Disney’s Magical Express is a complementary service that takes you to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and your Walt Disney World Resort. It’s a great service to take advantage of if you are not renting a car. Here is everything wheelchair users need to know when using Disney’s Magical Express.
How do I sign up?
If you book directly with Disney they will ask if you want to sign up. You can also ask your Disney Travel Agent to add Disney’s Magical Express to your reservation. You can also add the service if you make your reservation online.
If you don’t have your flight information when you book your vacation you can call your travel agent or Disney reservations to add it later. And if you like to avoid phone calls, you can fill out the Disney’s Magical Express information online.
U.S. and Canada Reservations: (407) 939-1936
United Kingdom Reservations: 0800 16 90 730
Do I have to make a round trip reservation?
No. If you only want to use Disney’s Magical Express to either get to your resort or to get back to the airport you can do that.
Are all Walt Disney World Resorts included?
You can find a list of participating resorts here.
How do I prepare for my arrival at MCO?
You will receive your Disney’s Magical Express documents and luggage tags 2 to 3 weeks before your trip (residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada only). You will attach the luggage tags to each piece of luggage that you would like Disney to pick up at the airport to be delivered to your resort room.
If you didn’t receive your luggage tags don’t panic. If you are scheduled to arrive in Orlando between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM, you will just need to provide your baggage claim numbers upon arrival at Disney’s Magical Express. Also, if you arrive at MCO after 10:00 PM, you have to pick up your luggage at Baggage Claim and bring it with you on the Disney’s Magical Express motorcoach.
DON’T pack your Magic Bands in your checked luggage. Keep them in your carry on. You will need them to check in at the Magical Express desk. If you don’t have your Magic Bands you will need to have your Disney’s Magical Express documents instead.
Also, it will take some time for your luggage to be delivered to your room. Make sure you have anything you will need right away (like your medication) with you when you board the motorcoach.
I am at Orlando International Airport, now what?
Yay! You made it! For domestic arrivals, you will take the train from your arrival gate to the main terminal on Level 3. Guests arriving on Side A of the airport should cross to Side B before proceeding down to Level 1.If it’s between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM, head directly to Disney’s Magical Express, located in the Ground Transportation Area on Side B, Level 1. Disney will claim your checked baggage for you and deliver it directly to your Resort hotel room. Between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM, you will need to claim your own baggage on Level 2. This map of Orlando International Airport can help you get your bearings.
For International Arrivals you will enter the U.S. Immigration checkpoint. Please have your passport and any required documents available for inspection. After retrieving your luggage you can proceed to the Customs checkpoint.
Once you get to the Magical Express check in area you will use your Magic Bands to check in. It’s a really easy process. After that you line up in the area corresponding to the resort you are heading to. There buses typically make multiple stops so you will be with guests from multiple resorts. If have any questions about where you should be just ask a Cast Member. (This process is a little different for wheelchair users so check out the information below.) Once your bus is ready you will be lead outside to board. If you have luggage with you, you can place it in the storage areas before you board.
Disney’s luggage delivery service does not operate between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM. Make sure to get your luggage at baggage claim before heading to the Magical Express desk if you have a flight between those hours.
When will I see my luggage again?
Your checked luggage will not be loaded on to the motorcoach you take to your resort. (Only what you have carried with you.) It will be transported separately and then delivered to your room. Disney says it can take up to 3 hours after you arrive at your resort for your luggage to be delivered. Sometimes it can take longer. Make sure that you have everything that you need for the day with you. For example, if you are going to the parks have whatever you usually take in your carryon or if you’re planning to chill at the pool make sure your swimsuit and sunscreen are with you. If you are worried about waiting, you can grab your bags at baggage claim and load them on the motorcoach to your resort.
Are the Magical Express motorcoaches wheelchair accessible?
Yes! If you make your reservation by phone let the agent know that you will need a bus with a wheelchair lift. When you fill out the form online there is a box you can check. I would also mention it when you check in at the airport if they don’t ask you about using the lift. We have never had a problem but it’s always good to make sure they know so you don’t have too long for a bus.
After you use your Magic Band to check in you will be directed to the wheelchair waiting area. Why a separate area? It is a little wider than the individual resort lines. But the main reason is that wheelchair users board the bus first. When they are ready you will be led outside to the lift. They will want you to back onto the lift so if you need any help make sure someone in your party is there.
You will be lifted a few feet into the air but there are railings on each side of the lift. You then back into the bus right into the area where your wheelchair will be secured. Again, if you need help have someone in your party board the bus while you are on the lift. The bus driver will put the lift away, secure the door, and will come to secure your wheelchair. If you want to transfer to a seat you can to that too.
The video below is of the lift on a Disney Cruise Line motorcoach. It is the same one that is on the Magical Express so you have an idea of what it’s like.
When do I have to board the bus to get back to the airport?
The day before your departure you will receive a transportation notice on the door to your resort room. It will give you the time and place to board the motorcoach back to the airport. Departure times are scheduled 3 hours prior to your flight departure time so keep that in mind if you book a morning flight.
You do not use your Magic Bands to check in for your departure. Make sure you have your transportation notice with you to give to the driver.
Talk to me about Resort Airline Check in
You can check into your flight on certain airlines at your Disney resort. You will be able to collect your boarding pass and check your bags. We’ve used it several times and it’s nice not having to load our luggage onto the bus or wait in line at the airport to check them.
You will need to have your valid government-issued I.D. for domestic travel or a valid passport for international travel. You will have to check in no later than 3 hours prior to their scheduled flight departure. (Flight delays do not extend this check-in time.) All Guests must be present at check-in so you can’t just send one family member to collect boarding passes for everyone.Resort Airline Check-In is open 7 days a week from 5:00 AM to 12:00 noon. For more information and which airlines are eligible, visit Disney’s official site.
I hear you got stuck on a Magical Express motorcoach once. Will you still use the service?
How did you hear about that?? Yes, I was stuck on a Magical Express bus. We were heading to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Traffic was terrible, of course, heading towards the Magic Kingdom. It took us about an hour and half to get there. Once we arrived the door that opened to the lift on the bus decided it did not want to work any more.
The bus driver couldn’t fix it. A very nice Cast Member working at the valet desk tried and failed. They dispatched a repair truck from Mears but it was stuck in traffic. At this point the manager for the Contemporary Resort stepped in and had the resort’s maintenance staff board the bus to work on it. I was on the bus for another hour and half while all of this was going on. But they finally succeed and we were able to check in and enjoy our night.
After that incident, we took Disney transportation to and from Port Canaveral. And we used Disney’s Magical Express again at the end of our trip to get back to the airport. All of those trips worked perfectly. Just be aware that mechanical problems can happen. I felt like I was in good hands that day and it’s something we look back on and laugh about. So yes, we will continue using Disney’s Magical Express. I just make sure I go to the bathroom before I board. 🙂
If you have any questions just leave a comment below. I’d also love to hear any tips you have for using Disney’s Magical Express as a wheelchair user.