Disney’s Magical Express

by Casey Morris on March 3, 2017

WHAT IS DISNEY’S MAGICAL EXPRESS?

It is the name of the complimentary bus service that takes guests from Orlando International Airport to their Walt Disney World Resort (not including Shades of Green, Swan or Dolphin resorts). It operates 24/7, so no matter what time your flight arrives or departs, you can take advantage of this complimentary service. Yet one more perk of staying in a Walt Disney World Resort!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Step One: If you are booking your own flights, just forward the flight information to your PPDD Travel Planner. They will take care of arranging the transportation for you.

Step Two: You will receive a white envelope containing your yellow luggage tags. (NOTE: so many guests have been known to throw this away without even opening it! Be sure to hang on to it! IF you are reading this, and are within 30 days of travel and do not have this envelope, chances are you might have missed it in the mail. Check with your PPDD Travel Planner to ensure you get them resent!) There are also instructions in the envelope as well. (please note that if you live outside the U.S. or Canada, you will not receive these tags) Place these tags on your checked luggage only, and then those bags will “magically” appear in your resort room about 4 hours after you arrive at resort! (NOTE: for fun, we tell our kids that Tinkerbell brings them to our room for us!) There are instructions printed on the back of the tags showing correct placement:

*Tip: Be sure to have the items in your carry on bag that you need for the first several hours, including your MagicBands! It generally takes up to 4 hours for your luggage to be delivered directly to your resort room for you.

Step Three: When your plane lands at MCO, you will first enter into one of the outer buildings, and will need to take a tram over to the main terminal.

Once you arrive at the main terminal, you can bypass the baggage claim and go strait to the Magical Express area of the airport. (As long as you had those yellow luggage tags applied!) Taking a look at this map of MCO should help you know where to go. Building numbers 1-4 is where your plane will land, and I have marked where the tram tracks are, and where to go when you arrive in the main building:

Be SURE to find SIDE B (look for that green B!), then go down to level one by escalator or elevator.

Go all the way to the end of the hall (see the signs, hard to miss!)……

….and you have arrived! Scan your MagicBand for the first time, at this desk!

They will tell you which line to get into, depending on which resort you are going to. (NOTE: this photo was taken about 7:45 AM, when there aren’t many people in line. Typically there will be lots of guests in this area!)

Now you’re in line, just before heading out the door to your bus, you may be asked to scan your band one more time to ensure you are boarding the right bus!

Step Four: If you checked your luggage and placed the yellow tags on them, you can just hop on the bus because your luggage will be delivered! However, if you have your luggage with you, simply hand your luggage to the cast member for storage. See that all luggage will be placed under the bus! (NOTE: employees will never ask for a tip, but generally speaking, anyone who handles luggage can accept tips, the average being $1/bag.)

The inside of the bus is spacious with comfy seats and several televisions for your entertainment.

Sit back and relax, your vacation has begun! The travel time from MCO to Walt Disney World Resort averages about 40 minutes. However, each bus is loaded with guests from about 3 different resorts. If your resort is the first stop, GREAT! If your resort is the last stop, you could potentially be on the bus for 90-ish minutes. Rest assured that there is a restroom on the bus!

RETURNING HOME

Step One: Your PPDD Travel Planner has already arranged your transportation back to the airport. Rule of thumb is that the bus will be at your resort 3 hours prior to your flight departure time (4 hours prior to international flights). However, the day before you check out, you will have another Disney’s Magical Express envelope sent to you, this time it will be hanging from your resort door handle. Inside this envelope, it will tell you the exact time your bus will arrive. You will need to have the papers from this envelope to present to the bus driver, for them to allow you entry onto the bus. The bus will be in the exact location that it dropped you off at, and it is SUPER important that you not miss this bus! If in doubt, there is always a sign to point in to the right location:

Step Two: On the morning of your departure, you will check out of your resort room (check out time is 11:00 am). If your flight is later that day, and you wish to leave your luggage while you play in the parks your last day, you have two options:

  • Resort Airline Check In – All guests, even those not using Magical Express, flying on certain airlines, can take advantage of this service. Every resort has their own Airline Check In desk, here is what the one at Caribbean Beach looks like:  If you are wondering why it is looking a little dark and empty, it is due to the fact that they are not open all day! Here is a close up of the info:  Basically, if you are flying on any of those airlines, you can check your luggage right there at your resort! (NOTE: Since this desk doesn’t open until 5am, if your flight is departing 8am or earlier, you could not use this service.) They can even print your boarding passes for you. YES, PLEASE!
  • Bell Services – If you do not want to check your bags, or maybe you are using an airline carrier that doesn’t participate in the Resort Airline Check In, they still have you covered! Simply drop your luggage off at the Bell Services desk at your resort. Let them know you are checking out, and they you will return to pick it up just prior to boarding Magical Express.

OTHER TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

While having FREE transportation is awesome, it isn’t for everyone! If you prefer to have a private transfer waiting for you, to whisk you directly to your resort with no waiting…we can help you with that too! Of course, you pay for convenience, so this option is not complimentary. You can also opt to rent a car, BUT if you are primarily doing mostly Disney property for your vacation, there really isn’t a need for that since all the transportation is complimentary.

 

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