Believe it or not, Walt Disney World is not in Orlando. We know, surprise! Walt Disney World is technically in Lake Buena Vista, Florida which is a suburb of Orlando. There are tons of options for getting to Orlando from driving to flying and, well, so maybe there are only two options. For us, we always end up flying to Orlando International Airport (MCO). There are other airport options, but this article we are going to focus on Orlando International Airport, as it is currently the only airport offering Disney’s Magical Express. Let’s pack our bags and get ready to travel to Walt Disney World Disney World.
What is Disney’s Magical Express?
Disney’s Magical Express is a service designed to make your trip from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World, as carefree as possible. The service includes luggage and bus services to and from the airport for all guests staying at a Disney Resort. The best part is it’s free!
How Does It Work?
It begins well before you leave home. When booking your vacation either through Walt Disney World directly or via a Disney certified travel agent, they will mention Disney’s Magical Express. If you’re interested in using the service they will ask you for your round trip flight information. About 20 days prior to your departure you will receive an envelope from Disney that includes two key pieces of information – your reservation for bus service from the airport to your resort and Disney luggage tags.
Passholder Insight: If you know you will have more than 2 checked bags we recommend asking for additional luggage tags. Walt Disney will only send two luggage tags per family.
Passholder Insight: If you’re booking your trip in less than 20 days, you can still use Disney’s Magical Express bus service, however, you will not be able to use the luggage service.
Luggage Tags – How Do They Work?
Let’s discuss the luggage tags. As Dr. Seeker would say, “use them”, they’re awesome! Prior to leaving your house for the airport put the luggage tags on your checked bags. You will still check your bags at the airport. These Disney tags identify your bags at the Orlando International Airport and your luggage skips baggage claim, and magically goes directly to your room at your Walt Disney World Resort. Yes, you heard us correctly, your luggage will be going directly to your hotel room. Once you drop them at your home airport, you will see them again in Disney World! We love not having to lug our luggage through the airport.
Passholder Insight: Please note if you’re flying internationally and Orlando is your first entry to the US you’ll have to claim your luggage to go through customs. Once you pass through customs you can recheck your bags with Disney’s Magical Express luggage tags and they will be brought to your resort.
After disembarking your plane you can skip baggage claim (since you used the luggage tags) and head right for the transportation to Walt Disney World. Step one is taking the tram from your terminal to the main area of the airport. Now it’s time to keep those eyes peeled for the Disney’s Magical Express signs. Follow the signs to the check-in area. When checking in the Disney cast member will ask for your last name and to scan your MagicBand. They will direct you to the line for your resort. Next step, boarding the bus for Walt Disney World.
The bus will bring you to your resort. Usually, each of the buses has 3 stops or so, you’ll want to listen for yours. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride and onboard Disney entertainment. Ahh, Disney World here we come! If you’re like us, you’ll probably head straight for the parks while your room is being prepared.
Passholder Insight: You can also follow the signs for Concourse B Baggage Claim then head down to level 1 to find Disney’s Magical Express check-in. We find it easy to see those signs than the others.
The saddest part of any Walt Disney World vacation is heading home. Disney’s Magical Express makes is easy. The day before your departure you’ll receive a letter in your room letting you know what time to meet the bus outside your resort for transport back to Orlando International Airport. Usually, the time is about 3 hours prior to your departure. In the morning, you can head down to the lobby area where you can check your bags if you’re flying domestically on certain airlines. No need to wait in line at the airport. All you have to do is meet the bus at the assigned time and go directly through security upon arrival to the airport!
Passholder Insight: You can use the hotel luggage check regardless if you’re using Disney’s Magical Express or not.
For us, we absolutely love Disney’s Magical Express. We use it on every trip. Our favorite part is the luggage service, as it saves us tons of time waiting for luggage at the airport. It starts our vacation off on the right foot, not the left. Plus we don’t have to lug our golf clubs, two thumbs up! The one part we’re not huge fans of is how the bus picks you up 3 hours prior to departure. For us, we usually don’t need that much time at the airport prior to leaving. If you are like us, we recommend chatting with the concierge about alternative times. We love that it’s free too so we can spend our money on other things like a nice dinner, golf, etc. We recommend Disney’s Magical Express to anyone we know staying on property.