Are We One Step Closer To The End Of Disney’s Free Transportation Between MCO & WDW?

by SharonKurheg

For guests who plan to stay on Walt Disney World property, Disney has offered free bus service, called “Disney’s Magical Express,” (DME) since 2005. DME, which is operated by Mears Transportation, shuttles people and their luggage between Orlando International Airport and the WDW complex, and currently transports close to 3 million people per year.

It’s possible that may be coming to an end…

Brightline, the commuter train in the Southeast Florida area, has been bought by Richard Branson and is being renamed Virgin Trains USA (here’s our report of when we rode it). Branson is in the midst of extending the current rail line to MCO (and potentially all the way to TPA) and there had been questions if a station would eventually be built at Walt Disney World. There were no plans set in stone for it but as per a Virgin Trains representative, the train company signed a letter of intent with Disney last year. “We’ve had an excellent relationship with Walt Disney World. They are big supporters of our project.” But that was as much as we knew.

Until now…

Local Orlando channel WESH reported the other day that Disney has now confirmed it’s been having conversations with Brightline/Virgin Trains USA about a potential station on its property.

“As the top vacation destination and largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort is an obvious choice for a rail station between Orlando International Airport and Tampa. We have been in conversations with Virgin Trains USA, and, while we have not yet made any definitive commitment, we have mutually agreed to more formally explore developing a train station on our property,” a Disney spokesperson told WESH.

Of course, there’s still a long way between “We’ve agreed to explore the possibility,” and “Yeah, it’s gonna happen.” But if a Virgin Trains USA station was built on Disney property and was a connection between MCO and WDW, it would surely be the death knell of Disney’s Magical Express between the two properties.

As always, time will tell…

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Amelia December 23, 2019 - 11:24 am

I’m not sure that it would surely be a death knell to the Magic Express. Disney, above all, is all about convenience to their resort guests. Magic Express takes your bags for you at the airport and delivers you and them directly to your resort. A train wouldn’t work that way. You would need to collect your bags, drag them to the airport side of the train station, handle them on the train, drag them to probably another bus that will then finally deliver you to your resort. Magic Express will likely be okay until they figure out how they will stream line that.

SharonKurheg December 23, 2019 - 10:46 pm

Nah…..Disney, above all, is all about paying out as little as possible. If they can get a deal with Virgin Trains that’s cheaper than whatever deal they have with Mears, they’ll be on that like white on rice and they’ll figure out some way to get luggage and people to where they all need to go.

Frank December 23, 2019 - 1:39 pm

A train would serve Disney’s main purpose for providing free transportation from MCO: keeping guests from driving off property for meals, shopping and other potential expenditures. Gotta keep up that per guest spending.

SharonKurheg December 23, 2019 - 11:01 pm

That’s exactly why they started Disney’s Magical Express 😉

ANDRE O December 23, 2019 - 2:57 pm

Taking a train to Disney property may be quicker than taking the bus. But Disney would still need to get visitors to their resort. I also don’t imagine Disney getting rid of their baggage service.


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