Most guests flying into Walt Disney World arrive through the Orlando International Airport (MCO). This centrally located airport is extremely convenient and offers a hotel, shops, and restaurants for travelers to enjoy before or after their flight.
The trip from MCO to Walt Disney World can take anywhere from twenty-five minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic and the time of day. Those can be some of the longest minutes ever, however, when you are eager to start your vacation. It’s no surprise that most families want to maximize their time and get to the parks in the most efficient yet cost-effective way possible.
In past years, Walt Disney World offered the Magical Express. This complimentary transportation option was offered for all guests staying at a Walt Disney World hotel and flying through MCO. Guests liked it because it felt like your vacation started right when you boarded. However, at the end of 2021, this service was unfortunately discontinued.
Luckily, there are still plenty of transportation options from Orlando Airport to Walt Disney World. While none of them are included free with a stay at Walt Disney World, they are affordable for families. Here are some of the options available to you.
Did we miss a transportation option that you have tried? Leave us a comment below!
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Transportation From Orlando Airport to Disney World: The Best Options Available
Mears Transportation, a Central Florida-based company, has operated the Magical Express in the past. Their newest service, Mears Connect, has two types of shuttles – Standard Service, and Express Service.
To access the Mears Connect shuttle, you’ll go to the same area of the airport where the Magical Express service was located (Terminal B, level 1). There, you’ll board your shuttle to your resort.
After your vacation, you’ll be picked up at your resort hotel. For the standard service, it will be at least three hours in advance of your flight time (for domestic flights), while it will be 2.5-3 hours in advance for the Express Service.
A boarding pass with a QR code will be sent to you the day before you depart. That will provide you with the exact pickup time.
The Standard Service goes from the airport to Walt Disney World but will make stops at multiple resorts. Therefore, you may have a longer wait depending on the specific route the bus takes.
The Express Service isn’t a private transfer service – it’s a shared ride. However, they do guarantee that your resort will be the first stop at Walt Disney World, so it’s a direct service.
Bringing a car seat with you? Kids aren’t required to use them on Mears Connect, but they can be used if you prefer.
At this time, luggage handling service isn’t offered. So, you’ll need to stop at the baggage claim area to get your bags before you get in line for the airport shuttle bus.
Round trip prices for the service vary from $27-$32 (per person) for the Standard Service and $250 (for up to four people) for the Express Service. Mears Connect does also offer service to other Disney area resort hotels, like the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, the Orlando World Center Marriott, and the Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek.
When you are ready to return to the airport, check with the resort staff to find out where the bus stop is located.
Rental Car Companies
I don’t particularly love driving, so it’s always nice when I get a break during vacation. Luckily, the transportation in the Disney World theme parks is complimentary and easy to use. You don’t need to have a rental car once you get on property.
However, there are definitely some people who enjoy the freedom of driving themselves around, and find a rental car to be a convenient way to get around. If you want to do a car rental, it’s best to rent it right there at the airport. That way, you will have the car from the minute you land until you are at the airport for your return flight.
The rental car desks at the Orlando International Airport are located on the first floor of the airport, on both the A-side and the B side. There are some additional car rental companies that are offsite. These companies offer shuttle service from the airport to their individual locations – check with them directly to get the details.
It’s important to know that there are some additional costs with this option – beyond the standard rental car fee. You’ll also have to pay for gas and tolls, as well as parking at your resort hotel. Parking at the theme parks is complimentary for resort guests.
In addition to the freedom you get to go to the parks on your schedule, you’ll also be able to leave the Walt Disney World property during your stay. I’d recommend doing a grocery stop on the way to the hotel so that you have snacks, water, sunscreen, and more before your vacation begins.
The newest addition to the transportation options from Orlando Airport to Disney World is the Sunshine Flyer. If you have kids who travel trains, the Sunshine Flyer sounds like a really fun option.
The Sunshine Flyer is a bus service with train cars decorated either as 1920s old-fashioned passenger cars or locomotives. In addition, the staff is dressed in costume as engineers or conductors.
The Sunshine Flyer departs from Terminal B, level 1 at the Orlando International Airport. Guests are told they will not wait for more than 20 minutes after checking in at the desk. You do have to visit baggage claim and pick up your bags before checking in.
Guests can choose to book both one-way rides and round-trip rides. Rates for round trips range from $25-$34 depending on the age of the guest (children are from age 3-8). Car seats are allowed on the bus or can be stored.
The shuttles do make multiple stops at resorts but they have said that the longest time you should expect to be on the bus is 65 minutes. Right now, they are just going to Disney Resorts, but plan to include other Orlando area resorts this year.
On the day before you depart, you’ll receive an email with your departure time. It’s expected to be around 3 hours in advance for a domestic flight, and 4 hours in advance for an international flight.
If you are looking for a private ride to and from Orlando International Airport to the Disney resorts, rideshare services may be the best option. Once you retrieve your luggage, you can request a ride through the apps (either Uber or Lyft).
Rideshare drivers can currently pick up on level two of either the A or B sides. Wait time varies based on current availability and demand. I’ve had great experiences during my trips.
When you are ready to return to the airport from the Walt Disney World Resort, you can again request a ride. These apps may also allow you to schedule a ride in advance, which is especially helpful for your return trip.
There are various options available for private transfers that can take you from the airport to the theme parks. When booking, it may be worth looking at those transfers that include meet and greet service. That way, your driver will be waiting for you at the baggage claim. Some private transfers also allow you to make a grocery and/or pharmacy stop for essentials.
Disney has started offering an add-on service including private transfers. This could be a great option if you aren’t sure what specifically to book.
In addition to these transportation options, there are other choices. These include the taxi line at the airport, private shuttles, and limo services.