Disney’s Magical Express Review
Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary service offered to those staying on property at one of the Disney resorts who fly into Orlando. You will receive your DME travel voucher separate from your other travel documents. Your DME book includes vouchers for each member of your family for both to and from the hotel. The book also includes your airline information so it’s all in one spot. You will also receive tags to put on your luggage. You receive four tags per person. Our tags were bright yellow. You simply remove the stickers, slip it over the handle, and fasten the stickers together, just like the airlines do when you check your baggage.
On the day of your flight you simply check in to your airline. They will take your luggage and you won’t see it again until you get to your room at the hotel. DME will collect your luggage and take it to your room for you upon arrival. It can take up to three hours to get your luggage so be sure to pack your essentials (bathing suite and sunscreen!) in a carry on bag.
After getting off our flight we stopped at the rest room then headed for the terminal/baggage claim area. The airport is well marked so finding the DME check in desk is simple. Once you get to the terminal there are Disney cast members holding signs pointing the way to the DME check in desk. Once there, one family member gets in line while the others relax in the surrounding chairs (where there is plenty of room to find a seat!). The line for check in was long, but moved rather quickly. You simply show them your DME voucher (and you may need your bag check stubs) and that’s it! Then they usher you and your family into a line which corresponds to your hotel. We stayed at the All Star Movies resort which had its own line/bus. By the time we walked up the queue line to the front (only 15 people in front of us) and I put the backpack down to put my tickets away, the bus was there! We were filed onto a bus for our thirty minute journey to Disney World!
Once on the bus our friendly, entertaining driver introduced himself. He kept us entertained with a few stories while we sat back and relaxed on the comfortable charter bus. After exiting the airport grounds the driver put on a welcome video. The video was almost identical to the free planning DVD from Disney. It included where you will get off and back on the bus and what to have ready when you arrive at the hotel for check in. After the video (approximately 15 minutes) the driver asked the bus several trivia questions (the answers were all in the video, but anyone who has been planning their family vacation will know them as well!) and we all shouted out the answers. As we approached the entrance to the World he got us all revved up by having us cheer and clap. He made sure to warn us of photo opportunities well in advance so we could all have our cameras poised and ready to shoot things like the entrance to the World, Tower of Terror, BlizzardBeach and other looming attractions. The ride to the hotel was very enjoyable.
Once at the hotel we were let off right at the front doors. We were all filed into the lobby for check in. We were off and running right away. When we returned to our hotel at our luggage was waiting for us (though we were gone all day so have no idea when they came).
The day before you check out of the hotel you will receive a note on your door with instructions on where to go and what to do for checkout and DME back to the airport. Our bus time was exactly three hours before our flight time. We arrived at the airport with PLENTY of time to spare!
For the bus ride home, it was a little more chaotic and unorganized. You can check in 24 hours in advance at the airline check in desk to check your baggage. We checked ours at on departure day. Not all airlines participate in this service. Once we checked our baggage with them, we didn’t see it again until it came off the baggage carousel in Colorado. We then proceeded outside to the DME pickup area. This is one of the only spots in the World that does not have queue lines for you to stand in. People were all milling about waiting for the bus to arrive. Once the bus pulled up it was a mad free for all to get to the driver to give him your travel voucher and get on the bus. The bus quickly filled up, but there was another bus waiting around the corner to pull in as soon as ours left.
On the ride back we again had a friendly driver, though he wasn’t as entertaining as the ride there. We got to watch another video as we sat back and relaxed on the comfy bus. This video consisted of popular characters talking about their favorite parts of the park and thanking us for spending all our money at Disney. Again, the ride was enjoyable (though sad as we were leaving the Happiest Place on Earth and going back to the real world).
At the airport we were dropped off right in front of the entrance to security for a smooth voyage to our flight.
If you do not want to have DME take your luggage, you are free to handle it yourself. You can simply give your bags to the driver who will load and unload them from the bus for you.
Disney’s Magical Express is free, very easy to use, smooth working, enjoyable, and a definite plus to your vacation! I highly recommend this service!!!
Review submitted by Mynde, aka Esmerelda on the DisneyMouseLinks message boards. Thanks Mynde!