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  • [Question] Magical Express

    Hey everyone! I'm taking a trip to WDW with my Mom in September and we're trying to decide if we should take Magical Express from the airport (Orlando International) to All Star Music. We've done Meers, Tiffany Towncar, rental car but we're looking to save some money this time around.

    Have any of you ever taken Magical Express? Is it prompt? How long does it take to get from the airport to the hotels? Any general opinions?

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Re: Magical Express

    I've taken it before and have not had a problem. The service takes about half an hour to get to the parks from the airport, not including the wait for the bus and the drive to the hotel. You may have to wait for the bus to fill up a little more before you leave. It depends on time of day, I am sure, and you may also not be the first bus on the stop, since even though they group a bunch of hotels in close proximity together, it may take a while with unloading, etc, to get to your hotel.

    Would I use it again? Yes. Do I think it's a great deal? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. So, overall, even though there might be some issues that might happen, overall I think it is a great service and worth it.
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    • #3
      Re: Magical Express

      In September, you should have no problem at all. On saturdays during busier seasons it can get hectic but you should be fine. Its great
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      • #4
        Re: Magical Express

        My two experiences with Magical Express were positive ones. The only thing that I didn't like was the long walk through the airport to find them. However, once you do, the Disney Personnel are cheerful, and helpful and you get into the spirit of your Disney Vacation right away.

        The buses usually make more than one stop, and so your trip may take between a 1/2 hour to an hour. However, the buses are comfortable, and the excitement of the anticipation of seeing your resort usually makes that time go fast. I usually take a lot of photos and anticipate the moment we will go under the Walt Disney World sign.

        The first time I went with just a carryon, so my suitcase wasn't delivered by Magical Express. The second time I had one of my suitcases transported by them, and it arrived safely, and was in my room when I returned from my first day trip to the Magic Kingdom.

        The return trip is especially enjoyable. You can check in at the hotel, and you don't have to worry about your luggage until you are home in the city where you live. They do get you to the airport well ahead of your flight. So you have time to relax and catch your breath before you board your plane.

        I am looking forward to using them again when I travel next April.
        BarbaraAnn

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        • #5
          Re: Magical Express

          Originally posted by Barbaraann View Post
          T You can check in at the hotel, and you don't have to worry about your luggage until you are home in the city where you live.
          Not all airlines do this, so be careful of checking.
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          • #6
            Re: Magical Express

            i thought it was great! it makes getting to and from the airport much easier.. and they show a video on the bus and it just gets you even more excited about going to WDW!

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            • #7
              Re: Magical Express

              We had heard some less than favorable reviews, but decided to risk it anyway, and I am glad we did. The counter was not difficult to find at all, there were only 3 people in line at the counter in front of me, and from there, there was no line to board the bus. It was also only about 5 minutes from the time we boarded the bus, till the time it left the airport. Very nice.

              We stayed at Port Orleans - Riverside, so we not the first stop, but didn't mind, as I had wanted to check out some of the other resorts anyway.

              Since we checked in pretty early, our room was not ready anyway, so we went straight to the parks. By the time we returned that evening, the bags were in the room waiting for us.

              The return trip was excellent also. We called the night before and were greeted in the morning by luggage services with a golf cart that held not only the 5 of us, but all our luggage also. They wisked us down to the lobby, where there was an airline checkin counter. We checked our luggage and got our boarding passes right there. Then hit the parks again until time to catch the bus back to the airport.

              Right now, there is no other option for us, when we return, we will be using it again.

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              • #8
                Re: Magical Express

                Even though I live within a 3 hour drive to WDW, I've used Magical Express three times. If you don't require a rental car, I'm not sure why anyone would voluntarily pay money to be transported to the resort. The luggage service alone is totally worth it.

                The counter is not overly far from airport security. If you were going to take Mears or a rental car, you'd have to walk almost all the way there anyways to get your own luggage from the carousel. Plus, you'd have to wait for the luggage. I really don't think it's possible to have a less stressful "commute" to WDW from the Orlando airport.

                The only downfall is you MUST (without exception) have your luggage to the airline check-in desk at your resort NO LATER than 3 hours prior to your departure time. So, if you're flying out in the morning, this can be rough. If you are even 30 seconds late, they WILL NOT take your luggage. You'll have to take it on your own. We found this out be being 30 seconds late once.

                The other thing that disturbed me (which is totally a personal issue) was the bus drivers blatantly asking for tips. On every bus I've taken, there was a plastic "bucket" at the front of the bus with a sign for tips on it - like you'd see in front of a homeless guy on the street. And, the bus driver every time announced that tips were greatly appreciated. Honestly I thought this was quite rude.

                Other than that, it's a great service. I wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone.
                -Tim

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                • #9
                  Re: Magical Express

                  I'm not sure why you would use any other service if you are going to a Disney hotel. It gets you there and back and for free (on top of gathering your luggage and transporting it for you). Unless I had a disasterous encounter with it (which I really have a hard time imagining), I wouldn't do anything else but the Magical Express.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Magical Express

                    ME is pretty reliable now, it's run by MEARS and it's pretty much the same experience as before except Disney has hired a company to handle your checked luggage for you. The horror stories of lost luggage and the like do still pop up now and then but are much much less frequent now than when they where first getting it set up and running.

                    That said the benefits for using a Car service versus the ME is that you generally get a grocery and liquor store stop on the way to the parks, which can save you almost the entire cost of the ride if your staying for any length of time. You can also gain more time (sometimes several hours over a bus) in the parks or resort with the car service as the driver meets you at the baggage claim without waiting in any lines, and on the trip back to the airport the car picks you up at the time you choose and takes you directly to your airline at the airport.

                    On the way in I think it's a wash since if you take advantage of the 30 min grocery stop you'll arrive at you resort in roughly the same amount of time (but with breakfast, soda, water, and snacks for the week...), but on the way back you can gain a few more hours in the closest park before you have to dash to the airport...
                    Last edited by Jerren; 06-02-2008, 05:50 PM.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Magical Express

                      ^ How much is a private car service though?
                      -Tim

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                      • #12
                        Re: Magical Express

                        Originally posted by halltd View Post
                        ^ How much is a private car service though?
                        It's about $110. That's round trip, and that doesn't include a tip for the driver.
                        BarbaraAnn

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                        • #13
                          Re: Magical Express

                          Originally posted by Jerren View Post
                          ME is pretty reliable now, it's run by MEARS and it's pretty much the same experience as before except Disney has hired a company to handle your checked luggage for you.
                          I think this is a misleading statement. The only similarity between the Mears shuttle and DME is that Mears supplies the drivers and buses for both. The similarities end there.

                          Mears Shuttle -- multiple stops before leaving the airport.
                          DME -- only one loading area at airport.

                          Mears Shuttle -- waits 'til bus is full, almost guaranteeing long waits.
                          DME -- must leave airport no more than 15-20 minutes after first guest boards, no matter how few people are on the bus.

                          Mears Shuttle -- makes an unlimited number of resort stops.
                          DME -- makes a maximum of 4 resort stops.

                          Mears Shuttle -- resort stops can be all over the place.
                          DME -- resort stops are usually grouped into zones. A bus that must cross zones will make fewer stops, making up for the extra transit time.

                          Mears Shuttle -- on any old bus that's around.
                          DME -- plushly upholstered motorcoach with DVD screens and a bathroom.

                          Originally posted by Jerren View Post
                          the benefits for using a Car service versus the ME is that you generally get a grocery and liquor store stop on the way to the parks, which can save you almost the entire cost of the ride if your staying for any length of time.
                          However, arranging for a grocery delivery saves even MORE money, and also saves TIME.

                          Put it this way: you can pay $110 + tip (roughly $132 total) in order to save money using a grocery stop, or you can pay between $12 and $20 for a grocery delivery fee. If the point is saving money, then DME plus grocery delivery saves about $100 more money than a car service plus "free" grocery stop. Strictly money-wise, it's a no-brainer.

                          I always advise people to choose their airport transportation options NOT on time, since it's all about the same, but rather on the level of service they want and how much they are willing to pay for it. For someone who has a strong desire for a private ride and personalized service, the car service is worth every penny. But for someone who just wants to get to and from the airport in an efficient manner AT NO COST, then DME is a beautiful thing.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Magical Express

                            Thank you all so much for your help

                            After always traveling to WDW with my family of 5, I'm so used to taking the rental car/car service because we need that grocery store stop. I'm excited to try ME and it was great to hear so many nice things about it!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Magical Express

                              When I used DME it was great! The only problem I had was with Spirit airlines (Don't Fly Spirit) losing our baggage. However, the folks at the All Star Music resort where great in helping us track it down!
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