Have you heard? Now, you are responsible for finding your own transportation to and from Orlando airport if you are flying in. On our most recent trip, we tried out Mears Connect. Read on for our full review!
How to get to Walt Disney World from Orlando Airport
There are many ways to get to and from Walt Disney World and the Orlando Airport. We talk about all of the transportation options here.
Mears Connect is an easy way to get between Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport. It’s essentially the same service as Disney’s Magical Express, but without the name and Disney touches. The service uses the same busses and even the same drivers. It’s even located in the same place! There are a few small differences that are important to note.
Mears Connect does not offer luggage service. This means that you are not only responsible for collecting your luggage when you reach Orlando Airport, but you’re also responsible for bringing it with you when you leave. We always loved having our luggage magically appear in our rooms after a long travel day but alas, with the discontinuation of Disney’s Magical Express and Airline Check-in, those days are no longer. This will add a little bit of time to your travel day, so it’s good to be aware.
Due to this, you’ll also no longer receive preprinted luggage tags in the mail prior to your trip. There’s really no need for them since you are the only one who will be handling your luggage.
How to book Mears Connect
To book Mears Connect, start by visiting their website to see what option you want to purchase. Choose your preferred service, standard or express, and add your flight and resort information. You can change this information if for some reason your flight or resort gets changed, but it is important that they have the most accurate information so they can plan for your arrival and departure.
If by chance you decide you want to book Mears Connect at the last minute once you’ve already arrived at the Orlando International Airport, then you can do that too. The process is pretty simple. There is a screen near Mears check-in is. At this screen, scan the QR code, put in all of your information and you’re set to go!
Once you’ve arrived at the airport, head to the baggage claim and collect your luggage. After that, you’ll head down to level one, B side, and check-in. There is a self-service kiosk for those who wish to check themselves in. Or you can check in with one of the attendants at the desk. They then guide you to the correct lane where you will wait for a few moments before you are directed to your bus or shuttle. The bus will take you to your resort, and you can enjoy your vacation!
24 hours prior to your departure, you will receive an email from Mears stating the time that you will need to be ready to be picked up for your ride to the airport. Again, you’ll be in charge of your own luggage. So gather your family and your luggage and head to the airport shuttle signage that is in front of your resort at the time they stated in the pickup email, and they’ll have you on your way.
Where is Mears Connect located?
It’s actually located in the same area as Magical Express was before! On the first level,B side is where you’ll find check-in.
What is the cost of Mears Connect?
Mears Connect has two different types of service. For their standard service, expect to pay $16 per adult and $13.50 per child, per way. This service is very similar to what used to be the Magical Express and uses charter buses. For faster service, Mears Connect also offers an Express Service. Express Service costs $250 for 4 passengers and $55 per additional passenger. Express Service is only available as a round trip currently
How long does Mears Connect take?
Mears Connect states that passengers will be picked up and on their way to their destination within 20 minutes. From the Orlando Airport, the amount of time it takes to get to your Disney resort depends on how many other passengers are onboard the bus with you, and what stop your resort is located at. We stayed at the Swan Reserve when we took Mears Connect from Orlando Airport. We were the last stop, with four other resorts on our route. The passengers on the first stop had about a 45-minute bus ride, and we, at the last stop, had about an hour and a half bus ride.
Truthfully, if you are familiar with the Magical Express in the past, it really was about the same amount of time.
Mears Connect Express service takes you directly to your destination. So although it’s more expensive, it’ll save you a bit of time. It’s not necessarily considered “private” transportation, but Express Service does guarantee that you’ll be dropped off first.
How early does Mears Connect pick you up for the Orlando Airport?
Much like Disney’s Magical Express, expect to get picked up by Mears Connect 3-31/2 hours before your flight. This will largely depend on what stop your resort is in the lineup, but expect for your pickup time to be somewhere within that time period.
Does Mears Connect go to all of the Walt Disney World resorts?
Yes! Mears Connect travels to all of the Walt Disney World resorts. Mears Connect also services select Walt Disney World Good Neighbor hotels. You can find the full list here.
Can I cancel Mears Connect?
Yes! You can cancel your change your Mears Connect trip as long as it’s 24 hours before you are scheduled to use the service. After 24 hours, you can still cancel the service, however, you will not be refunded for the trip.
Is Mears Connect Worth it?
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration about whether or not Mears is worth it to you. Since there is no longer free transportation between Walt Disney World and the Orlando International Airport, you have to pay for some type of transportation anyway. If you have a larger party, the cost can add up. But Mears Connect also offers a sense of safety and comfortability that something like Uber may not.
That being said, it can be quite expensive when compared to something like Uber or Lyft. Rates for rideshare services can vary based on demand and availability, but generally, a ride from Orlando airport to Walt Disney World will cost you between $40-$65. And it is a much faster option to go with one of these choices. It really depends on what your priorities are.
And don’t forget, there are other options than just Mears and rideshare services. So if you don’t love the idea of Uber, but aren’t sold on Mears Connect either, you have other options available. Here’s how you can get from the airport to Walt Disney World without the Magical Express.
Overall, we did enjoy Mears Connect. Did we wish there were still the Mickey cartoons on the bus while we arrived at the most magical place on Earth? Of course we did. But the bus was safe, clean, and comfortable and got us where we needed to go without too much hassle.