As I was perusing the news this morning, I saw a headline that made me go, “Whaaaaaat!?” As a writer of Disney News, I like to think I’m pretty current on it. Very little happens that takes me by surprise, especially since one of my particular interests is writing corporate news. When you often write about what they are doing in the C-Suites, you begin to get an idea of what they will do next. So when I saw the words “fan favorite free service” and “returns” in the same headline, I perked up.
The article discussed the Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer merger. They claimed that after the merger in August, the service would again be complementary to guests traveling between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. Could it be? Have they pulled a complete surprise on all of us and quietly replaced the Magical Express without all the fanfare we would’ve expected from such a development?
I quickly went to the transportation company’s website to look for any indication that this was true. I couldn’t find it. Then again, there was little said about pricing at all, so I had not lost hope! I decided to make a mock reservation to see what (if) it would cost. I made sure to list a date that was after the planned merger. The verdict? This is not true. Had I completed the booking, my pretend September Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine round-trip transfer from MCO to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and back would have cost me $250. That was the price for just me and one bag.
I live in a location where flights to Orlando are often cheap, so out of curiosity, I checked flight prices for that time (if anyone has ever wondered how I’ve “accidentally” gone to Disney World, this is it. I check prices “just to see” and they make me an offer I can’t refuse). I could fly roundtrip for $185. So my Mears Connect Driven By Sunshine transfer would actually end up costing more than my plane tickets. That’s about as far from complementary as it gets.
I’m not going to call out the publication that said the service would be free. I believe it may have been a genuine error rather than malicious fake news. It happens. I did want to publish my own findings, though. Traveling to Walt Disney World is complicated enough. Information that isn’t true just makes it more challenging. Sadly, we can file this one away as untrue. Disney does not now, nor does it plan to in the near future, have a free transportation replacement for the Magical Express.
You can bet that when and if they ever replace the free connection service, they will do so very loudly. They find themselves in a public relations mess at the moment. They would want to shout, “We are giving something free” from the rooftops. We hope to be able to report this news to you at some point, but it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon.