From the first day of 2022, Disney’s Magical Express will be officially discontinued. So, for guests staying on Walt Disney World property, what are the options to get straight to the resorts and theme parks from the Orlando International Airport (MCO)? Here’s how to get from the airport to Disney World: 7 convenient ways.
History of Disney’s Magical Express
In 2005, Walt Disney World added the free convenience of Disney’s Magical Express for guests staying on property at a resort. Millions of guests visit Magic Kingdom at Disney World Florida making it the most popular theme park in the world, says WallStreetZen, so adding this perk was a smart move on Disney’s side.
It took roughly 30 minutes to get from the airport to Walt Disney World on Magical Express but the time flew by as videos about the resort and cartoons played both on the way and back. For little ones (and we adults, too!), our immersive vacation in a pixie dust-filled bubble began as soon as we boarded. And, for me, stopping at other WDW Resorts before getting to mine was par for the course.
Additionally, it didn’t matter how many guests were in the traveling party: as long as each was booked for a WDW Resort stay, they were good to go.
Starting January 1, 2022, the service is cancelled, so we’re on our own in how to get from the airport to Disney World.
How to Get from Orlando Airport to Disney World: Mears Connect
In the 1990’s when I began visiting Walt Disney World (WDW), Mears Connect was the way I traveled to and from Orlando Airport to the property. It was convenient at the time and I only remember riding with a few other guests.
Once Disney’s Magical Express ends, Mears Connect will be the official takeover for the service, but it will come at a price. The service will have two fee tiers, Standard and Express, and prices will vary on which you choose.
Standard: Mostly motorcoach service, you’ll be on board with other WDW guests. And just like Magical Express, you’ll probably have to make multiple resort stops and wait for luggage to be unloaded at each. Cost: $16 for adults, $13.50 for kids each way and may be reserved in advance.
Express: Like a ride share service, you won’t have to worry about other families on your ride to and from the airport. With that convenience, you’ll definitely save time by not having to resort hop to drop off other folks- you’ll be guaranteed the first stop. Cost: $200 for 4 or less passengers. Each additional rider is $55.
Where to Find Mears at the Orlando Airport (MCO)
Board Mears Connect on level 1, ground transportation level, in terminal B, at Orlando International Airport. Be on the lookout for the Mears Connect Reception area
For your return trip, board Mears Connect at your resort. If you’re unsure where to go, ask the front desk personnel where Mears Connect picks up at your hotel.
Rent a Car
If you want the convenience of renting a vehicle, the airport has plenty of well-known companies. And if you book in advance, each will deliver your car for you directly to the terminal and take you back tot he office to sign paperwork to be on your way.
Sure, there is the convenience of driving yourself to the theme parks, especially if you’re planning on driving to other theme parks, restaurants, or shopping in the area, but there are a few things to keep in mind that may incur additional charges:
A per-night self parking service fee at your resort – The nightly charge varies depending on the resort tier you’re staying at:
$15 per night:
- All-Star Resorts: Movies, Music, & Sports
- Art of Animation Resort
- Pop Century Resort
$20 per night:
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
$25 per night:
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House & Kidani Village
- Beach Club Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- BoardWalk Inn
- BoardWalk Villas
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club Resort
- Riviera Resort
- The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
When you arrive at your resort gate, you’ll need to scan your MagicBand or card to enter.
How to Get from Orlando Airport to Disney World: Uber
There are plenty of times when my daughter and I will road trip down to WDW and my husband will meet us a few days later. Instead of trudging through I-4 traffic to pick him up, he uses Uber to grab a ride. For him, it’s very convenient. Additionally, he’s never waited for more than a few minutes for a car.
Prices depend on the type of vehicle you need, time of day, and even date.
Remember Minnie Vans? While they’re unavailable at the moment, they were an official Lyft service around the property. While we don’t see the red and white polka dot vehicles anymore, Lyft still remains the official ride sharing service of the resort.
Again, prices vary depending on type of vehicle, time of day, day of the week, holiday, etc.
How to Get from Orlando Airport to Disney World: Taxi
Yep, taxis are still available to take you to Walt Disney World. While you’ll probably spend more on one than, say, a ride sharing service (especially during heavy traffic times), it is an option.
Car Service or Limo
If you’re thinking of arriving to WDW in style, booking a limo or car service may be the way to go if you have the budget. There are many limo and town car services in the area, so make sure you do your research to find the one that best suits your needs.
Want some additional ways to amp up your vacation? Here are fun splurges at Walt Disney World.