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Disney Magical Express to be Discontinued

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
24,888
Orlando
I think calling the DME a "bubble" is crazy. Since it was brought about I've never stayed on Disney property and not used it, and considering the amount of people I always shared a bus with/saw waiting in the area it set off from, I think more than an insignificant percentage of guests used it.
Oh I know that a lot of people use it.

I've never used DME but I had planned to for the 2 trips I had planned for last year. It's not even that a big of a deal but it's the constant chipping away at the amenities of staying on site, mixed in with ever increasing prices and a worse overall experience.

I'll still continue to rent a car. The convenience is worth the cost imo.
How long do you stay though? I know a lot of people from over your way stay close to 2 weeks and in that situation, renting a car makes sense as long as you've planned for all the costs.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
4,595
Orlando
Just about all Disney's fleet is leased and so were Minnie Vans.

I think that since Minnie Vans were servicing the airport before the closure the plan would be to use them again, but they'll make the company money rather than costing money like DME. I wouldn't be surprised to see a replacement bus service available at an additional cost as well.
 

HandsomePete

Member
Jul 8, 2019
727
1) There’s an almost 100% probability that this decision was made by people who have never used the service.

2) There‘s a very high probability that these decision makers don’t understand the service beyond “bus from the airport.” I would be shocked if any of them could articulate the convenience of luggage handling.

3) The only way this makes *any* sense is if the financial cost to operate DME to ensure people are “stuck” at Disney is no longer worth it based on an assumption that they’re not as “stuck” as much as they have been in the past because of rideshare. But... Uber and Lyft aren’t really new by now, and they’re actually quite a bit more expensive than when they first rolled out.

4) Not surprising the blog folks would leave negative comments up - essentially the marketing side is losing a marketable perk that they were never paying for.


While EMH going away is a big bummer, at least they’ve made some sort of effort at it not being a straight up budget cut - unless its less of an early 30 minutes for hotel guests and more of a 30 minute delay for non-hotel guests.
 
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JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
6,050
Upper Lower
I assume this is because of the train that will be stopping at WDW?
They literally are going to have a train that is going to go direct to WDW. It's gonna be pretty easy. The train is basically just a replacement.
I agree it's a poor move to get rid of a free ride to the airport and there could be consequences now.

Disney likely was forced by Virgin to cancel their contract with Mears. Disney is NOT going to make the money from the train as far as I know (maybe there's a split), but giving up their contract for Magical Express with Mears is dangerous because Mears could go to Universal and Universal could do some sort of free transport to their property. That would be very beneficial and it would look very enticing when booking a vacation as opposed to having to pay to take a train.
You really think they will build a roadbed and station in a year? I got some land to show you but we can only look at it during the month of February......
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
24,888
Orlando
You really think they will build a roadbed and station in a year? I got some land to show you but we can only look at it during the month of February......
I mean, it's January. I consider December 2022 2 years from now.

But no, I don't think that. I know it won't be until 2023 or 2024 until it's running. But Disney's contract with Mears was probably up and they probably decided not to extend. It's also possible that Mears didn't want to do a short term deal.
 

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
6,050
Upper Lower
I mean, it's January. I consider December 2022 2 years from now.

But no, I don't think that. I know it won't be until 2023 or 2024 until it's running. But Disney's contract with Mears was probably up and they probably decided not to extend. It's also possible that Mears didn't want to do a short term deal.
Mears was asked today and denied knowledge of anything.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
24,888
Orlando
Mears was asked today and denied knowledge of anything.
Well then it's just a dumb move from Disney. I would guess they've probably been paying Mears a lot over the past year and no one is coming to the resort really because of COVID, but they have to think past COVID. If it wasn't a contractual thing, then it's just bad business.
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,565
Yeah, it's hard to see this as anything but a bad business move.

If it was a money issue, then make it an upcharge. Considering how many folks do use the service (myself included), there'll be those who'll pay to use it.

If this is because of Brightline coming in, then they're essentially letting someone else get the money to transport guests since I don't think Disney is gonna' get a cut of the tickets for that. Not to mention since the station is just going to DS, I just don't see it as an viable form of transport for a lot of folks, especially families. Any type of transfer to get to their hotel just isn't gonna' cut it.

The only thing I can see them doing is bringing back the Minnie Van service, since not having any kind of transport from the airport to the hotels is just bad business.
 

wutisgood

Newcomer
Aug 3, 2020
98
disney really is one of the most awful greedy companies on the planet they would rather cut services in a pandemic than give you any incentive to come to the parks. cutting extra magic hours is one of the coldest things they have ever done. I can give them credit for their product being quality in terms of movies and tv but the product for value in the parks and services with increasing cuts is dropping. It is now both cheaper and more convenient to rent a car and drive to the parks even with paying for parking staying offsite. Often it is cheaper to pay full ticket prices since the packages are crap now if you plan everything else offsite. I'm just not understanding the strategy long term unless they have so many vacation club members they actually don't want any day guests anymore.
 

SkiBum

Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2012
1,611
Cincinnati, OH
Once we started flying, we used the Magical Express and loved it. It made things so easy in that, we exited the plane and headed straight to the bus. Of course, we loved the original program that showed on the bus as opposed to the current one. Then, we used the onsite bus system within WDW and then took the Tragical Express back the airport at the end. The bus system really did help us in that we didn't need to rent a car and didn't have to deal with traffic. I am unsure about the train situation, including how frequently the train will arrive/leave at the airport, how many people will be carried each trip, and how many trains will service WDW. I have long thought that a light rail system to/from the airport with two tracks and tying to Disney Springs or another central point would be efficient but definitely have some questions.

In recent years, I have started renting a car from the car rental site by the Grand Floridian and still used the Magical Express to/from the airport. This provided me with more freedom as we go to grocery stores for supplies and also could drive to UNI/IOA and to Epcot/Studios/Animal Kingdom far more efficiently than using the WDW buses. Going to the Magic Kingdom was better with a bus since we wouldn't have to use the ferry/monorail. Using a car for everything else made life much more easy and eliminated having to wait for a bus after a long day at the parks.

Still, I will miss the Magical Express as it made life easier but maybe the trains will be just as nice.
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
14,218
Pittsburgh, PA
Just about all Disney's fleet is leased and so were Minnie Vans.

I think that since Minnie Vans were servicing the airport before the closure the plan would be to use them again, but they'll make the company money rather than costing money like DME. I wouldn't be surprised to see a replacement bus service available at an additional cost as well.
DME is just a souped up and rebranded Mears shuttle. They run it. The only “magic” was bag handling.
 
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randompixel

Rookie
Dec 16, 2015
276
Surrey, England
I've never used DME but I had planned to for the 2 trips I had planned for last year. It's not even that a big of a deal but it's the constant chipping away at the amenities of staying on site, mixed in with ever increasing prices and a worse overall experience.

I'll still continue to rent a car. The convenience is worth the cost imo.
Ditto but that shakedown parking charge still stings
 
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HandsomePete

Member
Jul 8, 2019
727
Mears said they will continue their part as a paid service. Can't really do luggage pickup and delivery though
Would be interesting if Disney flips this around and takes a cut of what Mears would charge people as like an access fee to allow them to do luggage pickup/delivery. And by interesting I mean kinda messed up but not unexpected.

My concern with the train is that it isn't going to be that fast - not even including the transfer near DS. With the stop at Meadow Woods and interchanges with the Sunrail line, I think a 30-35MPH average speed would be optimistic. TGV from Charles de Gaulle to DLP is like 10-12 minutes.
 

wutisgood

Newcomer
Aug 3, 2020
98
I think its stupid disney cannot figure out the vertical integration to run these bus services themselves given the volume they have to resorts. They can literally lock anyone else trying out with packages.
 
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HandsomePete

Member
Jul 8, 2019
727
I think its stupid disney cannot figure out the vertical integration to run these bus services themselves given the volume they have to resorts. They can literally lock anyone else trying out with packages.
There’s a difference between figuring something out and wanting to do something. DME = expense, not leases or asset acquisitions (buses). Also keeps the driver headcount off your payroll and out of your benefit pool.
 
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