Since Disney discontinued their complimentary Magical Express service in January of 2022, guests have had to turn to alternative transportation options from the Orlando International Airport to their Disney Resort Hotel. The Disney Magical Express service was so convenient and a great benefit of staying on property. I know I was extremely sad to see the service go but hey, it was great while it lasted!
Guests looking for a new ground transportation option don't have to look far. Mears, the same company that used to operate Disney's Magical Express, introduced their new service, Mears Connect. Although the service may have a new name and price, Mears offers the same safe and reliable service guests have been using for years. In fact, if you use Mears Connect on your next vacation, it may look very familiar.
Mears offers two service options; Standard and Express. The Standard service is a shared shuttle service with monitored wait times and limited stops at at other Disney Resort Hotels, much like Disney's Magical Express service. If you're looking for more direct service, you can book the Express which provides limited wait time on a direct, shared service to your Resort. This isn't a private service so you may share your vehicle with other guests but you'll be guaranteed to be the first stop.
Once you arrive in Orlando, you'll collect your luggage from baggage claim and then make your way to ground transportation level 1 on the B side at the Orlando International Airport. (Sound familiar?) This is the same exact space where you would board Disney's Magical Express. The check-in counters are the same former counters just with new signage.
Prior to arriving, you'll receive an email from Mears with your Boarding Pass. The Boarding Pass is a QR code along with your reservation details, pick-up information and drop-off location. You'll need this QR code when you arrive at the Mears Connect reception area. When I arrived to the area shortly before 8am, there wasn't any line and I had my choice of kiosks check-in. A Mears team member greeted me and helped me scan my QR code and check me in. I was supposed to have received a "fun souvenir" but the team member forgot to give me one. I was just happy to be starting my Disney vacation so it was a non-issue for me but if you're really looking forward to the souvenir, you may need to ask if you aren't automatically given one.
Once you're checked in you'll be assigned a boarding zone and then you'll wait in line for the next available bus to your Disney Resort Area hotel. There are monitors at the front of the lines that list out the different zones and their respective boarding lane numbers. They also list out the first four letters in the guests last name and their first initial on the boards so you know when you have been called to board.
I was in line for approximately one minute before I was told to board. I was on the motorcoach at 8am and we were making our way to the resort by 8:15am. I was also the only guest on the bus! Approximately 30 minutes later, I was at my resort. Please note that your experience may differ due to your arrival time and how many other reservations are booked, how many buses are in service, the number of stops and resorts of your shuttle, traffic, etc.
|Boarding zone lines|
|The motorcoach interior looks very familiar...|
Now let's talk pricing...For Standard Service, the current price as of March 2023 is $20.90 per adult and $14.85 per child One Way. Round Trip pricing is $39.90 per adult and $28.35 per child. Similar to Disney World ticket pricing, child rates are for children ages 3-9 years and children under 3 years of age ride free.
The Express Service is only available as a Round Trip service and is $250 for up to 4 passengers. If you have additional guests, the cost is $55 per additional passenger. The Express Service does not have a child rate so children of all ages are included in the total guest count.
Reservations can be made through the Mears Connect website or you can reach out to your Kingdom Konsultant Agent for assistance booking. If you don't already have a reservation, the sign at the check-in area says it's no problem! You can book your reservation by visiting MearsConnect.com upon arrival at the Orlando International Airport.
My return service on Mears was almost as seamless as my arrival. Standard service return times are scheduled for approximately 3 hours before your domestic flight departure or 4 hours in advance for international flights. (Again...very familiar) I received my Boarding Pass and QR code about 24 hours before my scheduled departure time. My pick-up time was for 6:50pm but my driver arrived about 10 minutes early. I didn't mind since I was ready to go upon his arrival. We had one other resort stop, where we picked up 3 additional guests and then it was off to the airport. I arrived with plenty of time to spare before my departure.
The vehicle for my return trip was a small, passenger van where my arrival transportation was a motorcoach. If you are traveling with young children who still use car seats, it's important to know that a car seat is not provided for you or required. Even though a car seat is not required, I know many parents would feel more comfortable using one so you may want to bring your own car seat and use it.
|Mears Connect shuttle van|
Overall, I was very happy with the Mears Connect service and I would definitely use it again on future vacations. I thought the Mears team members were friendly, the service was reliable, and the price was reasonable. And there's something so nice about still making my way to Level 1 of the B side of the Orlando International Airport. It's a path I know by heart after traveling it for so many years and the fact that Mears Connect is in that same location gives it's extra points in my book.
Have you used Mears Connect? What did you think of the service? Let us know in the comments.
Ashley has been a Disney Parks fan from an early age and loves anything vintage Disney. You can email Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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