Today Disney World has announced that as of January 1st, 2022, Disney’s Magical Express transportation to and from Orlando International Airport will be discontinued. As of right now, there will be no free replacement options for guests of Disney World resorts.
Disney World has released this statement:
Disney World Resort bookings open for stays in 2022 we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service for airport transportation. Starting with arrivals January 1st of 2022, we will continue to operate the service for new and existing reservations made at Disney resort for arrivals throughout 2021.
In addition to this new news, Disney has also announced that extra magic hours will be going away as well and will now be replaced with early theme park entry.
Disney’s official release statement:
We know how much guests enjoy extra park time, so coming later this year as part of our 50th-anniversary celebration, Disney resort guests and guests of other select hotels will be able to enjoy more fun with 30 minutes early entry to any theme park every day. It’ll be a great way to get a jump start on your Disney day no matter the day. As a reminder, the extra magic hours were suspended when Walt Disney World Resort reopened last summer. As we continue to manage attendance with health and safety top-of-mind, extra magic hours will not return. The new early theme park entry benefit helps us better spread visitation across all four theme parks while providing added flexibility by giving guests extra early park time on each day of their vacation and in the park of their choosing. Please note that guests need valid admission and a park reservation made via the Disney park pass system to enter a theme park.
With that being said, we have noticed several people making comments that more magic is slipping away. I’d like to think Disney knows what they’re doing and hopefully, the Magical Express going away will be replaced with the new Brightline train from the airport as a free way of transportation for Disney guests. I know that they’ve been working with Brightline train to provide transportation to and from the resort area.
From a different perspective, Disney does not own the Magical Express coaches. They simply have a contract with Mears Transportation. Maybe that deal went sideways? I’m betting there will be some kind of new transportation service provided to guests by Disney in 2022. Maybe they have done the math and it costs more money to run these big coaches from the airport than it would be to run something smaller?!
As for the extra magic hours going away, I think Disney is taking into consideration that this pandemic is not going anywhere anytime soon. Right now we are enjoying 0 extra magic hours, so to so at least 30 minutes come back for every park is a jump In a more positive direction.
Lately, I have been weighing out the pros and cons of staying on-site at Disney World resorts. Due to the pandemic, all the extras that have been cut out of Disney parks and Disney World resorts the math really does not add up to stay on-site anymore.
Even after renting a car or ubering into a Disney World theme park, you will still come out well ahead when it comes to saving money. If you are more concerned about saving time or added convenience, then staying on-site may still be worth it to you.
As of right now, the things that we enjoyed the most about staying on-site have been removed. Those things include:
The Disney Dining Plan
As of next year, the Magical Express transportation
Free refillable cups
Fastpass reservations, Fastpasses have been removed completely
Early dining reservations, up to 180 days out have been replaced with reservations 60 days out
Free Magic bands, removed they now cost $5 a piece
Extra-Extra magic hours or any type of extra hours, removed
So as you can see a lot of the perks for staying at a Disney World resort have been removed, the only ones remaining are basically free transportation from your hotel to the theme parks and possibly free parking at select theme water parks and Disney Springs.
It is a true disappointment to see one more thing go. Perhaps Disney is taking this time to remove these items to improve them? In true Disney manner, they remain hushed in regards to any future plans.