Disney World shutting down free Magical Express bus service from airport to hotels in 2022

Disney’s Magical Express, a bus service that transports guests between Florida’s Walt Disney World resort hotels and Orlando International Airport free of charge, will stop service in 2022, the company announced on Monday.

“As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022,” Erica Ettori, Disney spokesperson, told USA TODAY in a statement.

And Avery Maehrer, communications manager for Walt Disney World Resort, elaborated on the decision in a Disney Parks blog post.

“Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want,” Maehrer wrote, a nod to independent companies such as Uber and Lyft. 

However, Maehrer added that service will continue for new and existing reservations at Disney Resort hotels throughout 2021,with service ceasing Jan. 1, 2022.

“Additionally, complimentary transportation options – such as buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner – will continue to be available within Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Resort hotel guests, including to and from all four theme parks,” Maehrer wrote.

In sharing that Disney’s free Magical Express would be shutting down, which may be disappointing news to some, Maehrer also highlighted new and upcoming options for guests.

“At the same time, we’re also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests,” Ettori said.

The “Park Hopper Option,” which allows guests who purchased a ticket or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits to visit more than one park per day has returned in the new year with new health precautions.

And “Early Theme Park Entry,” which allows “Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels will be able to enjoy more fun with 30-minute early entry to ANY theme park, EVERY day,” according to the blog post, will return in time for the theme park’s 50th anniversary celebration — for which a date has not yet been announced, Ettori said.

Disney would not comment on whether an alternative service would be offered for a pricein 2022 after Magical Express retires.

The company’s parks division has struggled amid the pandemic and has laid off tens of thousands of employees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Thanksgiving Eve, the company revealed around 32,000 workers would lose their jobs in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year. That figure included 28,000 staffers Disney said in September it would lay off from its parks division. 

While Disney World reopened in July, Disneyland, located in California, remains closed.

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