Disney’s Costly Magical Express Replacement Leaves Guests Waiting Nearly 1 Hour

in Walt Disney World

mears connect magical express

If you are a fan of staying at Disney Resorts when you visit Walt Disney World, you surely miss Disney’s Magical Express. The Magical Express concluded its complimentary service, shuttling Disney Resort Guests to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) this year, leaving Guests wondering how they will arrive at their Resort without the service.

mears connect
Credit: Mears

Mears Connect was announced shortly after Disney noted that they would be ending the Magical Express transportation. Since Disney’s Magical Express was run by Mears anyway, the idea to run this service at a paid premium was a good idea for Mears. Now, Mears Connect can bring you to your Disney Resort and back; however, you must pay per person, and of course, forfeit the fun theming that you were used to on the Magical Express.

magical express
Credit: Inside the Magic

When Magical Express ended, Mears issued a statement noting: 

“Walt Disney made us aware of their decision,” Mears spokesperson Roger Chapin said. “While we are disappointed Disney will no longer offer this service, we intend to continue offering transportation services between the airport and all area theme parks and hotels to meet the demand of our visitors now and in the future.”

When the offering begins, round trips will cost adults $32.00 each and children $27.00. One way travel will cost adults $16.00 and kids $13.50. If you want premium direct service, you will have to pay $200.00 for four Guests and an additional $55.00 per extra Guest. Now, that premium service, called “Express Service,” has jumped to $250.00!

mears connect
Credit: Screenshot via Mears

Related: Magical Express Shuttle Operator Still Offers 2022 Reservations 

The $50.00 increase is a large one for a family of four, but it does mean that there will be plenty of legroom for all members and that you will have a secured pick up and drop off. Plus, as we have noted, Uber and Lyft costs seem to be rising from MCO to Disney World, so this stress-free way of transporting you and your party may be worth the extra $50.00. It should be noted that each additional passenger will cost $55.00.

Due to the high price of the Express Service, many have been paying for the regular cost of Mears Connect. When the service launched, it was noted that Guests would be on their way to their Disney Resort within 20 minutes of their check-in. Although they may stop at a few Resorts along the way, at least they would be waiting no longer than 20 minutes to leave MCO, which is on par with Disney’s Magical Express. Now, the FAQ section of the site no longer states 20 minutes, and we know why.

Credit: Mears

One Inside the Magic reader noted that on their way to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, they were held at MCO for over 45 minutes after check-in. Then, as they knew, the bus made multiple stops which were anticipated, but in addition to the 45-minute hold time, their trip to their Resort was approaching two hours, which is something that a ride-share service could have avoided.

The section which previously noted a 20 minute wait time at max now states: 

The Standard service is a shared ride service on our Mears Connect vehicle that is economical as the fare includes all tolls and other surcharges. The Connection will make a limited number of stops.

The Express service is direct service to your resort and back to the airport (guaranteed first stop), with limited to no wait time. This service includes all tolls and other surcharges. NOTE: Express service is not considered private service, it may be shared service.

Both standard and express services incorporate all current city, county, state, federal and CDC health and safety measures and both services will provide your party with continuously clean, sanitized vehicles.

mears connect
Credit: Mears

Considering Guests who arrive into Orlando may have plans and reservations set for the first day, it would be good to note that if you are using Mears Connect as your transport, adding in a little extra time to your schedule could help curb any disappointment.

Below is a list of the hotels that Mears Connect will travel to:

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
disney guests shopping
Credit: Disney

Third-Party Hotels:

  • B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn Orlando
  • JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort
  • Shades of Green
  • Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista

Off-Site Third Party Hotels:

  • Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
  • Orlando Marriott World Center

To make your reservation for a 2022 shuttle, click here!

What do you think of a 45 minute wait time for this new paid service? 

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!


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