Tips for Using the Disney World Magical Express Service

We have a couple tips to share with you regarding the Walt Disney World Magical Express Service.  For a quick description of this service, see the post “Disney’s Magical Express“. Over the last several years we have used the service many times and for each of those trips the Magical Express has served us well. We would like to share our experience to help you optimize your enjoyment of everything that Disney has to offer by avoiding some of the waits that can be associated with using the Magical Express service.

Arrival Process

Disney’s Magical Express picks passengers up on Level 1, B Side of the Orlando Airport. Your Magical Express papers have a map of the airport to help direct you to the proper location.When you get off the plane, have your MagicBand handy, or if you do not have MagicBands yet, your Magical Express packet will do for check-in. Since one of these items will be necessary to check in at the pick up area, being prepared will keep the hordes of other Disney travelers from passing you up while you fumble through your luggage looking for them. ( I speak from experience here…)

When boarding the motor coach from the airport, keep everyone together with their carry on luggage when you walk up to the coach. A Disney Cast Member will verify your MagicBand/paperwork. The driver will ask what resort you are going to and will store your luggage in appropriate compartments under the bus. Make sure your MagicBands or any required resort check in paperwork goes on the bus with you, and not in the storage area with your luggage. While they are loading your luggage, make sure to get at least one person on the bus to get seats close to the front of the bus so when you arrive at your resort you can get off as quickly as possible. (Usually it is me dealing with all the luggage while mom and the kids grab their seats on the coach.) During your ride, make sure you have your MagicBands or paperwork handy for the arrival process. At check-in the Cast Member will usually want to check that your MagicBands are properly linked to your reservation. You will also need photo identification so the person checking in should be the person whose name is on the reservation. When you arrive this person should go directly to check in while the others deal with the luggage. This will help you beat the rest of the bus load to the check-in line. Also, if you used the Online Check-In service, make sure you get in that line at your resort. For our very first trip we were lucky enough to have all this just fall in to place. After I completed the check-in process, I turned around to have a bus load of people in line behind me. I realized right then the importance of quickly getting off the Magical Express motor coach and in line for check in. We were probably at Epcot before the last person on our coach got through the check in process.

Note that Disney is currently working on a “Streamlined Check-in” that we will be using for our next trip. We will update this post with that information as soon as we get to experience it…

Departure Process

Depending on the time of your departing flight, it may or may not be too critical to be totally organized for your last day. You will not find this out until your second to last day, but the Magical Express coach will pick you up three hours before your scheduled flight departure.  If time permits and you want to get in a few hours in a park on your last day you will want to be mostly packed up the night before. Your checked bags should be ready to go. Your carry on bags should be packed, minus whatever you will be carrying in the park. If you will need help transporting bags to resort airline check in, call baggage services the night before to make arrangements.  In this case, one person can deal with the bags and airline check in.

Checked bags will be checked to your destination and unavailable until you arrive at your home airport. Note that if your airline charges for checked bags you will need to prepay. Information on the prepay process will be included when your receive your Magical Express information on the second to last day of your stay. You basically call a number, pay by credit card, and get a confirmation number.

Carry on luggage can be stored in a secure area until it is time to get on the Magical Express motor coach. When we are with the kids I take care of this myself as early in the morning as feasible while everyone else is waking up. Without the kids, the two of us get up early, deal with all the bags and airline stuff and grab a bus to a park. All this works even better if you are going to a park with morning extra magic hours.

These simple tips will help avoid potential hassles and could potentially buy you a few more hours enjoying the parks or just relaxing at your resort.

Do you have any tips or tricks that for Disney’s Magical Express? Let us know in the comments below!

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