I wanted to follow up my car hire post with some more information about Disney’s Magical Express; the bus that Disney arrange from Orlando International Airport to each of their hotels in Walt Disney World Resort.
There is nothing overly special about the bus – it is merely a shuttle like many others, run by Mears transportation. But I actually love it - all the hassle of the flight is over and I’m now settled on the bus, on my way to the hotel. And when the video starts, introducing you to some of the joys about to come in Disney World, that’s my ‘I’ve arrived’ moment – the time when I know my holiday is really about to start.
The Magical Express is a free shuttle for all guests to Walt Disney World, from Orlando International Airport. Be aware that it does not run from Sanford. Most of the UK flights go to Orlando International, but not all. Indirect flights are also becoming more common as direct flights are now so expensive – and many of these will also go into Sanford – so before you book it, know which airport you’re flying into! If you do wish to use Magical Express, all you have to do is book yourself onto it. You won’t be automatically registered for it, even if you book with Disney, so don’t forget to book your places! Registering from the UK is easy – once you have your flight and hotel information, you just go online here and fill in the form, or call Disney on 0870 24 24 900. You don’t have to have booked through Disney – just be staying in a Disney resort hotel.
I guess the main point that I want to make is that it works slightly differently when you are flying in from the UK, than if you are flying from within America – and much of the information that you might find on the Internet about how it works is for American travellers. The biggest difference is that after you have disembarked the plane and gone through US Customs, you need to pick up your luggage. You will often read that you can skip baggage claim but this first baggage collection is for international travellers and you must pick up your bags, like everyone else (unless you’ve already completed this process in a different US city and are flying in from there).
Following this, you then return your bags to airport officials – I’m not quite sure if this is for another security check or just for transportation, but either way, you have to hand them back! Now at this point, you have a choice:
Option 1: Have Disney pick up your bags and deliver them to your resort hotel room. If you wish to use this option you need to have arrived between 5am and 10pm – anytime after this and you’ll need to take option 2. Around ten days prior to leaving you will receive an information booklet and luggage labels from Disney. If you would like Disney to collect your luggage, you simply attach the luggage labels and they will then pick up your luggage from the second baggage claim, take them separately to your hotel and deliver them to your room approximately 3 hours after you check-in. If you’re out, they’ll just leave them in your room for you (as long as you’ve checked in). If you choose this option, after you’ve returned your cases simply make your way to Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1.
Option 2: If you wish you can continue onto baggage claim and collect your bags yourself. Once you have your bags you take them with you to Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1. This can actually be a bit of a trek, but the area is well labelled and easy to find. Make sure you don’t attach the luggage tags that Disney send you, if you want to get your bags yourselves.You take your bags right to the bus, where the driver will load them onto the bus for you and you take them with you all the way to your hotel room (although there are bell services at the hotels to help you). We actually tend to chose this option. When we arrive pretty much all we want to do is maybe grab something to eat, unpack and hit the sack – I really don’t want to wait three hours after check in for my bags to be delivered, I just want to go to bed, so for this reason we tend to sort the bags out ourselves.
Once you’ve arrived at the Magical Express Welcome Centre (either with bags or without), you check-in with reception and give them your details. They will then tell you which queue to get into to wait for the next bus. Once you’re on board you have about a thirty minute journey to your hotel – the bus will often be stopping at a few hotels. During the journey the driver will chat a little and play you the introductory video to Walt Disney World – and then, you know you’re really there!
BRiTMiCK is a blog aimed at British visitors to Walt Disney World, helping you to make the most of your holiday. Follow @Britmickuk for the latest on whats going on at BRiTMiCK and other Disney sites.