Did you know that your Disney vacation begins when you check your luggage at your hometown airport? That’s right; never lift that suitcase again until you are headed home! Let me explain!
Disney offers a complimentary roundtrip transportation and luggage delivery service, known as Disney’s Magical Express, for guests from the Orlando Airport to select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. The Magical Express can be booked at the same time you book your family’s Disney reservations. Simply provide the reservation agent with your airline carrier and the flight numbers. If the flight has not yet been booked, it can be added up to 10 days in advance of your departure.
Documentation for your Disney vacation will arrive in the mail twenty-one days prior to arrival. Guests will receive transportation vouchers, one yellow luggage tag for each family member, and Disney identification tags. If you will be traveling with more than one checked piece of luggage per person, contact Disney reservations in plenty of time for them to mail the extra tags. Prior to checking your luggage, attach the yellow luggage tag to the handle of your suitcase or on each item that you will be checking with the airline. This is how the Magical Express staff will find your luggage and deliver it to your room. The ID tags are optional. I confess to attaching mine to my camera!
Now check your luggage, grab your boarding pass, and head to your gate! You are officially on your Disney vacation! Once you land in Orlando, skip baggage claim and take the shuttle from your gate to the main terminal. You will now be on Level 3. Proceed to the Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center on the B side, Level 1. Once at the Welcome Center, you will need to show your vacation documentation so have your booklet out and ready. This allows cast members to direct you to your bus!
Disney will transport you to your resort hotel in an air-conditioned motorcoach. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the brief welcome movie. Don’t forget to watch the passing landscape for armadillos, egrets, and lots of other birds and animals common to Florida. Before you know it, you will be passing beneath the Disney welcome arches!
Disney’s Magical Express service will collect your luggage from the airport and deliver it directly to your room within 3 hours after you check in at your resort. Your luggage will be transported separately. BIG PIECE OF ADVICE: Pack medications, valuables, shorts, bathing suits, or anything you think you will need during the first couple of hours after you arrive at your resort in your carry-on. There is nothing worse than arriving in a warm climate with only your cold-weather clothes and no bathing suit! You do not need to be present in your resort room for your luggage to be delivered.
If you are not comfortable with someone else handling your luggage or you will need its contents immediately, you can omit the yellow tags. Just claim your bags at baggage claim before heading to the Magical Express Welcome Center. The Magical Express buses have plenty of room to transport your luggage with you to your resort.
As your vacation draws to a close, you’ll receive a Transportation Notice on or under the door to your room advising you of the pick-up time and place for your motorcoach ride back to Orlando International Airport. The pick up time is usually 3 hours prior to your flight’s departure time. BIG PIECE OF ADVICE: Keep this in mind if you are considering booking an early morning flight. The Magical Express will drop you and your luggage off at your airline terminal, where you will check in for your flight home.
Please note that it is your responsibility to bring your luggage to the Magical Express pick-up point. You can request assistance with your luggage by selecting the luggage button on your phone. BIG PIECE OF ADVICE: After you check out of your room, head over to the Magical Express pick-up point and check your luggage with the bell stand or luggage service desk. Your park passes and remaining dining plan credits are good until midnight of the last day of your stay so you can spend the rest of your time at a park, in the pool, or at Downtown Disney!
Walt Disney Resorts now offers resort airline check-in service. This complimentary service allows you to check your family’s luggage and receive airline boarding passes at your resort so that there is no need to check in at the airport. If you are flying on a participating airline, you are automatically enrolled in this service when you arrive through Disney’s Magical Express. Your boarding pass will be delivered to your room the morning of your departure. Otherwise, you may pick it up at the resort Airline Check-In Desk no less than 3 hours prior to your flight. Participating airlines are listed in your vacation booklet.
I have used the Magical Express eight (8) times and recommend it without reservation! My family generally books a flight that arrives in Orlando at 10:30 am. The Magical Express Bus has us at our resort around noon. After registration, we drop our carry-on luggage off at the room if it is ready, or check it in at the desk. Within minutes we are having lunch using our dining plan and we’re off to the parks or downtown Disney! By the time we return, our luggage is in our room waiting. One time we returned to our room after Illuminations around 11 pm only to discover we were missing one piece of luggage. Disney provided toiletries for the evening and the luggage was outside our door in the morning!
We like to book a departing flight for around 7 pm. The night before, Disney will leave Magical Express pick –up information hanging on our door. We are almost always scheduled for a 3 pm pickup. On the morning of our departure, we check our luggage in with the resort and head off to the pool or the parks. We return in time to claim our luggage and board the bus. During our trip to the airport, we enjoy a departure video and our last glimpse of palm trees. The bus drops us off at our airline terminal where we are sad to say good-bye to Mickey.