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Traveling to and From Disney and the Airport Without the Magical Express

If the convenience of the Magical Express Shuttle was a favorite start to your Disney World vacation, you are not alone. The ease of hopping on this complimentary shuttle at Orlando International Airport was unmatched. Sadly, the Magical Express service was retired in early 2022.

If you have not vacationed at Walt Disney World in several years or have never navigated airport transport in Orlando without the Magical Express, your next trip will require more planning. No worries, we are here to provide tips on arriving at the magic of Disney World Resort. Here is a guide to Disney World airport transportation.

Mco reopening

Credit: Orlando International Airport

Most Walt Disney World Guests arriving by air will fly into Orlando International Airport. The airport is around 20 miles from Disney World, around a 20-25 minute drive depending on the traffic. Not to worry, you do have options when booking airport transit.

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Mears Transportation

Mears Connect now runs a transit service from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World Resort. You’ll find the pickup point at the spot previously known as the Magical Express pickup point. You will want to pre-book your ride using Mears Connect based on your flight arrival time. Guests can select an express service or standard service when choosing the shuttle options.

Mears Shuttle

Credit: Mears

The express service will be the faster option, with limited to no wait time and a direct ride to your Resort from the airport. Of course, the express service also comes with a higher price tag. Guests looking to book the express service must book a roundtrip option, as one-way trips on the express level are unavailable. The standard service is a bit cheaper and takes a longer route with multiple stops. The good news is even though the standard service shuttle is not direct, the wait times are monitored, so you know you will still arrive at your Disney Resort in a timely manner.

Standard shuttle service with Mears Connect is $14 per adult each way and $13.50 per child each way. You can also buy a round trip for $32 per adult and $27 per child. If an express service’s set schedule and convenience sounds better, you can secure it for $250 for a group of up to four adults. Each additional adult is an extra $55.

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Uber and Lyft RideShare

MCO Uber Lyft

Credit: Positively Osceola

Of course, ride-share apps are a popular choice for traveling from the Orlando airport to your Disney Hotel. The convenience of snagging a ride via Uber or Lyft in real time after you grab your bags is perfect. Prices fluctuate throughout the day based on driver demand and supply, making this an airport shuttle option that may come in more or less expensive than you anticipated.

That said, if you are comfortable with ride-share services, you could save money and will definitely enjoy less planning and a quicker pickup if you choose to travel to your Disney Hotel via ride-share.

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 The Sunshine Flyer Shuttle

Disney’s Magical Express was always a fun shuttle option because of the classic Disney theming. If you are looking for another shuttle option that has cute theming, you should check out Sunshine Flyer Shuttle. Sunshine Flyer is adorably decorated in 1920s rail car flair. Sure, it’s not Disney-themed, but it’s a lot of fun to arrive in vintage style at your room at Caribbean Beach Resort or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Sunshine Flyer

Credit: The Sunshine Flyer

The Sunshine Flyer requires Guests to book in advance. Reservations are accepted up to four days before your ride. The shuttle runs from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. One-way trips can be purchased for $16 per adult and $10 per child. A roundtrip ride costs $32 per adult and $20 per child. Child rates are for Guests 12 and under, except for children two years and younger who can ride on an adult’s lap for free.

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Recap

Uber or Lyft is an excellent option for Guests that would prefer not to commit to a shuttle time before their vacation. The price of a ride-share could be comparable to the shuttle cost, or you may pay more depending on demand. Mears Transportation or Sunshine Flyer are great options for those looking to sort out the details of the airport/Disney Hotel connection before leaving home.

Person using the Uber app

Credit: Disney Dining

Remember that shuttle costs can get pricey, and groups of three or more Guests might save money by booking a ride-share service instead of a shuttle. Uber or Lyft are excellent options because you’ll be delivered from the Orlando airport to your Disney Resort without waiting or additional stops. A shuttle service is convenient because the details are sorted out, and your seat is secured before traveling to Orlando. Know what pros and cons strike the right balance for your travel crew and book accordingly.

Monorail EPCOT

Credit: thegotofamily.com

When you arrive at Disney World, the fun starts when you can hop on my favorite transportation- Walt Disney World transportation! Regardless of how you choose to get to The Most Magical Place on Earth from the Orlando airport, the Disney World Buses, Disney Skyliner, monorail, and Disney water taxis are the best ways to travel. I hope this guide is helpful as you plan airport transportation to your Disney Resort Hotel. Happy travels!

About Katie Chapman

Hey There! I am a Georgia native with a passion for writing, traveling, cooking, decorating, pugs and of course all things Disney. Growing up in South Georgia just a few hours from Walt Disney World made for a magical childhood. Some of my best memories were made on Main Street U.S.A. with my sister watching SpectroMagic nighttime parade or beside my grandparents, parents and extended family at Chef Mickey’s celebrating on a family vacation. Epcot was my favorite park from a young age and I credit it with my interest in and love for international travel. As a kid I loved meeting characters and watching films around World Showcase and could spend hours exploring each of the countries in Epcot. These days, my husband and I get away to explore a new country whenever we can and even incorporate trips to The Disney Store and Disney Parks around the world in our travels. One of our travel goals is to visit every Disney Park in the world. I love writing about Disney restaurants, park tips, Disney outfit inspiration and Disney history. Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess (90s kid here!) but Mr. Toad is my spirit animal. When I’m not at Disney I’m reading about park history, watching Disney documentaries and shopping vintage Disney merch for park outfits. I never pass up a reservation to Ohana, an empty seat on Living with the Land or a Violet Sake.