One of my favorite perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is the use of Disney's Magical Express. This round-trip motorcoach service, to and from Orlando International Airport, is provided to all guests with a Disney Resort hotel reservation. It's convenient and easy to use. Let’s walk through the basics of the process to help you decide if it’s right for you.
About two weeks prior to your resort check-in date, Disney will mail you transportation vouchers and luggage tags. The luggage tags are to be put on any luggage that you are checking. Be sure to put your MagicBands (as if you aren’t already wearing them) with your carry-on items, as you will use these to check in for Magical Express at the Orlando airport. You can also use the paper vouchers that Disney mailed you, if your MagicBands have not yet arrived.
Check your luggage with your airline at your home airport, as you would normally do. The airline will keep the Disney tags on your luggage, along with their identifying tags.
Upon arrival in Orlando, regardless of which airline you arrived on, you will take the train to the main terminal. It will drop you off on Level 3. Proceed to Side B of the terminal (you can’t miss it) and follow the signs to Ground Transportation, which is on Level 1. Then follow the pixie dust to Magical Express.
Use your MagicBand to check in upon arrival. There will be multiple cast members waiting to answer any questions you may have. You'll be assigned a row that corresponds with your resort. So close now!
It will feel like an eternity waiting for your bus. Travel days are exhausting, kids are failing this trial run of waiting in line, and you’ll think every line is moving but yours — but your bus will arrive, I promise. After boarding, you will wait again. Typically, a bus must be full before it will leave.
Soon you will be on your way, passing under that most-anticipated sign welcoming you. The buses stop at multiple resorts, so hang on to your patience if your resort isn’t first. Enjoy the sneak peak at a different resort.
I have used Magical Express many times and have always arrived at my resort less than two hours from the time my plane landed. This includes stopping for a restroom break and a drink purchase before checking in at Magical Express. I find this to be a very reasonable amount of time, despite how long it feels while I’m waiting.
Plan on up to five hours for your luggage to be delivered to your room; there are accounts of guests waiting much longer, but that is not the norm. If your room isn’t ready yet, your luggage will be held until it is. Call Bell Services once you have your room number and they will promptly deliver your luggage. Don't forget to tip them!
The day before you check out, you will receive a notice from Disney with your Magical Express departure time (3 hours prior to your flight) and voucher. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes prior to the stated time because they will leave without you. Keep your voucher handy, as you cannot use your MagicBand to check in for your return trip to the airport.
You have two options for your luggage. First, you may bring it with you on the motorcoach. The driver will store the larger bags below and give them to you upon arrival at the airport terminal. Time to tip again! The second (and far superior) option, is to use Resort Airline Check-In at your hotel. This service is exclusive to certain hotels and participating airlines. You may obtain your boarding pass and check your luggage, just as you would do at the airport.
While many of us complain about the high price of a Disney Resort hotel room, I often feel that this service makes it worth it. The beauty of not dragging suitcases and toddlers at the same time is what vacation dreams are made of. And I don’t even have toddlers anymore. But those are my dreams. Does Magical Express fit with yours?