Important Things to Remember about Magical Express
You’ve just gotten off the plane, and it’s almost go-time! You’ve touched down in Orlando, and you’re ready to get started! Alas, you must do something before you can enter the parks and start your Disney vacation. You have to jump on a bus and head to your hotel. Here are a few things to remember about Magical Express.
Find Magical Express at MCO
Everyone who works at Orlando International Airport (MCO) can give you directions to Magical Express. It’s one of the most popular destinations at the airport. However, you shouldn’t need to ask. You’ll simply walk to the B-side of the airport and head to the first floor.
Magical Express is at B-1 on the far right, presuming that you’re coming from the food court or any other portion of the main lobby at the airport. You’ll see signs for Magical Express or Disney Welcome Center as you maneuver through the airport.
Have Your Magic Band Ready
Once you notice the signs for Magical Express check-in, you’re at the right place. Please take this opportunity to rummage through your belongings and take out your party’s Magic Bands. Sometimes, I do this when I’m stuck on the airplane so that I have it ready when needed.
The Disney cast member must scan your Magic Band to access your hotel reservation. So, you’ll save time and aggravation by having it ready. Also, I’d suggest that you bring a hard copy of your hotel reservation just in case.
Occasionally, the Magical Express employees won’t be able to pull up your reservations with the Magic Bands. Technology is sometimes temperamental.
Drop off Your Bags and Get in the Right Line
After getting checked in, you have two more easily achievable goals at Magical Express. The first one involves your luggage. Hopefully, you added tags to all of your belongings. Presuming that you did, you’ve already dropped off your luggage, and it will arrive at your hotel later.
However, you may not have gotten luggage tags. I’ve had this happen a few times, and I’m happy to tell you that it’s no big deal. Tell the cast member that you have bags that you’d like delivered to the hotel. The check-in employee will ask for your baggage claim tickets. Hand them over, and you’re golden!
After that, the other crucial step is entering the correct line. Don’t laugh! People get on the wrong bus at Magical Express all the time! The numbering of the lines can be a bit confusing, and some guests don’t pay attention to cast members.
So, after you’ve checked in, ask where you should go. When the cast member tells you, walk to that line. You’ll probably see another cast member at the front of the line. Verify with this person that you’re standing in the correct line for your destination.
Interact with the Bus Driver
Similarly, when you’re ready to board the bus, ask the driver what the Magical Express route is. You’re killing two birds with one stone here. For starters, you’re receiving third confirmation that you’re in the right row.
Also, you’re getting a timeline for your trip. Most Magical Express buses stop at three or four destinations. A driver will happily tell you the order of stops. So, you’ll learn whether you’ll get off the bus first, last, or somewhere in-between.
You can plan accordingly from there. Each stop adds another five minutes or so to the trip, longer if a large group departs. During a four-stop journey on Magical Express, the difference between the first drop-off and the last can be 20 minutes or more.
If you ask, your bus driver may tell you an estimate for when you’ll reach the hotel. Since this person takes the route several times a day, you should believe them.
The other thing you’ll want to do is hand your carry-on luggage to your driver. Technically, you don’t have to do this, as the buses come equipped with overhead storage bins. However, I suggest it because the undercarriage storage is much larger, and you don’t have to worry about anything falling on your head during the trip.
Remember to Speak Up
I’m giving this tip its own header because it’s essential. When you speak to the bus driver, make sure that the person knows where you’re stopping. Sometimes, the cast member receives an itinerary that isn’t updated.
The bus driver won’t stop at a resort unless they’ve confirmed that a guest needs to get off there. So, if you don’t tell your driver your destination, you run the risk of getting skipped. This has happened to me before, and I’ve watched it happen to someone else, too.
The explanation for this snafu involves driver behavior. Some of them use the intercom to communicate with guests. Others just yell, and some of those yells aren’t loud enough to make it beyond the first five rows of the bus. So, you could feasibly not hear them and fail to speak up when the driver announces your destination.
You don’t want to be the idiot dragging carry-on luggage into the lobby of the Grand Floridian when you’re staying at the Polynesian. Trust me on this one.
Watch the Video Screen
Above the front row of the bus, you’ll notice digital monitors. You should pay attention to these during your ride. Yes, I know that it’s tempting to take a cat nap during your ~40 minutes of drive-time. And I’d actually recommend it…after a while.
When you first get on the bus, you should watch the videos, though. The Magical Express information video provides helpful tips about your Disney vacation. Plus, it includes a few Mickey Mouse cartoons that will entertain your kids – never go sailing with Donald Duck! – and some other stuff. I’m a big fan of the trivia questions, which often turn into a group exercise for everyone on the bus.
Remember to Tip!
Tipping can be a combative topic among Disney fans. Some folks believe that a salary is more than enough for a bus driver. Having worked in service industries and the hotel industry, I feel quite strongly about tipping. When someone carries your bags for any length of time, you should give them a few dollars.
So, when you check your luggage with the Magical Express driver, remember to slip them a fiver after you’ve taken back your bags. It’s a display of gratitude for a job well done.