Two out of our three trips, we’ve used Disney’s Magical Express. We’ve absolutely loved it and would recommend using it to anyone flying into the Orlando airport.
What is Disney’s Magical Express? In basic terms, it’s a bus that picks you up at the airport and delivers you to your resort.
So what’s so special about that? Once you’ve signed up to take advantage of the Magical Express, you’ll receive a packet in the mail. This packet will contain luggage tags, these special yellow (as of 2014) luggage stickers, and information on how it all works. These magic yellow tags? They do amazing things. When you check your bags at the ticket counter, those yellow tags allow your bags to go straight to your room at the resort.
Wait. What? Yes. That means once you check your bags at the ticket counter, you don’t have to see or touch them again until they arrive at your room. Will they be waiting in your room the second you open your door? No. But they will be there a few hours later. If you are taking a later flight and need stuff to get ready for bed when you arrive, pack that stuff in your carry-on. You do NOT need to be present at your room for your bags to be delivered.
I don’t know about you, but that alone is worth its weight in gold to me. I HATE hauling my luggage around airports. I hate struggling to get from the airport to the room with everything. So to have my bags magically appear in my room, amazing.
A lot of people say they’ve waited on their bags for up to five hours. We’ve never had that experience. Both times our bags were delivered within a couple of hours. That being said, we do not travel at busy seasons. The wait for your bags might be longer if you are going during a busy week or season.
The luggage service is only available for flights arriving 5:00am – 10:00pm. If your flight arrives before 5:00am or after 10:00pm, you can still ride the Magical Express, you just can’t take advantage of the luggage service.
After you get off your plane, you’ll make your way to the main terminal. Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center is located on Side B, Level 1, Ground Transportation. I was really nervous about finding this area the first time we used Magical Express. However, they have great signage and it’s really easy to find.
This is important. You will need your Magic Bands in order to ride the Magical Express. Make sure to pack them in your carry-on and have them out and ready to use when you head to the Magical Express Welcome Center. If you do not have your Magic Bands, you’ll have to have your Magical Express arrival documents and you’ll have to wait in a long line. Make sure you get those Magic Bands ready!
From this point, they’ll direct you where to go. You’ll board a bus and take about a 30-45 minute ride, depending on traffic. They have a video that plays while you are traveling to your resort. It can be pretty cheesy but, hey, it’s entertainment! You’ll pass through those magical Disney signs and your vacation will begin!
I know what you are probably thinking now. Well, that’s great, but what about when it’s time to leave? The day before your departure, you’ll receive an envelope with your departure information called a Transportation Notice. It’ll tell you what time your bus leaves, typically about three hours before your flight and where to check-in.
If you are flying with one of Disney’s participating airlines and staying at select Disney resorts, you can take advantage of the Resort Airline Check-in. This service is wonderful. You visit their counter and show them your documents. They will check you in, print your boarding passes, and you can check your luggage. When you get to the airport, you can go straight to the security lines. Again, no struggling with luggage. I don’t have to see that stuff again until I arrive at my final destination.
You will need your transportation notice when you check-in whether you are just riding the bus or taking advantage of the resort airline check-in. Make sure to keep that accessible.
If you are staying at a Disney owned property, you can take advantage of this free service. If you already have booked your flights when you book your vacation, you can add Magical Express service right then. You just need to supply your flight info. If you haven’t, don’t worry. You can add it later. You can read more about Disney’s Magical Express on the Disney site. It also gives you a list of all participating airlines and resorts.
This only sounds better and better, right? Disney definitely knows how to add magic to your stay.
If you are thinking about Disney’s Magical Express, I say go for it. We love it!
Have you used this service before? What are your thoughts?