There are multiple transportation options between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World, including shuttle buses, Uber and Lyft, private car services, and more. This guide covers MCO to WDW ground transportation, pricing, comparisons, and more. Plus, updates on supply/demand and price increases. (Updated August 4, 2023.)
In case you missed it, Walt Disney World ended the Magical Express airport shuttle service. In place of that free bus service between MCO and resort hotels, two paid bus services originally filled the void. One is Mears Connect, which was the operator of Disney’s Magical Express (DME) and now uses the same buses and drivers. The other is Sunshine Flyer, a new service with a fun railroad theme. (More on these “two” services in our latest update below.)
The elimination of Disney’s Magical Express was big and surprising Walt Disney World news, and continues to anger fans. It even took the #1 spot in our List of Biggest Guest Complaints About Walt Disney World, ahead of Genie+ and other cutbacks. Fortunately, there are plenty of viable alternatives, including several that are superior to DME, and we’re here to give you a rundown of the alternatives for airport transportation. First, let’s start with an update…
The biggest news is that Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer have “joined forces” to form Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine. This merger has pros and cons for consumers. Competition is always good for keeping prices and service competitive. In this case, there arguably wasn’t a market for two competing shuttle services between MCO and WDW. The two were stretched thin, and had issues with both supply and demand at times.
We’ve used both Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer (separately), and will be using the combined Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine later this month. Our expectation is that it’ll mostly be more of the same–an economical and reliable way to get between the airport and resorts at Walt Disney World.
Our experiences with both have been entirely uneventful. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but they’ve been solid for airport shuttle buses. Neither will win any awards for speed, but that’s par for the course. We have no complaints. Basically Disney’s Magical Express. Minus the “Disney” part…and the “Magical” part. Okay, and the “Express” part, too. (In fairness, DME was never actually “Express,” either.)
Otherwise, issues with shortages, disruptions, and other ripple effects from the pandemic and resulting economic circumstances are largely in the rearview mirror. This had impacted airport transportation services, rental car companies, and rideshare services–there were plenty of horror stories about supply and demand imbalances for airport transportation at Walt Disney World over the last couple of years.
About the only lingering effect is higher prices for Uber and Lyft. That’s probably the “new normal” as some drivers have moved from rideshare to food delivery and other opportunities that don’t require having strangers in their cars.
If you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World during peak travel weeks