For many travelers, vacation doesn’t officially begin until they set foot in their resort lobby. This comes after the flying and the almost unending wait at baggage claim followed by lugging suitcase after suitcase through the airport while searching for your rental car. However, for guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, your vacation can begin as soon as you step off of your plane at Orlando International Airport!
So what’s so special about this service you ask? Not only do you not have to worry about driving your way through central Florida, but you can also avoid the hassle of waiting in baggage claim. That’s right, no more fighting crowds at the baggage carousel (or trying to keep your kids from making it into the first “unofficial” ride of the trip). You just hop on board the bus and are whisked away to your resort. Your luggage will arrive a few hours after you do, and because you don’t need to be in your room when it arrives, you can get started on your park hopping fun right away! And what makes it a little extra magical? It’s complimentary!
Before you depart for your vacation, have Disney’s Magical Express service added to your reservation, and you will receive transfer vouchers and yellow tags in the mail. Each person on the reservation will have a yellow tag for their bag. Put these on your luggage prior to checking it at your departing airport. Carry-on bags do not need them. These tags will let Disney’s Magical Express know which bags to pull and where to deliver them. This luggage service is available for arriving flights between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm. Guests arriving outside of this time window will need to pick up their luggage at baggage claim and transport it on the motor coach with them. Please keep in mind that if you have any medications, valuables or personal items you will need immediately on your arrival, you should pack them in your carry-on bag. If you have booked a last minute trip or made changes to your travel plans and haven’t received your vouchers and tags, simply save the baggage claim stubs when you check your luggage at your home airport. Once you have arrived at Orlando International Airport, you can stop at the Magical Express desk and give them your reservation information. They will assist you in getting transfer vouchers and your luggage delivered for you.
Orlando International Airport can be quite confusing for first time visitors and weary travelers. Have no fear however, Disney’s Magical Express is quite easy to find. Once you take the fun monorail ride from your airline’s terminal to the main terminal, head to level 1 of the B side. There are plenty of signs to help you out, as well as employees who can direct you. Once you get to level 1 on the B side of the main terminal, all the way down to the end is where you will find Disney’s Magical Express. Here you will find Cast Members ready and willing to assist you. If you have your travel vouchers and your tags were put on your checked luggage, you do not need to stop at the desk. Simply have a Cast Member scan your voucher and they will direct you to your resort’s line. Soon enough, you’ll be loaded on your bus and on your way!
I began using Disney’s Magical Express since it first began service in May 2005, and have used it every trip since (at least a dozen). For trips I’ve planned months in advance, to trips I’ve planned nine days in advance, each time my luggage and myself have made it safely and comfortably to our destination resort. It’s such a great relief not having to worry about finding a rental car, driving through Orlando or wasting time at baggage claim. And as soon as I step foot on a Magical Express bus and I’m greeted with familiar Disney tunes playing over the speakers, I know I’m on my way to the most magical place on earth!
During the approximately 30 – 40 minute ride to your resort, a welcome video will play on the television screens set throughout the bus. Here you will get a good look at all of the wonderful things you get to look forward to on your vacation. It’s a great way to pass the time on the bus ride, but an even better way to get everyone excited! And while every good thing must come to end, there is another video which plays on your way back to Orlando International Airport at the end of your vacation. It’s not nearly as exciting, especially when Mickey and the gang begin to sing, “Now it’s time to say goodbye… “ - yeah, talk about being dropped off back into the real world!
Now that I’ve completely brought you back down to the harsh reality that a Walt Disney World vacation must come to a close at some point (I know, I don’t want to believe it either), it’s a great time to point out that Disney’s Magical Express is also a great option for guests when it comes time to head back home. The day prior to departing the Walt Disney World Resort, you will receive an envelope which will be hanging on your door. Enclosed is your return transfer information with a pickup time for the following day. For domestic flights within the US, your pickup time will be approximately 3 hours prior to your flight’s departure time. For international flights, your pickup time will be approximately 4 hours prior.
For guests who are flying within the US on select airlines (AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Air), between 5:00 am and 1:00 pm on your departure day, you can check your luggage right at the resort with Resort Airline Check-In Service. Check your luggage no less than 3 hours prior to departure time. Once again, it will be transported for you. This eliminates having to wait in the ever so long baggage check lines at Orlando International. Instead, when you are dropped off at the airport, you can head right to the security points, do some last minute shopping or have a bite to eat. Once you land at your home airport, you can find your luggage in baggage claim.
Disney’s Magical Express is a great way to kick-start any Walt Disney World vacation, for both first time and frequent visitors. What is your favorite part of using Magical Express?