How to Get From the Airport to Walt Disney World without the Magical Express
Updated: Jan 12
Take a bus, private transit, rideshare, or rental car.
Reserving your spot on the Magical Express used to be the last part of your pre-trip preparation. But like many other complimentary services at Disney, it's gone now. So, all aboard the tragical express as we explore the alternative transportation options that will get you from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Walt Disney World.
Mears actually operated the Magical Express, even when it was owned by Disney. That’s why you often took a yellow Mears bus instead of the themed Magical Express/Disney Cruise Line buses. This is the most similar option to the Magical Express and comes in two tiers: standard and premium.
Standard functions like the Magical Express in that you make several resort stops, so the number of people and the number of stops is unknown. However, Mears guarantees leaving MCO within 20 minutes of check-in, and it’s the cheaper option.
Premium goes directly to your resort with no stops AND you depart as soon as you check in and get on the bus. This is the more expensive option and it is only available for round trips.
Both standard and premium will take you to any Walt Disney World Resort hotel or partner resort.
Standard Service (One Way): $16 per adult, $13.50 per child
Standard Service (Round Trip): $32 per adult, $27 per child
Express Service (Round Trip): $200 for 4 guests, $55 per additional passenger
The Sunshine Flyer
The Sunshine Flyer is a newer transportation alternative. It is a fleet of motor coaches themed to early 1900s train voyages. Even the drivers dress up like conductors! This option is like the standard Mears Connect as it makes multiple stops, but 65 minutes is the longest they promise you will be on the bus. It is very similar in price to Mears and also services all Walt Disney World hotels.
One-Way Service: $19.50 per adult, $11 per child
Round Trip Service: $39 per adult, $22 per child
Uber and Lyft are the two most popular rideshare services. The best part about a rideshare is you can determine when you leave the resort at the end of your stay. Keep in mind the Magical Express used to pick you up several hours before your flight, so it really shortened your last day on property.
Driver availability, surge pricing, and vehicle type will all affect the cost of your ride. According to Magic Guides, the general amount to plan for is $35 per ride. Check out the Uber Price Estimator or Lyft’s version to get a better idea. It’s also important to think about how much room you’ll need. Uber Connect, for example, is the cheapest option and fits up to four people, but it may not fit the luggage for a party of four, especially if you’re staying longer than a few days.
Here’s a cost breakdown for the different Uber options and estimated prices from MCO to the Grand Floridian as of January 2023. It could be slightly more or less depending on the specific resort.
Uber Green: $41.07
Uber Pet: $45.07
UberX Car Seat: $51.07
UberXL Car Seat: $68.15
Black Car Seat: $101.67
MT Connect: $110.96
Black SUV Car Seat: $118.54
Black Hourly: $107.83
Lyft is similar in price, there are just not as many car types. Here’s a breakdown from Lyft for estimated price ranges from MCO to the Grand Floridian.
Lyft XL: $49-56
Lux Black: $85-93
Lux Black XL: $130-142
Orlando International Airport offers several rental car companies including:
Dollar Car Rental
It’s important to remember that rentals are usually more expensive at the airport, so consider booking ahead. It's free to self-park at a Disney resort, but you can valet for $33 per night. There are also add-ons such as Enterprise’s car seat rental, its insurance fees, and its young driver fees if you're under 25.
This is obviously the most expensive option, but could be worthwhile if you plan on visiting Universal or SeaWorld, or happen to be staying off-property. You can call the rental car company or visit their websites for full pricing and information.
Brightline is a train that connects Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach. Currently, there are stations under construction at Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs that are scheduled to be completed in 2023.
As an added bonus to look forward to, kids under 12 will ride for free on Brightline with the purchase of an adult ticket.