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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Magical Express & Buses in the Ask The Experts forums; This may have been asked before, but what have people's experience with the Disney Magical Express and using Disney bus transportation been like? This is the first time we have ...
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    NH Disney Drmr's Avatar
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    Magical Express & Buses

    This may have been asked before, but what have people's experience with the Disney Magical Express and using Disney bus transportation been like? This is the first time we have not either brought our own vehicle or rented a car. We are staying at the All-Star Movie's Resort so we will be relying exclusively on the bus system. Has it worked out well for people or have there been problems? I figure our kids are older now and we won't have so much stuff to lug around so it won't be too difficult, but I still worry that this is going to be more of a pain than a convenience.
    NH Disney Drmr

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    I cant compare it to using a car cuz we never have besides to and from the airport. Within the world, the buses are nice but sometimes you have to wait. Normally if the lines are long though, there will be more buses sent over to accomidate the crowds. I've never had to wait in a line longer than a half hour and thats either because we just missed a bus or it was at the end of the day when a park was closing. One thing that im not quite sure on because i've never stay ed at the all-stars is if the bus they use for one resort goes to the rest before it makes its way to the park. I thnk it does which makes for a longer wait while on the bus. I know it took quite awhile to get to where we wanted to over at Port Orleans because the bus had to stop at all the different stops which took forever. It might have had something to do with being in the middle of the day. Maybe somebody else could help better on that. The magical express is nice because you dont have to deal with getting a car or anything. The wait is quite short and then when you are on the bus, you get to watch a nice little video that really gets you in the mood for the next few days. When going back to the airport to come home, you do get there really early but thats so you dont miss you flight if the place is really packed. I really like it all because its so nice and easy. (Especially because you have to be 21 or 25 to rent a car and i cant quite do that yet)
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    We had a better overall experience at POFQ than Pop Century. Getting to the resort is great with Magical Express since you don't worry about driving or directions. When we stayed at Pop, I was afraid we wouldn't make our flight when leaving though. The Magical Express bus was late and had to make two more stops after getting us! Luckily we made our flight. Buses at the value resorts tend to be crowded and my experience is that they don't run as regularly as I expected them to. With older kids like yours the buses will probably be okay. I don't think I will do the buses again until my kids (3 and 6) are older.

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    Awesome, wouldn't do a trip any other way. The longest waits are after the parks close, have never waited more than 30 minutes though. It just seems like forever because your tired by that time.
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    ****Question Everyone****
    Since we are discussing Disney Magical Express....I have never taken it before... I thought I have read somewhere that when you check your bags in with the airlines, that disney magical express gets them for you at MCO??? Is that correct??? Also, I have heard that you need to have special bag tags for your luggage??? Is that info correct?
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    That is true. IF you put the yellow tag on before your flight, you dont have to worry about your bags until you get to your room and find them there(about an hour after you get a room). The tag will be sent to you a few weeks before your trip and will have your name and the resort you are staying at written on them.
    "L'amour brille sous les étoiles Illuminant leur cœur Sa lumière
    Eclaire à l'infini Un sublime espoir" -so i dont really speak french but would love to would u amour to?

    3 times w/i the celebration
    I'm a millionaire who got to the hot seat



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    Yea Magical Express is a can't miss. Really it is one of the best things Disney has ever done. The bus transportation in the parks can be hit or miss. We have had buses come right when we got there and other times we have had to wait for over 45 mins for a bus to come. We DVC members and stay at Saratoga alot. The main problem there is they have 4 different stops. We were on the last stop one time and the bus would be so full that it could not pick up any of us. Since then we have been on the first stop so I don't know if it has gotten any better.
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    Yes, they will get your bags. I like Mag. Express service, just remember, it may take a few hours for your bags to catch up with you, so take what you absolutely NEED for the first few hours at Disney in your carry on.
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    SWEET! Thanks for the info everyone and the quick responses!! :o)
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    Quote Originally Posted by JQuatt21 View Post
    ****Question Everyone****
    Since we are discussing Disney Magical Express....I have never taken it before... I thought I have read somewhere that when you check your bags in with the airlines, that disney magical express gets them for you at MCO??? Is that correct??? Also, I have heard that you need to have special bag tags for your luggage??? Is that info correct?
    DME is free, but you must make reservations for it. About 4-6 weeks before your trip, you'll get a DME packet in the mail. One item in there will be special pre-printed bright yellow luggage tags that have barcodes on them. You put one pon each checked bag before you leave home. On your travel day, you check your bags with your airline like normal.

    When your plane lands at MCO and the luggage is unloaded, all bags with the special DME tags are pulled from the regular luggage stream and brought to a Disney sorting facility on the grounds of the airport. The luggage is scanned a few times, loaded into locked cages (by resort), and those cages are transported to the resorts by truck, and the trucks are tracked by GPS. When your resort gets it's "cage," they unload it (and the bags are scanned a 4th time), and from there it's the resort's responsibility; Bell Services delivers it to the inside of your resort room (scanning it a 5th and final time in the process) whether you are in there or not.

    You can expect your luggage about 3 hours after you arrive at your resort. You shouldn't sit and wait for it, you should go out and play! Pack for your immediate needs in your carry-on.

    As for your body, at the airport you totally skip baggage claim and go right for the DME Welcome Center. After you check-in there, you'll be shown to your bus queue, and then escorted onto your bus. Buses can go to as many as 4 resorts. Overall, it's just as quick to use DME as a rental car or car service ... the big time savings with DME comes from skipping baggage claim.

    ***THE ABOVE IS FOR EVERYONE ON EVERY AIRLINE.***

    On the way home, what you do with your luggage depends on which airline you are flying, whether or not it is a "participating airline." More on that later when I have more time ....
    -- Eric

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    CONTINUING ...

    On the morning before your departure day, you'll get a DME envelope hanging on your resort room's doorknob. In there will be your assigned bus pick-up time, which will be about 2.75-to-3 hours prior to your scheduled flight time. Each resort gets 2 DME pick-ups per hour (if there are reservations), scheduled at :00 and :30 after the hour, or :10 and :40 after the hour, etc. You need to be on your assigned bus, you can't just choose to take a later bus back to the airport.

    You are supposed to show up at the bus area about 15 minutes prior to your scheduled bus pick-up time. The DME pick-up area will be the same exact spot where DME dropped you off on your first day. The buses tend to be very prompt, and tend not to wait for stragglers.

    On the way home, airline matters. It didn't matter one bit when you got to Orlando, but it matters when you try to leave Orlando.

    People flying one of the "participating airlines" can use Resort Airline Check-in, a separate service from DME. RAC is basically curbside check-in, only it is in your resort lobby and not at the airport. Just like curbside check-in, each person in your party must be present with ID and your checked luggage must be with you (even if you have Bell Services get your luggage from your room, you must again take possession of it before getting in the RAC line -- Bell Services can't check your luggage with RAC). Everyone gets checked-in for the flight (you get your actual boarding passes, so at the airport you go DIRECTLY to your gate) and your luggage gets checked through to your home airport. Once you check-in your luggage with RAC, you'll no longer have access to it, and the next time you'll see it will be on your home airport's baggage claim carousel. It will be transported to the airport by truck and delivered to your airline.

    The earliest you can check-in with RAC is 12 hours before your flight, and the latest is 3 hours before your flight. Each resort's RAC desk is open from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This means that anyone with a flight scheduled to depart MCO between 1:01 am. and 7:59 a.m. can't use the RAC service.

    People NOT flying one of the participating airlines have to get their luggage to the DME bus. If your bus leaves later than your room check-out time of 11:00 a.m., you can have Bell Services store your luggage (and carry-ons) for you so you can go out and play. Just make sure you get back in enough time to claim your luggage and get it to the DME driver when your bus arrives. The bus will make 2 stops at the airport, one at the A side and one at the B side. The driver will ask what airline you're taking, and will load the luggage separating it by whoch stop it'll be getting off at. When you reach your airport stop (the driver will announce which airlines are for that stop), the driver will ask you to wait in the bus while he/she unloads the luggage. When you get the all-clear, you get off the bus and get your luggage. A tip for the driver would be appropriate at this time. You then go to your airline's ticket counter or your airline's curbside check-in. BOTH of those things will be upstairs on Level 3 -- you are dropped off on Level 1 (long story ... the short story is that the big heavy buses aren't permitted up on the Level 3 roadways). You can take the elevators, there are many of them. Check in with your airline just like any other time you'd do so.

    Any questions??? Just ask!
    -- Eric

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    NH Disney Drmr's Avatar
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    Thanks Cleverocks! That really answered all the concerns I had with the Magical Express. I am hopelessly obsessed with my vacation planning and I don't like the unexpected when it comes to the traveling. Sounds like it is a well planned out process. I am more at ease now about using it. The guide books do not come anywhere close to your description on how it works. Any idea what airlines are participating? I am sure they change, but the last I read, my airlines was one of the participants.
    NH Disney Drmr

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    Quote Originally Posted by NH Disney Drmr View Post
    Thanks Cleverocks! That really answered all the concerns I had with the Magical Express. I am hopelessly obsessed with my vacation planning and I don't like the unexpected when it comes to the traveling. Sounds like it is a well planned out process. I am more at ease now about using it. The guide books do not come anywhere close to your description on how it works. Any idea what airlines are participating? I am sure they change, but the last I read, my airlines was one of the participants.


    AirTran, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, jetBlue, Northwest and United/Ted.
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    NH Disney Drmr's Avatar
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    Good....We are flying Delta this time. Should make the end of our trip less of a hassle since we will all be worn out by then.
    NH Disney Drmr

    October 5, 2013....Mother
    & Daughter trip. She's 16, I'm 40+...Who says Disney is just for kids.

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    I love Magical Express. It is truly magical.
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