How to Get to WDW if Arriving by Air

Magical Express BusSo, you have your airfare booked to Orlando, but what do you do at that point? Rental Car, Shuttle, Bus, Taxi? The options are numerous, but the process does not have to be hard. Regardless of what your vehicular preference is there are several simple and easy options for you.  Not to mention one option that is FREE, yes, FREE. If you are staying on Disney property you can get there for FREE! Here is a look at each of the options you have upon arriving at the Orlando International Airport.

Disney’s Magical Express
This is perhaps going to be the most widely used option for people trying to get from the airport to a Disney resort. This service is only available to Disney Resort guests as it is one of the free benefits you get for booking an on-sight resort. The Magical Express service has some minor drawbacks, but for the most part we highly recommend the service, especially since you are paying for it in the price of your Disney resort hotel room. See the steps below to let you know everything you need to know about utilizing Disney’s Magical Express:

  1. Before checking your bags at your home airport make sure you apply the yellow Magical Express luggage tags to your check bags if you are going to bypass baggage claim once in Orlando. Things to keep in mind: A) Luggage service is not available if your flight arrives between 10 pm and 5 am. You will pick up your bags and take them on the Magical Express bus yourself. B) If you are using the service apply the tags at your home airport and once you arrive in Orlando walk off your plane and straight to the Magical Express welcome area and do not think for one second about having to sort through hundreds of bags at the baggage claim and then drag them through the airport…because you don’t have to do that, your bags are going to magically appear in your room! C) If you do not want to use the luggage service you have that ability at any time of day. Just do not apply the yellow tags to your bags and they will come out on the baggage claim once in Orlando and you can pick them up and carry them on the Magical Express bus with you. D) Upon arriving at the Orlando International Airport you will ride a tram from the gates to the main terminal area and follow the instructions in your Magical Express booklet that was mailed to you prior to your trip. 
  2. At this point you will head towards the Magical Express area, unless you are not using the luggage service in which case you need to grab your luggage from the baggage claim first.
  3. Once you arrive on the lower level of the baggage claim you will be welcomed to the Magical Express area by some of the most excited cast members you will meet on your entire trip. Now, make sure you have your MagicBands on at this point as it will speed up your check in process. They will scan your band (or your Magical Express booklet if you don’t have your band) and put you in the correct line for your resort.
  4. Before long you will be on a Magical Express bus headed to your Walt Disney World Resort. Sit back relax, and enjoy the ride. Your bus will usually stop at 3-4 resorts, so yours may be the first or last stop.
  5. This step is the most important: When you arrive check in to your resort and enjoy your vacation! And enjoy not having to drive or worry about traffic! 
  6. This final step is the worst! The day before your trip is over you will be given a Magical Express departure time on the door of your hotel room. Keep the paper they give you as it is used to board the motorcoach. You will usually be picked up around 3 hours prior to your flight departure time. Just make sure you are in front of your resort in plenty of time. The driver will get your luggage on the bus unless you are using the resort airline check in service.

Private Car
Private car transfers are an option a lot of people enjoy because many times they will include benefits the other options won’t, like a stop at a grocery store near to the resort. There are several companies out there that offer this service. Visit us over in the forums for some ideas from other members on companies they recommend. The price will be around $130, round trip, from the airport to your Disney resort. The price may be $5-$10 more if traveling to a Magic Kingdom area resort. These prices are subject to change and are good for a standard sedan for approximately 4 people. Larger vehicles are available for an increased price.

Rental Car
If freedom is your thing a rental car is certainly the way to go. You can often times get a rental car for not much more than round trip private car transfers if you trip is a week or less. Keep checking rental car prices as they are subject to price decreases and sales as travel times get closer, so you never know when you may save on the cost. There are several rental car companies that have cars right at the airport including National, Alamo, Dollar, Avis, and Budget. There are other companies, such as Enterprise, that have cars available but you’ll have to ride a shuttle to get to the site of the cars.

Taking a taxi can be an option many people don’t often consider, but at times it may be a pretty good option. The cost of a taxi ride will be around $60, one way and for one vehicle (usually four people maximum), from the airport to a Disney area hotel. The price may be slightly less to an International Drive hotel and slightly more if the Disney resort is a Magic Kingdom area resort. Of course you will need to factor in paying gratuity as well. You can easily find taxi’s in the area outside of the baggage claim.

Please post any questions you may have on this topic below and a “MouseDreamer” will  be by to answer them as soon as possible.