The MickeyBlog Interview: The Sunshine Flyer
With Magical Express ending, Walt Disney World tourists are looking for new options to take them to and from Orlando International Airport.
MickeyBlog recently enjoyed the opportunity to interview the newest entrant into the field.
We spoke with Tony Glibkowski, The Vice-President of The Sunshine Flyer, about their themed buses that look like trains. Here’s the discussion posted in full:
MickeyBlog: Obviously, many Disney fans will always compare and contrast your service to the former Magical Express. What would you say will be similar, and what should guests understand must be different?
The Sunshine Flyer: As nobody creates an experience better than Disney, that is the one part of service we aim to hold to the Walt Disney standard. Our theme and the look of the vehicles themselves is going to give riders young and old the feeling that their vacation starts when they get off the plane at MCO.
MickeyBlog: How many buses are in your fleet?
The Sunshine Flyer: We will have 15 fully wrapped buses for the start of service on February 1st, with an additional 20 ready to go for the Spring Break rush.
MickeyBlog: How many stops will each bus make on a trip from the airport to Walt Disney World?
The Sunshine Flyer: It really depends on our riders each day. Our dynamic routing software allows us to customize each day’s transfer based on specific riders and their WDW Resort. We are able to set the parameters for how long the ride is and how many stops the bus makes, but 65 minutes is the longest any rider will be on the bus once it leaves the airport to the final destination.
MickeyBlog: Will you follow the Magical Express model of having one bus with several resort stops in the same Walt Disney World area? Or will the passenger manifest determine the stops each time?
The Sunshine Flyer: We have our own routing platform that will sort all transfers based on the specific rider needs of that day, in order to maximize efficiency. We can set the parameters of the rider experience, in our platform. The overall setting is not having a rider on a bus for more than 65 minutes, so with that as the main goal, the number of stops will be in close proximity.
MickeyBlog: One of the sticking points of Magical Express involved extended delays while waiting for a bus/waiting for departure. What sort of turnaround time do you project for The Sunshine Flyer?
The Sunshine Flyer: Our guests wait no more than 20 minutes to board one of our buses once they enter the staging area. Once onboard, the ride to the last resort stop will take no more than 65 minutes to allow our guests more time to enjoy their magical vacation.
MickeyBlog: Your newswire release indicates all Walt Disney World stops. Will that include ancillary resorts like the Swan and Dolphin, Four Seasons, and the Disney Springs locales?
The Sunshine Flyer: At the start of service on February 1st we are not servicing the Disney Partner Hotels, however we are working hard to add some of them in the near future.
MickeyBlog: Who came up with the idea of a bus themed as a train, and how challenging was it to create?
The Sunshine Flyer: The idea of themed service actually came out of a Disney trip with my family. Every time my wife and I would wait for the monorail with my kids, they would always stare down the tracks debating which color monorail would be ours. The anticipation with The Sunshine Flyer we feel the same waiting on your unique train (bus) to arrive.
MickeyBlog: What led you to add the charitable contribution to Make-A-Wish as part of your introductory campaign?
The Sunshine Flyer: We have instilled a commitment within Sunshine Flyer to give back and truly admire Make-A-Wish Foundation’s mission and the significant impact on families. With this being the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World® and we wanted to add more to this celebration by donating 50% of all ticket sales to the foundation and will provide free rides to any families attending the park through the Make-A-Wish Foundation Grant.
MickeyBlog: What can guests expect to see on these buses that they wouldn’t on Magical Express?
The Sunshine Flyer: Our buses offer a one-of-a-kind experience built on the 1920s rail travel experience. Each motorcoach bus has the appearance of an old-fashioned passenger car and train engine where our staff is dressed head to toe as 1920s train conductors and engineers.
MickeyBlog: Mears Connect appears destined to be your primary competitor. Why should Disney vacationers pick your service instead?
The Sunshine Flyer: The Sunshine Flyer allows every Disney guest to kick start the magic of their vacation from the moment they step off the plane. Our team provides fun and engaging transportation through our themed motorcoach buses that fills in the gap left by the cancellation of Disney’s Magical Express for Disney guests looking for this experience once again.