Yesterday Disney Parks Blog announced that Disney’s Magical Express will no longer be available starting on January 1, 2022. This has caused a lot of outrage amongst Walt Disney World fans. Since I’m local, I don’t use the service. But I have been thinking quite a bit about why they made this move, and I don’t think that it’s just a cost cutting measure.
Disney’s Magical Express is not run by Disney. It’s run by local transportation company Mears. Disney pays Mears to get guests to and from Orlando International Airport, and does not charge the guests anything for it. The money goes directly to an outside company.
There are still tens of thousands of Cast Members who have not been called back to work. Some are still on furlough, while others will probably never work for Disney again. With that number so high, is it right to pay money to an outside company? Shouldn’t that money instead be used towards getting more Cast Members back to work?
While this was never confirmed by Disney, I think that this is why there were no Castle Dream Lights in 2020. An outside company is hired each year to put the lights on Cinderella Castle. Instead of paying outsiders, Disney decided to try something new, and the results were special. I’m sure that the Dream Lights will be back at some point, but right now it’s more important to keep that money in house.
People are not going to end up stranded at Orlando International Airport. Disney’s Magical Express is a convenience, but there are other ways to travel. Uber and Lyft are always possibilities. Brightline is going to build a rail station that connects Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs. I’m sure that shuttle companies will spring up to take guests to and from the airport for a fee. It may be inconvenient, but you’ll still be able to enjoy your Walt Disney World vacation.
Multiple sources have reported that a statement has been released by Mears. It claims, “Walt Disney made us aware of their decision. While we are disappointed Disney will no longer offer this service, we intend to continue offering transportation services between the airport and all area theme parks and hotels to meet the demand of our visitors now and in the future.” The statement was made by Mears spokesperson Roger Chapin.
I’ve been to Disneyland three times since 2017. I have never had a car, and there is no free shuttle to and from any of the airports. I’ve used Uber, a taxi, and a local shuttle service, all with no problems.
Disney’s Magical Express was originally for a limited time for the Happiest Celebration on Earth. While it’s sad to see it end, at least guests have been given plenty of notice. Right now you can only book a room through December 31, 2021. The end of Disney’s Magical Express will not affect any current vacation plans.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be upset. I understand why people are. But a lot of the people I see complaining (in other places, not on Disney Over 50) are also saying that Disney needs to do something to get more Cast Members back to work. Maybe this is a step in that direction.