15 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Disney World Magical Express

Disney's Magical Express

So, what exactly is the Magical Express? In one sentence: Free round trip airport transportation provided by Disney between Orlando International and the Disney World resort hotels.

Originally announced in December, 2004, and service started in May, 2005, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. The service was originally announced as a free service for Disney resort guests, though no indication has been given that it will remain free. Up until this point, there has been no charge for the service, and that looks to continue in the near future, as it has become a fantastic benefit for staying on Disney property.

WDW101 Insight – The Magical Express is efficient and trustworthy. Get off of your plane, and head straight to the Magical Express desk. Your luggage will be found and taken directly to your resort. Rarely, if ever, does anything get lost. Make sure you have anything important you may need for a few hours in your carry on luggage, such as medications, cell phones or swim suits for the kids.

A few restrictions:

  • The Magical Express only serves Orlando International (MCO). If you are flying into Sanford or any other Florida airport, you will need to find some alternative sort of transportation.
  • You must be 16 or older in order to ride unaccompanied, children 15 and under must have adult supervision.
  • The Magical Express only serves the Disney World resorts. Guests staying at the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green or any of the Downtown Disney Area Resorts are not included. A list of included resorts is listed below.
  • The Magical Express does not go to the Disney Cruise Line terminal in Port Canaveral, Disney’s Vero Beach or Disney’s Hilton Head resort.

Using the Magical Express upon arrival at MCO:

You must have a reservation, and it must be booked at least 10 days in advance of arrival. Reservations can be made as part of your WDW reservation through disneyworld.com or your travel agent. They can also be made by calling 407-WDISNEY. Reservation can be made without airline information, but it is very helpful to have your complete flight information handy at time of booking. If you have not yet booked flights, you can add that information at a later date. We strongly suggest you make these reservations early in the process as you can, even if you do not have your flight information yet.

About 4 – 5 weeks before your scheduled arrival, you will receive your Magical Express documents, a small booklet containing a map, instructions and yellow luggage tags. Please read through this as soon as you receive it, to make sure everything is clear and included. Disney only sends on luggage tag per person, if you need more, you should call 866-599-0951. Luggage tags are only needed for checked baggage, so only order them if you are checking more than one bag per person.

When you arrive at your home airport, place the yellow luggage tags on each checked bag. Make sure they are on there, that is how they find your luggage once you arrive at MCO, and lets them know where to take it once they pick it up.

Once you arrive in Orlando, head directly to the Magical Express desk, located on level 1, side B. There will be a map included in your documents.

Disney's Magical Express Airport Map

Check in at the Magical Express desk, and present your documents to them at that time. They wil check you in, and direct you to the right bus to board for your resort. Your luggage will be taken directly to your room, a process that usually takes 2 – 3 hours, so it will not be in your room upon arrival. If you did not receive luggage tags, you can present your claim tickets to the Disney CM, they will grab your bags for you. Alternatively, you can go to baggage claim, grab your bags, and take them to the Magical Express desk with you. Please note: If your flight arrives at MCO after 10 PM, you must fetch your own luggage. Very few flights are scheduled to arrive after 10 PM, but make a mental note so you don’t have to take the trek back to find your luggage if you are unaware. This also allows you to have your luggage with you upon arrival at your resort, so you do not have to wait for it to arrive later.

You will board motor coach buses, and be taken to your Disney World resort. Buses make 3 – 4 stops each, so you may need to stop at a few resorts before you make it to your final destination. Please note that car seats are not allowed on the Magical Express, and must be stored below with the luggage.

The process takes about 60 – 75 minutes in total, from exiting the plane to checking in at your resort.

For International Guests:

Disney only mails Magical Express documents to residents in Canada and the United States. If you are working with a travel agent located in the US or Canada, they will receive you luggage tags, which will then be mailed to you. If you are outside of the US or Canada, you will receive all your documents upon arrival at the Magical Express desk at MCO.

Since international guest must claim their bags before going through customs, Disney will not pick them up for you. Proceed through customs, and then head to the Magical Express desk.

Using the Magical Express upon your return home:

The day before your departure, you will receive a letter in your room informing you of your return time and further information. Return times are usually scheduled about 3 hours before your flight time. Your luggage will return with you on the Magical Express, Disney does not transfer it for you.

If you are flying on one of the partner airlines, you can check in for you flight, including your luggage, at your resort. The partner airlines are AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest (currently only at Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts), Northwest, United and USAirways. This service is only available if you are flying domestically.

If you are checking luggage at your resort, and your airline requires a checked baggage fee (most do), you must pay the fee in advance of checking in, Disney will nto accept the fee.

Airline Check in desks are open daily at each resort from 5 AM until 1 PM. You can check in no more than 12 hours in advance of your flight, and you must be at least 3 hours or more from your flight time. If you are unable to use the airline check in, you can still use the Magical Express, just take your luggage with you, and check in at the airport as you did coming to Orlando.

To use the Airline Check in, all guests in your party must be present, and all guests 18 and older must have their picture ID handy. You must also have your Disney World Key to the World card handy for proof that you are a Disney World resort guest.

A few important notes about the Magical Express:

  • If you have any questions about your reservation, you should contact Magical Express at 866-599-0951 or call your travel agent.
  • Wheelchairs can be accommodated. When you make your Magical Express reservation, you must let them know you will need special accommodations for the wheel chair.
  • Service Animals can be accommodated, as long as the owner is on board and all necessary paperwork is in hand.
  • You do not need to be flying to use the Magical Express. You can make the reservation and leave the flight information blank.
  • You do not need to book the Magical Express round trip. Many people leave the Disney World resort and extend their vacation elsewhere in Florida.
  • You cannot book a luggage only transfer. In order for your luggage to be transfered, you must be on the bus. If you do not check in and board the bus on arrival, Disney will hold your luggage the airport until you check in.

Resorts that use Disney’s Magical Express:

  • Disney Value Resorts – Pop Century, All-Star Sports, All-Star Music and All-Star Movies
  • Disney Moderate Resorts – Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach and Disney’s Fort Wilderness
  • Disney Deluxe Resorts – Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Grand Floridian, Polynesian and the Contemporary.
  • Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts – Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Animal Kingdom Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Beach Club Villas and Bay Lake Tower

The Magical Express does change policies and procedures from time to time, so check back here before your trip for any updates.

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