Disney Magical Express: Everything You Need To Know

on July 15, 2018

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One of my favorite perks of staying at a Disney World hotel is the free ride to and from the airport on the Disney Magical Express.

In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know about using the Disney Magical Express from someone who has used it over twenty times – that’s me!

What is Disney Magical Express?

Magical Express is coach bus service from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to all Disney World resort hotels and back again.

The buses are very nice coach buses with fabric seats and TV entertainment. They run continuously from the airport to all resorts owned and operated by Disney.

Here’s a peek at what the buses look like inside:

Magical Express will drop you off at the front of your resort very close to the check-in desks.

Is Magical Express Free?

Yes! Magical Express is complimentary for guests staying at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

Here is the official list of resorts that provide Magical Express:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort & Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins & Campsites
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort & Bay Lake Tower Villas
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Villas
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

There are some hotels that are located on Disney World property but are not owned and operated by Disney, such as the Disney Springs area hotels and the Swan and Dolphin. These hotels do NOT offer Magical Express bus service.

How does Magical Express luggage transfer work?

In addition to transporting you from the airport to Disney World, Magical Express also provides transportation for your luggage. You will be able to skip baggage claim and head straight to the Magical Express bus.

When you have booked Magical Express as part of your trip (details on how to do that next), Disney will mail you luggage tags a few weeks before your departure.

Minnie mouse ears with Disney Magical Express luggage tag

My Magical Express luggage tag and other vacation essentials

Place these luggage tags on your checked bags only. Disney cast members will collect your bags and have them sent directly to your hotel. This means you do NOT have to go to the baggage carousels and collect your bags!

Your bags will be delivered directly to your room at your resort later that day. It sometimes takes upwards of 5-6 hours for your bags to arrive at your resort. Disney will tell you 3-4 hours, but in reality, it can take upwards of six hours.

Be sure to pack everything you will need for the first 6 hours of your stay in your carry-on bag. This includes medications, diapers, your MagicBands and park tickets, sunscreen, swimsuits, etc.

How Do I Book Magical Express?

If you booked your Disney world trip with a travel agent, you’ll just ask your agent to add it to your trip and provide her/him with your flight information (airline and flight number is all that is required).

Did you know that it is totally free to use a travel agent for a Disney vacation? I highly suggest the expert team of Disney travel agents at Destinations in Florida – they can help you will ALL aspects of your trip, from Magical Express to dining reservations, all with no additional cost to you!

If you make your reservation online directly with Disney and already have your flight information, you can enter it during the booking process. Just select “Add Ground” and fill out this form:

Screenshot of Disney Magical Express reservation form

If you book your Disney resort reservation through a third party (check out how to save money on Disney hotels on Orbitz here or how to find Disney hotels on Hotwire and Priceline here) or through renting DVC points, you will need to make the Magical Express reservation yourself.

You can make your own reservation one of two ways: by phone or online.

You will need the following information handy:

  • Your Disney confirmation number
  • Flight information for everyone in your party (Airline and flight number)
  • Mailing address where you want your luggage tags sent

You can make your reservation by phone by calling Magical Express at (407) 939-1936. UK guests should call 0800 16 90 730 and other International guests should make their reservation through the tour operator or travel agent that booked their stay.

Can I book Disney Magical Express online?

Yes – here is the link to add Magical Express to your reservation online. I have used it MANY times myself and it has always worked for me. You will get an email confirmation after making your reservation.

If you have trouble with the form on your browser, try an alternate browser. For a while, the form didn’t play nice with Chrome, but it now works fine.

What terminal is Disney Magical Express?

Disney Magical Express sign in Orlando International Airport

Magical Express is located on Level 1 of the B Side at Orlando International Airport. Here’s how to find it at the airport:

  • After you depart your plane, follow signs to Ground Transportation. You will take a short tram ride to the main terminal.
  • Once in the main terminal, find the B Side.
  • Take the elevator down to Level 1.
  • Follow the signs to Magical Express at the far end of Level 1.

Here is a map that might help:

Map of Orlando Airport with Magical Express location

Once you arrive at the Magical Express area, you will be asked to scan your Magic Band (each person in your party needs their band) or provide your Disney confirmation number if you are picking your bands up at your resort. Then you will be directed to the correct bus for your resort.

How long does it take to get to Disney on Magical Express?

Disney Magical Express bus and Mickey Mouse with luggage

Photo Courtesy Walt Disney World

The actual drive from the airport to Walt Disney World property is about 30 minutes (more or less depending on traffic conditions).

However, I usually estimate 90 minutes from the time my plane lands to my arrival at my resort. This factors in time to get to the Magical Express area at the airport, time waiting for your bus to depart (which if you are the first on can be up to 20 minutes), and actual drive time.

The bus will make up to four stops at different Disney World resorts. If your resort happens to be the first stop, then you can expect a slightly shorter trip.

Does Disney Magical Express go to Sanford?

No, Magical Express only picks up at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Your best option to get from Sanford Aiport (SFB) is to take Uber or Lyft – get all of my tips for using rideshares in the Orlando area here.

How does using Magical Express for your return trip to the airport work?

If you have scheduled Magical Express for your return trip to MCO, then you will receive a letter hanging on your hotel room door the morning before you depart.

The letter will contain your Magical Express pick up time. It will be about 3 hours before your plane departs. This letter serves as your Magical Express return ticket, so you must bring it with you with you when depart.

I suggest being at the Magical Express bus stop (the same place where you were dropped off) about 10 minutes before your pick-up time.

How does Resort Airline Check-In Work?

Disney World resorts offer a wonderful service called “Resort Airline Check-In”. This allows you to check-in for your flight, receive your boarding passes, and check your bags right at your hotel!

If you are flying on the major airlines you can use this service, including Delta, American, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue. Unfortunately, this service isn’t yet offered by low-cost airlines such as Frontier and Spirit.

The Resort Airline Check-In desks are found at the front of the resort, very close to luggage service and the Magical Express bus stop.

Here are some of the important rules for Resort Airline Check-In:

  • The desk is only open from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm (noon).
  • You must check your bags at least three hours before your flight to use this service.
  • You can check your bag as early as you’d like if you have an evening flight.
  • All guests must be present for check-in and have their ID.

Any guest at a Disney resort can use the Resort Airline Check-in Service, even if you aren’t using Magical Express for your return trip.

How early does Magical Express pick you up?

Your Magical Express pick up time will be about three hours before your scheduled flight. Your bus makes up to three additional stops at other resorts and then go to the airport.

Is there Magical Express for Disneyland?

No, unfortunately Disneyland doesn’t offer complimentary airport bus transfers like Disney World.

Your best option is to purchase a ticket for the Disneyland Resort Express bus for airport transfers. I suggest getting discount Disneyland Resort Express tickets from Undercover Tourist, my preferred ticket provider.

I hope this post answered all of your questions about using the Disney Magical Express bus! If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below or join the discussion in my free private Facebook group for The Budget Mouse!

Want to learn how to do Disney on a budget? Check out my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse here!

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