magic is disappearing more and more with every foodblog. Article I read
Frank Haney says
LIz, YOu are exactly right, Disney is creating a Nightmare, not only for the Airport and the travelers but for the Disney guests.
As Disney continues to reduce and restrict Guest Services, The prices continue to increase. Disney is all about the bottom dollar. The sad part is that Disney knows that the prople will continue to pay. and as long as people continue to pay these outradgious prices and settle for less and less customer services Disney will continue to dig deeper into your wallet.
Look into staying off property, You can get much better deals on hotels and have such services as Airport Pick up, Park Shuttles, free breakfast, much cheaper prices. Lets face it Disney could care less about you, all the want is your money.
Do you want to pay $259.00 a night for a Motel 6, Because that is what you get at the All Star Resorts. Or do you want to pay $89.00 at the Orlando Hilton which is more in line with a Moderate to Deluxe resort.
THis trend will continue until people stop caving into Disney.
Just paid $42 one way Lyft. 8/19/21. Mid afternoon. Keep in mind Lyft and Uber prices change throughout every day depending upon demand Nd driver capacity. This same ride cot me $30.00 a month ago.
Ralph J Baldi says
Is there a service from the other airport that serves Orlando. I think it is called Strafford. Allegiant fly’s there and from my home town it is way cheaper to use.
DFB Sarah says
Ralph, Stanford, Florida, has an airport that is fairly close to the Orlando area. My sister is a local and uses that airport regularly because Allegiant flies in and out. I have also flown into Tampa in the distant past when I was renting a car anyway. But in terms of distance from Disney World, it’s MCO < SFB < TPA.
People should also keep in mind that when using Uber or Lyft, you will also need to tip. So the savings is even less.
With hundreds of people looking to use ride sharing to replace ME, I would expect demand to out pace supply and surge pricing to take effect alot more often.
We’re sticking with Mears!
Mears also provides premium luxury towncar, SUV and luxury van service throughout central Florida.
“Mears Connect” premium will be a separate option in addition to the existing “Mears Lux” service, which includes car seats and luggage assistance/“meet and greet” service at the baggage claim when you land.
The Magical Express “luggage service” was provided by a different company, not Mears.
I think the luggage service provider was a company called “Bags”.
I haven’t heard whether or not they will resume the service or if another company will fill that void.
After reading the article. You never mentioned the “convenience “ of timing your rides?
What I mean is. If the Mears option still requires a 3 hour window for return trips to airport. DEPENDING on your departure time. The extra few dollars for the Uber/Lyft option may be worth it.
The time and money spent at the airport as you are a “captured audience “ once you get off the bus may also be a deciding factor. I remember a time not that long ago where the ONLY option for eating was the BK at the JetBlue terminal that only had burgers/fries and some fountain beverages for a crazy price off menu price. Not to mention the 100+ folks in line. The BK folks were completely abused while trying there best.
Anyway…time is also money…as we all know.
We just returned from 8 days in Disney World. We were guests at Pop Century Resort. With all the added costs that Disney is adding on, eventually the average family will not be able to afford a Disney vacation. Other options will be considered out of necessity. It seems that is the direction Disney is going.
Ray Sharpton says
In your research, Kelly Oliveros, did you have Mears Connect prices for wheelchair-accessible vehicles compared to Uber wheelchair-accessible vehicles?
DFB Sarah says
Ray, it looks like UBER options would range from $30-$35 for a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
David Dominie says
Will the Mears Connect deliver to the Shades of Green? Magical Express did not because it is not a Disney hotel.
DFB Sarah says
David, the Mears Connect site shows Shades of Green as an option for drop-off and pick-up. 🙂
David Dominie says