Disney’s Magical Express & Resort Airline Check-in

Walt Disney World Resort offers a FREE airport shuttle service called Disney’s Magical Express that includes a complimentary airport shuttle bus to and from the Disney resorts*, and luggage delivery from your home airport directly to your Disney resort hotel room (as long as you arrive between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm).

Additionally, all Disney resort* hotel guests can use a FREE service that is technically separate from Magical Express: Resort Airline Check-in, which allows you to get your return boarding pass and check in your luggage right at your Disney hotel, for selected airlines.

Orlando International Airport and Disney have agreed to a plan that will have Disney’s Magical Express continuing at least through the year 2016.

Disney’s Magical Express Service

*Disney’s Magical Express is available only to guests staying at the official hotels owned and operated by Disney. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, the seven Downtown Disney hotels and Shades of Green are NOT included.

Guests must be 16 or older to travel unaccompanied on Disney’s Magical Express.

If you will be arriving in Orlando from outside the US and clearing Customs in Orlando, be aware that you will have to collect your own bags and walk through Customs with them. At that point you can take the luggage with you and check in for the Magical Express bus, or you can hand off the luggage to a Magical Express rep who will have it transported to the hotel.

If you decide to use the Magical Express service, here’s what I would advise:

Pros and Cons

The obvious advantages of Disney’s Magical Express are its supposed convenience, seamlessness and the fact that it is FREE (except for tips).

However, you should be aware that it is shared bus service, with Magical Express buses each visiting up to 4 resorts to drop off passengers, and therefore your transfer will almost certainly take longer than using a rental car or towncar service. (90 minutes from the time your plane lands is a good rule of thumb. I have personally experienced it taking a long as 2 hours.) Depending on how much you value your precious vacation time vs. the cost savings, Magical Express may or may not be for you.

Be prepared to be separated from your luggage for awhile after you arrive. See above. Your bags may be delivered at an inconvenient time — for instance, if you arrive in the late afternoon, be aware that your luggage might show up at 10:00 at night. If you have kids who go to sleep early, take this into account.

Also, Magical Express is not flexible, particularly when you’re returning to the airport. Disney will assign your return time, and that time is not negotiable.

Resort Airline Check-in Service

*Resort Airline Check-in Service is available only to guests staying at the official hotels owned and operated by Disney. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, the seven Downtown Disney hotels and Shades of Green are NOT included.