A Magical Beginning: Disney’s Magical Express!

Posted:  Great Ideas! Resorts Tips

Is there anything better than the countdown to your next Disney trip? 

Partners Statue at the Magic Kingdom

Whether the wait is 300 days or 24 hours, the trip’s excitement and anticipation are always one of my favorite parts. You have the My Disney Experience app ready to go, your dining reservations have been booked, and all you can do is wait for the magic. After all of this planning, I want the adventures to begin as soon as possible. The great thing is that Disney knows this, and they have the best way to start the Disney fun!

Disney’s Magical Express at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

Disney’s Magical Express lets guests start to experience Disney magic as soon as they step foot off the plane! As you disembark your plane at the Orlando International Airport, there are signs everywhere pointing towards the Magical Express check-in desk. Following the signs, you will go down to Level One on the B side of the airport and walk to the end of the hallway. 

Signs for Disney’s Magical Express

As you approach the end of the hallway, you will see the check-in desk, and there is usually a Cast Member waving you over with a Mickey glove, eager to help you get your vacation started!

Disney’s Magical Express Cast Members

Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary service Disney offers to all guests staying on Walt Disney World property. It is a shuttle bus from the Orlando International Airport that will take you to the front door of your resort. A reservation is required to get on the Magical Express, which is made based on your flight details. This is to ensure the Cast Members are able to schedule the best time for shuttles to arrive. You will then receive a package from the Magical Express in the mail with information on how the Magical Express works, along with directions for when you’re in the airport and information required to board the shuttle. For guests who live in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, this package will normally also include luggage tags to utilize the luggage delivery service.

Disney’s Magical Express at the Orlando International Airport

Disney’s Magical Express usually offers luggage delivery for qualifying guests. At the moment, this service of luggage delivery is on a temporary hold, yet we look forward to when it returns. 

When operational, this service will grab your checked bags from the airplane for you and send them directly to your room at your resort. This saves you from losing any of your precious vacation time on waiting for your luggage at the baggage claim! In your Magical Express package, you will receive the iconic yellow luggage tags. These luggage tags will have the name of the resort you’re staying at on them. You just need to make sure that the yellow luggage tags are on your checked baggage. Once you check your bags, you will not see them again until after your resort arrival.

Suitcase with Yellow Luggage tags attached, with Team Member Kelly’s dog next to it

The only thing to keep in mind is that as you will not see your bags until after your check-in, and the bags can take up to 4 hours after your flight to be delivered.  If there’s anything important you’ll need when you 1st arrive, it will have to be packed in your carry-on bag. As well, this service is only available between 5 am and 10 pm every day. So, if your arrival is not during those times, you will not be eligible for this service. 

Once you arrive at the Magical Express check-in desk, a Cast Member will assist you with the check-in process. If you had your MagicBands delivered to you beforehand, the Cast Member is able to scan your MagicBand for you and pull up your reservation. However, if you did not have your MagicBands mailed to you, the documents mailed to you from the Magical Express will need to be presented to the Cast Member. They will then be able to pull up your reservation and point you into the direction you will need to go, based on where you are traveling. There are different line ups for different areas in Walt Disney World, as your shuttle will most likely be stopping at more than one resort. 

Line up for Disney’s Magical Express

While waiting in line, there are TV screens playing Disney trivia and new information about the parks. This is the exact moment where I feel like I have returned home. There is so much excitement in the air, and everyone around is just as happy to begin experiencing the magic!

Disney’s Magical Express Cast Members

Once your Magical Express shuttle arrives at the airport, a Cast Member will direct you to towards the coach bus. If you do not use the luggage delivery service, the coach driver will be able to put your baggage under the bus, along with any strollers or larger carry on items you may have. Seats on the shuttle are not assigned, so feel free to take any empty seat.

Disney’s Magical Express at the Orlando International Airport

Luggage area on the Disney’s Magical Express

This is where the fun begins! I have taken Disney’s Magical Express more times than I can remember, and the motorcoach drivers are amazing Cast Members! They always get the guests on the bus cheering and build the excitement for the trip! They will announce which resorts this bus will be heading to, and then the journey begins! There are screens on the bus to watch during your trip, as the rides can be relatively long. They will start by showing you a short safety video before all of the information you need for your trip, including tips on visiting the parks and how your check-in process will work when you arrive at the resort. For the remainder of the trip, you will get to watch classic Disney cartoons, play along with Disney trivia, and learn about Disney attractions. These videos are a great way to spend the time on the bus while waiting for the infamous Walt Disney World sign and arriving at the resort!

Walt Disney World Sign

Not only does the Magical Express take you to the resort, but it will also take you back to the airport from your resort.  Although this trip is not always as exciting because the vacation is over, the bus will take you back to the airport with a similar process as your arrival trip.

Disney’s Magical Express at Disney’s Beach Club Villas

Disney’s Magical Express is a great way for guests to begin enjoying their vacation as soon as they land in Orlando, and it is always my favorite way to start my trip! Have you ever taken the Magical Express?

Disney’s Magical Express at the Orlando International Airport



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