Just about one week into life without Disney’s Magical Express in operation, we are seeing the first price increase to one of the system’s major replacements. Disney’s Magical Express offered Walt Disney World Resort Guests complimentary transportation between the Orlando International Airport and their resorts since the service began in 2005.
For the majority of the time Guest could use Disney’s Magical Express, the service also offered complimentary luggage pickup allowing Guests to skip baggage claim at the Orlando International Airport altogether and head straight to their Walt Disney World Resort hotel. (This service was discontinued prior to the end of Disney’s Magical Express as luggage service has not been offered since the reopening of the resort from its closure at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Disney’s Magical Express was discontinued on January 1, 2022, with very limited return trips to the airport running until January 10, 2022. In the wake of the service ending, new services have popped up to replace it and fill the need of Guests looking for affordable travel between the airport and their resorts. One such service, Mears Connect, is the closest option to the “official” successor of Disney’s Magical Express as Mears is the transportation company that actually ran the service through Disney. In fact, the Mears Connect buses are the same buses used for Disney’s Magical Express with different wraps on them!
Mears Connect has two tiers of service available, Standard and Express. The Standard service runs very similarly to how Disney’s Magical Express operated while priced at $16 for adults and $13.50 for children, one way, as opposed to being free like its predecessor. Guests using the standard service will make a reservation in advance based on their arrival at the airport and will take a bus, likely with a short wait, with other Guests heading the same direction.
The Express service had no comparable counterpart in Disney’s Magical Express as it guarantees that your resort will be the first stop and ensures little to no wait time before your ride departs from the airport. Transportation via Mears Connect Express may also be in a van or smaller vehicle in addition to a bus. It should also be noted that the Express Service is not private- If you book this ride you may be on a bus with other Guests, however your resort will be the first stop.
When Mears Connect launched at the beginning of this year, the Express Service cost $200 round trip for up to four passengers (and an additional $55 per additional passenger.) Guests booking the service today however, will notice that the price has increased to $255 round trip. Mears Connect did initally publish prices stating that they were introductory rates, however Guests were shown no end date for when costs might go up, so it is possible that the introductory rate has passed and $255 is the full price. (Also possible is the option that $255 is an increased introductory rate…)
Depending on your personal preferences, Mears Connect can still offer an easy transportation solution to losing Disney’s Magical Express, and we recommend looking into both Mears and the Sunshine Flyer as you plan your arrival at the airport.
We will keep you updated here on Disney Fanatic as we learn more about changes to Mears Connect and other transportation options to Walt Disney World from the Orlando International Airport.