It has been a minute! I haven’t been so active here on my blog, which has made me so sad. Between my new job and travel, we have had a lot going on! But fear not, I have some fun Disney blog posts coming up. And I’ll be sharing about our upcoming trips to Nantucket and Palm Beach.
But today, I wanted to share with you a review of Mears Connect from our recent Walt Disney World trip. It was our first time using the service, and I know people have a lot of questions about it. So let’s get into it!
What is Mears Connect?
Mears Connect is essentially the new Disney’s Magical Express. If you aren’t familiar with Magical Express, it was a FREE way that Disney provided transportation to and from the airport for their onsite hotel guests. While the service is no longer free (I’ll get to that in a minute), you can essentially expect the same experience. Magical Express was run by Mears, they were just contracted by Disney to transport their guests under their own name. Now, Mears has a relationship that allows them to operate under their own name and charge their rates directly to the consumer.
How much does it cost?
Mears Connect is currently $32 per person round trip – so your journey to your hotel at the beginning of your trip and your journey back to MCO at the end of your vacation. I know people are upset that they are charging for this service now. However, I do think it is still the most affordable way to get to/from Disney property from the airport (depending on your party size). I promise that Uber would not be any cheaper, and renting a car certainly isn’t.
How does it work?
Before your trip you will head to this website and enter your hotel and flight information, as well as some information for everyone in your party. You will pay whatever you owe, and then you will get an email confirming your travel – as well as a time for you to board the bus for your departure at the end of your vacation. While you will get a time for your arrival/to board the bus to Disney World, if you are delayed in any way or if you’re not exactly on time – no worries! They aren’t going to send you away, it is just so they have an idea of when people are arriving.
When you land in MCO you will head to baggage claim. After you grab your bags, you will head to car/bus transportation. There are plenty of signs around the airport to direct Mears Connect guests! You’ll approach the same kiosk that once housed Magical Express, scan your information, and then you’ll be told what line to get into. The lines are sorted by resort, and they may put multiple lines on the same bus depending on demand. For example, our line was for Port Orleans Riverside/French Quarter, but we were on a bus with Shades of Green and Contemporary. Crew Members will direct you to your bus when they’re ready for you, and your bus driver will load your luggage into the bottom of the bus – I recommend bringing tip money for your driver! From there you’ll board the bus, and your bus driver will let you know the order of stops, etc.
How long does it take?
When you get into your resort line, you may be waiting for a while or for a short period of time. I will say, since they switched this service to not having the Disney name on it, the lines are MUCH SHORTER. We essentially got right onto our bus; however we did wait 15 minutes for the bus to pull out. In the past, we’ve waited almost 45 minutes to board a bus!
Once the bus started moving, it took us about 30 minutes to get to Disney property, and we took a few stops before getting to our resort. It is important to note there weren’t many guests on our bus (maybe 15 including us), so more guests may take longer to unload. From the time we left the airport to the time we got off of our bus, it was 53 minutes. So overall, the Mears Connect process took 1 hour and 8 minutes – not too shabby in my opinion.
I will definitely utilize this service in the future! It is an easy and relatively affordable way to get transportation to and from Disney resorts if you fly into MCO. Even if you want to rent a car, I would consider utilizing this service, then renting a car from Alamo located on Disney property. That specific Alamo will pick you up from your resort and take you to the car center located near Magic Kingdom. And when you drop the car off at the end of your trip they will also take you back to your resort. While you would be paying extra money for the Mears Connect, it will save a lot of confusion of driving yourself/your family to and from the airport. And in our experience, it is faster to get the rental car from the Alamo on property. Just something to consider!
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it was informative! If you have any questions about Mears Connect or anything Disney you can comment below, or reach out to me on Instagram. Be sure to sign up for my email list below to be notified the next time I post!