If you vacation at Disney World, you likely have experienced Disney’s Magical Express — one of the ultimate ways to arrive at your Disney Resort. From your bus driver Cast Member welcoming you over the PA system to the Disney quizzes, Disney Park video tours, and Mickey Mouse shorts, the Magical Express is the first step of your Disney vacation. But on January 1, 2022, Guests will need to find an alternate route to travel to their Disney Resort hotels.
Disney recently announced that its complimentary Magical Express bus service which shuttles Guests to and from their Walt Disney World Resort will be ending come 2022. Considering many Guests have relied on the Magical Express as their main mode of transport to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO), finding an alternative option that works for you will be crucial and, now, another aspect of planning.
Considering the Magical Express was not an added cost for Disney World Resort Guests, unfortunately, the price of a Disney vacation will now increase — and depending on what mode of transportation you choose, it could increase by a lot. So, let’s take a look at current and upcoming transit options that are available at MCO to get to Disney World.
Let’s start with the cheapest, easiest, and arguably most convenient option. Taking a rideshare vehicle, which means Uber or Lyft, is quite simple and cost-effective. Now that you will have to pick up your own luggage, as the Magical Express will no longer deliver it to your hotel room, you will be steps away from the rideshare pick-up location.
At MCO, rideshare pick up is directly next to baggage claim, so you luckily will not need to lug your suitcases full of Mickey ears around the airport. The average cost of an Uber or Lyft from the airport to Disney World is around $30.00, give or take few dollars. This means that without Disney’s Magical Express, your cheapest option to get to and from your Disney Resort will add $60.00 to your Disney vacation.
If you want to keep the experience magical, you can even ask your Uber or Lyft driver if they can connect your phone via Bluetooth for some Disney tunes! Taking this option is also convenient as you will head straight to your Disney World Resort, unlike the Magical Express which often drops off at multiple en route to your Disney Resort.
I personally use Uber or Lyft often at MCO and can attest that, although nothing will ever be as magical as the Magical Express, it is a very convenient and cost-effective option.
Renting a Minnie Van is currently not an option for Disney Resort Guests, but if the service does return, Minnie Vans can also transport Guests as a form of rideshare. This option would mean you still have a Cast Member ringing in your Disney vacation as your driver, like the Magical Express, you are in a Disney transit vehicle, and Disney music can definitely be played. That being said, Minnie Vans are costly and will charge you over $100.00 each way.
Should the Minnie Van service return, however, it would likely become the preferred option for families with small children. Uber and Lyft do not offer car seats and booster seats in the Orlando metro area and renting a vehicle mean tacking-on a Disney Resort parking fee to your vacation, so, between the two, the Minnie Van option is still likely to be the more cost-effective choice for young families.
Renting a car on your next Disney vacation can also be a very convenient option. However, it will be a little more costly than using Uber or Lyft. After a quick Expedia search, I was able to see that a 1-week car rental in January 2021 totals around $250.00 for a regular-sized car. You can pick up and drop off your car at MCO, so this solves your transit issue with the lack of Magical Express — and gives you the option to explore and travel on your own time.
Although Disney transportation options such as Disney busses to and from parks and Disney Springs, the Monorail, and the Disney Skyliner will still be available, being able to control where you go and when could help you avoid long lines that Disney transit often boasts.
That being said, your total cost will not be $250.00. You must factor in that a car rental will also need to include gas and parking fees at your Disney Resort, which depending on what level resort you are staying at, could cost up to $25.00 a night.
Although not ready yet, come 2023 MCO will have a high-speed train option that Guests can use to get to Disney property. The Brightline train will travel from MCO to Disney Springs, at which time Guests can go to the Disney Resort bus area and hop on their bus to their Disney Resort.
We currently do not know exactly how much the mode of transit will cost for Guests looking to use it, however, the train currently offers tickets as low as $10.00 per person. Please note that this cost does raise depending on the location and distance the train must travel, and the cost is indeed per person, which could become costly if you are traveling with a larger group. That being said, it would be a highly unique way to get to your Disney Resort, much like the Magical Express!
The issue that I would personally have with this is the lack of convenience the transit option poses. To take Brightline, as we just mentioned, you would need to hop on another bus. This means lugging your suitcase through Disney Springs after getting off a flight to wait in another line for your Disney Resort bus, which could be quite time-consuming.
That being said, no one has yet to try this as an option, so it may end up being quite simple for Guests to utilize.
Unless you have a friend or family member in Orlando who owes you a favor and wants to pick you up from MCO, once the Magical Express ends on January 1, 2022 — these three modes of transportation will be your best options.
It is worth noting that Disney is undoubtedly considering their Guests’ needs and may be adding another airport transit option to replace the Magical Express service. Nothing has been confirmed at this time, but stay tuned to Inside the Magic for the latest Walt Disney World Resort updates.
How will you get to your Disney World Resort once the Magical Express ends? Do you already use one of these options when you visit?