Frequently Asked Questions About Disney’s Magical Express

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Disney’s Magical Express is a service that provides free bus transportation to and from Orlando International Airport and Disney’s resort hotels, for guests staying at those hotels. While the word “FREE” always sounds good, there may be some situations where using Magical Express does not make sense. There are also some tips and tricks that can make your Magical Express experience better if you do choose to use it. Here’s what you need to know.

Who can use Disney’s Magical Express?

The Magical Express check-in desk at MCO

Registered guests of Disney-owned hotels are eligible for Magical Express Service. These hotels are:

  • Art of Animation
  • All-Star Movies, Music, & Sports
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas, Jambo & Kidani
  • Beach Club & Villas
  • BoardWalk & Villas
  • Fort Wilderness Cabins & Campgrounds
  • Caribbean Beach
  • Contemporary & Bay Lake Tower Villas
  • Coronado Springs
  • Grand Floridian
  • Old Key West
  • Polynesian
  • Pop Century
  • Port Orleans French Quarter & Riverside
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Wilderness Lodge & Villas
  • Yacht Club

But I’m staying at the Swan! Isn’t that on Disney property? Don’t I qualify for Magical Express?

Sorry, no. While the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, and a few Downtown Disney area hotels are quite close to the action, only guests staying at the hotels actually owned by Disney qualify for free Magical Express transportation.

If you’re considering staying at the Swan/Dolphin/etc., you may want to factor the lack of Magical Express service into your decision process. The lack of ME means that staying at these resorts will automatically add a rental car fee (and a resort parking fee) or cab or shuttle fare to the cost of your vacation.

I’m flying into Sanford Airport. Can I get Magical Express from there?

There are many Disney cast members to help direct you to the right Magical Express bus.

No, there is only free Magical Express transportation from Orlando International (MCO).

How do I set up my Magical Express ride?

When you make your Disney hotel reservation, you will be asked if you want to use Magic Express. Say yes. To make a Magical Express booking, you’ll need to provide your flight information and resort confirmation number.

What if I don’t know my flight information yet?

No worries. Magical Express can be arranged at any point prior to your trip by calling 866-599-0951. You can also add flight information to your itinerary by visiting www.disneyworld.com/mydisneyvacation.

I booked my Disney stay through a travel aggregator (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity) that never asked me if I wanted to use Magical Express. Can I still use it?

Yes. As long as you have a reservation at a Disney hotel on the list above, then you can use ME. Call 866-599-0951 to set this up. Again, have your resort confirmation number and flight information available when you call.

What do I do if my flight information changes after I’ve given the information to Magical Express?

If the airline has tinkered with your arrival/departure time by a few minutes, don’t worry about it. If there has been a substantial change, then call Magical Express to let them know. You should also do this if anything happens at the last minute, such as a significant weather delay or you miss your flight. If you’re in a tizzy at the airport (status quo for me) and forget to call to update Magical Express about a delay, don’t stress. Just get to Orlando, and they’ll work with you at the Magical Express Welcome Desk to get you to your resort as quickly as possible.

Will I get anything in the mail about my Magical Express booking?

Buses at the airport, ready to head to the resorts.

If you reside in the US or Canada, then yes. If you make your Magical Express booking more than about a month in advance, then you will get an envelope in the mail that includes a Magical Express voucher booklet and yellow ME luggage tags.

What are the vouchers for?

The vouchers basically function as your Magical Express ticket. When you arrive at the Magical Express area at the airport, they will scan your voucher and point you to the correct bus waiting area.

I lost my vouchers. Help!

Stay calm. There are lots of friendly folks at the Magical Express desk. If you don’t have vouchers for any reason (you lost them, you arranged for ME service on short notice, etc.), just let them know at the desk. They can look up your room reservation and print you new vouchers. Assuming that there’s no line at the desk, this only takes two or three minutes.

I only have carry-on bags. Do I need the yellow luggage tags?

Nope. Feel free to toss them in the trash. They also make a festive alternative to tape when wrapping packages.

I will have checked luggage. What do I do with the tags?

Magical Express voucher booklet

That depends. Do you want Disney to deliver them directly to your hotel room for you? Or do want to pick up your bags yourself, taking them with you on the bus?

Disney will bring my bags from the airport to my room? Cool! What do I do?

If this is your preference, place the yellow bag tags on your luggage before you surrender them at your origination airport. Say goodbye to your bags, because you won’t see them for for a looong time.

What do you mean I won’t see my bags for a long time?

Disney states that bags are typically delivered to your room three hours after your plane arrives at MCO. Anecdotal evidence suggests that waits of up to five hours are not atypical. If you do plan to have Disney deliver your bags to your room, you should be sure to stock your carry-on items with anything you might need for the better part of day. This may mean a change of clothes, toiletries, and baby gear. You should always keep medications, electronics, and trip documentation with you in your carry-ons.

Disney only sent me one yellow luggage tag, but I have two bags. What do I do?

Call Magical Express, and they’ll mail you another one.

I made my Disney booking at the last minute and there was no time for Disney to send me luggage tags. What do I do?

How to find the Magical Express desk at the airport.

Honestly, the easiest thing is for you to retrieve your bags at the airport yourself and bring them with you to the Magical Express bus. The WDW website states that you can just leave your bags, go to the ME desk and describe your bags, and they’ll find them and bring them to the hotel for you. I’ve heard it works, but the entire concept just makes me nervous.

I’ve decided I’d rather not wait for Disney to deliver my bags. What do I do?

If you have checked luggage, you’re always welcome to bring your bags with you on the bus to your resort. In this case, do NOT put the yellow tags on your bags. If the airport baggage handlers see the yellow tags, they will pull them for sorting behind the scenes. With yellow tags, your bags will never make it out to the pick-up carousel at baggage claim.

Once you’ve grabbed your bags, wheel them with you over to the Magical Express check-in area.

I’m flying to Orlando from outside the USA. Does that impact my ability to use Magical Express?

From the Walt Disney World website: “If the Orlando International Airport is your first point of entry into the United States, please follow the U.S. Customs & Border Protection process and claim your luggage upon disembarking the airplane. Once you have completed this process you will give your luggage back to the airport officials and proceed to the Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center on B side, Level 1. Disney’s Magical Express service will recollect your luggage and deliver it directly to your Walt Disney World hotel room within 4 hours after you check in at the resort. For international Guests arriving after 10:00 p.m., please retain your luggage with you or pick it up in the baggage claim area and then proceed to the Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center. Your luggage will accompany you on the motorcoach. If you have already completed the U.S. Customs & Border Protection process in another U.S. city, proceed directly to the Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center on B side, Level 1. For airport arrivals after 10:00 p.m., collect your luggage for transport on the motorcoach.”

You’ll also notice that I mentioned above that only US and Canadian guests will receive vouchers and tags in the mail. If this applies to you, you are still eligible for Magical Express service, you’ll just have to stop at the Magical Express desk to get vouchers when you arrive.

Where is the Magical Express check-in area?

Sample yellow luggage tag.

Magical Express is on Level 1, below the B side baggage claim area. Follow the signs to baggage claim B, then take the elevator or escalator down. Follow the signs from there.

If you’re going directly to Magical Express from your flight, or if you’re collecting your own bags from Baggage Claim B, then you’re in good shape. If you’re collecting your own bags from Baggage Claim A, then you’ll have to go back to the main terminal and cross over to the B side.

Does Magical Express have specific hours?

The Magical Express buses run 24 hours a day. Whatever time you arrive at MCO, there will be a bus to take you to your hotel. This applies to flights that are running on time and to those that arrive late due to weather or other delays.

While the bus service runs all day, the luggage delivery service does not. If your flight arrives after 10:00 p.m., because it was scheduled to do so or because of a delay, then you must collect your luggage from the carousel on your own and bring them with you to the Magical Express check-in desk.

OK, I’ve made it to the Magical Express check-in area. What do I do?

If you have your vouchers, proceed to the line for your hotel. If you don’t have vouchers, stop at the desk, and they’ll hook you up.

How long will I be waiting for the bus?

In my experience, the wait could be anything from nothing to about 20 minutes. It depends on when the last bus left for your resort area.

OK, my bus is ready. What do I do with my bags?

Just give whatever bags you have, checked or large carry-on, to the driver, and he’ll load them under the bus for you.

What’s the inside of the bus like?

There’s lot of signage at the airport to direct you where to wait for your bus.

These are coach-style buses. The seats are plush velour, with armrests and footrests, two by two down the aisle.

Is there entertainment on the bus?

Once you get off airport grounds, a propaganda video will play on the overhead TV monitors. It’s fairly innocuous, showing you many of the activities available at Walt Disney World. Expect Disney fans to cheer when their favorite attractions appears on screen.

I have a small child. Do I need a car seat?

No. Florida law does not require car seats on buses, nor is there any mechanism to attach a car seat to the bus seat. Your baby can sit on the seat next to you or on your lap. If you happen to have a car seat with you, your driver can stow it underneath with the luggage.

I’m uncomfortable not having my child in a car seat. What do I do?

If this is a sticking point with you, then you may want to consider alternate transportation to your resort.

Is there a bathroom on the bus?

Yes, most Magical Express buses do have a small lavatory at the rear of the vehicle.

Is the Magical Express bus handicapped accessible?

Guests traveling in wheelchairs can be accommodated. This service must be requested in advance.

Can I bring my dog with me on the Magical Express bus?

Only service animals are allowed on board.

I want to rent a car for my trip, but I’d like to save time by having Disney deliver my bags to my room. Can I do this?

Unfortunately not. This is called a “luggage only transfer” and it is not allowed.

There’s a video to entertain you while on board the Magical Express bus.

Members of my party are flying to Orlando on several flights arriving at different times. Can we use Magical Express?

Yes. Make sure their names are on your room reservation and that you give ME their flight information. There’s no need for you to travel all together. Each person can take a bus independently upon arrival.

I want to start my fun right away. Can Magical Express drop me at a theme park rather than my hotel?

Nope. They’ll only drop you at your resort.

I’m arriving in Orlando several days before my Disney room reservation starts. We’re renting a car and going to the beach. After I return the car back at the airport, can I take Magical Express to my resort?

This one is tricky. The short answer is probably yes. Here comes the long answer …

The Magical Express paperwork states, “Complimentary transportation services provided by Disney’s Magical Express are associated with a Walt Disney World room reservation and include a one way ground transfer between the Orlando International Airport and your Disney hotel on the day that you check in and a one-way ground transfer from your Disney hotel to the Orlando International Airport on the day you check out.” You’ll note that there is no language here about a need to FLY to the Airport. As long as you’re going to your resort on your check-in day, then it really doesn’t matter how you got to the airport itself.

However, Magical Express does want to know approximately what time you’ll need transportation, so they can make sure to have enough buses available. The only real mechanism they have to note is is via a flight number. Since you’re driving to the airport, you won’t have a flight number. This may fluster some ME reservationists. A good workaround is to find a flight that arrives at approximately the time you want to go to your hotel. Simply give that flight number to the reservationist as a placeholder.

Any other workarounds?

Typical Magical Express bus seating.

Well, you could just show up at the Magical Express desk and ask for a ride. I’ve done this myself twice. As long as you have a valid Disney resort reservation number and there’s room on the bus, they’ll transport you.

Members of my party are arriving on different days. Can they be accommodated on Magical Express?

Probably, just call ME and let them know what you need. I’ve had WDW trips several times where my husband either arrived a few days after me or left a few days before me (pesky business meetings). In every case, ME had no problem putting him on a bus.

I’m on the Magical Express bus. How long will it take me to get to my hotel?

The actual ride from the airport to Disney property takes about half an hour. Each ME bus may transport guests from the airport to three or four different hotels. So, if your hotel is the first stop, then it will take about 35 minutes to get from the airport to the resort. If you’re the fourth stop, then it may take up to about 75 minutes once you leave the airport.

That seems like a long time. Would it be any faster if I rented a car or took a cab?

Well, there are waits involved with those forms of transportation too, but yes, you might save a few minutes if you skipped ME. On the other hand, Magical Express is free. A cab one-way from MCO to a Disney hotel will be at least $70.

Will not having a car at Walt Disney World have any impact on my vacation?

If you ask 10 people, you’re going to get 10 completely different answers about this. I used to be VERY anti car rental. Now I’m more in the “it depends on where you’re staying” camp. You can read some related Touring Plans blog posts on the topic by Ryan, Brian, Evan, Ryan again, and me.

One thing to consider is that even if you take Magical Express to your hotel and forgo a car rental, your vacation may be substantially improved if you budget for a few internal cab rides while you’re at Walt Disney World, particularly if you’ll be dining at hotels that are not your own.

Should I tip my Magical Express driver?

Here’s a handy guide to all things tipping at Walt Disney World.

What’s the process for taking Magical Express home? How do I know when/where to get the bus?

The day before you depart, you’ll get a note either on your room door handle or under your door telling you what time the Magical Express bus will pick you up. The pick up spot is always right out side the hotel main entrance. The note you will receive includes a bar code that will function as your bus ticket/voucher.

Is there any way to know further in advance what time my bus will be leaving?

For domestic flights, Magical Express pickup is generally about three hours prior to your flight departure time. This may be four hours in advance for international flights. If you’d like to know the exact time of your ME bus, you can call ME directly or stop by the concierge desk at your resort, and they’ll be happy to let you know.

I want to get in the most park time possible. Can Magical Express pick me up at a theme park?

No, sorry. Magical Express will only pick you up at your own hotel.

Can they pick me up from another resort?

Again, no. Magical Express pick-up is only from your own hotel.

Members of my party are taking different flights home. Can we be accommodated on Magical Express?

Generally yes. As I mentioned, there have been several times when my husband has left our vacation a few days early or left earlier in the day than the rest of the family. Magical Express was always able to accommodate him. Give Magical Express a call to explain your situation and they will be likely to help.

My flight is at the crack of dawn. Can I really use Magical Express to get to the airport?

Yes, really. My parents once had a 6:00 a.m. departure from MCO. The Magical Express bus picked them up at their hotel at 3:00 a.m. I am still glad that I wasn’t on the flight with them.

My flight is late in the evening. Check out time is at 11:00 a.m. I’d like to go enjoy some more time in the parks, but what do I do with my bags?

Magical Express pick up area for the Art of Animation Resort

You have two options here. First, if you only have carry-on luggage, you can leave everything will the Bell Services desk at your hotel. They will tag your bags, give you a receipt, and then store your luggage in a secure location. Return to your hotel about 15 minutes before your scheduled Magical Express pick-up time, hand the clerk at the desk your receipt, and you’ll have your bags back in a jiffy.

Is this really secure? I have my laptop in there.

If you tell the Bell desk that you have valuables in your luggage, they will put it in an even more securely locked compartment. However, I will tell you that I have given my bags to Bell Services for storage dozens of times, even with unzippered bags containing cameras, laptops, iPods, and iPads. I’ve never had a problem with anything going missing. Perhaps I’m just a trusting soul, but I feel like my bags are quite safe with Bell Services.

I have lots of checked luggage. Do I leave that with Bell Services too?

You can if you’d like to. Under this scenario, you’ll pick up your bags a few minutes before your ME departure. Then when the bus arrives, the driver will store them under the bus for your trip to the airport. At the airport, you’ll unload them and bring them yourself to the airline check-in desk.

That seems complicated. Any alternatives?

It’s actually not too complicated, but it does involve lots of carting your stuff around. If you’d prefer not to do this, there is an alternative called Resort Airline Check-In.

Resort Airline Check-In? What’s that?

Basically think of this as airport curbside check-in, but it’s right at your hotel. Bring your bags to RAC, and they will tag them with your airline’s bag tag and deliver them directly to your airport and then to the plane. You drop your bags here, and you won’t see them again until you claim them at your destination airport.

Sounds scary, does it work?

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is wonderful service. I’ve used it many times myself without a hitch. You don’t even have to be using Magical Express to take advantage of Resort Airline Check-In. Even if you’re driving, this is a way to get your bags to the airport without you having to carry them. RAC will even print you out a boarding pass. This allows you to proceed directly to your gate. Yay!

So everyone can use Resort Airline Check-In?

Not every airline participates in this service. Currently (July 2012) the approved airlines are: AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways. This list changes with some regularity. You may want to stop by early during your visit to confirm that your airline participates. If you are traveling internationally or if your airline does not participate, you can leave all your luggage with Bell Services, and they’ll store it for you until it’s time to leave.

Does Resort Airline Check-In have specific hours?

Yes, RAC is generally open from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Bags must be dropped at RAC no earlier than 12 hours prior to your flight and no later than 3 hours prior to your flight. This means that guests booked on flights departing prior to 8:00 a.m. may not use Resort Airline Check-In.

My airline has a checked luggage fee. How do I pay that?

From the Walt Disney World website: “Fees vary by airline. Guests should inquire with their specific airline as to what fees might apply. Guests must contact Baggage Airline Guest Services at (407) 284-1231 to pay any airline fees in advance of visiting the Resort Airline Check-In desk, which will have a record of the payment transaction. Airline luggage fees cannot be collected at the check-in desk.”

OK, I’ve got the idea now, but I’d like you to break it down for me. What are the good points about using Magical Express?

The biggest item in the Magical Express pro column is that it’s free. It’s also easy to use and quite reliable.

What about the negatives?

Well, it may take you a bit more time getting to and from the airport than it would if you were transporting yourself. Also, once you’re “on campus” at Walt Disney World, you’re stuck there without a car. For many guests, this will not matter, but others who want to visit other area attractions or go shopping off site, this can be a problem.

And once you’re at WDW without a car, you’re then at the mercy of the internal Disney transportation system, which has many pros and cons of its own to consider.

What’s your personal thinking on Magical Express. Do you use it?

As with all Disney questions, the answer is, “It depends.” It depends on what rental car rates are, who I’m traveling with, where I’m staying at WDW, how long I’ll be there, what else I’m doing on my vacation, and a host of other factors. But yes, I do often use Magical Express and have been favorably impressed with the service.

So fellow travelers, what else should I have included? What have your Magical Express experiences been like? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on July 25, 2012

69 Responses to “Frequently Asked Questions About Disney’s Magical Express”

  • Hi! I live in Bermuda and they always send me the tags, etc. They usually send it by Fedex or something like that. Last time we travelled was December. Has it changed since?

  • I have used the ME service several times and always had good luck. From my experience, renting a car doesn’t save you any significant time overall from ME. My biggest problem is remembering where the Magical Express desk is at the airport. My most favorite perk is checking my bags at the resort for my trip home. I’d take ME just for that perk alone.

    • by David Davies on July 25, 2012, at 3:58 pm EDT

      I agree that the luggage transfer offerings are great.

      As Erin wrote, you do not need to use Magic Express in order to use the Resort Airline Check-in service. As long as your airline participates and you get your bags to the counter sufficiently before your flight, you can check your bags at the resort no matter how you are getting to the airport.

  • You should have detailed photos demonstrating how to attach the yellow tags. Maybe I was in a sleep-deprived late-night-packing-induced haze when I did it on our last trip, but I found it very confusing and worried endlessly about whether I did it right!

    LOVE MAGICAL EXPRESS! And my daughters loved the video they show during the trip. Made the magic of the trip start that much sooner!

    • OMG, right? My husband & I were up the night before googling it, and watching youtube videos about it. So many people use this service, and I felt like such an idiot not being able to figure it out! LOL, now I feel better that we are not alone.

      • I KNOW! I was frantically Googling at like 1am when we had a 7am flight the next morning, and I felt like a complete idiot. I had my husband poring over them with me.

        IIRC, the problem is that they changed how the tags are laid out but did NOT change the instructions on the back of the tags! The instructions say to tear it in half to create 2 tags – but the problem is that while they USED to have 2 tags attached to one backing strip, they now only have ONE tag per strip. So if you tear at the fold you are actually tearing one tag in half and rendering it unusable. Ridiculously bad user experience.

      • Ohhhhh, THAT’s it! We had never used DME before, so we didn’t realize the instructions were wrong! Yes, “tear it in half”, but then it wouldn’t even have wrapped around all the way! LOL, mystery solved, thanks!!
        (I can laugh about it NOW, but we were sooo confused the night before. Who would think, let me read my luggage stickers far in advance, in case it takes me an hour or two to figure it out?!)

  • On my last trip I did have a problem on the way home. I checked in for my flight on my phone the day before. Because I did that I could not check my bags at the hotel. There is nothing that says that in any of the paperwork they give you about the trip back. Instead of getting everything at the hotel we had to lug our bags through the airport and check-in there. The woman at the hotel said that had been their policy for awhile although I had checked in online less than a year before and had no problems at ME check-in.

    • Thanks for letting us know about that, Amanda. We paid extra for early bird check in with Southwest and now we will probably not be able to check our bags at the resort. That is inconvenient!

  • I wouldn’t say you are “stuck there without a car.” If you want to rent a car from the Car Car Center by the Hess Station at MK, you can call them to have their shuttle pick you up, and can also do the same to drop it off. This might be an option for those who want to go off-site.

  • One other big plus to using ME is that when traveling with multiple children or trveling with small children, it is a relief to not have to manage large suitcases while navigating children in the Orlando Airport! Having our bags delivered to our room has been such a relief to my husband and I. With 3 children and a few carry on bags, we have our hands full already!

  • I have a love/don’t care for relationship with ME. I love the movie and the anticipation of getting to WDW but I don’t care for the drop-offs/pick-ups at other resorts. I have never had any trouble with the luggage service. (knock on wood) My husband and I decided to hire a private driver last year and loved it. It did cost but we did get a “free” 30 minute grocery stop on our way to our resort. I loved the personal service of having a driver waiting for me with my name on a sign, the peace and quiet that was experienced on our way to our resort after having been on a plane for 4 hours as well as not having to drop others off at their resort before reaching ours. Our driver waited with us at the luggage carousel and retrived our luggage for us. We never had to touch our luggage as he took care of it every step of the way. During our WDW stay we did rent a car from the car care center to do some shopping at the local outlet mall. It was pretty hassle free. I think my favorite part of having the private driver was the fact that we got picked up just 2 hours before our return flight instead of 3 as with ME. As I stated earlier, I do have a love/don’t care for relationship with ME so I think the best thing for me to do is alternate annually between ME and hiring a driver. Thanks for your article. The information is great!

  • Magically turn a 30 minute drive into about 90!! And then there’s the extra time tied up in the longer waits to check in when arriving and the inconvenience of going back to a hotel that you’ve checked out of hours before just to catch a bus to the airport.

    This definitely isn’t a convenience!! It purports to be, but that’s a lie. It’s just cheaper.

    Another advantage is that you don’t have to know how to drive or get where you’re going.

    • I have a few friends, long time Manhattanites, who don’t drive. They couldn’t rent a car, but they could use a car service or taxi if they wanted to avoid Magical Express.

  • Oh my gosh, had I known about the Resort Airline Check-in on my last trip, what a difference that would have made!!! Instead, I had 3 sleepy, crying children to drag through an airport with a million and one bags and hubby and I were already so sore from so much walking at disney… We loved the ME service, but we did end up using a cab for early morning breakfast reservations as we had just missed the bus both times. But if 20 minutes one way or the other doesn’t matter, it’s a great service. Budgeting for 2 or 3 cab rides (about $15 tip included from All star Music to Epcot) is good wisdom. Then if you don’t need the cabs, then you just have extra money to go home with!

  • Also remember that Resort Airline Checkin can only be used if your final destination is within the United States. Even if there is a stop over in the US but a connection to (in our case) Canada we cannot use RAC. We certainly use Magical Express but take all our baggage with us and check in at the airport.

  • I have used DME for all of my trips and it is now part of my vacation. I love the greetings at the airport, the video on the way and I don’t even mind seeing a few other resorts on my way to mine.

  • You missed one question: “What if I have a split stay?” What happens if you come for 5 days, using ME to get you to the hotel, leave to go to Universal, then come back to sleep one last night, just to get the ME back to MCO? You would be getting in late the night before flying in the morning. How would they let you know a pickup time when you aren’t in your room until 11:30pm the night before a morning departure departure?

    • I’m actually doing a split stay right now. I’m starting in Music and ending in Movies. It’s no problem. They sent me TWO magical express books. One for my arrival and the other for my departure. Although they did screw up the departure date, so ensure you call far in advance so they can fix any errors.

      How they’ll get you your pick up time if you check in that late and leave the next day, I don’t know. I’m sure it will be in their system so you can just ask at the hotel either that night or early the next day.

      • I’ve also done a split stay. They sent me two voucher booklets, which arrived on separate days, so don’t worry if that happens to you.

        You can always call ME and they’ll let you know your pick-up time over the phone.

  • On one trip, my sister had to leave during the middle of the vacation for a few days and then come back to WDW. First, the hotel offered to pay for her cab both ways. My dad wanted her to take Magical Express because he was more comfortable having her with cast members than a cab driver. They were able to accomodate her. I don’t know if it would have gone smoother if we had told Disney ahead of time, but that is an option if you ask nicely.

    The moral of the story is Magical Express is great!

  • I’ve never ridden ME before, this article was very helpful and answered alot of my questions. Once you board the ME bus do you wait for the bus to fill up? If so, what is the average wait time? I have currently booked a Town Car to get take me to the Beach Club but after reading your article I am thinking twice about it. Thanks!!

    • Melanie, you don’t wait for the bus to fill up, at least I never have had to. I would say the longest I’ve waited from getting in line to board and leaving MCO was 20 minutes. If you have never tried ME I say try it. I have taken ME and a town car. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.

    • Adding on here … I’ve never ridden on a full ME bus. I think that’s why it’s fairly easy to change plans at the last minutes. I too have never waited for more than about 20 mins for my bus to leave the airport.

  • by Heather Louise on July 27, 2012, at 11:09 am EDT

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are coming out for our first trip to WDW in late September and our two oldest(17 and 20)daughters are arriving two days after the rest of the crew. I am putting together a How To on navigating the airport/ME and it was a little challenging since I have never been there. Your post has been immensely helpful. Thank you yet again Erin.

  • We flew in from Canada, landed at 2pm and didn’t receive our luggage until almost midnight. I think I won’t use the tags and just carry our luggage on the bus next time.

  • We usd ME on our last visit and loved it even if our bags did take more than 3 hours to arrive. We wouldn’t use the yellow tags again but hope to use ME to get to our restort. My question is we are going to Universal after DW. Can we only use the arrival part of our ME?

    • No problem. You can take ME just one way, either way. Just call and let them know what you’re doing.

  • We’ve used the service once and it is fantastic. To be honest, I don’t care when my luggage arrives. We take a carryon that has the essentials just in case they don’t arrive quickly. Can’t wait to use it for the 2nd time in 10 days!

  • If I rent a car for one day while Im in a WDW resort,can I return it at the airport and take the Magical Express back to the hotel?

  • In order to get a great deal on southwest we needed to fly out of MCO at 7:40am—so that means we will be picked up at by Magical Express at 4:40am if its always 3 hours before….do they ever leave later if you request. I have 4 kids 12 down to 2 and thats so early. Aso reading this article flights before 8am can’t use resort check in for bags :( We miss it by 29 minutes that stinks

    • Hi Laurie,

      The exact departure time for guests may vary slightly, but it is generally about three hours in advance. For a 7:40 a.m. flight, you’ll likely have a Magical Express pickup between 4:20 and 4:50. There’s no way to request a later pickup. If getting a bit more sleep is important to you, then you can use a taxi or town car service to take you to the airport.

      And yes, unfortunately you will miss the cutoff for using the Resort Curbside Check-In.

      Early morning departures can be rough :-(.

  • Hi We are thinking of doing Disney and staying at the Campsites.
    Does the service drop you off at your campsite or just the campers registration. Because we are planning on flying with our bags of camping equipment, 2 adults and a 3 year old. Please advise if they drop you off at your site or if we should try to reserve a site close to the registration so we don’t have to walk miles with our heavy baggage.

    • The Magical Express bus will drop you at registration. But there is internal bus transportation at Fort Wilderness and there are cast members at registration who will help you with your luggage. No matter where your campsite is, you won’t have to carry all your stuff to the site by yourself.

  • Great information! We are flying SW and are a family of 5. All kids are over 5, so no family boarding. We would like to at least have each child with a parent. I was going to purchase early bird boarding for each of us on the way home but it looks like we can’t use RAC then. Is that correct? If so, how do I go about getting us some kind of decent boarding position so we can sit together and still use RAC? Thanks!

  • Does anyone know if using Southwest’s early bird check in would have any effect with RAC? I know my question is similar to Lisa’s, but may be a little different because I am not traveling with kids and need to be seated during family check in.

  • I have a question. I’m going to be meeting a friend down there in the springtime and she’s a Florida resident. I’ll be flying in from Wisconsin and of course will be using the ME. Will my friend be allowed to come on the ME with me? We’re both going to be roommates at the same hotel if that helps.

    • If you’re both named on the room reservation, you should both be able to use Magical Express, your state of residence shouldn’t be a factor in this. To be on the safe side, you should call ME directly at the number above to discuss your situation.

  • We used ME last August for our stay at AllStar Movies. I am rather a worry wart and worried the whole time about our luggage, but all for nothing. Everything was flawless. We tagged our bags at home, dropped them at our departing airline and didn’t seem them again until they were delivered at our room at AllStar. It is pretty cool getting off the plane in Orlando and getting picked up by Disney and being in their care for the entire trip. Never leaving the Magic from the time you land until the time you depart. They may sound a bit over the top, but we love it. Going back at the end of February, staying at Pop Century and planning to use Magic Express again.

  • Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming again to read other news.

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  • We are travelling from the UK using a UK based travel agent and therefore do not have a disney ref number how do I register to use ME. Also how many resorts does it tend to go to, we are going to Port Orleans

  • Is it at all possible to use the magical express then rent a car from the resort?

    • Yes, this is a somewhat common practice, particularly for guests who only need a car for a small portion of their trip (to go to the beach for the day, for example) or who will be continuing their trip elsewhere after they visit WDW.

      There are car rental desks at the Dolphin resort, the Car Care Center near the Magic Kingdom and at several Downtown Disney hotels. You’re welcome to take ME to your WDW hotel and then rent a car from one of those locations at some point during your trip.

  • My plan is to rent a car at the airport, which I will drive to the resort, but send my wife and kids on the ME and well meet at the resort. Does that seem like a reasonable option? We are renting a economy car that will definitely not fit the luggage and frankly I enjoy the benefit of not having to search out my luggage and lug it through the airport. Has anyone ever done this? It seems like a workaround the no luggage only service.

    • Did this option work well for you? I was thinking to do the same for my arrival. Then we would do the resort check in on our departure day so that we no longer have any luggage, and we would be able to drive ourselves to the airport, thus avoiding the 3 hr early departure. We’d rather not rent a large car since it is so much more expensive, which is why we need ME on our way in for luggage delivery.

      • I have done this myself and it did work. I took myself and the kids on ME and hubby rented a smallish car and met us at the resort.

        One word of caution, the person renting the car should not yellow-tag his/her luggage and should pick it up on the carousel. There will be confusion with this bag if the owner is not on the bus. Another alternative would be for one of the ME passengers to “own” two of the bags for the flight.

        On the way back, this is not an issue because everyone can use Resort Airline Check-In to send their bags to the airport.

  • I feel personally that the ME, makes the trip even more magical!! NO worries at all! No bags to hall around, no stress of renting a car or adjusting car seats. Its simple and magical! Its what makes DISNEY so GREAT!!!!!