A favorite travel perk of mine is Disney’s Magical Express. The Magical Express is bus transportation from the Orlando International Airport taking both you and your luggage to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel. On the surface, this isn’t anything groundbreaking. But two main points make the Magical Express unique: It’s FREE and they take care of your checked luggage for you. All the way to your hotel room! Let me walk you through the beauty of Disney’s Magical Express experience.
Your Guide to Disney’s Magical Express
When you make your hotel reservations online or with your travel agent, you will be asked to include your flight information. Don’t panic if that’s not available.
You can add the information later through this link or by calling (407) 939-1936.
Your travel documents and Magical Express tags will be mailed to you about 2-3 weeks before arrival.
One tag per person is typically sent, but you can request more than one.
I had packing issues and needed to do just that on my last trip.
Disney’s Magical Express Transports the Bags To Your Hotel
You MUST attach these bright yellow tags to your bags if you want them transported to your hotel by Disney.
If you arrive between the hours of 5 am and 10 pm, these tags signal the airline attendants to grab your bags and take them to your resort.
*If you are arriving outside those hours, you MUST pick up your luggage at baggage claim and carry them to the Magical Express.*
GUYS: This is the magical part! Once you check your luggage at your departure airport, you will not have to worry about them again!
They will magically appear in your room 2-3 hours after your arrival.
It’s my favorite thing EVER about traveling to Walt Disney World.
Take Your Magic Bands With You To Board the Magical Express
You will need your Magic Bands.
When they arrive at my house, I put them immediately in my purse or laptop bag as I know both will go on the plane with me.
I don’t usually put the band on until landing, but you can certainly wear that durable arm candy for the whole flight.
How To Find the Magical Express at MCO
One note: Disney’s Magical Express is only available at MCO; if you arrive at Sanford Airport you will need to make other arrangements.
When you land at the airport, you will arrive at level 3.
Take the mini-monorail train to the main terminal and exit to the center of the airport.
Look for Side B. Disney’s Magical Express is located on Level 1, Side B, Ground Transportation.
There are usually signs pointing you in the right direction, so just keep an eye out for them!
You’ll walk quite a ways after exiting the elevator or escalators. Just keep walking past all the rental car counters to the far end.
Checking In At The Magical Express
Once you arrive at the Magical Express check-in kiosks, you will start using that Magic Band.
There are two opportunities to scan my band and to make sure you are going to the right bus line.
The first time is when you are greeted by the Cast Members working the Kiosk. They will verify your name and resort and traveling party when you scan your Magic Band.
If at any point there was a mistake, it will be handled quickly right at the kiosks.
Finally, you will get in line for the bus and wait for yours to board.
How Long Does Disney’s Magical Express Take?
If you are lucky with the timing, you might walk right through the queue and board a bus.
It’s happened to me many times. If your motorcoach is not ready for you, the wait is typically 10-30 minutes (but it can be longer- it really just depends on arrivals during that time and date.)
Once you’ve boarded, the driver will make announcements and let you know how long it takes to get to Walt Disney World.
The ride to Walt Disney World typically takes 25 minutes.
Your coach may make a couple of stops at various resorts, so make sure you are paying attention to the resort stops.
My estimation based on my personal experience is 45 minutes from the time we pull away from MCO to the time I’m getting off the Magical Express.
Disney takes care of you from the moment you land until the moment you leave.
The Magical Express motorcoach service is one of many reasons why I stay onsite at Walt Disney World.
It may even be my number 1 reason, to be honest. I’m a diva, what can I say?
(I mean, you’ve seen the size of my bags, right?)
Do You Need Car Seats on Disney’s Magical Express?
No, you do not. And in fact, if you bring them you will not be able to use them.
Can You Carry On Your Own Bags?
You do not need to use the yellow tags if you prefer to carry your own bags to the resort with you.
They will be stored under the bus by the driver and retrieved when you arrive at your resort.
Do I Need to Tip My Magical Express Bus Driver?
Tips are not required nor expected, but they are certainly appreciated!
I usually give $2 per bag if I carry my luggage onto the bus rather than use the yellow tags.
How Does the Magical Express Work on the Return Trip?
Your Disney resort will attach a Magical Express envelope with instructions to your door the night before you leave.
Inside the envelope will be the times you will need to be at the Resort pick up location. It is usually located right outside your resort main lobby.
The only negative to the ride back to the airport- besides signaling the end of your trip, of course!- is that you will board the bus about 3 hours before your flight leaves.
And that boarding time is non-negotiable. Disney needs to make sure you arrive safely and on time, so they assign the return trip.
If that sounds way too early, you could also consider taking an Uber or Lyft in Orlando for the trip back to the airport.
Have you used Disney’s Magical Express before? What did you like the most about the service?
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)