Disney Magical Express alternative Mears Connect is now accepting bookings for Walt Disney World airport transfers

Aug 05, 2021 in "Disney Magical Express"

Posted: Thursday August 5, 2021 11:53am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Mears Transportation, the third-party operator of the existing Disney Magical Express, is now accepting bookings for its new Mears Connect service beginning January 1, 2022.

Mears Connect will serve Orlando International Airport and the Disney resort area with two service levels - Standard and Premium.

Standard is a shared service on bus or van, making a limited number of stops on the way to your destination.

Premium is a direct service with limited to no wait time.

Introductory rates for the standard round trip service are $32 per adult and $27 per child. Premium rates are $200 for up to 4 passengers and $55 per additional passenger.

Disney has previously announced its plans to end Magical Express airport transportation at the end of 2021. In a statement, Disney said, "Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want. In light of this shift, when Disney Resort hotel bookings open for stays in 2022, we will no longer offer Disney's Magical Express service for airport transportation, starting with arrivals Jan. 1, 2022. We will continue to operate the service for new and existing reservations made at Disney Resort hotels for arrivals throughout 2021. Additionally, complimentary transportation options – such as buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner – will continue to be available within Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Resort hotel guests, including to and from all four theme parks."

Disney's Magical Express service reopened from the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-July but has not provided luggage delivery service for those arriving and departing from the airport.

Magical Express was launched in 2005 and quickly became a popular option for guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, often saving hundreds of dollars on transportation costs.

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AnteaterJul 13, 2022

YaY! 20,000 Leagues submarines are back! 🤣

larryzJul 13, 2022

...and some people bought into the dream with DVC membership. I imagine they care about what WDW will be like in 20 years.

Po'RichJul 13, 2022

It is also completely antithetical to expanding DVC. Why encourage a timeshare if you want to discourage repeat visitors? I will say that Magic Express is one of the elements that led to me buying into DVC. While I recognized that Disney was expensive even then, I was impressed by the "Disney Bubble" that kept from being penny-pinched for every aspect of the trip. Today's Disney would have made it much more likely that my first trip was a one-and-done trip. Instead, I've been back six times since then. Disney has definitely gotten a lot more money out of me over the years than they did with just the first trip.

TransportationGuyJul 13, 2022

$39/adult and $29/child

nickysJul 13, 2022

ME was marketed as a major selling point in the U.K. for staying onsite. It was used as a counter to the more usual trend for booking a private villa within 30 minutes from the parks. Prior to the private villas becoming popular, the holiday brochures for Florida were full of motels on International Drive. The options for staying onsite through most travel companies were limited to maybe 4 resorts in those days. I’d say ME changed that quite a lot. We loved it. The holiday began when we were seated and the video started playing. No worries about whether a taxi / Uber / town car would have enough space for luggage. No wondering if booking a town car is going to be viable, in case of a delayed flight or Immigration checks taking longer than anticipated. Just turn up and get on a bus.

KamikazeJul 13, 2022

What does Universal's service cost, out of curiosity?

TransportationGuyJul 13, 2022

Universal’s has always been a paid service and runs almost identically to Mears Connect (Also run by Mears and obviously only for the Universal hotels).

Dan DeesneeJul 13, 2022

The problem with that mentality is that it is the repeat visitors that often get the one-and-done crowd to go in the first place. Tough times for Disney parks are ahead.

DisneyfanMAJul 12, 2022

I know most don't want to hear this, but if you have kids and are alternately going to be renting a car or using ride sharing like uber or lyft, these inflatable boosters were what we ordered. We plan to use them in our rental for our upcoming trip. I can attest they are very well made and internal bladder is very thick. It inflates by mouth in about 5 seconds. Another tip for those flying anywhere with kids still in infant carriers: back when we were in that phase, we found a luggage strap thing that let us put the carrier on the back of the rolling carry on suitcase and roll through the airport right onto the plane with the child in their carrier. The straps cost us like 10 bucks. Here is the inflatable booster:

bcoachableJul 12, 2022

But if you wanted to use it- it was there for you- and paid for by Disney… now YOU pay for it, and Disney didn’t discount a thing for you. Inevitable? Maybe. Money Grab? Absolutely. Welcome to the new Disney: More Disney more family more relevant….

LittleBufordJul 12, 2022

I realise 2005 is nearly two decades ago, but it's still many, many years after WDW was established. Some of the posts in this thread make it seem as if an immersive holiday at WDW isn't possible without Magical Express, even though the service hasn't existed for the majority of the resort's history.

AylaJul 12, 2022

It started in 2005.

Fido ChuckwagonJul 12, 2022

Bob Chapek has indicated that repeat visitors are the wrong kind of guest because they do not spend as much money. He only wants first time visitors staying on property at rack rates paying for daily tickets.

Wendy PleakleyJul 12, 2022

This was ultimately inevitable. The rise of affordable ride share companies has meant: The cost to secure one's own transportation from the airport is not a deal breaker as far as the cost of a WDW visit goes, and The convenience and affordability of getting a ride elsewhere, such as Universal, means ME is not as effective as keeping people in the WDW bubble.