Disney announced the discontinuation of the Magical Express shuttle service at the end of 2021. With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the best ways to get from Orlando Airport to Disney World now that we’ll have to rely on other modes of transportation. Below we lay out the top 5 options to consider for your next airport-to-Disney connection.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer here. The best mode of transportation will depend on who you are traveling with and how many people are in your group. Are you traveling with children or pets? Is there a person with mobility issues in your group or someone who is elderly? Maybe you are traveling with a big church group or school group? These factors will influence which transportation alternative will work best for you.
With that said, let’s take a look at the best ways to get to and from Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World Resort.
1. Rideshare Services (Uber or Lyft)
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are the most convenient way to get from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World.
You simply use the phone app to arrange for someone to pick you up at the airport, and then a driver will appear within minutes to take you to your resort. Since your credit card is linked to your account. there’s never any exchange of cash like most traditional taxis. The entire process is simple and quick. And it’s cheap, too!
As we stated in our recent “How Much Does an Uber Cost from Orlando Airport to Disney World” article, a standard Uber from the airport to Disney World will cost you roughly $35. This can jump to above $40 if you request a special type of vehicle.
For a family of 4 or 5, your best bet may be an UberXL, which will cost you just over $50 between the airport and most of Disney’s resort hotels. The fancier Uber Black option will run you just over $90 per trip.
You’ll also pay a little more for vehicles equipped with car seats or if they are designed to accommodate pets.
One of the clear benefits of taking an Uber or Lyft (rather than a shuttle bus) is how direct the service is. A ride from the airport to Disney takes less than 30 minutes and there are no stops along the way. Plus, most vehicles are at least as comfortable as a taxi service (and less expensive).
Please note that the cost of a ride is subject to increase during peak times. This “surge pricing” happens when there are more people requesting rides than there are enough cars to take them all. This can happen when parks open and close, during bad weather, special events, or other instances that cause an unusually high volume of people to request a ride.
The rideshare option may be somewhat limiting if you have a lot of people in your group or if you have an unusually large amount of luggage. If you’re going to Disney with a large family or group, then you probably won’t all fit in a single car and you may do better with the shuttle bus or private vehicle option.
2. Shuttle Bus (Mears Connect, The Sunshine Flyer)
Even though the Magical Express service has been discontinued, you’re still able to take a shuttle bus or passenger van from Orlando Airport to Disney World. Shuttles and vans can be a great option and they may end up being the most economical choice depending on how large your family or group is.
A new option from Mears is being branded as a Magical Express replacement (for a fee, of course). This new service is called Mears Connect.
The new route debuted on January 1st, 2022, the same date Disney’s Magical Express service was officially discontinued. The route connects Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Pricing for Mears Connect:
- Standard Service, One-Way: $16.00 per adult. $13.50 per child.
- Standard Service, Round-Trip: $32.00 per adult. $27.00 per child.
- Express Service, Round Trip: $250.00 for up to 4 passengers. $55.00 per additional passenger.
Mears promises that the new bus service provides the same type of reliable, safe, and express service that we have become accustomed to from the Magical Express. It’s a credible claim, as Mears was the company which operated the original Magical Express on Disney’s behalf.
Please note that shuttle buses for the Standard Service will make more than one stop. If you are looking for expedited service to and from the resort, you can book the Express Service. Contact The Vacationeer for more information.
The Sunshine Flyer
The Sunshine Flyer is the newest shuttle option between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World Resort. The service was launched by Transportation Management Services (TMS) and is themed around old-fashioned passenger cars and train engines.
Service on The Sunshine Flyer began on February 1, 2022.
Pricing for Sunshine Flyer:
- Shared Service, One-Way: $19.50 per adult. $11.00 per child.
- Shared Service, Round Trip: $39.00 per adult. $22.00 per child.
- Direct Service, One-Way: $120 (sedan). $145 (SUV). $160 (van).
- Direct Service, Round-Trip: $240 (sedan). $290 (SUV). $320 (van).
Tickets should be booked at least 4 days ahead of arrival.
Contact The Vacationeer for more information.
Comparable to Mears Connect. No nonsense and affordable bus transportation to and from Walt Disney World.
Shared service unless you pay extra for Direct Service
3. Taxi Service
Taxi service is always a good option. They are all over at the airport and you don’t need to use an app or have a reservation in place. You simply hop into a taxi and head off to your destination. If you’d prefer to have a reservation in place, you can actually book a local taxi cab via a rideshare service like Uber if you want, or just give them a call to pick you up. But, again, there are taxis near all the exits so they are not hard to find.
The standard taxi only takes 3 or 4 passengers but some larger taxi vehicles can take up to 9 passengers. If you’ll need to use a car seat, you should probably call the taxi company in advance and request one (an extra fee may apply).
An estimated taxi fare from Orlando Internation Airport to Disney World is around $70 or so. This is just about double the cost of an Uber for the same route. So, while they are convenient and you won’t have to make stops along the way, you will pay considerably more than an Uber ride.
4. Rent a Car
Renting a car at the airport is the most expensive option and requires the most effort, but it will give you more freedom.
If you plan on doing some day trips around the Disney World area or going to Universal Orlando Resort and other parks, then it may just be your best option.
If you decide to rent a car, it’s really easy to do so at Orlando International Airport. There are several car rental companies located right at the airport so you won’t need to go somewhere off-site to pick up your rental.
Renting a car certainly takes more effort on your part, and it’s also the most expensive option on this list.
A week-long economy car rental from Alamo will cost in the $350 – $400 range. A 5-passenger mid-size car costs about $400, while a 7-passenger minivan would have another $30-$50 for the week. Car rental prices are all subject to change so check the latest rates for yourself. You also may not need a car rental for the entire duration of your trip, so that would reduce the cost somewhat.
Also keep in mind that car seats for children are usually subject to an extra charge, and Disney’s daily hotel parking rates are $15 – $25 per night, depending on where you stay.
5. Private Vehicle Services
Some people may prefer to book a car, van, or another type of vehicle from a private car service company. Many of these vehicles can seat a larger number of passengers, and some have child seats or can be pet-friendly, or have other features that may be important to you. Maybe you are celebrating a special event, or maybe you just want to add some bling to your trip. If so, you can choose a party bus or limo. Wouldn’t that be fun!
One popular choice is Ultimate Town Car. They have a fleet of limos, luxury town cars, 4-passenger Lincoln Town Car, 7-passenger Chevrolet Suburban, 10-passenger Ford 350 vans, party buses, and more.
There are many different companies to choose from in the Orlando area so compare options and shop around.
When all is said and done, renting a vehicle from a private car service company van will be more expensive than an Uber, Mears Connect, or a taxi. However, the value really comes down to how many people share the transportation. This option may end up being a good financial decision and the right fit for your group, so long as you opt for one of the more affordable vehicles.
This video explains how transportation works at Disney World:
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We hope our 5 Best Ways to Get from Orlando Airport to Disney World was helpful.
Looking for more useful Disney World information? If so, then please review some additional pages on MagicGuides like our Best Time to go to Disney World, How to Get from Orlando Airport to Universal Studios, Disney World Photos, Disney World Discounts, Adventures by Disney, and Magic Kingdom Rides articles.
Thanks for reading and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!