“Disney’s Magical Express” and Resort Airline Checkin
Disney’s Magical Express is a free coach transfer service that takes all the hassle out of getting from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your Disney resort hotel, and returns you to the airport at the end of your stay. Additionally, your luggage can be transferred directly from your flight to your hotel room. Note: Disney’s Magical Express does not currently operate from Sanford airport.
First, you need to register for the service in advance, either by phone or using Disney’s website. They will need to know all of your party details, along with information about your incoming and outbound flights.
The service can be used by anyone arriving at Orlando International Airport, but if you are a US guest then you will be sent a package of yellow identification labels to attach to each of your hold bags. These allow Disney’s baggage handlers to retrieve your cases from the airline and have them sent directly to your Port Orleans hotel room. This can sometimes take a few hours though (up to a maximum of three hours after your own arrival) so if there’s anything you need urgently (for example medication or toiletries - and of course your Magic Bands!) then you should carry a supply in your hand luggage.
Note: the Magical Express buses are not actually owned and operated by Walt Disney World (Mears runs the service on behalf of Disney) and they generally use luxury-style coaches to perform the transfers. This may cause problems if you use a wheelchair or ECV and are unable to transfer or climb up several steps from street level, so please let them know in advance if you have any special needs so altervative arrangements can be made.
Once you have disembarked from the plane and transferred to the main terminal building, head to the Disney’s Magical Express desk which is located on Side B, Level 1 (Ground Transportation). You can check in using your Magic Band or the documentation that you were provided with when you registered for the service. You will be assigned to the next available coach going to your resort, which you should note may also drop off at several other Disney resort hotels en route.
International guests need to first retrieve their hold bags and clear through US Customs and Border Control, and then either bring their bags with them to the Magical Express coach, or return their luggage into the airport’s baggage handling system for automatic forwarding to the hotel. If you do this, or if for any other reason your luggage does not have the special yellow tags attached, please notify the Magical Express staff and provide them with the relevant baggage claim ticket numbers so they can identify and collect your bags (which may take a little longer than for regularly tagged bags).
Note: For flight arrivals between 10pm and 5am, all guests will need to bring their own bags to the coach to travel with them.
The day before your departure, a notification will be delivered to your room giving the pickup details for your coach ride back to Orlando International Airport. To allow ample time for any transit delays, times are scheduled for approximately three hours prior to domestic flights and four hours prior to international flights. You need to take the notification paperwork with you as the coach drivers cannot access Magic Bands.
It is your responsibility to have any luggage ready at the pickup point, but Bell Services are available to transfer your bags from your room if you wish.
Resort Airline Checkin
Guests who fly with specific participating airlines can also use the Resort Airline Check-In service (which is automatically set up for you if you arrive with Disney’s Magical Express). This service allows you to obtain your boarding pass and drop off your hold luggage while you are still at the hotel, bypassing the airport check-in desks completely. The desk opens at 5am daily and currently closes at 1pm, which will change to a noon closure as from 11 April 2016.
You can use this service for any flight departures after 8am, and you must check your bags no later than three hours before your scheduled flight departure time. If your flight is after midday, your boarding pass will be delivered to your room on the morning of your departure.
Currently the following airlines participate in this Resort Checkin service:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- US Airways
You cannot settle any excess baggage fees at the Resort Airline Checkin desk, please please call (407) 284-1231 in advance to pay any necessary fees using a credit card.
If you choose not to check your luggage with Resort Airline Check-In, or if they are unable to process your bags for any reason, then you can simply have your luggage transferred on the same coach that transports you, and check your bags in as normal when you arrive at the airport.
Note: Although the Resort Airline Checkin service was officially extended to include International flights as from 24 February 2014, international travellers often find that they are still requested to carry their bags to the airport in person. This is determined by the computerised processing systems rather than being down to the resort-based TSA staff, and since it is hard to predict in advance please allow enough time in case it happens to you.
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It’s worth remembering that while this may indeed be a free service, it is obviously in Disney’s best interests to have guests ferried from the airport directly to their Walt Disney World hotel, without any other easy transport options such as a hire car, as that means guests are more likely to remain on-site for the duration of their stay, and so spend more money at the on-site stores, restaurants and other amenities. So it’s not a completely altruistic offer on Disney’s part.
For other options open to you once you’ve arrived (such as public buses or renting a car on-site for a few days) please see our Ground Transportation page.