Disney’s Magical Express When Traveling with Infants and Toddlers

Disney's Magical ExpressFor guests flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO), Disney offers a convenient free shuttle service called the Magical Express. It provides transportation from the airport to your Disney resort in comfortable motor coaches. If you are staying at a Disney resort, I highly recommend using it, because it frees parents of infants and toddlers from having to juggle their luggage or deal with hauling car seats to Florida.

Here’s how it works:

1) When booking your Disney vacation, you will reserve your complimentary ride on the Magical Express.

2) A month before your vacation, your Magical Express package will be mailed to you. It contains your boarding passes and yellow Magical Express luggage labels.

3) On your arrival day, you’ll check in at your home airport and check your bags with the yellow Magical Express labels attached to them, then board your flight.

4) When you arrive at Orlando International Airport and you’ll go to the Magical Express Welcome Desk, located on the first floor of the airport’s side B.

5) You’ll board Disney’s Magical Express and watch a video about your Disney vacation, while it transports you to your resort.

6) Your luggage will be magically be delivered to your resort room.

7) The day before your vacation ends, you’ll receive your Magical Express information for your return trip, delivered to your resort room. Your scheduled trip back to the airport will be 3 hours before your flight departs (domestic) or 4 hours before your flight departs (international).

8) On your departure day, you’ll bring your luggage to Disney’s Magical Express pickup area and you’ll board the motor coach to return to Orlando International Airport. On select airlines, you’ll be able to check in to your flight before you leave your Disney resort.

A few notes:

  • Car seats are prohibited on Disney’s Magical Express.
  • It may take several hours from the time you arrive at your resort to your luggage being delivered. Make sure you have enough stuff in your carry on bag.
  • Disney’s Magical Express service is only available for guests staying at Disney hotels. These hotels on Disney property are excluded: WDW Swan, WDW Dolphin, Shades of Green, and the hotels located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard.
  • Disney’s Magical Express service only operates between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Disney World. If you are flying into a different airport, you will not be able to use it.
  • If you didn’t get enough luggage labels in your Magical Express package (or you have lost them), simply call for more and they will mail them.
  • If you are arriving after 10pm, you’ll need to get your own luggage upon arrival at Orlando International Airport.
  • If you didn’t make a reservation for Disney’s Magical Express, but still want to use it, simply visit the Magical Express Welcome Center at Orlando International Airport when you arrive.
  • The entire process from the time your flight lands until you arrive at your resort usually takes between 2 and 3 hours.
  • It is customary to tip the Magical Express driver.

Should you bring your car seat on your Disney vacation?

carseatIf you are flying to Walt Disney World, the question may come up or whether or not you need to haul your car seat to Florida.

When should you leave your car seat at home?

You are flying to Disney with your child in your lap on the plane, and taking the Magical Express shuttle service from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your Disney resort. You will then be using Disney’s transportation for your entire stay. Actually, you will find that Disney will not allow car seats on any transportation.

When should you bring your car seat?

You will be renting a car during your Disney vacation. While many car rental agencies offer car seats for rental cars, I strongly feel children are more comfortable in their normal car seat, plus you know that it has been well taken care of.

You have purchased a seat on the plane for your child and have an FAA Approved car seat.

Are taxis available with car seats?

If you need a car seat during a taxi ride, simply request that one be sent in your taxi. You may have to wait a little longer, but your child is safer in a car seat.

Where else can I get a car seat during my Florida vacation?

In the event that you need a car seat during your trip, car seats are available for rent from several, local companies such as Derenter or A Baby’s Best Friend.

What car seat alternatives are available for the plane trip?

If you have a longer flight and don’t care to bring your car seat, the only FAA Approved device is called CARES. CARES is a travel harness that fits around the airplane seat and is designed to fit children 12 months and up to 40″. Your child will need their own seat on the plane to use the CARES harness. It is available at online retailers, and Amazon.com generally has it for around $75.

Don’t forget, if you plan to check your car seat on the plane, I recommend using an old suitcase, large duffel bag, or car seat bag to help protect it from damage during travel.

Shipping Supplies or Groceries to Your Disney Resort

luggageWith airlines charging fees for bags, you can cut down on the bulk in your luggage by ordering necessary supplies such as wipes, diapers, and formula to be delivered before you arrive. Luckily, you have a few options:

1) Pack a box of stuff you’ll need on vacation and ship it to yourself at the Disney resort you will be staying at. You can also choose to order through your favorite online retailer. For either method, simply follow this format for your shipping address label:

Name of Resort
Attn: Your Name, Guest
Arriving: Date and Confirmation Number
Resort Address

Pros: You know exactly what products you will receive.
Cons: There is some planning to this method, as you need to order in enough time to get the items to your resort before you arrive. Shipping a box to yourself may be expensive, but you could take advantage of free shipping if it is offered at your favorite online retailer.

2) Another option is to use a delivery service such as Garden Grocer or WeGoShop. To use these services, you place an order on their website and schedule delivery for the day you arrive. At Disney resorts, groceries and other necessities are delivered to the resort’s luggage area on the day of your arrival.

Pros: These services are convenient and can be used on a short notice. Unlike shipping items to yourself, you can also order perishables such as milk or yogurt.
Cons: These services can be costly. Delivery services may make substitutions on your behalf.

3) If you don’t mind taking time out of your vacation, and you have available transportatiom, there are many big box retailers in the area where you can purchase items .

Pros: There is no advance planning needed.
Cons: You’ll need a car to get to the store, or you’ll need to hire a taxi. As I mentioned, shopping will take some time out of your vacation.