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Before you get to the magical world of Disney, you first need to get yourself to Florida. Maybe you’re driving, but more than likely, you’re flying. There’s lots of ways to save on your airline tickets, so that part might not be that stressful – but what about getting from the airport to Disney?
Perhaps you’re thinking of taking a cab, or a rideshare service like Lyft (don’t forget to use my referral code to get $5 off your first ride!) The downside to this, of course, is that it can be quite expensive. MCO is close to Disney, but it’s still about a 25-40 minute drive to Walt Disney World depending on the traffic. Additionally, you can rent a car. This may be ideal if you’ve got a lot of people in your party, or if you’re planning on doing other things in Orlando, like visiting Universal Studios or Sea World.
However, my absolute favorite mode of transportation from MCO to Walt Disney World is Disney’s Magical Express. If you’re staying on property, it’s an absolute no brainer. Not only is it easy to book a ride and get to your hotel, but it also has that traditional Disney touch to it. There’s a certain magic about riding the motorcoach, knowing that your Disney vacation is about to start.
Here’s a quick guide on everything you need to know about Disney’s Magical Express, including how to book it!
How To Book a Ride
Booking a ride on the Magical Express is extremely easy. If you know your flight information while booking your vacation package, you can enter it when you get to the prompted point in your booking. Once you put in your flight information, you’ll be reserved a spot on a Magical Express when you arrive based on where you are staying on property. Additionally, you can book a return trip to MCO by entering your return flight info.
If you don’t know your flight info at the time of booking, that’s ok! Once you book your airline tickets, head to your My Disney Experience portal on the Disney website. Here, you can add a reservation for the Magical Express at any time.
Which Resorts Participate in Magical Express?
At this time, only Walt Disney World properties offer Magical Express reservations. So if you’re staying at at the Swan or Dolphin hotels, or at one of the hotels in the Disney Springs area (like the Hilton or Marriott) you unfortunately need to get an alternate form of transportation to and from the airport.
When you get to MCO, head to the Transportation area of the airport, where you go to get rental cars and taxis on Terminal B, Level 1. Head allllll the way down (to the right if you’re getting off the escalators) and you’ll see the boarding area for the Magical Express. Make sure you have your MagicBand on you, as this will verify your reservation on the Magical Express! Additionally, you can print off your confirmation from the site before you leave. The cast member will direct you to which lane your bus is associated with, and then you wait until boarding. Usually the wait is about 20 minutes or so before a Magical Express bus is ready for you.
Then, it’s off to Disney! The Magical Express will make stops at a few of the resorts. Simply exit as soon as you reach your destination!
One nice perk about the Magical Express is that you don’t have to wait for your things at baggage claim! If you have checked bags, you will be provided Magical Express baggage tags when you register online. These are mailed to you a few weeks before your trip. Just attach them to your bags, and a cast member will do the rest for you! Your bags will be delivered to your resort, free of charge. You just worry about getting to your motorcoach and making your way to your comfy Disney hotel room!
Baggage delivery is only available if you are arriving between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM EST. Unfortunately any arrivals outside that time need to retrieve their luggage before heading to the Magical Express boarding area.
Sadly, all Disney vacations must come to a close. The day before you depart, you will receive information about your return motorcoach under the door of your hotel room. The Magical Express generally books you for a motorcoach that is due to arrive a few hours before your flight, to give you plenty of time to get through security and make it to your gate with time to spare.
Airline Check In
A complimentary feature of your return trip to MCO via the Magical Express is the ability to take advantage of airline check in right from your resort! If you’re flying on participating airlines – check the Disney site for a complete list – you can check in right at your hotel and even leave your checked baggage to be delivered to MCO. My sister and I did this on our first sister’s trip! We checked in to our flight, left our checked bags with the concierge, and then headed to the parks for a few more hours of fun before our return flight. We came back to our resort after the park so we could get our Magical Express back to the airport, and when we arrived at MCO, we just went straight to security with our boarding passes in hand.
It’s not required that you check in via your resort, but it does make things a bit easier, especially if you want to swing by the parks one last time like we did.
The Best Part? It’s All Included!
Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary service, so it’s not going to cost you any extra to travel in style to Disney! If you’re feeling a bit iffy about letting others handle your luggage, don’t worry. The baggage pick up and drop off is not required to use the motorcoach. Additionally, you don’t HAVE to check in for your return flight at the resort. You can do that on your own when you arrive at MCO. Traveling via the Magical Express makes you feel like a true Disney VIP, and is a great start – and end – to any vacation.
Have any questions? Let me know, I’d be happy to help! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list as well so you can receive updates when I post new Disney content!