Disney’s Magical Express service has been a dependable and convenient part of Walt Disney World trips since 2005. This complimentary airport shuttle service for Disney resort guests handles tricky logistics for the family vacation. When it’s headed west to Walt Disney World Resort, it’s everyone’s favorite motor coach. However, when Disney’s Magical Express is en route east back to the airport, fans like to refer to it as the Tragical Express as it signifies the end of the trip. The DME provides a seamless arrival and departure service by also delivering luggage to your room. There’s no doubt this kind of convenience and service will be sorely missed by Disney goers.
The Magical Express cancellation announcement came as a disappointment but also a surprise to many. The company has worked for years to provide a vacation experience that rewards staying on property and within the Disney bubble for the duration of your visit. A free ride to and from the airport and complimentary transportation all around property make a rental car seem unnecessary for most. Alas, Disney announced Disney’s Magical Express would no longer be offered after 2021.
Lightning McQueen is unavailable and the doom buggies just don’t move fast enough. Let’s look at the DME replacement for transportation from the airport to Disney World and back.
What is Disney’s Magical Express replacement?
Mears has been the actual Disney’s Magical Express transportation provider all along. Now the company will provide a shuttle service Disney guests will have to reserve separately and pay for called Mears Connect. Mears connect is the Magical Express replacement as an Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Disney area hotels shuttle with different transportation options.
The Mears Connect standard service can be booked for both round trip and one way reservations. For the standard service one way, the starting rate is $16.00 per adult and $13.50 per child. The Mears Connect standard round trip rates are $32.00 per adult and $27.00 per child. The child rate is for children ages 3-9 years old and children under 3 ride for free. Guests may or may not ride in a motor coach as rides are noted as motor coach, shuttle van or small vehicle. This service is said to have limited stops on the route. Car seats are not provided.
Mears Connect claims it will have you going places within 20 minutes of checking in at their airport area. That’s pretty impressive considering Disney’s Magical Express can sometimes leave guests waiting twice as long. For those looking for an expedited experience, Mears Connect express provides direct service at $200.00 for up to 4 passengers and $55.00 per additional passenger. Guests who purchase this will also be driven by motor coach, shuttle van or small vehicle.
Is there a Mears Connect luggage service?
At the time this post was written, the Mears site states this regarding luggage: ‘Mears is exploring luggage service and will send an update to all interested and already reserved guests if and when it’s available.’ It would be in the best interest of Mears, Disney and the guests to provide luggage service. Taking a shuttle from the airport to your hotel and being able to hop off and skip to a dining reservation or to play in a park is a luxury for guests. It’s also a plus for Disney’s bottom line as you get to start your vacation fun, and spending, without delay. Luggage service, especially coordinating with Disney to provide delivery to the guest’s room, would really make Mears Connect a polished offering.
Mears Connect shows official Walt Disney World Resort hotels as available drop off and pick up locations but also other nearby hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It even offers transport to Disney Springs area partner hotels and the Gaylord Palms Resort which is located just off of Disney property. This raises an interesting question. Mears Connect says it will be adding more hotels in 2022. I’m wondering if guests will at some point be able to book a drop off at Walt Disney World Resort with a pick up from Universal Orlando Resort on the same reservation.
Another Disney update to be aware of before your next visit is the Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes additions. Find out how much they cost and how they work here: The Disney FastPass Replacement Costs How Much?