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With Disney’s Magical Express Gone, Do You Need to Rent a Car?

Magical Express Gone and Rental Car
Credit: Disney Dining

On January 1, 2022, Walt Disney World Resort announced the end of its memorable Disney’s Magical Express transportation. The news was not welcome among the Disney fan community, as the Magical Express was a transportation option that took Disney guests from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to their Disney Resort hotel.

Goodbye, Disney’s Magical Express!

Not only was it actually magical for arriving Disney guests, but it was 100% free. It was one of the major perks of staying in a Disney resort for those flying in, and we were certainly sad to see it go.

Of course, fans haven’t stopped visiting Walt Disney World Resort simply because the Disney Magical Express service went away. No, instead, they have found alternative ways to get and from their Disney hotel rooms so they can continue to have their magical vacations.

Disney's Magical Express

Credit: Disney Dining

Related: Disney’s Magical Express Eliminated: Fans Cite ‘Stinginess’ as Reason

To do this, many have turned to car rentals.

If you haven’t visited Disney since the Magical Express was removed, or are looking for transportation alternatives for upcoming trips, here are a few things you need to consider when thinking about car rentals.

Car Rental Factors

On the surface, a rental car does seem like a logical solution. You can pick it up and drop it off at the airport, and with a car of your own, you will have complete control over when you come and go.

That said, a rental car might not be as wonderful as it seems. Why? Well, several factors come together to make renting a car at Walt Disney World Resort a much more expensive and difficult experience than not renting one might be.

Below, we’ll outline each of these factors so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Rental Costs are High

Cinderella Castle with Money

Related: Driverless Busses Coming Soon to Orlando Theme Parks

First and foremost, we must give you a heads-up that rental costs are extremely high. Ever since the pandemic, the biggest reason for the shortage of rental cars, guests are still seeing high rental cost prices.

Orlando International Airport is additionally a high-priced airport for rental cars due to the popularity of the tourist city. Instantly, with Disney’s Magical Express gone, there is an increase in demand from Disney Park guests. More demand means an increase in price!

You Won’t Need the Car Once on the Property

Another great argument for skipping the rental car? It isn’t necessary.

Once you arrive on Disney property, there is no reason you should have to leave Walt Disney World Resort property for the duration of your trip. Groceries can be delivered to the Disney hotels, there are laundry facilities onsite, the gift shop sells most necessities, and the Walt Disney Company provides transportation via monorail, bus, boat, and Disney Skyliner to all of the on-property attractions.

For many people, this means the rented car will only end up sitting unused in a resort parking lot. Considering you’re paying by the day to have the car, this seems like a gigantic waste, especially when rental prices are higher than usual.

parking tram disneyland

Credit: Dennis D on Flickr

Related: The Real Reason Guests Should Take Advantage of Disney Transportation

Waiting and Walking More

Let’s say you rent a car and use it to drive yourself to the parks. Would this save you time or energy? Honestly, probably not.

Those who drive their own vehicles to the parks will be put into the gigantic theme park parking lots. These are usually partially full very early in the day, and the front parts of the lots tend to be used for “preferred” and handicapped parking anyway.

This means you won’t be at the front of the lot without paying extra, which means you will either need to wait to ride the tram or walk the long distance to the park entrance. Additionally, those who drive to the Magic Kingdom have to park at the Transportation and Ticket Center, meaning they also have to ride the monorail or ferry boat before they even arrive at the park gate (and then go back the same way when they leave later).

Transportation Ticket Center

Credit: World of Disney

Related: EPCOT Moves to Pasadena, California, as Disney Brings Back an Extinct Transportation Offering to Celebrate the New Year

On the other hand, those who choose to take Disney transportation from their Disney resort hotel to the parks will be dropped off much closer to the entry, meaning there will almost certainly be less walking and waiting involved, something that will definitely help improve your Disney experience.

Save on Gas!

Short and sweet – there is no reason to spend your hard-earned money on gas when you can buy more Dole Whips and Mickey ears instead!

Related: 10 Tips and Secrets for Saving Money at Disney World

There are Other Options

Sunshine Flyer

Credit: Sunshine Flyer

Clearly, a rental car is not the way to go for many. Fortunately, there are other airport transportation options out there. If you’re trying to figure out how to get to your Disney hotel from the Orlando airport without the Disney World Magical Express bus. You might try one of the Magical Express replacement options listed below:

Mears connect

Credit: Mears Connect

Now that you know the best ways to get from Orlando International Airport to the hotel and back again, you can book the most suitable option and move on to planning the more fun aspects of your Disney vacation!

Do you think renting a Walt Disney World rental car is worth it? Let us know in the comments!

About Chelsea Gonzales

One comment

  1. Just visited Disney World for Thanksgiving and found it as wonderful as ever! I really miss the Magical express service, I believe Disney should revisit that service, even if it would mean a small additional cost. It was wonderful. So, the transportation option I chose was Mears round trip bus for $33.00, very reasonable compared to the other options. Renting a car is pricey, and I think there is a charge for parking at your hotel? Someone correct me if this is not so. However you arrive, you will enjoy your visit!

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