Magical Express,  Disney

The announcement that Disney's Magical Express will cease at the start of 2022 for all guests choosing an onsite Walt Disney World package has made many Disney fans ask the question, is it worth staying on property?

Just to clarify, Disney's Magical Express is the transportation from the airport, the bus transport within Walt Disney World from the resorts to the parks will remain in place.

There is no disputing that you can't beat the magic of staying on property at Walt Disney World. We were lucky enough to stay at The Art Of Animation back in 2012 and had the best time ever. However, with the current cut backs due to COVID-19 and the news that MagicBands to Be Replaced With Smartphone App Feature Sometime This Year, and now the cancelling of, for many, the much loved Disney's Magical Express, are we going to see more guests opting to stay off property?

Well that is what our most recent Big Debate asked you and here are the results...


Image via Flickr User PrincessAshley
  • Yes - 76%
  • No - 24%

As you can see, there is a clear majority of people that have voted that they are more likely to stay off property when visiting Walt Disney World. 

Now, this I am sure isn't all down to the cancelling of Disney's Magical Express. As we know, COVID-19 has brought huge financial pressures to almost the entire world population and for many staying on property, however magical it may be, just isn't an option right now.

As we clarified in our original article, Disney's Magical Express Ending Service Permanently Next Year, Mears have confirmed that they will continue to run the service, guests will just have to pay for it rather than it being part of their Walt Disney World package. For many this was an important perk.

We will be publishing an article this month outlining the best options guests choosing to stay on property in 2022 will have in regards to getting to the resort from the airport. 

Your Thoughts and Comments

Image: Disney

As always in this part of the article we publish a range of your comments to hopefully sum up both sides of the debate:

"No magical express, no extra magic hours, and you have to pay to park at the resort...it’s almost like they’re discouraging guests from staying on property."

"The tangible benefits may be going away, but I still enjoy being fully immersed in the Disney experience, and there's just no comparing the local Holiday Inn to the Beach Club. Yeah, the price is 3X more to stay at the Beach Club, but it's part of the experience. Once I've made the decision to go visit "the Mouse" for a week, I've usually taken the attitude that says "here's my wallet, take what you want."

"Thing is, if people keep staying on property with all these cuts, Disney will keep doing them. As a consumer, you have a choice to either put up with these cuts or stay elsewhere. The more people who just accept it, the more Disney will keep doing it."

"It makes me sad, but we will probably still stay on property. I'm guessing other services will pop up to get people from the airport to the resorts. It's really nice to not have to rent a car and pay for parking."

Polynesian resort
Image: Disney

"Absolutely stay off property. The Disney resorts I have stayed at aren’t that nice anyway. The last time there in August we stayed off property at a really nice condo. It was new, had enough rooms for everyone to have their own room, a pool and it was less that $1000 for 9 days. Can’t get that anywhere on Disney property."

"Magical express isnt great, I usually rent a car, but the extra magic hours being gone is a really downer for me what are the perks of staying on property now?"

"I’m the type of traveler that could stay in a cheap hotel off of Kissimmee, save hundreds or thousands of dollars and use that money towards more merchandise than staying on property."

"We went last week without all the extra perks and probably had our best trip yet."

"If there are no real incentives left to staying on site then why pay the higher room rates when you can stay off site & spend your money on other things like mall shopping & outlet shopping."

"I will always stay on property, just having the shuttle is good enough for me."

"The beauty of staying on property was not having to rent a car and using ME/Disney buses. I hate driving in a new location so it relieved my stress. But, if I am going to need a car, it opens up the possibility of staying off property, eating off property and doing other things than just Disney."

Walt Disney World Castle
Image: Disney

"We haven't stayed on property for a very long time. We stay at the Disney Springs Area Resorts and love them especially The Hiltons. Love their buses and walkability to Disney Springs."

"I stayed on property once and enjoyed the magical express. However, its called free but, when you spending the amount of money to stay on property, it's pretty much paid for. Catching a cab, Uber, or Lyft is not hard nor will it break your bank. Like I've done in the past, use MEARS if you're off property and use an UBER or LYFT to get to the parks. Advantage...they will drop you off at the entrance and there is no waiting for parking, paying parking fees or waiting for a tram."

"Never stay on property, I have a pile of Hilton points we use them. If I didn't have points I would just shop around a find a hotel a little ways down thr street that will offer a nicer place and free parking."

"Stay on international drive best place to stay."

"So I used to be a big fan of staying on property, loved Magical Express and the bus service. Recently we stayed off property, it’s a game changer. UBER is not that expensive and you’ll save SO much staying off property. No waiting for busses, no crowded buses. UBER has drop off locations right near all the front gates!!! GAME CHANGER!!!"

Portofino Bay, Disney
Image: Disney

"I stayed off property once, will never do it again. When we go on a Disney vacation, we stay at Disney."

In summary there are some guests who will always stay onsite when they visit Walt Disney World so they can be absorbed in the magic but others appear to be open to staying off property as perks diminish. Check out our news page for our new Big Debate, Extra Magic Hours Will Not Return to Walt Disney World, Does It REALLY Matter?


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