You’ve just landed at the airport in Orlando…
You’ve got your bags and your Disney Resort is ready for check in…
Well, if you aren’t renting a vehicle, the answer is to hop on the Magical Express and be whisked away to Disney property. Easy enough, right!?
Sounds good, but much like everything else surrounding your Disney vacation, there are definitely tips and tricks to help maximize your ride to and from your home resort. And with utilizng free Magical Express services, planning begins well before leaving and landing in Orlando.
So, to begin…I should probably tell you what the Magical Express is, huh? For those not “in the know,” the Magical Express is a free transportation service provided Walt Disney World for guests arriving at Orlando via plane flight. The catch, you need to be staying at a Disney property resort.
Now that is out of the way, let’s dive in a little deeper, shall we? As mentioned, the 24-hour service operates both back and forth from Disney property. Guests landing at MCO (Orlando International Airport) can catch the buses and utilize them for easy passage to their room on Disney property. You can find the Magical Express on level 1 of the airport near the B-side baggage claim! (Don’t pay attention to the signs telling you it is on level 3. They’ll lead you astray. I promise.)
As we mentioned earlier…you have to book a Disney resort to utilize the service. When booking you are given the option to indicate whether or not you’d like to utilize Magical Express to get you from the airport to Disney property. No worries if you didn’t add it initially…you can change it via your reservation. If you’ve forgotten completely to do this, no worries! You can also scan your magic band at the terminal and hop aboard the happiest bus to ever take the roads.
Preparing to Leave
Remember when we mentioned that “planning begins prior to landing in Orlando?” We weren’t kidding! There are a couple of items you’ll need to check off of your list to ensure that your transition from airplane to Magical Express is as flawless as possible. First and foremost, make sure you have your luggage marked clearly with tags that should have been mailed to you. You’ll also want to make sure that you have your magic bands easily accessible (put them in your carry-on)! Luggage is probably one of the most concerning parts of utilizing Magical Express services, but we’ve got further tips and tricks that’ll help put you at ease if you’re a first-timer.
No need to stress and worry here. Once you check your bags with the airline, I will take over from there. As long as you received your luggage tags and they are attached to your check-in bags, rest assured that they will be delivered to your resort shortly after you’ve arrived. Tip: because times may vary as to when your check-in bags will arrive, be sure to keep essentials in your carry on. Also important to note, luggage services are only available for flights arriving between 5 am and 10 pm.
After boarding the bus to your specific resort, the anticipation really begins. Don’t stress however as the bus provides comfortable seating, including plush valor seats, arm, and footrests. The exact amount of time you’ll be riding is determinant on which resort you’re staying at. Buses make multiple stops, so depending on which resort you’re staying, you can expect to ride anywhere between 35 and 75 minutes.
In addition to pretty comfortable seating, you can enjoy a promotion video that will play highlighting what to expect from your Disney trip. Fans seem to really enjoy this. I know I always do, it gets me excited for the all the fun I’m about to have.
Some Other Helpful Info
Of course, there is a bathroom located on the bus. So no need to stress about holding “it” until you’ve reached your resort. As well, it is important to note that pets are not allowed to ride unless they are registered service animals. Finally, don’t worry about those pesky car seats…Florida law does not require them.
In closing, there are several other small tidbits to consider when you using Magical Express…most of which revolve around your luggage. Let’s assume you have a late flight out and must check out by 11 am. If you’d like to spend more time on Disney property (maybe say your last goodbyes to the Magic Kingdom), you can speak with bell services at the resort and they will assist in storing your luggage until you arrive back to board your bus. On the other hand, if you’ve got an early flight, you can rest assured that Magical Express will be there to carry back to the airport. Tip: have a coffee!
Something else to consider…Magical Express does not run to the parks. You can only board the bus via your resort!
As well, it happens sometimes previous to leaving that you will not receive enough of the yellow tags needed to get your bags from the airport to your resort. This is easily fixable with a single phone call. This happened to us on our last trip. I made a phone call to Disney, and in two days (the day before leaving) I had the extras overnight.
In terms of security, it’s Disney…you can expect a high level of professionalism and customer service. I’ve never had any issue with my bags being tampered with or missing items while using Magical Express services.
And lastly, magical will inevitably turn tragical…be prepared. The excitement of arriving at Walt Disney World via Magical Express is short-lived. Thrill levels won’t be as high on the return to the airport. The post-Disney blues will absolutely kick in (for everyone)! I won’t lie however, this is the perfect opportunity to start checking into booking your next trip!
As you prepare to arrive or depart Disney using Magical (Tragical) Express (Depressed), it really helps smooth over the process if you know what to expect. Don’t be afraid to call and ask questions prior to leaving, or while you’re on the bus. There will always be a cast-member close by ready to support and assist you. So, whether you’re using the bus to start your vacation or end it, knowing how to utilize the system efficiently will help to get the most out of your Disney trip!
Last Tip: We really do recommend using your time on the bus (headed back to MCO) as an opportunity to explore your next Disney vacation! It really helps alleviate the blues.
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